Events Irish Country House in the 21st Century: Ruins and Restoration (Irish Country House Architecture

Back to Events
Irish Country House in the 21st Century: Ruins and Restoration (Irish Country House Architecture

01.12.2020, 18:30 P.M.

This talk is the ninth and last of the on-line Irish Country House Architecture lecture series presented by the Irish Georgian Society, in association with the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates (CSHIHE), University of Maynooth.

The Irish Country House in the 21st Century: Ruins and Restoration (Vernon Mount, Belcamp, Dromdiah, Knockatrina, Doneraile Court, Capard) by Robert O’Byrne.

The present century opened with the Planning and Development Act which promised better protection for Ireland’s architectural heritage, including her country houses. In practice, and primarily due to inadequate implementation, the act has not provided as effective security for the sector as ought to have been the case. Some significant losses have been recorded over the past twenty years, not least the destruction by arsonists of Vernon Mount, Cork in 2016. On the other hand, a number of significant properties have been rescued and restored, such as Ballyfin and Capard, both in County Laois. This talk will look at both ruins and restorations, and ask what might the future hold for Ireland’s remaining country houses.

Robert O’Byrne is a writer and lecturer specialising in the fine and decorative arts and author of more than a dozen books, among them The Irish Aesthete: Ruins of Ireland (2019), The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin (2013), Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House (2012), Desmond Leslie 1921-2001 (2010), Romantic Irish Homes (2009) The Irish Georgian Society - A Celebration (2008) and Hugh Lane 1875-1915 (2000). He writes a monthly column for Apollo magazine and contributes to the Burlington Magazine and the Irish Arts Review.

Book for this pre-recorded online Zoom lecture.


Irish Country House Architecture lectures have been inspired by the late Hon. Desmond Guinness who was a tireless champion of the Irish country house, through the establishment of the Irish Georgian Society, the saving of Castletown house for the nation, and the writing of publications that celebrated the Irish country house, such as Irish Houses and Castles (1973) and Great Irish Houses and Castles (1992).

Irish Country House Architecture lectures form part of the IGS's Conservation Education Programme, which is supported by Merrion Properties and Heather and John Picerne. The Society also wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the London Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society and Ecclesiastical Insurance in sponsoring the Irish Country House Architecture lecture series.

Attendance at the lectures is recognised as formal CPD by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.


Image: Dromdiah, County Cork, reproduced courtesy of Shaffrey Architects