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 update - June 2017


Posted by IGS

Cleaning between joists in the Exhibition Room prior to the installation of soundproofing.

Formwork for pouring of the lift pit; a challenging job to undertake given the difficulties of bringing concrete down into the basement.

A further corner fireplace has been revealed in the basement following the removal of plasterboarding. Regrettably no evidence of a chimneypiece was found as with the neighbouring room though it is evident that a stove may have been installed in the last fifty years.

This project is being undertaken in partnership with Dublin City Council through the support of the Gilbert & Ildiko Butler Family Foundation, the Jerome L Greene Foundation, The Department of Arts, Heritage, Rural, Regional & Gaeltacht Affairs, and the generosity of foundations and supporters in Ireland, the USA and the UK.

Follow the City Assembly House facebook page and twitter for further updates!

This project is supported by The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Foundation and the following supporters:





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Conservation without Frontiers Summer School 2017: A Student’s Experience #2


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Launch of Donegal Vernacular Cottages at Donegal County Museum

Wednesday 7th June

They say don't judge on first impressions but Barry O’Reilly embodies the quintessential characteristics of a university professor.  On the first evening of the summer school, the lecture from Barry on The Vernacular Donegal cottage was impressive as a demonstration of his use of GIS, in which he was self-taught.  The natural groupings of the vernacular cottages in row arrangements all along the Atlantic seaboard was fascinating.

The subsequent exhibition opening took place at the Donegal County Museum.  As an MA student in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster, any chance to view an exhibition is just my thing. To see reference to Estyn Evans was extra special, as I am using his work in my dissertation.  The quality of food served in the museum (and there was wine) set the tone for the entire weekend. 

Thursday 8th June -Derry


The next morning was spent in the Guildhall in Derry – a beautifully maintained structure.  The main hall was the setting for a series of talks.  From this, the importance of heritage in tourism particularly resonated with me.  The love and enthusiasm of each speaker for their projects and architecture was very evident.  From Ronan O’Donnell’s revival of traditional shop fronts in the Derry street scape and the respectful treatment of graffiti artists to same, to Kevin Pedersen’s outlining church renovation work carried out through his practice, I learned a lot.

The inimitable Primrose Wilson was doing her utmost best to ensure that everyone ran to time was only hindered by the odd minor technical hitch which was quickly remedied by Nikki McVeigh, UAHS.  The afternoon weather predictions had threatened heavy rain but in typically optimistic Irish fashion we embarked on a series of guided tours.  On our tour we were treated to the charming company of Daniel Calley, author of An Historical Gazetteer to the Buildings of Londonderry who came complete with dickie bow and a soft Virginian (USA, as opposed to Cavan) accent.  Even the hardiest amongst us were inconvenienced by the deluge of rain.  We were saturated with rain water but enthralled by Dan’s knowledge of the city, names of architects, architectural styles, use of buildings and general historical knowledge of the city.  I would have happily followed Dan around the city all afternoon but we were already half an hour behind schedule.


This first afternoon continued with hearing about the successes of the Verbal Arts Centre in the building itself.  A further walking tour of Ebrington Barracks preceded dinner at the Glassworks.  It was wonderful to see such as lovely old building as this filled with tables of eager diners, listening attentively to Yama Gill’s presentation on heritage regeneration in  Havana, Cuba.  The sunshine and vibrant colours in her photographs were in sharp contrast to the array of jumpers drying on the radiators around the room. The fabulous food served by Brown’s, Derry was accompanied by a medicinal glass of red.

Exhausted yet contented after a very productive day out, we returned to Letterkenny on the bus.

Friday 9th Donegal


The weather on the second full day was the antithesis of the previous day.  Blue sky and warm sunshine was in plentiful supply.  We opted for the Fanad lighthouse tour and set off to be treated to a thatching demonstration.  The bunches of flax and the quick purposeful movements of the thatcher underpinned the joy of standing in a field in Donegal on a Friday morning, meaning there was nothing more pressing to be doing.  All onlookers were enthralled.  From this we travelled onwards to another gem, a privately owned rentable thatched cottage, to which we all swore to come back some day.  We viewed many little gems of the vernacular thatched cottage along the route, with expert guidance provided from either Joe or Greg.  At Fanad lighthouse the scene was idyllic.  The beach and the sea glistened in the sunshine. And on climbing tower, we heard of family connections, the difficulty of life of a lighthouse keeper, the colour coding of lighthouse exterior, the scientific calculations in the coloured glass, and the history of those who had perished here.   I was equally struck by the pristine presentation of the lighthouse still, and pride of the team there.

The missed picnic was a minor inconvenience, as was the impromptu walk down a country lane.  Everyone so relaxed that no-one really minded this slight deviation from the schedule. 

David Fleming (IGS), Dr Edward McParland (Irish Landmark Trust), Greg Stevenson (Under The Thatch) and Duncan McLaren (Daedlus Architecture) at the Meeting Hall, Ramelton 

At Ramelton meeting house we were treated to the best brownies ever, and piping hot coffee served by the most over qualified team of waiters and waitress ever known.  On this occasion we heard three speakers and in my memory the work of the Irish Landmark Trust and the impressive renovation strategies in evidence with Under The Thatch stood out as examples of organisations working persistently to preserve some of our valuable architectural heritage.


The evening continued in Ramelton with an opportunity to dander around the village, scoff pizza from trailer with the wood fired oven, enjoying well deserved drinks, and try to participate in the table quiz.  The Architecture round was a bit of a challenge for the Museum Studies students, but the light-hearted banter between Kevin Mulligan, our quizmaster and the teams around the floor distracted us from our want of knowledge.  What is a puffinus puffinus anyway? 

Another busy day led to a Cinderella evening for me. However, those with greater stamina enjoyed the treats of Letterkenny into the wee hours.

Saturday 10th – Final Day


As thoughts began to return to home and the magic bubble of the summer school was about to burst, we were treated to Holy Hill House.  This impressively maintained plantation house, privately owned by Mr & Mrs Hamilton was a gem.  In the basement we were treated to map chests, apothecary sets, china, paintings, magazine collections and the list continued.  As a museum professional in training, I marvelled at the items in their possession, and immediately wanted to volunteer to catalogue them all.  Once again the heat of the sunshine on the front lawn gave us all an opportunity to conduct nuggets of conversation.  I enjoyed speaking with Manus Derry from HED about grant aiding the preservation of the site and EHOD access to Holy Hill.

As our final stop we adjourned to Sion Stables, where we heard from Karen Latimer of Hearth on the trials and tribulations that led to the success of this project.  While listening to Karen to speak I thought how much she embodied the qualities of persistence and dedication that are essential to ensuring the protection of the precious built heritage of our communities.  The icing on the cake of the weekend, so to speak, was winning first prize in the student design competition for my proposal for Church Lane, Letterkenny.  The cultural heritage of the area is so rich and the work of the Church Lane group and the county council in terms of development plans for the area made my task so much easier.

The weekend reinvigorated my love of all aspects of our unique built heritage and I will never again look at a thatched cottage in the same naïve way. I gained a wealth of knowledge, experiences and contacts.   Thank you to all involved in the organisation of this wonderful programme.  I look forward to enrolling in the next Summer School when it comes around.  

Emma McGarrity (University of Ulster)

The 2017 CWF Summer School was made possible through the support of Donegal County Council, Derry & Strabane Council, The Heritage Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The British Council, Consarc Conservation and the Esme Mitchell Trust.

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Conservation without Frontiers Summer School 2017: A Student’s Experience #1


Posted by IGS

Delegatres and students gathered outside Holy Hill House, Strabane

When asked to write about my highlights of attending the UAHS / IGS “Conservation Without Frontiers” Summer School in Derry / Donegal as a student scholar, after such a packed few days my first thought was where do I start? 

Following on from the launch event in Donegal County Museum, day two began in the beautiful surroundings of the Guildhall, such an iconic building for the City of Derry. Ronan O’Donnell spoke about what the Walled City Partnership has accomplished in Derry. Given an initially quite small amount of money, the scale of what it has achieved so far is hugely impressive. In the afternoon my group had a very wet walking tour of the Walls and Ebrington Barracks with Manus Deery from the Historic Environment Division (Department of Communities). Personally, what I found most useful was not just seeing the renovation work that has taken place in the city, but having an opportunity to discuss with Manus the conservation arguments and the processes that had led to a specific decision being made, this really was fascinating. A superb dinner followed in a former church building now known as the “The Glassworks” and a presentation from Yaima Gil from Cuba on the regeneration of Old Havana.



One of the things I took away from our time in Derry, was the number of older buildings that are now used as small museums or for cultural events or concerts by people of all ages and backgrounds. Whilst these buildings are very much part of the past of Derry, they are also at the core of the city’s present and demonstrate the role built heritage is playing in shaping a new narrative for a city that has seen so much conflict.



Day three was based in Donegal. One of the highlights of the day was a practical demonstration on the use of lime by Sean Brogan and hot lime mortars by SPAB Fellow Eoin Madigan at Trenagh House c.1780. I could have spent all day here. Eoin mentioned that he is planning some SPAB Ireland events, so hopefully we will meet again.


We were also fortunate enough to be given a tour of Fort Stewart, a Georgian country house c.1760 that remains in private ownership. A very different experience to visiting a typical house open to the public, a much more intimate feeling of visiting a family home. We then had an opportunity to visit the beautiful Ramelton, followed by the toughest pub quiz I have ever participated in, held at Conway’s Bar.

Fort Stewart (c. 1760), Co. Donegal

On the final day we visited Holy Hill House, another privately owned family home before heading to Sion Mills stables and a presentation on their development from Karen Latimer (Hearth). We then had the results of the student competition. I was awarded first place in the student competition for my development proposal for the Boom Hall site in Derry. I was genuinely stunned given the number of talented students.

Winners of the Student Design Competition, pictured with Kevin V. Mulligan (CWF Summer School Director), Primrose Wilson (President, UAHS) and Joe Gallagher (Heritage Officer, Donegal County Council) - Emma McGarrity (University of Ulster), Steven Playford (Heriot Watt University), Katherine Baldwin (University College Dublin), Sinéad Scullion (University College Dublin, not pictured) and Chris Hamill (University of Cambridge).

I am currently studying for a Masters in Building Conservation at Heriot Watt University, this is a distance learning course, so the overall highlight really of the Summer School was to be surrounded by so many people with a shared passion for our built heritage and whilst I haven’t been able to mention every speaker or everywhere we visited, I would personally like to thank the people who took the time away from their jobs, opened their homes or buildings to us and the amount of work put into the event by staff and volunteers of UAHS / IGS, and finally for the superb hospitality we received everywhere we went, I have never eaten so many buns!

Steven Playford, Heriot Watt University

View more images of the summer school on our facebook page.

The 2017 CWF Summer School was made possible through the support of Donegal County Council, Derry & Strabane Council, The Heritage Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The British Council, Consarc Conservation and the Esme Mitchell Trust.

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Advertising in the 2017/18 Irish Georgian Society Review


Posted by IGS


The Irish Georgian Society Review is richly illustrated with content on decorative arts, conservation, current affairs and Irish heritage issues. Published annually in October, it is distributed among our 2,500+ members across Ireland, the UK and USA. Taking out an advertisement in the IGS Review is an opportunity to promote your business to an interested target audience.

The Irish Georgian Society Review focuses on specialist topics relating to the work of the Irish Georgian Society, as well as including illustrated articles on architecture and the decorative arts, commissioned from academics and conservation professionals. The magazine is elegantly designed and you can read past issues of the IGS Review online (via this link) to get an idea of content and format.

The IGS Review is made available at various IGS events throughout the year (2017/18), such as our annual seminars, study days and the Dublin Horse Show, and all year round in our bookshop at the City Assembly House on South William Street.

Download our 2017 advertising rates here and advert specifications here.

Contact Zoë Coleman ( for more details before Friday 11th August.

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‘Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies’ Volume XIX published


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Sir David Davies, President of the Irish Georgian Society officially launched Volume XIX of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies last week.

Volume XIX is edited by Dr/ Finola O'Kane Crimmins and includes contributions from:

Sir David Davies: Foreword

Alec Cobbe: Sounds of Saxony – getting closer to Bach: Instruments by Ferdinand Weber in the Cobbe Collection

Melanie Hayes: Sir Gustavus Hume (1677 – 1731): courtly connections and architectural connoisseurship in the early eighteenth century

Jessie Castle and Gillian O’Brien: ‘I am building a house’: Nano Nagle’s Georgian convents

Livia Hurley: Death in the garden: Patrick Byrne’s mortuary chapel at Goldenbridge Cemetery, Dublin

Anne Casement: ‘A true Lady Chatellaine’: Frances Anne Vane-Tempest and the building of Garron Tower, part 1

Finola O’ Kane: Arthur Young’s published and unpublished illustrations for ‘A Tour in Ireland 1776-1779’

Volume XIX, the Journal of the Irish Georgian Society can be purchased instore or online from the IGS bookshop.

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IGS server update


Posted by IGS

IGS is undergoing a server upgrade from 4pm today (1 June) until 12pm tomorrow (2 June). The office may not be able to answer your queries as our servers will be offline until then. Thank you for your understanding.

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