Who are the Young Irish Georgians?
The Young Irish Georgians (abbreviated and affectionately known as “the YIGs”) are a group of early career professionals and individuals interested in our built heritage who support the mission of the Irish Georgian Society (IGS): to protect, preserve and promote the art and architecture of Ireland.
From the earliest days of the Society when it was re-established by Desmond and Mariga Guinness in 1958, young people have been actively engaged and involved as volunteers with some of Ireland’s most iconic conservation projects (most famously Castletown House in Co. Kildare). Young people have been drawn toward the advocacy work the Society has led in subsequent decades.
Therefore the original YIG group was established in 2004 by Catherine FitzGerald and James Peill in London, to organise events to engage younger members of the Society. Their first event in Ireland that year was a ‘Meet the Founder’ trip to Leixlip and Castletown.
The YIG working group was reestablished by Zoë Coleman and Roisin Lambe in 2016. The working group became a committee in Autumn 2023.
The current Young Irish Georgians committee are: Zoë Coleman, John Geraghty, Cathal Dowd Smith and Edwina
Zoë Coleman holds a BA (Arts) degree in History and Art History from University College Dublin, and subsequently received her MLitt from the University of Glasgow. Her thesis ‘The representation of Ireland at long nineteenth-century exhibitions’ was subsequently adapted for publication in Irish Architectural And Decorative Studies, Volume XVII (Dublin: Irish Georgian Society, 2015), pp. 136-157. Zoë has been the Chair of the Young Irish Georgians since 2016, and worked for the Society from 2015 to 2020 as Programmes and Communications Coordinator. She is an alum of the Attingham Summer School and she currently works as a Programme Manager at the Royal Irish Academy. Zoë joined the Board of the Irish Georgian Foundation in September 2023.
Cathal Dowd-Smith holds a degree in the History of Art and Architecture and History from Trinity College Dublin. His undergraduate dissertation explored the authorship of a collection of architectural drawings from the Royal Irish Academy, identifying them as the work of Richard Rolt Brash (1817-76). Cathal’s current research interests are in the Irish country house, and the architectural and landscape history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He works as the Curator and Collections Manager of Newbridge House and Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin.
John Geraghty graduated from DIT in 2017 and is a qualified architect. He currently works for the OPW. He joined the Young Irish Georgians working group in 2021. He has maintained a strong association with the Irish Georgian Society since interning with them in 2013 while studying architecture in DIT. A place to meet a diverse group of people with a broad range of similar interest, John found the YIGs as a spring board for his passion in Irelands built & cultural heritage. He has taken part in the ‘Conservation without Borders’ IGS/UAHS summer schools in 2015 & 2017. John has an amateur interest in Ireland’s market houses. He is in the process of surveying the market houses of Leinster and Munster. John is a keen sketcher and hobby water colourist.
Edwina Hilton read Law with French at Trinity College Dublin and is a recently qualified solicitor who works with a large international law firm in the city. While a lawyer by profession, Edwina has an eclectic range of interests and is an avid lover of the arts. This is how she first came to join the Irish Georgian Society in 2019, discovering the Society’s exhibit while attending the annual Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair in the RDS. Edwina has undertaken studies in Art History, Art Law and Art Crime with the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and is also a classically trained vocalist. Edwina joined the committee in 2023.
Róisín Lambe was Co-Chair of the Young Irish Georgians from 2016 to 2023.
There are two groups of Young Irish Georgians in Ireland and London.
Young Irish Georgians (Ireland)
The current YIG working group was revived in 2016 by Zoë Coleman and Róisín Lambe. We organise an annual programme of events in Ireland, with 4 events per calendar year.
The objectives of the Young Irish Georgians are:
- To encourage an appreciation for, and promoting the protection of Ireland's built heritage, with a particular focus on 18th, 19th and early 20th century art and architecture
- To create an atmosphere of intergenerational knowledge sharing, through tours, talks and networking opportunities
- To provide opportunities to meaningfully engage with art and architecture, both public and private, prompting debate and discussion
- To engage young people with the work of the Irish Georgian Society, with the potential to become the next generation of IGS members
Want to get involved?
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2021/22 YIG Fundraising Project
In 2021, we decided that we would nominate an annual fundraising project for the YIGs to support. The revenue from our events and seasonal social will support this. Our pilot project for 2021/22 will be Termon House, Donegal: a former 18th century land agent's house in Maghery, near Dungloe, located in the heart of the Gaeltacht area. The house is currently managed by the Irish Landmark Trust, and came to our attention through a 2021 IGS Conservation Grants Scheme application.
Termon House was built c. 1770 for the land agent of the local landlord, the Marquess of Conyngham. The property consists of the house and adjoining stone-built dairy and barn set within a 3 acre plot. Much of this site is enclosed by a tall, tapering rubble stone wall built c. 1847 to provide famine relief for the local population affected by the Great Famine. Within these walls are also found the remains of an old lime kiin and a small clachán. The curtilage of Termon House encloses a landscape which has remained almost untouched since the mid 19th century and this with the combination of the famine wall and house, makes it the most historically significant property in the village.
The house was restored by Irish Landmark over twenty years ago but is now suffering from water ingress in a number of locations due to the severe exposure of the building immediately adjacent to the Atlantic shore. A number of important repairs have been carried out over the past two years but there are still a number of urgent priority repairs that are needed to address the impact of the weather over the last twenty years. Having completed work to the roof, most of the cast iron rainwater system and an extensive package of internal repairs, the next priority is to complete the overhaul and repair of the traditional timber sash windows which have been damaged by continued exposure to severe weather experienced on the Atlantic coast. The sash windows require a complete overhaul to include splice repairs, replacement of putty and rotted sills and draught stripping.
Timeline of YIG events:
21 January - A Tour of Malahide Castle, led by Cathal Dowd Smith, Curator of Malahide Castle and YIG Member.
6 May - A walking tour of Drogheda's historic town centre with Aisling Durkan, recipient of the Desmond Guinness Scholarship (2016)
1 July - Summer visit to County Wicklow visiting Luggala Estate and Altidore House
27 February - A tour of The Custom House, with Audrey Farrell, Senior Architect (Conservation) with the Office of Public Works (OPW)
27 April - A visit to 11 Parnell Square, with the Irish Landmark Trust
23 July - Day Tip to Cahir, Co. Tipperary
25 August - Heritage Social in the Georgian Garden with SPAB Ireland, ICOMOS Ireland Emerging Professionals, Building Limes Forum Ireland and The Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland
28 November - Seasonal Social: An evening at the Deanery
11 July - "Lost Ireland": Southside Dublin walking tour. Led by photo historian Dr. Orla Fitzpatrick, author of 'Lost Ireland' (Pavilion Books/Rizzoli, 2021)
3 March - Tour of 'Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection', City Assembly House. An after hours tour led by exhibition curator and artist Peter Pearson.
1 December - Seasonal Social in Smithfield. Our group visited 81 North King Street, the home and practice of James Kelly, studying the built heritage on North King Street to place the house in context. Our tour was followed by social drinks in Walsh's of Stoneybatter.
17 August - Day trip to historic Limerick city and Newtown Pery. Tours of historic Limerick led by members of the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society.
February - An architectural tour of North Great George's Street, with an introduction by architect Merlo Kelly. Residents Desiree Shortt, David Norris and John Mahoud graciously welcomed our group into their homes. Concluding the tour, Denis Byrne of Denis Byrne Architects gave our group a tour of his modern practise.
November - YIG festive historic pubs of Dublin crawl.
27 September - Visit to 18 Ormond Quay, Dublin 7. Led by Graham Hickey of Dublin Civic Trust to visit their ongoing conservation project at 18 Ormond Quay.
22 September - Tour of the Castletown House Archive and historic Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Led by Nicola Kelly, archivist at OPW-Maynooth University Archive & Research Centre, followed by followed by lunch at a Kildrought House in Celbridge hosted by IGS member June Stuart and a tour of Tea Lane Graveyard, a conservation project supported by the Irish Georgian Society in 2017.
3 February - Visit to Newbridge House, Fingal, Co. Dublin. Led by Cathal Dowd Smith, Cobbe Family Archivist and YIG Irish Georgian Society member.
27 September - A visit to Read's of Parliament Street (est 1670), Dublin 2. The YIGs were invited to a behind the scenes tour of Read's to learn about its history and recent restoration programme, followed by a social drink afterwards in nearby The Oak bar.
22 September - Architectural and Lost Fashion History in the Liberties. Led by guide Ruth Griffin, our group visited Tailor's Hall as part of our tour, exploring the history of the Guilds that thrived in the Liberties district from the 17th century onwards.
Young Irish Georgians (IGS London)
More information to follow.