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.

City Assembly House Capital Campaign


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The Irish Georgian Society has launched a capital campaign to raise €600,000 to complete the restoration of the City Assembly House. €900,000 has been pledged so far through the support of Dublin City Council, and the US based Jerome L. Greene Foundation and Gilbert & Ildiko Butler Family Foundation.

We are appealing directly to our friends and membership in Ireland, the UK and the USA to raise the €600,000 required to reach our overall target of €1.5m which will allow us to commence the final phase of works on the building. All donors will be recognised on our Donors board displayed in the City Assembly House. 

Works are scheduled to commence in early 2017 which will see the restoration of the great octagonal Exhibition Room, the provision of services to ensure the building will be accessible to everyone, and the preparation of a lettable space to generate sustainable income for the building.

Campaign updates:
17th February 2017: We are delighted to announce that the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs have awarded the City Assembly House €90,000 in funding under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018. This money will be used to fund the installation of a wheelchair accessible lift and a secondary staircase to serve as fire escape route, which will make the building accessible to all! With €1.15million raised so far, we are 77% of the way toward reaching our goal of €1.5million! 

Thank you to all our supporters who have donated over €21,000 in Ireland and $150,000 in the US toward our campaign since October 2016.

Vision for the City Assembly House
The Society’s ambition in restoring the City Assembly House is to revitalise a building of national architectural, cultural, and historical importance and to reach a wider audience in fulfilling our mission to promote and protect Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. The most exciting part of this final phase of works will see the refurbishment of the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room so that it can accommodate an Annual Exhibition, as well as an annual cultural programme of art and photographic exhibitions, musical performances, and lectures.

Progress to date
In 2013, the Irish Georgian Society completed the first phase of its restoration of the City Assembly House and moved into the building which now serves as our headquarters. The first phase of works  focused on the rooms to the front of the building. On the ground floor the entrance hall has been refurbished and to either side a public office and small gallery have opened. The stairhall has been transformed through the cleaning and repair of rococo plasterwork by skilled stuccodores, and the repair of the balustrades and banisters of the staircase. On the first floor, in the Daniel O’Connell Room, works included the cleaning of decorative plasterwork, the installation of a dove grey Carrara marble chimneypiece, and the provision of brass picture rails. The top floor has been refurbished as working offices for the Society.

City Assembly House – Phase 2
In completing the restoration of the City Assembly house, the Society will undertake the following works:

  • The full restoration of the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room as an exhibition and performance space.
  • The provision of universal access to include a new lift that will service the basement, ground floor and Exhibition Room.
  • The provision of a secondary fire escape route to allow an increase in visitor capacity.
  • The restoration of the front and side elevations of the building and repair works to its roof.
  • The creation of a lettable space to provide a sustainable source of income.

History of the City Assembly House
The City Assembly House was built by the Society of Artists in Ireland between 1766 and 1771 with the aim of promoting the work of Irish artists and providing an academy for the arts. At that time it was the first purpose-built public art gallery in either Britain or Ireland and possibly in Europe. The Society of Artists of Ireland ceased activity before the end of the 18th century but its former home continued to occupy a pivotal place in Dublin’s civic life. During the 19th century it was first home to Dublin Corporation whose members met in the octagonal room, and was later used as a courthouse. In 1952 a new Civic Museum was opened in the building and continued until its closure in 2003. For the next ten years it remained empty until it became the focus of the Irish Georgian Society’s restoration programme.

How you can help us achieve our €600,000 target
There are for easy ways to make a donation!

  1. Download and return this donation form
  2. Make a donation online
  3. Write a cheque or postal order and return to Irish Georgian Society, City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2
  4. Call +353 (0)1 679 8675

In the USA, please contact

Michael Kerrigan, Executive Director, IGS Inc.
Irish Georgian Society
1953 N. Clybourn Avenue,
Suite R286, Chicago, IL 60614

Telephone: (001) 312 961 3860 

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Restoration of the City Assembly House facade


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Through the support of the Jerome L Greene Foundation and additional sponsorship and grants from The Ireland Funds and Dublin City Council, the Irish Georgian Society has been able to pursue one of the core projects in its revitalisation of the building: the reinstatement of Georgian-type windows and the cleaning and repointing of the historic brick and stone work of the front facade. Completed in early November 2016, the project has brought about a transformational change to one of Dublin’s most significant eighteenth-century buildings and has significantly enhanced the character of the associated streetscape.

Reinstatement of Georgian-type windows
The reinstatement of Georgian-type windows to the City Assembly House in place of late 19th/early 20th century plate glass windows has successfully restored the intended fenestration of the building’s front and side elevations. The Society gave careful consideration to this project judging that the plate glass windows significantly detracted from the visual appeal of the building through failing to sustain the contrasting rhythm between the horizontally proportioned bricks and the original vertical proportions of the fenestration. In resolving to replace them, survey drawings and details of windows from Charlemont House were used that had been prepared by David Griffin of the Irish Architectural Archive. Charlemont House was built in 1763 and so is a contemporary of the City Assembly House, which dates to 1766. The same details were used when replacing the windows in No. 85 St Stephen’s Green and No. 20 Lower Dominick Street. Reference was also made to the 1795 Malton View of Powerscourt House which illustrates a portion of the City Assembly House.

Re-pointing the façade
Following a programme of works that started in June, scaffolding has now been removed from the City Assembly House revealing the building in all its glory. The works programme involved the re-pointing of brickwork using wigging pointing as well as the repointing and repair of damaged stone work. This project was undertaken so as to remove cement pointing that was applied in the 1950s which had caused the spalling of the fabric of the façade and which left a dreary elevation that belies the great interest of the building’s interiors. Failing to address this issue would have resulted in the continued deterioration of brick and stone work and exacerbated future repair needs. Urgent repair works were also carried out to replace lead flashing above the windows, over the doorcase, and on the parapet so as to halt water ingress. The work was undertaken by Nolan Group Stone Brick Restoration which has also been a generous sponsor of this part of the City Assembly House project.

Learn more about the ongoing restoration of the City Assembly House by watching this short video here.

Make a donation to the City Assembly House Capital Campaign by clicking here.

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US Galas 2016: New York


Posted by IGS

The University Club was the setting for the New York Irish Georgian Society Gala Dinner held on 11th October. Beth Dater, President of the American Board and members of the Board hosted a very lively dinner party and fundraiser for the Society. The party was attended by over 100 guests invited to meet Sir David Davies, the President of the Society and Mr. William Laffan, Art Historian and Curator. They spoke on the topic: Exploring the Architectural History and Landscape of Abbey Leix, An Illustrated Lecture

John Rosselli and Susan Burke

Michael Kerrigan with Jane and Tom Kearns

Skip Auch, Lynne Auch, Paul Keeler

Bob Callahan, Sharon Callahan, Elaine True, Stephen True

Christina McInerney, David Cummins

Kevin McLaughlan, Jean McLaughlan

Jamie Kearns and Melinda Kearns

Philip Jelley, William Younger

Austin Mill, Peter Lyden

Donough Cahill, Beth Dater and Bill Constantine

Jean Hutar and Brendan Hynes

Dan and Ellen Strickler

Robert O'Byrne and Pauline Metcalf

Liz, Elizabeth and Paul Farrell

Bunny Williams, John Rosselli

John Rosselli, Austin Mill

William and Kaitlin Gamerill

Sir David Davies, Katherine Bryan, Michael Kerrigan

Ivena Lowell and Austin Wilkie

Donough Cahill, Delia Roche-Kelly, Curtis Sloane

Norman and Alicia Polk, Robert O'Byrne

Jill and David Donoghue

John Loeb, Mary Curley

Jolynn Moran, Suzy Moran

Susan Wood Richardson and Joan McGovern

Robert O'Byrne and Donough Cahill

View more images on our facebook page.

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US Galas 2016: Chicago


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On 13th October, The Casino in Chicago was the elegant setting for the second Irish Georgian Society Gala Dinner. Long time Chicago Committee member and former American Board Member Rosie O'Neill, was honoured for her support of the Society over the last forty plus years and was presented with the Society of Artists medal in recognition of all that she has done promoting the work of the Society. Over 150 people attended this dinner to honour Ms. O'Neill  and to meet with Sir David Davies and Mr. William Laffan. A most enjoyable post party was held afterwards in the Red Room of The Casino, hosted by Chicago Committee member, Cheri Lawrence.

Cheri Lawrence, Ferdia Doherty, William Laffan and Nora Gaynor

Rosie O'Neill and friends

Ashley Read and Nicholas Michael

Jack and Peggy Crowe

Fred Krehbiel, Maribeth Heeran, Sir David Davies and Michael Kerrigan

Robert O'Byrne, Pat O'Brien and Donough Cahill

Lyssa Piette, Dottie Pattishall and Cynthia Espy

Francis Atkins and friend, Joe Gromacki and Austin Sullivan

Sue Connor, Mrs. McGuire and Carol O'Brien

Peggy Carr and Leslie Fitzpatrick

Ed Weed, Lyssa Piette and American Board Member Tom Tormey

Libby and David Horn and Sarah Crane

Lyssa Piette and Turtle Bunbury

Marty and Austin Sullivan

Mary Hartigan and Lawrie Weed

Marian Brady, Ferdia Doherty and Daphne Dolan

Michael Kelly and Colleen Frasure

Peggy Murphy and Tom O'Gorman

Katrina Groh and Joe Gromacki

Jim Kinney, Liza Ytema, Jetta Bochen, Brian White

Dan and Dolores Casey, Nora Gaynor and Ferdia Doherty

Michael Kerrigan and friends

Patsy Magner, Brian White, Maribeth Heeran, Chicago Chapter Head

Ryan Hickey and Peter Mark

John O'Brien with his sister and daughter Carmel

Tom Cashman, Dan and Dolores Casey

Gerry Magner and Roger Griffin

Cady and Phillip Liederbach

Marty Fahey, Leslie Fitzpatrick and Joe Gromacki

Pat O'Brien, Donough Cahill and Carmel O'Brien

View more photos on our facebook page.

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Professor Anne Crookshank: an appreciation


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As the time of the Irish Georgian Society Review going to press, news comes of the death of Professor Anne Crookshank (1927–2016) pioneering scholar of Irish art, and member of the Irish Georgian Society for more than fifty years. After positions at the Tate and the Witt Library – and research on the drawings of George Romney – Anne returned to Ireland in 1957 when she took up position as Keeper of Art in the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery, later the Ulster Museum, whose collection she was to transform with adventurous acquisitions of contemporary art including works by Antoni Tàpies, Sam Francis, William Scott and Karel Appel. Taste for such advanced art was not widespread in Northern Ireland of the 1950s and she gleefully recalled being denounced as the ‘Whore of Babylon’ at a meeting of Belfast City Council. 

The year after her arrival in Belfast, on a weekend in Donegal Anne met Desmond and Mariga Guinness who had just founded the Irish Georgian Society and, through them, Desmond FitzGerald, Knight of Glin. The first collaboration of this group (with James White of the National Gallery of Ireland) was the exhibition Irish Houses and Landscapes in 1963. Two years later Anne moved to Dublin to set up the History of Art Department at Trinity College. A further seminal exhibition Irish Portraits 1660-1860, which showed at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 1970, set the tone for her researches on artists such as James Latham whose oeuvre of more than one hundred portraits she reconstructed from the starting point of just one mezzotint inscribed with his name. Through the 1970s she and Knight collaborated on the first scholarly book on Irish art since Strickland’s Dictionary of 1913, which was published in 1978 with a completely new edition in 2002.

For many years a stalwart of the Castletown Foundation, in 1985 Anne was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Throughout Anne taught at Trinity, in whose Common Room she was a formidable presence, educating several generations of art historians. She was certainly a demanding taskmaster, but was unfailingly kind to students she thought interested in the subject.  Her collaboration with the Knight, which set Irish art history on a firm footing for the first time, was characterized by furious rows over attributions. He later recalled: ‘These lively interchanges brought out the determined sparkle of her resolute character, and her ability to roar with laughter ten minutes later underlined her generous humour and refreshing ability to laugh at herself. She always inspired her students with a zest for life – a zest that conquers every obstacle’.

 I recall, many years ago, discussing with Anne the hymns she wanted sung at her funeral (this was a very Anne Crookshank sort of topic). Foremost amongst these was Abide with Me, or, as she put it, 'the one they sing at football matches’. Her memory will certainly abide with the numerous individuals who were taught, befriended or influenced by her. She was a great and very generous scholar, an unshakably loyal friend and a redoubtable Irish woman. May she rest in peace.

William Laffan

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Limerick Chapter observation on the 2017 Budget announcement


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Although we have to wait and see the detail on the reformed 'Living Cities Initiative', here are the initial thoughts of the Limerick Chapter on the 2017 Budget announcement, as it relates to the Georgian architecture of Limerick City. 

First, the expansion of the scheme to include landlords will broaden the demographic to which the scheme can ultimately benefit. Secondly, the elimination of the maximum floor area restriction is very welcome, as many of the townhouses in Newtown Pery were excluded from the original scheme for this reason.

The removal of the requirement for properties to have a former residential use is especially welcome in Limerick where we have a wide variety of building types, including mills and warehouses, which could be converted into attractive living spaces. A working Living Cities Initiative, alongside significant improvements to Limerick's public realm, traffic and amenity spaces would go along way towards revitalising Newtown Pery.

Some of the comments of the Limerick Chapter were quoted in the Limerick Leader last Saturday, 15th October.

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