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.

Press release: stabilisation of Vernon Mount, Co. Cork

28.07.2016

Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society calls for urgent action to be taken to safeguard and consolidate the remains of Vernon Mount to ensure it will continue to play a role as a unique Cork landmark.  To achieve this, an immediate appraisal of the building must be undertaken by structural engineers with suitable conservation expertise to determine a methodology for its stabilisation.

In appraising drone footage of the site, an initial analysis shows the survival of significant elements of the building including its distinctive bowed front and convex side bows, as well as its chimney stacks and side walls. Though clearly much has been lost internally, key structural sections that give the building its identity remain standing and must be stabilised.

Once the site is made safe, the next priority should be an archaeological sifting of the interiors with the aim of salvaging artefacts that may have survived. Such an excavation followed the recent devastating fire at Clandon Park, a National Trust property in Surrey, England, and resulted in the recovery of plasterwork fragments, an early eighteenth century state bed and other items. One wonders what might be found in Vernon Mount.

Cork County Council must play a lead role, not least due to the public reaction to the fire but also to its role in safeguarding our architectural heritage through implementing the conservation legislation. There is precedence for the rebuilding of fire damaged historic buildings and much can be learnt from these: Slane Castle, Co. Meath, Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow and, most recently, St. Mel’s Cathedral, Longford.

An enormous amount of time and money has been spent in seeking to safeguard Cork’s finest neo-Classical villa and this would all be to waste if an immediate push is not taken to save what remains and to plan for the future. The time to act is now!

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