Events Kingdom of Skills: traditional building skills demonstrations and conservation talks

Back to Events
Kingdom of Skills: traditional building skills demonstrations and conservation talks

29.09.2023, 10:00 A.M.

'KINGDOM OF SKILLS': Traditional Building Skills in Action Demonstrations & Conservation Talks, part of Kerry Architecture Festival 2023.

Muckross Traditional Farms (Old Schoolhouse), Muckross House, Killarney, Co. Kerry V93 CK73.

Friday 29th & Saturday 30th September (10am to 5pm daily)

Admission Free & No Booking to attend exhibition demonstrations or talks required.

Download the talks programme

Presented by the Irish Georgian Society, Kerry County Council and the Trustees of Muckross House, this action packed exhibition comprises over two dozen craftspeople actively demonstrate key traditional building skills needed for the care and conservation of Kerry’s old buildings to include:

  • sash window repairs
  • stained glass & fanlight conservation
  • stone carving
  • dry stonewall construction
  • use of lime-based mortars and hemp
  • brick pointing
  • decorative plasterwork
  • ironwork
  • slate roofing
  • thatching
  • signwriting
  • wallpaper making, to name a few.

All the demonstrations will be delivered by leading traditional building skills practitioners.

The exhibition will be a one-stop destination for owners and guardians of Kerry’s traditionally built buildings in need of accurate, impartial, and free advice on the restoration, renovation and retrofitting.

Take the opportunity to meet with representatives of:

  • Kerry County Council (conservation and heritage office)
  • Irish Georgian Society
  • Building Limes Forum Ireland
  • CIF’s Register of Heritage Contractors
  • Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (Ireland)
  • The Prince’s Foundation:The All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme;
  • The Heritage Council
  • Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
  • Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland
  • Office of Public Works
  • Kerry College of Further Education (traditional skills training)
  • Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland
  • National Parks & Wildlife Services

and find answers regarding the management and care of your old building; and gather information on protected structure and architectural conservation area planning law, insurance, finance and related topics; as well as learn of training and careers opportunity in the conservation & traditional building skills sector.

In tandem with the demonstrations there will be two full days of free hourly talks delivered by conservation experts which will celebrate Kerry’s built heritage and provide advice on best practice repair, restoration or retrofitting.

Attendance at the talks is recognised as formal structured CPD by the CIF Register of Heritage Contractors; Engineers Ireland; and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

There will also be an opportunity to visit the newly commissioned Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Irish Georgian Society exhibition, Energy Efficiency in Historic Houses exhibition which will be on display in the Old School House for the duration of the exhibition.

Attendance at the exhibition also provides an opportunity to visit both Muckross Traditional Farms (2pm - 5pm both days) & Muckross House free of charge.

The exhibition and talks are made possible through generous support The Heritage Council, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Creative Ireland, Kerry County Council and the Muckross Trustees.


Friday 29th September

10am: Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings: planning implications & grant aid by Carl Raftery, Architectural Conservation Advisor, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage where her current work includes supporting the implementation of the Department’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan, as well as the delivery of the forthcoming Departmental publication, Improving Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings Guidance.

11am: A Greener Legacy: navigating the intersection of sustainability & old buildings by Tríona Byrne, Architecture Officer, The Heritage Council & Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings; and member of ICOMOS Ireland National Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change.

12 noon: The Importance of Preventative Maintenance & Dealing with Damp in your Traditionally Built House by Frank Keohane, Chartered Historic Building Surveyor, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Building Conservation Accredited & author of Irish Period Houses: a conservation manual (Dublin Civic Trust, 2016)

1pm: My Building is a Protected Structure: What does that mean? understanding built heritage policy and legislation by Jacqui Donnelly, Senior Architect, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, co-author of Architectural Heritage Protection: Guidelines for Planning Authorities; and series editor of the Departmental Conservation Advice Series publications on maintenance, windows, bricks, ironwork, ruins, roofs, access to historic buildings, energy efficiency in traditional buildings, thatch, places of worship, paving & historic ground surfaces, and disaster management planning.

2pm: Historic Windows: their significance, history & conservation by Dr Nessa Roche, Senior Architectural Advisor, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, author of The Legacy of Light: A History of Irish Windows (Wordwell, 1999) & the Department’s Conservation Advice Series: A Guide to the Repair of Historic Windows (2007).

3pm Muckross Demesne: case studies of best architectural conservation practice demonstrated & biodiversity considered by Kevin Blackwood, Conservation Architect, Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Grade 1 Accredited, Principal of Blackwood Associates Architects and member of RIAI Historic Buildings Committee.

4pm: The Importance of Using Lime in Historic Buildings by Tom McGimpsey, Conservation Architect, Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Grade 1 Accredited. Principal, MESH Architects and committee member of the Building Limes Forum Ireland.

Saturday 30th September

10am: Wallpaper in Irish Rural Houses: transience and memory by David Skinner, wallpaper maker, conservator and researcher and author of Wallpaper in Ireland, 1700-1900 (Churchill House Press, 2014).

11am: Understanding and Minding Kerry’s Vernacular Buildings by Dr Barry O'Reilly, Architectural Conservation Advisor, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, where he recently compiled the Departmental A Living Tradition: A Strategy to Enhance the Understanding, Minding and Handing on of Our Built Vernacular Heritage (2021). Author of Living under Thatch (2004) and editor for Europe for the new edition of the Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World.

12 noon Kingdom of Skills Exhibition Launch and Welcome Address by Malcolm Noonan, TD, Minister of State for Heritage.

1pm Understanding & Conserving Authentic Furniture and Interiors in Kerry's Farmhouses by Dr Claudia Kinmonth, Member of the Royal Irish Academy, furniture & art historian, broadcaster, and author of award-winning books; Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950 (Yale UP, 1993), Irish Rural Interiors in Art (Yale UP, 2006) and Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 (Cork UP, 2020).

2pm: Interactive artefacts discussion with Dr Claudia Kinmonth (This takes place in the strong farmer’s house Quill's).

2pm: Making Sense of Place – the complementary linkages of our cultural, built and natural heritage in Killarney National Park by Mary Sheehan, District Conservation Officer for Killarney National Park (NPWS) whose role involves ensuring the protection of the nature conservation value of parks and reserves through the promotion of sustainable use and delivering and monitoring conservation management programmes for habitats and species.

3pm: Irish Thatched Houses: Kerry’s regional styles & materials by Dr Fidelma Mullane, cultural geographer specialising in the study and conservation of vernacular architecture, President of ICOMOS Ireland and convenor of the National Scientific Committee on Vernacular Heritage of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

4pm: Dry Stone Narratives of County Kerry & the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Dry Stone Construction by Ken Curran, dry stone waller and stone mason, committee member of Dry Stone Wall Association Ireland.

Image above : Foley's Farmhouse, Muckross Traditional Farms, Muckross House, Killarney, County Kerry.

Philip Doran Thatching
Philip Doran Thatching

Muckross Traditional Farms