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.

Book of the Month: Capability Brown - Designing the British Landscape


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Book of the Month: June 2017
Capability Brown - Designing the British Landscape by John Phibbs

In celebration of his 300th year, a definitive survey of Capability Brown’s most famous gardens and landscapes in Britain. Widely acknowledged as the most influential landscape designer of his age, Lancelot "Capability" Brown was to England what Frederick Law Olmsted was to America—responsible for shaping the very ideal of the nation’s parkland. Brown’s ambition was to bring out of a landscape the best of its potential rather than impose his own ideas upon it. His designs are organic, weaving gestures of color and perspective into the features that the country already afforded. So natural are his designs, and so perfectly do they complement the houses within them, that for many a Capability Brown landscape is the epitome of the English estate. His gardens and parklands—as much as the houses themselves—would become icons of British country life. Published to coincide with the tercentenary of his birth, this remarkable book illuminates fifteen of Brown’s most celebrated landscapes. To love the great English estates is to love the settings with which Brown surrounded them—from idyllic parklands at Milton and Broadlands to structured landscapes around iconic houses at Blenheim, Burghley, Wakefield, and Chatsworth. With photography commissioned for the book, and including rarely seen archival drawings that shed light on Brown’s process, this book serves as a guide to Britain’s most beloved landscapes and an exploration of the masterful mind behind their creation.

For the month of June, you can purchase this book instore and online at the special price of €45 (RRP €56)

Published by Rizzoli

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IGS Board member admitted to the Royal Irish Academy


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The Royal Irish Academy, Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities, admitted 18 new Members on Friday (26th May). Since 1785 membership of the Academy has been awarded to persons who have attained distinction by their unique contributions to education and research. Finola O'Kane Crimmins (UCD), Board member of the Irish Georgian Society and Editor of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies was among the 18 new members admitted last Friday. There are now 580 Members of the Royal Irish Academy. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. 

​Professor Peter Kennedy, President of the Royal Irish Academy with newly elected UCD academics: Professor Jennifer McElwain, Professor Finola O'Kane Crimmins and Professor Aidan O’Sullivan

Professor Peter Kennedy with Professor Finola O'Kane Crimmins


Professor Peter Kennedy, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said Ireland ‘should be immensely proud of these women and men who have brought international academic distinction to our country. As Members of the Academy, they will strengthen the Academy’s capacity to provide expert advice on Higher Education and Research policy’.

Images courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy/Johnny Bambury.

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Limerick Chapter visit to Abbey Leix House and Demesne


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On Saturday the 6th of May, members and guests of the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society visited Abbey Leix House and Demesne.

Site of some of the last surviving vestiges of Ireland's primeval forests and home to the oldest oak tree on the island, Abbey Leix was settled by Cistercian monks in the late twelfth century. It was subsequently acquired by the Vesey, later de Vesci, family, who commissioned the young James Wyatt to design the mansion at its centre and who cared for Abbey Leix for almost three centuries. More recently it has become home to Sir David Davies, President of the Irish Georgian Society and President of Wexford Festival Opera, who embarked on a comprehensive restoration project.

We had a wonderful morning and lunch at the house, and thank Sir David Davies for the great welcome we received. Please enjoy some photographs of the day below. All proceeds raised from this tour will go to the Small Works Scheme to repair historic street features in Georgian Limerick. You can read more about that Scheme here.

You can purchase the brand new book on Abbey Leix from the IGS shop.

The next outing organised by the Limerick Chapter will take place on the 11th of June, to historic Doneraile in Co. Cork. We will visit St Mary’s Church, the spire of which gave its name to the term ‘steeplechasing’ in the eighteenth century. After this we will take in Creagh House, a townhouse built in 1837, with important literary and historical connections. The day will finish with a guided tour of Doneraile Park, which features a house dating to the seventeenth century on 400 acres of gardens, park, and ancient woodland. You can book your place on this tour here

Words/images: Rose Anne White, Limerick Chapter

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City Assembly House update - May 2017


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Builder’s skip on Coppinger Row


Significant subsidence of up to 150mm of the central floor of the Exhibition Room was covered over in the 1950s with a plain timber floor. This newer floor is to be replaced with an oak floor whilst the original is to be conserved in situ.

Building works have started in the City Assembly House which, on completion, will see the revitalisation of the building as a major cultural venue in Dublin’s historic core. The building will continue to develop in its role as the home of the Irish Georgian and plans are already being developed for a programme of events that will include major art exhibitions, musical and theatrical performances, and conferences and lectures. Keep an eye out for updates over the coming months.

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.

Like the City Assembly House page on facebook for updates!

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





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Conservation Without Frontiers cross-border summer school - Full programme available


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The full programme for the 2017 Conservation without Frontiers summer school is now available to download: CLICK HERE.

You can BOOK ONLINE. To make your booking through the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society CLICK HERE.

Tickets cost €70 (1 day) or €220 for the duration - for IGS/UAHS members.

The ticket price includes transport between venues, and a pick up in the morning and evening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information contact

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Lismore Opera Festival, 1st to 4th June 2017


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Now in its 8th year, the festival will feature two performances of Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera, L’Elisir d’Amore in its 500 seater pop up opera house on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd of June, situated in the stunning surroundings of Lismore Castle Stables and Gardens; this years’ festival has an Italian theme and features vocal and instrumental recitals in four of the most beautiful big houses along the Blackwater River, Salterbridge House, Cappoquin House, Tourin House and Fortwilliam Estate as well as violin recital by Patrick Rafter in the wonderfully atmospheric St. Carthage's Cathedral on Sunday 4th June at 6pm.

The festival has also recruited renowned local chef Eunice Power who has devised an Italian themed formal and informal dining option accompanied by specially selected wines and bubbles to be served in the stunning walled gardens of Lismore Castle over the festival weekend.

In conjunction with the RDS, the festival is thrilled to announce details of a new Performance Award.  This award, to be named the RDS Collins Memorial Performance, will be given to a previous RDS Music Bursary Winner to be selected annually by the Artistic Director of Lismore Opera, Dieter Kaegi and will include a professional performance opportunity at the Lismore Opera Festival each year for the next three years.  The first recipient is, violinist Patrick Rafter (2015 RDS Music Bursary winner) who will give a recital at the 2017 Lismore Opera Festival. This is the beginning of a wonderful musical collaboration between the two organisations and further strengthens the festivals commitment to providing performance and employment opportunities to young Irish artists.

Since its foundation in 2010, the festivals mission has been to grow in size and duration. Without the support of Lord and Lady Burlington and Giancarla and Michael Alen-Buckley the festival would not have reached its eighth year. The support of new sponsors Kildare Village & JLT Ireland and its patrons, a new Friends' Programme and an Ambassador of Lismore Opera Festival programme, The David Ross Foundation, local authority funding, and increased tickets sales will afford Lismore Opera Festival the opportunity to develop the festival and ensure its sustainability into the future. The festival has ambitions to expand its programme of events and number of performances, to attract even bigger numbers of visitors to the region as well as to create more employment and performance opportunities for emerging and established Irish artists.

The festival also presents audience development and access programmes, young audience education programmes, on the job training through the Lismore Opera Festival Mentor Programme, and provides performance opportunities for emerging Irish singers as part of its mission to bring the pleasure and sheer fun of opera to a wider audience.

This year the festival will present, a special audience development performance of L’Elisir d’Amore for local school children and youth groups, to date circa 3,000 children have attended opera for the first time thanks to the Lismore opera festival.

Lismore Opera Festival Mentor Programme

The festival provides professional mentorship opportunities to young people who wish to pursue a career in opera/theatre or performing arts. We offer hands on, on the job experience in the areas of costume; hair & makeup; lighting design; sound and stage management.

Each year the festival selects a small number of applicants who can shadow and learn first-hand from our professional team whilst working on one of our productions.

The Lismore Opera Festival is kindly supported by Lord and Lady Burlington of Lismore Castle; Giancarla and Michael Alen-Buckley; Kildare Village; JLT Ireland; Failte Ireland;  Waterford Co. Co.; The David Ross Foundation & Friends of Lismore Opera Festival.

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