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Events RECORDING of The Irish Country House Garden 1650-1950: Digging New Ground

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RECORDING of The Irish Country House Garden 1650-1950: Digging New Ground

25.11.2021, 18:00 P.M.

The Irish Country House Garden: 1650-1950: Digging New Ground conference RECORDING STILL AVAILABLE

It is still possible to subscribe to receive a recording of The Irish Country House Garden: 1650-1950: Digging New Ground

The Irish Georgian Society, in association with the Office of Public Works and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and with the support of its American members, presented The Irish Country House Garden 1650-1950: Digging New Ground at Dublin Catle on Wednesday 17th November 2021.

This conference formed one part of the Society’s celebration of the Irish Country House Garden during 2021 and 2022 which also includes exhibitions in the City Assembly House, a dedicated book to be published in early 2022 and a television documentary that was produced in association with RTE and the OPW.

This one-day symposium, convened by Robert O'Byrne and Finola O'Kane, took place at Dublin Castle’s Printworks on Wednesday 17th November 2021 (10am -5pm).

Distinguished speakers included: Vandra Costello; Stephen Daniels; Catherine FitzGerald; Laura Johnstone; Ruth Musielak; Thomas Pakenham; John Phibbs and Terence Reeves Smyth.

What gives the Irish country house garden its distinctive character? A verdant light, lush grass, bold trees and green-fingered generations of care. In 1972 Séamus Heaney, while staying in a Gloucestershire country house, defined his homeland as being ‘other than this mellowness, of topiary, lawn and brick’. For the Irish country house garden sits at a precise rond-point of nature, culture and history, and continues to be a place where the Irish, British and European horticultural traditions potently collide. This complex identity has often led historians to suppress any emerald-tinted concerns about land, property and empire, any uneasiness that might overshadow its charm or indeed threaten its survival. Yet those concerns also lend the Irish country house garden a strange beauty, as memory, pleasure and tragedy glide along its avenues and sidle through its glades.

Breaking new ground through the presentation of fresh material and research, this symposium investigated the history, design and planting of the Irish country house garden from c.1650-1900.

It considered garden-making as an art form in all its dimensions: plan, form, section, and relationship to buildings and/or natural features, as well as the colour, massing and individual habits of planting (trees, shrubbery and flowers).

Concerns relating to collecting, taste, fashion, patronage, gender and networks were anticipated. Although the larger scale of landscape design were touched upon, the symposium primarily aimed to address the smaller nature of gardens, and their many specific, often complex design concerns.

I come from scraggy farm and mossOld patchworks that the pitch and tossOf history have left dishevelled.But here, for your sake, I have levelledMy cart-track voice to garden tonesCobbled the bog with Cotswold stone

from A Peacock's Feather by Seamus Heaney, 1972.

Find the full conference programme by following the link below:

Digging New Ground Conference Programme


Subscription to a recording of the symposium costs €35. The recording will be available to watch from one week of issue.

The Irish Georgian Society is most grateful to Susan Burke and her late husband Coleman who were the inspiration for and provided generous funding for the Society’s country house gardens initiatives. We also wish to thank the Apollo Foundation, Beth Dater, Northern Trust Corporation, Sheila O’Malley Fuchs, Frank Saul, Hindman Auctions, Kay and the late Fred Krehbiel, Jay & Silvia Krehbiel, John & Nonie Sullivan, Robert & Gloria Turner, Ecclesiastical Insurance, The Heritage Council, the Office of Public Works, and the Department of Local Government, Housing and Heritage.

Image: Co-convenors, Robert O'Byrne & Professor Finola O'Kane at the Digging New Ground conference, Dublin Castle, Wednesday 17th November 2021.

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Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage


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