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.

Nun’s Cross Church, Co. Wicklow and its treasures

01.02.2017

Posted by Zoe Coleman

"[A] wonderful account of the remarkable history of Nun's Cross... The treasures of this beautiful church are now recorded for all time." - Sir David Davies, President, Irish Georgian Society

The 19th century story of Nun's Cross church is a remarkable one. The tale of how a small parish church benefitted from the artistic and decorative attention of a some remarkable artists and craftsmen due to the largesse of influential and enlightened patrons. Perhaps the bigger story is that of the determined and devoted work of a local historical society and the remarkable conservation they have undertaken. This book documents the history of the church and the story of that conservation. It is a very fine record of their achievement and a template for other groups and societies in the future. I strongly recommend a visit to this remarkable church, truly a hidden Irish gem.

If you are aware of any other restoration or conservation projects going on in your area and want us to promote a book or pamphlet on the work, please let us know by email or phone.

The bulk of proceeds from the sale of this book will go directly to the Nun's Cross conservation fund and we are happy to offer it to you at the very reasonable price of €30.00.

Available to purchase instore or online (€30.00)

IGS Conservation Grants Programme 2017

01.02.2017

Posted by Reception

Clockwise from top left: Beaulieu House, Co. Louth, Lion's Gate, Mote Park, Co. Roscommon, Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois, Thomas Jervais window, Agher Church, Co. Meath 

The Irish Georgian Society is inviting applications to our 2017 Conservation Grants Programme. Now in its fourth year, the grants programme provides financial support for works to structures of significant architectural merit. A total of €50,000 is available and grants will be awarded with priority given to protected structures and recorded monuments of significant architectural merit. Structures of all periods are eligible but priority will be given to older buildings on the basis of rarity and potential fragility relating to age. 

The Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Grants Programme is funded by its London Chapter through funds raised from its activities and members’ generous bequests. The programme aims to provide financial assistance for conservation works to structures of significant architectural merit. Over the last three years, the Society has supported over thirty significant conservation projects from around the country, that have included works to country houses and castles, thatched cottages and historic townhouses, architectural follies, and churches. Notable amongst these have been the conservation of an important eighteenth century stained glass window in Agher Church, Co. Meath; the repair of a Coade Stone lion and monumental gateway at Mote Park, Co. Roscommon; and essential repairs to rainwater goods at Beaulieu, Co. Louth, a house of national architectural importance.

Application forms must be submitted by 5.00pm on Friday 24th February 2017 and can be downloaded here. Decisions on the allocation of grants will be made by June at which time applicants will be informed. 

IGS submission to DCC re conservation management plan for Herbert Park, Ballsbridge

31.01.2017

Posted by Zoe Coleman

Dear Sir or Madam,

The Irish Georgian Society welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Dublin City Parks Strategy Consultation Draft. The Society is a membership organisation, which encourages and promotes the conservation of distinguished examples of architecture and the allied arts of all periods in Ireland. These aims are achieved through our education programmes, by supporting and undertaking conservation works, publishing original research, planning participation and fundraising. The Irish Georgian Society is a strong advocate on the subject of the protection of historic landscapes and has held a number of educational events on historic gardens and landscapes, the most relevant to this consultation being the seminar entitled “Dublin’s Victorian and Edwardian Parks” held in conjunction with the Irish Landscape Institute in February 2013.

The Society supports Dublin City Council in its stated objective of “advancing the conservation and restoration of Dublin’s historic designed landscapes” and welcomes the strong conservation focus of the Dublin City Parks Strategy Consultation Draft. The Society further welcomes the emphasis placed by Dublin City Council in the Draft Strategy on the Florence Charter on Historic Gardens, which “defines historic gardens as architectural compositions and recommends their preservation as living monuments”.

The Society is, however, concerned about the mismatch in approach between different parks and, in particular, those parks of architectural heritage value. The Society is concerned that anything other than an integrated approach to the management of the historic parks will lead to the loss of features of architectural significance. In other words, it is respectfully submitted that, unless a survey of features of architectural heritage importance is carried out and a conservation management plan is prepared for all historic parks, some parks or some key features in some parks are likely to slip through the cracks. Errors in the Draft Strategy indicate that this is already happening. Specifically, in describing Herbert Park, the Draft Strategy states “The current park contains original historical features such as the pergola…”. Dublin City Council demolished the pergola and removed surrounding flower beds in 2011. This pergola and herbaceous beds were a fine example of Edwardian garden design in the Robinsonian style and of historical, cultural, horticultural and social interest. The pergola was opened to the public in 1913 and described at the time as “one of the finest examples of its kind in existence”. The demolition of the pergola and the removal of the herbaceous beds, in addition to being a matter of great regret to park users, indicates a lack of understanding of the importance of individual features within a historic garden to the integrity of the designed landscape as an architectural composition. Having regard to the importance of the pergola (as recognised in the Draft Strategy), the Society respectfully urges Dublin City Council to include an objective for the reinstatement of the pergola and herbaceous beds. The Draft Strategy does not propose the preparation of a conservation management plan for Herbert Park, but sets out that it is an objective of the Local Authority “to study its historic landscape and conservation value with a view to appropriately balance historic conservation and contemporary recreational demand”. 

The Draft Strategy indicates that Dublin City Council will pursue a much stronger, conservation-centred approach in respect of the other flagship historic parks within the Council’s control. For example, the key management objectives for St Patrick’s Park include an objective to “maintain its historical design layout and its landscape as a setting for the adjacent Cathedral”, while the Council intends “to study [the] historic landscape and conservation value with the objective of retaining the historic estate character” of St Anne’s Park. In the absence of any survey, inventory or conservation management plan for Herbert Park, the basis upon which Dublin City Council would choose such a markedly different strategy for Herbert Park than the other historic parks is unclear. Practically speaking, any objectives for the conservation of Dublin’s parks as assets of heritage value is rendered meaningless in the absence of the preparation of an historic landscape assessment and an inventory of features of architectural heritage importance undertaken by a suitably qualified professional for each historic park. It is of critical importance that this work be undertaken for all flagship historic parks. Without this information, well-intentioned decisions will continue to be made as part of the day-to-day management of historic parks, which result in the loss of historic fabric and features and undermine the overall integrity of historic gardens, as has repeatedly already happened in the case of Herbert Park. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Donough Cahill
Executive Director
Irish Georgian Society