Conservation Garden temple, Beaulieu, Co. Louth

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In celebrating National Heritage Week 2022, the Irish Georgian Society is reflecting on projects it has assisted over the last 20 years through its Conservation Grants Programme. Funded through IGS London and IGS Inc (USA), over €1.6m has been awarded during this time.

Day 2: Beaulieu garden temple, Co. Louth

Appearing in a view by Edward Radclyffe in 1844, the garden temple at Beaulieu House, with its plain pediment and wooden Doric columns, probably dates from around 1780. Over the course of two centuries, the garden temple has acquired not only the patina of age, but also a certain pathos. When first built, in the late eighteenth century, concealed behind the Neo-classical portico was a rustic stonework grotto. The whole structure therefore exemplified a bucolic ideal of rural life, inspired by the odes of Horace. In Edwardian times, a greenhouse and garden shed were attached to the temple portico, providing an endearing combination of high and low. The garden temple still represents the elevated cultural aspiration that motivated its builder, but it has evolved also into a practical building, useful for the cultivation of tomatoes and storing of wheelbarrows. Built in the years after the Battle of the Boyne, Beaulieu House was itself an exercise in optimism, being one of the first large country houses in Ireland to be erected without battlements and fortifications. Modelled on Dutch country houses of the time—as were Roger Pratt and John Webb’s English houses—and sited on the north bank of the River Boyne, Beaulieu still retains a fine walled garden, the original design of which is attributed to the artist William Van Der Hagen. Built by the Tichborne family, Beaulieu House is still owned by a descendant of the Tichbornes, Cara Konig. Both gardens and house are beautifully maintained. With the enthusiast support of William and Margaret Constantine, US members of the Irish Georgian Society, the garden temple was restored in 2017.

IGS Grants — 2017: Restoration of roof and portico

Pictures & text by Peter Murray from his exhibition ‘Saving Graces’ (2021)

The work of the Irish Georgian Society is supported through the Heritage Council’s ‘Heritage Capacity Fund 2022’.