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.

Appeal to save historic landscape around Belcamp, Co. Dublin


Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society has appealed a decision by Fingal County Council to approve a major housing development at Belcamp, Malahide Road, Co. Dublin.

Belcamp was built in the 1780s by Sir Edward Newenham, politician, ardent supporter of the American Republican movement, and correspondent with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. It lay within “finely disposed grounds… commanding some rich views” and a tower built by Newenham still stands close by which is understood to have been the first monument ever erected in honour of George Washington.

The house and demesne were bought by the Oblate fathers in the 1890s and served as a school until 2004 when it was sold for its development potential. It has lain empty since that time and, through vandalism and arson, the house and its associated buildings have been extensively damaged. The current planning application proposes the restoration of the house which would secure its future however proposals to develop houses, apartments and shops within its parklands would irreversibly diminish its historic setting.   

The correspondence between Newenham and Washington covered a range of topics and included amongst these were considerations relating to the parklands they were developing around their respective homes in Dublin and Virginia. There are affinities between the two most notably in the layout of their avenues. Historic mapping evidence suggests that much of the historic landscape of Belcamp remains intact yet the current development is being proposed in the absence of a comprehensive landscape assessment carried out by a suitably qualified professional.

In appealing this planning application, the Society has submitted that as Belcamp is the only landscape in Ireland with an authentic connection to the American Revolution, it is critical that such an assessment be undertaken.

The full text of the Society’s appeal, prepared by members of its Architectural Conservation & Planning Committee, is available to download through this link.

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IGS Limerick Chapter - Pilot Project Grant Scheme at Newtown Pery, Limerick


Posted by IGS

The Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society are proposing to pilot a grant scheme in coordination with Limerick City and County Council. The scheme aims to support the repair and restoration of historic railings, kerbs and steps.

Three streets in Newtown Pery have been selected for the Pilot Scheme, and include Mallow Street, Glentworth Street and Cecil Street. The scheme will be open to building owners who have original historic railings intact, but in disrepair. Small Works, which would be eligible for grant funding, would include railing repair, kerb repair and resetting of steps.

Expressions of interest are sought from building owners on the streets identified. For the initial pilot scheme, preference will be given to projects that would form a group of three in a terrace, with multiple owners. In this way, there will be a greater visual impact for the scheme.

Grant Scheme
This Scheme will be operated as a ‘small works grant scheme’, supported by the Irish Georgian Society and Limerick City and County Council.

The Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society is a chapter committee of the Irish Georgian Foundation, which is a registered charity, CHY 6372. The aim of the Chapter is to highlight and promote the preservation and conservation of Georgian Limerick.

An EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FORM can be downloaded here, or requested by email from the Limerick Chapter secretary, Nicola McMahon, at Expressions of interest to be submitted by Friday 10th March 2017. 

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


Posted by IGS


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.

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Young Irish Georgians: Tour of the City Assembly House


Posted by IGS

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).

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Limerick: O’Connell Street revitalisation scheme


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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

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


Posted by IGS

"[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)

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