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.

Liberties and Edward Worth library walking tour


Posted by IGS

The Liberties and Edward Worth library walking tour, led by Arran Henderson, started off at City Hall and proceeded to Castle Street taking in sites such as St. Werburgh's Church. The next stop was to look at an old facade of a church which is long gone known as St. Nicholas within. The date stone can of 1707 can be still seen.  The group continued on to Francis Street to look at the houses that were built by the Artisan Dwelling Company, Iveagh Markets and St. Francis Church. After this, the group moved to the 19th century complex of streets and squares around Gray Street and Reginald Street with houses built of the Artisan Dwelling Company and at its centre has an interesting a copper-domed canopy sheltering a Sacred Heart statue constructed in 1929. St James Gate was next and then onto St. James Street exploring its unique streetscape influenced through the 19th and 20th century by the Guinness brewery. The final stop before the Edward Worth library where Arran quoted Swift:

‘He gave the little Wealth he had,

To build a House for Fools and Mad:

And shew'd by one satyric Touch,

No Nation wanted it so much:

That Kingdom he hath left his Debtor,

I wish it soon may have a Better’

The tour concluded with the group enjoying an interesting talk by librarian Dr Elizabethanne Boran on the history of the collection and Edward Worth himself.











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Conservation project update: Thomas Jervais Window in York Glaziers Trust Studio


Posted by IGS

One of our current conservation projects is the conservation of an important painted glass window by the artist Thomas Jervais (d. 1799) at Agher Church, Rathmoylan, Co. Meath. The first phase was removing the window from Agher (read more about this here).

The painted enamel window by Thomas Jervais’ (d. 1799) in Agher Church was executed in 1770 and presents Paul preaching at Athens, from the cartoons of Raphael. 

The conservation works are to be undertaken by the York Glaziers Trust. Intrinsic to their programme of works was the engagement of an Irish conservator who will gain experience with the aim of returning to Ireland and enhancing the skills base in this country. Emma Newman is the Irish conservator, and she will be sending us regular updates on the progress of works in the studio.

Part of the Jervais window in the York Glaziers Trust studio, ready for cleaning.

Detail of St. Paul
The window has been separated into three panels which are called 1A, 2A and 3A. Firstly, a rubbing was taken of the panels, all pre conservation documentation was typed up and the panels were dismantled. The top panel (3A) is completely clean, the middle and bottom panels (2A, 1A) are currently being cleaned.

Panels 1A and 2A are really interesting as they have several plates of glass. Some of the plates have been stained to create deeper shades of orange for the robes; some have fired glass paint and some plates cover cold painted sections which are unfired! The unfired paint needs to be cleaned very carefully and cannot be rushed as it is somewhat fragile.​

National Heritage Week 2016
As part of National Heritage Week 2016, the Irish Georgian Society will be hosting an open afternoon at Agher Church on 24th August, providing visitors with the rare opportunity to view the window once it has been reinstated.

Pictures: Emma Newman

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Royal Canal Walking Tour with Peter Clarke


Posted by IGS

A group braved the weather on Saturday morning where they assembled at Binn's bridge beside the Brendan Behan statue. The tour, led by long time member Peter Clarke, then proceeded to walk the course of the Royal Canal speaking on its development and construction. The construction of the canal was a monumental build with involvement of well known figures of the period including the Conolly's of Castletown and the Leinsters. The group finished the tour at the Blessington Street basin.






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2016 Summer Garden Party at Abbey Leix Estate


Posted by IGS

This year's annual Summer Garden Party was hosted by IGS President, Sir David Davies, who welcomed guests to his beautiful home at Abbey Leix, Co. Laois. Guests enjoyed drinks and canapés while relaxing in the wonderful garden. Also in attendance was the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys. Thank you to all who attended, a great day was had by all.

Dr. David Fleming and the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys

Camilla McAleese and Katriona O' Sullivan

D Rennison-Kunz and Renee Lawless 

Kieran, Lucy, and Olivia Quinn 

Lady Rosse and Skip Heinecke 

Letitia Pollard and Kevin Hurley 

William Laffan, Lord Rosse, Ian Lumley, and Kevin Hurley 

Joy O' Kane 

Kate Nagle 

Ruth McManus and Frances 

Sir David Davies and Dr. David Fleming 

Dr. David Fleming, joined by Sir David Davies, treating guests to an impassioned speech

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Georgian Dublin, Early Palladian Mansions and the Great Houses of Northern Ireland


Posted by IGS

Our small band of American Irish Georgians had a wonderful visit last week.  In the capable hands of Marianne Gorman, a group that included Beth Dater, the President of the American Board of Directors and fellow board members Tom Cooney, Steve Zick, and Patrick Killian, as well as US Executive Director Michael Kerrigan, we had a wonderful tour.  Our first day was spent visiting the restored Kilmainhaim Gaol in recognition of the centennial of the 1916 Rising. The next day we were led on a tour of several houses on Henrietta Street, the place to live in Dublin in the 1740s.  We were led by the eminent architectural historian, Dr. Eddie McParland, who brought the houses to life for the group.  We were fortunate enough to be invited to Mr. and Mrs. Michael Casey's house at No. 13 Henrietta Street, purchased in 1974 and restored in a most thoughtful way to demonstrate the layers of history since the building's construction.

The Irish Georgian Society American tour group enjoying the lunch and hospitality of Cobalt Café on historic North Great George's Street, before continuing on to nearby Belvedere College to see the recently restored Michael Stapleton interiors. 

Michael Casey and friends at No. 13 Henrietta St

No. 13 Henrietta Street

Dr. Eddie McParland (Trinity College Dublin) holding forth while leading a tour of No. 13 Henrietta St

The next day we were off the the country. Our first stop was Bellamont Forest, a perfect example of a pure Palladian villa in Coote Hill, Co. Cavan.  We were met by a local expert on historic preservation, Mr. Noel Carney, who welcomed us and gave us a tour of the house and grounds. To our great surprise, he also organized a picnic at a neighbouring demense, where we toured the recently restored Dawson Temple that the London Chapter of the IGS has been so instrumental in renovating.  We spent the evening at Castle Leslie in Co. Monaghan before departing the next morning for Armagh in Northern Ireland.

In Armagh, we were met by Primrose Wilson, a member of the Irish Georgian Foundation Board of Directors, and her charming husband, Edward.  They proceeded to give us a tour of Armagh which included the Episcopal Palace, the chapel on the grounds of the demense, the public library commissioned by Archbishop Robert Robinson as well as the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick. Our tour was followed by the most delightful lunch at the Wilson's house in the country where we spent an entertaining and relaxing afternoon and were sad to leave.

Dinner found us in Belfast at The Merchant Hotel, a 19th century bank that has been transformed in to an elegant five star hotel.

Baronscourt Estate

Tour of Baronscourt House with the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn

Lunch with the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn at Baronscourt

The next morning we had a short journey to Mount Stewart where we spent most of the day. We were welcomed by Lady Rose Lauritzen and the head curator Francis Bailey, whom led us on a marvelous tour of the house, which she brought alive with her deep knowledge and sharp wit.  Later, the head gardener, Mr. Neil Porteous, led us on a tour of the extensive gardens, including ones laid out by Lady Edith, Lady Rose's grandmother.  Lady Rose than hosted an elegant luncheon for the group and entertained us in a most hospitable manner.

Friday morning we set out for Barons Court, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn, who welcomed the group for a tour and elegant luncheon. The house was started in 1779 by the architect George Steuart . Later architects involved in redesigning and completing Barons Court were John Soane and Richard and William Morrison. Those that had not visited before were taken with the house and the David Hicks interiors, which looks as fresh and interesting today as when they were done up. After a lovely luncheon in the spectacular rotunda, we were treated to a brief walk around the gardens and bid our adieu.

Lunch with Primrose and Edward Wilson at Marlacoo House, Armagh 

The dining room at Tullynally

Staircase at the Temple of the Winds, Mount Stewart

Beth Dater (New York Chapter) at the Temple of the Winds at Mount Stewart


Saturday found us spending the morning at Florence Court, a large 18th-century house and estate located a few miles from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.  The group had a wonderful tour of the house and grounds  before making a visit to the gift shop and bookstore and a well earned lunch.

We then found ourselves at Castle Coole, a late-18th-century neoclassical great house situated in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. We had a very well informed volunteer guide who showed us around the main rooms of the house, much to our great delight.

Saturday evening we were the guests of the Earl of Erne, John Crichton and his stepmother, Anna at Crom Castle,situated on the shores of the Upper Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.  We were treated to a delightful tour of the house followed by a lovely dinner in the baronial dining room, complete with a roaring fire in the fire place that added to the romance of the evening.

Eliza Pakenham, historian and daughter of Valerie Pakenham of Tullynalley House

Gloria & Robert Turner (Chicago Chapter) disembarking the SS Nomadic steamship

Tom Cooney (Chicago Chapter) and Patrick Killian (Palm Beach Chapter) at Barons Court


On our return to Dublin the next day, we had a delightful visit with the Packenhams at Tullynally Castle, which is a country house situated  in County Westmeath, Ireland. The gothic style building has over 120 rooms and has been home to the Pakenham family ( the Earls of Longford) for most of the last 350 years.  We were entertained by Valerie Pakenham and her daughter Eliza and had a charming visit.

And then to Dublin Sunday afternoon and the end of a wonderful tour.


Words: Michael Kerrigan, Executive Director, IGS Inc.
Pictures: Michael Kerrigan and Steven Zick


View more pictures from the tour on our facebook page!

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Letter to The Irish Times: Russborough House old masters


Posted by IGS

Sir, – The planned sale by the Alfred Beit Foundation (ABF) of works by Peter Paul Rubens and Francesco Guardi in a forthcoming sale in Christie’s in London will represent a further diminution of the extraordinary collection of art that, together with Russborough, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit left to the ABF for the benefit of the Irish nation.

The Irish Georgian Society greatly regrets the decision to pursue this sale and maintains a view that a paramount priority of the ABF should be to safeguard the integrity of the Beit legacy as a whole.

The Irish Georgian Society is of the opinion that the ABF missed out on a singular opportunity to build on the widespread public interest in the legacy of the Beits that arose from the planned sale of old masters from their collection in 2015.

Through newspaper columns, radio coverage, social media and other outlets, thousands of people indicated their support for the cancellation of that sale. To its credit, the ABF responded and found alternative solutions which included the acquisition and donation of a number of exceptional artworks to the National Gallery of Ireland by individual benefactors.

The Irish Georgian Society suggests that the ABF recalls the enthusiasm and interest of those members of the general public who last year championed Russborough and its collections. It is this very response that should be nurtured by the arts and heritage sector at a time when its perceived importance by government is being diminished.

Given the scale of the Beits’ generosity and past government initiatives to promote philanthropy in the arts, the Government too should reflect on these views.

A generous engagement with the ABF with the aim of securing the future of the Beits’ legacy would present an opportunity for it to reassure the public of its commitment to the arts and heritage sectors.

Accepting the diminution of the Beit collections through the sale and dispersal or artworks is a sad reflection on the state of the arts in the country today. Such legacies should be celebrated and, in doing so, the country should aspire to attract the generosity of other cultural philanthropists. Doing otherwise might instead make them question the capacity of the country to safeguard any large donations into the future.

The protection of one of Ireland’s greatest cultural inheritances should encourage a partnership approach that could not only provide a means of support for Russborough in the long term but also facilitate future acts of philanthropy. – Yours, etc,



Irish Georgian Society,

South William Street,

Dublin 2.

Original letter

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