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.

IGS Conservation Grants Programme 2017


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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. 

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


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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

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IGS objection to DLRCC re a development proposal at Tibradden House, Rathfarnham


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Re:         Application by Stillorgan RFC for the construction of a new club facility. The development will consist of: 2 storey clubhouse including changing rooms, meetings room, storage and ancillary facilities (gross floor area 463 sqm) and an outdoor viewing terrace; 3 no. playing pitches; floodlights for pitches

1+2; associated car park with coach and cycle parking; on site waste water treatment system and all associated site and development work on lands at Lands (c 4.1 ha) at Tibradden Road, Kilmashogue, Dublin 16.

Dear Sir or Madam,

The Irish Georgian Society of City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2 wishes to make a submission on the application by Stillorgan RFC for the construction of a new club facility on lands at Tibradden Road, Kilmashogue, Dublin 16 (DLRCC Reg. Ref. D16A/0955). The €20 fee has been paid online.

The proposed development lies within the combined demesnes of Cloragh and Tibradden. Tibradden House, a protected structure, was rebuilt and aggrandised in 1860 to the designs of Joseph Maguire, commissioned by Charles Davis of Cloragh. These designs transformed the modest 18th century farmhouse into an imposing villa. Its setting, as part of the design, was transformed by the planting of a sensitive combination of native broadleaves and exotic evergreens along the river valley to the east, establishing a sheltering plantation to the north-west, and the addition of clumps of trees to the parkland. The field boundaries of the home farm were also reinforced with timber trees. The end result of this designed landscape, essentially intact today, was to frame the house seen from below and from a distance and to frame views from the principal rooms of the house. The vista from the house is split by the surviving lime tree (possible one of an original clump of three) giving two framed views – one centred on Lambay Island seen across the Liffey estuary and the second a distant view of the Mourne Mountains seen beyond Rathfarnham and Georgian Dublin.

The importance to the Nation of the house and its landscape is attested by its “Section 482” status whose citation records that: “The surrounding estate with its vestiges of the original landscape elements, contribute to the history of its development and provide a beautiful and important setting to the assemblage of buildings”. It is considered that Tibradden House and its context are of considerable architectural and social historic significance.

The demesne of Tibradden is conspicuous in the most recent aerial photographs as a near unique survivor of a working agricultural landscape where its fields are still bounded not only by hedgerows or stonewalls but still retain their trees. It has been run as an environmentally sustainable farm under the REPS scheme, and its successor, GLAS. The total west boundary of the proposed development site and its southern edge abut the REPS farm. To the east, a single field slopes down to the Glin River, which becomes Whitechurch Stream, a tributary of the Dodder. This river valley forms a wooded ecological corridor from above Tibradden House down past Marlay Park and onto St Enda’s, where it becomes a prominent component of that designed landscape.

This piece of landscape, with its REPS / GLAS designation that embraces the site of the proposed development, makes a significant contribution to maintaining biodiversity within a zone under great stress from the burgeoning expansion of Dublin and all the more important for that.

The original farmhouse at Tibradden was approached from the southwest possibly along the axial road (still extant). This axial avenue appears to be aligned with, and would have focused one’s view towards, the prominent landscape feature of the site of a collection of cairns on Piperstown Hill (currently obscured by commercial forestry). Such was the design of the 18th and 19th century Tibradden House and its attendant landscape to engage with and elaborate its context. This landscape is part of a conspicuous backdrop to the city of Dublin leading up to the Dublin Mountains. It has been given its characteristic appearance by a collection of small demesnes, villas and attendant designed landscape, planting and farming (e.g. Tibradden, Cloragh, Mount Venus, Larch Hill, Killakee etc.). Each of these houses, including the earlier more modest farm house at Tibradden, made a virtue of its siting giving the principal rooms a prospect of Dublin city and bay and beyond. The nineteenth century saw considerable elaboration of these landscapes with planting which framed views from and to these places.

The gardens and designed landscapes of the 17th through to the 19th century were extensions of the plan of the house, to be experienced through all the senses as one inhabited outside spaces or moved along walks or rides.  House and landscape were often a single coherent design.  Ancient monuments and sacred places along with ruins and churches have been engaged in a visual dialogue across the land with country houses and their designed landscapes, each renewing their importance and redefining their significance.

In the attendant landscapes of country houses, ancient woodlands have been greatly valued.  Individual groups of trees, avenues, boundary zones and new woodlands have been planted for both utility and amenity value.  They have created microclimates, providing shelter for buildings and productive land.  They have heightened the experience of the setting, and they have composed views, framing significant natural and manmade features.  Natural watercourses and features were augmented with man made versions for utility and beauty and water was managed for supply and productivity in a way that contributed to the landscape.  These landscapes, large and small, along with the fields enclosed with walls or banks and planted with hedgerows that now contain mature trees, all coalesce to make collective creations of singular importance.

It is worth remembering that Ireland has ratified the European Landscape Convention. The convention notes “that the landscape has an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields, and constitutes a resource favourable to economic activity and whose protection, management and planning can contribute to job creation”. It acknowledges “that the landscape is an important part of the quality of life for people everywhere: in urban areas and in the countryside, in degraded areas as well as in areas of high quality, in areas recognised as being of outstanding beauty as well as everyday areas”. Furthermore, it puts forward the belief “that the landscape is a key element of individual and social well-being and that its protection, management and planning entail rights and responsibilities for everyone”. The spirit of this Convention is embedded in Ireland’s National Landscape Strategy.

The Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities further provide that proposals for new development within the curtilage of a building of architectural heritage significance should be carefully scrutinised by the planning authority, as "inappropriate development will be detrimental to the character of the structure". The Guidelines go on to state that, where there is a formal relationship between the heritage building and features within the curtilage, "new construction which interrupts that relationship should rarely be permitted". The Guidelines note that, within the curtilage of a building of heritage importance, there "may be planted features which are important to the character and special interest of the structure and which contribute to its setting. These could include tree-lined avenues, decorative tree-clumps, woodlands, species plants or plant collections."

It is the policy of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council “that historic demesnes and gardens should be identified and protected to reflect and acknowledge their significance as part of the National Heritage” (Policy LHB32). Moreover, Policy LHB5: Historic Landscape Character Areas of the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Development Plan 2016-2022 provides that: “In assessing development proposals and in the preparation of plans it is Council policy to have regard to the recommendations and findings of the Historic Landscape Character Assessments (HLCA) already undertaken for a number of the urban-rural fringe areas of the County most likely to come under development pressure.” The application site is located in Landscape Character Area 1: Kilmashogue Valley. Appendix 7 of the Development Plan states as follows:

“Kilmashogue Valley is currently one of the County’s finest unspoilt valley landscapes, which is currently not protected by any particular status. Any development in this valley should be carefully considered and be in sympathy with the existing landscape. The upper portion of the valley has not been affected by large-scale afforestation.” [Emphasis added.]

The Irish Georgian Society understands that during pre-planning consultation, the Applicant was asked to retain all hedgerows and trees as part of the proposed development and to provide a tree survey as part of the application. This has not been done. There is no record of tree species as far as can be ascertained from the documentation. The location of some trees is shown on the general site survey drawing in a form which, one must assume, is meant to represent the extent of the canopy of the trees. However, there are many omissions in this drawing, and the sizes of the canopies are woefully inaccurate and inadequate. The proposed development requires substantial excavation under the canopies of the trees along the western boundary and fill over the root plate along the eastern boundary. Both operations are seriously detrimental to the health and stability of these trees. In addition, the drainage proposals will require excavation under the canopy of a number of trees. The nature of the hedgerows is not recorded in the application. It appears that the middle hedgerow crossing the site is to be removed. In summary, the application does not propose to retain all trees and hedgerows, and the Applicant has declined to provide a tree survey as requested by the Planning Authority. Moreover, notwithstanding the recommendations of Appendix 7 of the Development Plan with regard to the Kilmashogue Valley Landscape Character Area with regard to the sensitivity of the landscape, the application does not include any assessment of the impact of the proposed development on the historic landscape of the Cloragh / Tibradden demense undertaken by a suitably qualified historic landscape consultant. The application does not include any assessment of the visual impact of proposed new development on views from the protected structure(s), between the protected structure complex or from key locations within the historic landscape.

It is critical that any development of these lands be informed by a comprehensive assessment of the sensitivities and significance of the historic landscape at Cloragh/Tibradden. The proposed development, which represents overdevelopment of this highly constrained site, will diminish the value of this fragile and important cultural landscape and damage its contribution to ecological capital. As a result, the proposal will result in a significant and material change to the setting of Tibradden House and its designed landscape.  As such, it is considered that the proposed development contravenes the policies for the protection of architectural heritage set out in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan 2016-2022 and the recommendations of the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities.

Having regard to the issues set out above, the Irish Georgian Society respectfully requests that the Planning Authority refuse permission for the proposed development on lands at Tibradden Road, Kilmashogue, Dublin 16 (DLRCC Reg. Ref. D16A/0955).

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.


Yours sincerely,

Donough Cahill
Executive Director 
Irish Georgian Society

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Conserving Your Dublin Period House: Spring 2017


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The Irish Georgian Society and Dublin City Council have assembled a team of conservation experts to present a series of talks on the history and significance of Dublin's period houses and practical advice on their conservation. Attendance at the talks will greatly benefit owners of all periods and types of houses, from the modest Edwardian artisan dwelling to the substantial red-bricks of the Victorian suburbs and the fine townhouses of our Georgian city squares, providing an 'A to Z' for their care and conservation. 

Talks, which will commence on Tuesday 21st February 2017 from 1pm to 2pm and continue for 12 weeks, will take place in the Helen Roe Theatre, RSAI, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. 

It is possible to attend all, one, or as many of the talks as you wish. The talks are priced at €15, which you may pay for at the door or book in advance for a special reduced price of €125 for all twelve talks. Complementary to the Tuesday talks will be a Saturday morning walking tour, at an additional cost of €15. 

These talks are also beneficial to building professionals and practitioners and are approved for CPD by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, Engineers Ireland, the Society of Surveyors of Ireland, the Irish Planning Institute and the Heritage Contractors. 


Conserving your Dublin Period House course - €125

Conserving your Dublin Period House course (with Walking Tour) - €140 

For full details download the brochure

The Conservation Education Programme is supported by Irish Heritage Insurance, Merrion Property Group and Heather and John Picerne. 

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IGS Architectural Conservation Awards 2017


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Clockwise from top left: Guildhall, Derry/Londonderry (Winner 2014), Vincent Coleman’s Boyle Mill (Winner 2014), Blackrock Further Education Institute (Winner 2014), The Royal Belfast Academical Institute (Highly Commended 2014)

The Irish Georgian Society invites applications for its Architectural Conservation Awards 2017 for conservation projects and also for its Original Drawings Awards for non-CAD drawings of an historic building or structure. The awards are open to Irish architects or architectural practices, building surveyors, contractors, engineers and other professionals involved in the conservation of historic buildings in Ireland.

Applications relating to historic buildings of all types, including vernacular, are welcome.  Previously shortlisted projects include churches, civic structures, follies and houses both urban and rural. The Irish Georgian Society Architectural Conservation Awards are to encourage excellence in the area of conservation and to celebrate those conservation professionals and practitioners responsible for projects of merit. Terms and conditions are listed in the Application Forms which are available here

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday, 28th April 2017.

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Limerick Chapter Christmas Party


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On Thursday the 1st of December last, the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society opened the Christmas season with a fundraising Christmas party. The event was held in The Georgian House, No. 2 Pery Square, in Limerick. This historic house was built between 1835 and 1838 by Pery Tontine Company, forming part of a terrace known collectively as the Tontine Building. It was the last Georgian terrace built in Limerick. The building was restored by Limerick Civic Trust, with the support of the Irish Georgian Society and opened in 1999. We were delighted to give our guests an opportunity to enjoy an evening in the magnificent first floor rooms of the house and we thank Limerick City and County Council for use the venue.

Party-goers arrived in the early evening, and mingled over Christmas drinks and mince pies, before being treated to a really spectacular performance by Limerick's premier tenor, Derek Moloney. There was also a short lecture from Irish Georgian Society Executive Director, Donough Cahill, on the work of the Society around Ireland. A raffle was held; some great prizes had been donated by our friends, and included afternoon tea, a wine tasting, and original artwork. 

All funds raised from the Christmas party will go to a small works grant scheme which will be launched by the Limerick Chapter in 2017. This scheme will encourage and support the repair of historic railings, kerbs, and steps on the streets of eighteenth-century Limerick City. The historic railings of Newtown Pery are quintessentially Limerick and the restoration of them is intrinsic to the protection of Limerick's built heritage. They form an important part of the city's public realm. 

We would like to thank our sponsors for the evening: Limerick City and County Council, No. 1 Pery Square Hotel, Da Vincenzo's at the George Boutique Hotel, Roisin Meaney, Deirdre Power, Kate Ramsey

Read more about the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society here

Limerick Chapter Committee 

Back row: Liam Clifford, Ursula Callaghan, Rose Anne White, Niki McMahon, Judith Hill 

Front row: Cáit Ní Cheallacháin, Donough Cahill, Ailish Drake, Bríd Kennedy, Tessa Greally

Photo by Conor Hourigan 

Ailish Drake and Donough Cahill 

Photo by Trish Geraghty 

Photo by Trish Geraghty 

Sheila Deegan and Mike Fitzpatrick 

Photo by Ursula Callaghan 

Photo by Trish Geraghty 

Photo by Trish Geraghty 

Photo by Trish Geraghty 

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