Irish Georgian Society

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The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

Conservation project update: Thatched Cottage, Lenankeel, Inishowen, Co. Donegal


Posted by Zoe Coleman


Rotted thatch removed to allow access

Note the earth mortar

Collapsing chimney stack stabilised 

Starting consolidation and rebuilding of wall heads and reconstruction of roof structure using salvaged members & new based on existing salvage material

Fidelma Mullane, conservation consultant (thatch) examine thatch materials

Split laths & súgan rope ties

Broken stone lintel

Completion of trusses & purlins

Sample laid out to discuss detail with thatcher Brian Lafferty

Split timbers fitted; scraws laid as thatching progresses

Thatcher Brian Lafferty

Metal rods & wires are used for the underlayer as a substitute for hazel pins which are no longer available locally; otherwise the technique is exactly as practised locally for generations

Fidelma Mullane reviews details with Brian; John Doherty lays scraws and a batten to support the thatcher’s ladder in advance of laying a coarse coat of thatch

The interior wall was rebuilt in 1950’s when the byre was converted

About the project
Built c. 1780 and reputedly occupied by generations of the same family since that time until 2007, the Thatched Cottage, Lenankeel, Co. Donegal is of significant importance for its early date and also as it relates to a surviving group of vernacular structures that form part of a clachan settlement, though this is the last of the houses to retain its thatched roof.  In surveying the house some years ago, the NIAH noted the need for a full record of the structure including its surviving interior features and its rope and stone peg thatch, which it was feared could very soon disappear.  Though in poor condition, it is very encouraging that the current owner has taking on the admirable task of restoring this gem of a building. In 2015, IGS grant aided a Conservation Report by Dedalus Architecture to prioritise a programme of works for the conservation of the house and to secure its outbuildings.

Next steps
The next step for the project is to make the roofed house habitable and to complete the building envelope repairs.

Family photos of the cottage can be seen on the Buildings of Ireland website, where it was featured as Building of the Month for September 2015. Click here to read the article.

Young Irish Georgians: Tour of the City Assembly House


Posted by Zoe Coleman

Wednesday 15th February 2017. From 6.00pm.

We are partnering with the Irish Architecture Foundation to invite Young Irish Georgian members on an exclusive tour of the City Assembly House, the Society's current restoration project.

The City Assembly House on South William Street dates from 1766, and hosts Europe’s oldest public art gallery. Over the past five years the Irish Georgian Society has undertaken an ambitious restoration program to bring this forgotten Georgian gem back to public attention. 
The next phase in the City Assembly House project will see the restoration of the octagonal Exhibition Room which was built in 1766 for the display of works by major Irish artists of the time. 
Join us on this tour as Donough Cahill, Executive Director of the Irish Georgian Society, reveals the fascinating history of the City Assembly House and the Society’s plan for the future of the building. This is one of the final opportunities to see the interior of the Exhibition Room, before the completion of its restoration!

This tour is free of charge and open to all Young Irish Georgians (do feel free to bring a guest). Book tickets here.

Tickets must be booked in advance. Show your ticket at the door (phone or printout).

Limerick: O’Connell Street revitalisation scheme


Posted by Zoe Coleman

It is the Georgian period of construction that gives Limerick its unique historic character, which sets it apart from other towns and cities in Ireland. In 1834 Inglis, a travel writer compared Limerick to Dublin and Cork, writing ‘the new town of Limerick is, unquestionably, superior to anything out of Dublin. It’s principal street, although less picturesque than the chief streets of Cork, would generally be reckoned a finer street.’

It is this spectacular street that was the subject of John Moran’s call for a new and exciting vision for Limerick’s central spine. (Limerick Leader 28th January, 2017).

What is it that attracts us to certain cities in Europe and around the world? As an architect and historian, of course I am excited about cities that have beautiful historic architecture, public squares, walk-able, people-friendly streets. But what is more attractive is the culture and energy of these streets, people eating, meeting, talking, shopping, laughing, playing, diverse communities in ‘liveable’ cities. And that is not to say that we don’t have vibrant public spaces in Limerick. You only have to go along to the milk market on a Saturday morning to see people doing those self same things, a vibrant happy community.

We now have a wonderful opportunity to extend this vibrancy and liveability to Newtown Pery, via our living spine ‘O’Connell Street’. Let’s remember the Crescent on a fine July evening last summer, when the Limerick 2020 street party attracted huge crowds for a food, culture and performance. The Crescent is a natural civic space in Limerick’s historic city centre. It forms a termination to O’Connell Street and could act as an anchor for revitalising this part of the city. At present, this fantastic space cannot be appreciated, as you need all your attention to avoid the traffic. The Crescent commands a superb view down O’Connell Street, which could only be enjoyed if the space was traffic free.

The Crescent has all the key ingredients of a great multifunctional public space, where communities can get together, to live, work, meet each other and celebrate. The space could have outdoor cafes or restaurants, be sometimes quiet and at other times have music or performances. It could be a greener place where children play, people sit and watch the world go by and others have extended conversations. The multi-use of the buildings on and around the Crescent and extending to Newtown Pery, would attract a broad demographic of people, with a variety of offices, shops, cafes, apartments and houses.

You can walk from one end of O’Connell Street to the other with ease. With a focus on pedestrian priority, great public spaces, beautiful streets with trees, restored historic features and attractive lighting, Newtown Pery would be an extraordinary urban centre. Limerick could become a most desirable and sought after place to work and to live, both socially and ecologically healthy. Wouldn’t it be fantastic for the Crescent to be made into a beautiful public space for the citizens of Limerick?

Ailish Drake is director at Drake Hourigan Architects and Chair of the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society. 

Article from Limerick Leader, 4th February 2017