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 1: Leixlip Castle boathouse, Co. Kildare
Standing at the point where the Liffey meets the Rye Water, the gazebo at Leixlip Castle dates from the mid eighteenth century. It is a hexagonal building of two storeys, built of stone, with brick corners. Plated with copper sheet, the roof is domed and is surmounted by a tall hexagonal central chimneystack. Sometimes referred to as a folly, the gazebo is in fact a practical building—a boathouse, designed to meet the needs of fishing on the river. Before the building of the nearby Liffey hydroelectric dam, rowing boats could be launched directly into the river from a large vaulted space on the ground floor. This convenient arrangement was depicted in 1857 by Dublin-born artist William Davis, in an oil painting now in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Nowadays, the water levels at Leixlip are lower, and the gazebo stands on a bank above the river. Upstairs, the gazebo contains a small dining room with black and white tiled floor, fireplace, and three tall windows looking out over the river. There is also is a smaller vaulted space, underneath the steps leading to the front door. The design of the gazebo has been attributed to Edward Lovett Pearce, while the architect for conservation work carried out in 2018-19 was Laura Bowen MRIAI.
IGS Grants — 2018/19: repairs to roof, steps and stone and brick work
Pictures & text by Peter Murray from his exhibition ‘Saving Graces’ (2020)
The work of the Irish Georgian Society is supported through the Heritage Council’s ‘Heritage Capacity Fund 2022’.