2016: Our Year in Review
Posted by IGS
Another year has flown by, and in 2016 the Irish Georgian Society were thrilled to see conservation projects supported through the Society come to fruition as well as a packed calendar of members events…
In February we hosted an event for new members and volunteers in the octagonal exhibition room of the City Assembly House, it was an opportunity for us to meet our newest and most loyal members, and introduce them to the work of the Irish Georgian Society. In March, IGS member Tom Quick hosted a fundraising cocktail party for the Society at his home in Palm Beach. Our annual Conserving Your Dublin Period House seminar series continued from March to May, with record numbers attending each talk.
At the City Assembly House, we launched a new exhibition Ireland’s Main Street, 1625-1925: An Architectural History, curated by Joseph Lynch and Pat Murray, this exhibition looked back at 300 years of O’Connell Street’s history, featuring reproductions of original interior photographs taken from the 1911 volumes of the (Irish) Georgian Society. The second phase of works on the City Assembly House began in April, as Georgian style windows were installed, replacing the Victorian sash windows. A members’ tour visited the North-West to see ‘The Big House Revisited’, staying overnight at Enniscoe House in Co. Mayo.
In May our Traditional Building Skills exhibition travelled out West – to Portumna Castle in Galway! We welcomed over 1,000 visitors to the site over the course of two days despite the rain and cold! In June, our members beckoned in the summer season with a garden party at Abbey Leix, Co. Laois, hosted by the Society’s president, Sir David Davies. Earlier in the month a group of the Society’s American members visited Ireland to explore Georgian Dublin, Early Palladian Mansions and the Great Houses of Northern Ireland.
In partnership with the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, in June a group of students participated in a field trip of Historic Designed Landscapes in Louth and Meath, visiting Barmeath Castle, Co. Meath and Dowth Hall, Co. Louth. An always popular summer excursion with our members, two group of members visited Lambay Island throughout June and July, for a tour of the island and the house remodelled by Sir Edwin Lutyens, between 1910-11.
In July, the 2016 IGS Conservation Grant Scheme recipients were officially announced. View the full list here. Only a few days later, the destruction of Vernon Mount in Co. Cork highlighted the very real threat to Ireland’s built heritage that still exists.
On a more positive note, toward the end of the summer two conservation projects supported by the Society were successfully brought to fruition – the Thomas Jervais window was reinstated in Agher Church, Co. Meath and the coade stone Lion was restored and reinstated at Mote Park, Co. Roscommon.
Throughout the summer, many of our members enjoyed a packed calendar of events! The London Chapter YIGs (Young Irish Georgians) visited Syon House in London for an exclusive guided tour of the house. In Ireland, Pat Murray, IGF Board Member, led a tour of the Mausolea and Follies of County Wicklow, accompanied by a delightful outdoor picnic! In London, Ashleigh Murray became the new Chair of the Society's London Chapter, which was officially announced at the London Chapter's summer party.
A collection of IGS miniatures went on public display in the Print Room at Castletown in August, owing to a donation from a generous benefactor of the Society. In September we hosted our annual Benefactor’s and Patron’s event, welcoming guests to a lunch at No. 12 Henrietta Street, to thank them for their ongoing support throughout the year. Also in September, Ireland's Walled Gardens Study Day was hosted at Russborough House, in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland.
The Society’s annual US Galas took place in October in New York and Chicago, followed by a dinner in Boston, where a Chapter was recently established this year. All funds raised were in aid of the City Assembly House Capital Campaign.
The restored facade of the City Assembly House was revealed to the public in early November, after a programme of works that involved the cleaning and repointing of the brickwork to the building. Also that month, the Newbridge House Study Day, which examined the history and conservation of Newbridge House's architecture, designed landscape, decorative interiors and collections was well attended. In December, the Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Aisling Durkan for her research project focusing on Provincial Splendour and Mercantile Ambition: The Drogheda town house in the eighteenth century.
The City Assembly House hosted a number of art exhibitions and performances throughout 2016. While restoration works have been completed to the façade of the building, the next phase of works will focus on refurbishing the Knight of Glin exhibition room so it will serve as a world class exhibition space, and to install a wheelchair lift and secondary fire exit, to ensure the building is accessible to all.
We are planning to begin the next phase of works on the City Assembly House in 2017. This next phase will cost €1.5million. So far €900,000 has been pledged through the support of Dublin City Council, Jerome L. Greene Foundation and Gilbert & Ildiko Butler Family Foundation.
We are 60% of the way toward reaching our goal of €1.5million! Please consider making a donation to help the Society realise its goal. Watch this short video to learn more about the ongoing restoration of the City Assembly House.
We hope you can join us at an IGS event in 2017!