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

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

17.11.2021, 10:00 A.M.



The Irish Georgian Society, in association with the Office of Public Works and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage presents The Irish Country House Garden 1650-1950: Digging New Ground.

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

Distinguished speakers include: 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 will investigate the history, design and planting of the Irish country house garden from c.1650-1900.

It will consider 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 are anticipated. Although the larger scale of landscape design will be touched upon, the symposium primarily aims to address the smaller nature of gardens, and their many specific, often complex design concerns.

I come from scraggy farm and moss
Old patchworks that the pitch and toss
Of history have left dishevelled.
But here, for your sake, I have levelled
My cart-track voice to garden tones
Cobbled the bog with Cotswold stone

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

SYPOSIUM REGISTRATION

It is possible to attend the symposium in person in Dublin Castle (where government guidelines in place regarding Covid will be observed) or subscribe to receive a recording of the symposium.

Please be advised that this symposium will not be live streamed. A recording of the symposium will be issued the day after the symposium and be available to watch for a further seven days. All those who attend the symposium in person in Dublin Castle will also receive the recording. To view the password protected and non-downloadable recording, registration will be required by subscribers.

Dublin Castle symposium tickets cost €45
(to include access to the recording and tea and coffe. Please note lunch is not included). Subscription to a recording of the symposium alone costs €35.

Image: Clonbrock Photographic Collection (Dillon Family). Reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.

The Irish Georgian Society wishes to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Office of Public Works and the Department of Local Government, Housing and Heritage in the delivery of this symposium and thank Ecclesiastical Insurance for their sponsorship of the symposium.

The Irish Georgian Society is most grateful to Susan Burke and her late husband Coley who provided generous funding for this symposium and for the exhibitions on Irish Country House Gardens the Society is holding in the City Assembly House in 2021 and 2022.


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