Irish Georgian Society

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The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

Save the Date - Conservation Without Frontiers Summer School, 20-22 June 2019


Posted by IGS


The highly successful Irish Georgian Society and Ulster Architectural Heritage cross-border summer school returns for its third year on 20-22 June 2019, and is being hosted in Cavan and Fermanagh. Thirty students will receive a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy the built heritage of these two counties, and to discuss and engage with conservation professionals, practitioners and enthusiasts through talks, site visits and open discussions.

Details of the students scholarships will be circulated on 22 February 2019.

For more information contact

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Irish Georgian Society Conservation Grants Programme 2019


Posted by IGS


Clockwise from top left: St. Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, Co. Waterford, Myrtle Grove, Youghal, Co Cork, and Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork

The Irish Georgian Society is inviting applications to its Conservation Grants Programme 2019. The Irish Georgian Society has fundraised a total of €50,000 and grants will be awarded with priority given to protected structures and recorded monuments of significant architectural merit.

The Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Grants Programme is generously funded by IGS London. Over the last five years, the Society has supported over thirty significant conservation projects from around the country, that have included works to country houses and castles, thatched cottages and historic townhouses, architectural follies, and churches.

Some projects awarded grants in 2018 include: Abbeyleix Old Church, Abbeyleix Demesne, Co. Laois; Saunderscourt Gate Lodges, Co Wexford; Ardrahan Church, Co. Galway; and 18 Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.

Application forms must be submitted by 5pm on Monday 11th March 2019 and can be downloaded here. Decisions on the allocation of grants will be made by early May at which time applicants will be informed.

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Conserving your Dublin Period House: Spring 2019


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The Irish Georgian Society and Dublin City Council have assembled a team of conservation experts to present a series of talks on the history and significance of Dublin’s period houses and practical advice on their conservation. Attendance at the talks will greatly benefit owners of all periods and types of houses, from the modest Edwardian artisan dwelling to the substantial red-bricks of the Victorian suburbs and the fine townhouses of our Georgian city squares, providing an ‘A to Z’ for their care and conservation.

The talks are recognised as CPD by the CIF Register of Heritage Contractors, Engineers Ireland, the Irish Planning Institute and the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.

Talks, which will commence on Tuesday 12 February 2019 from 1pm to 2pm and continue for 12 weeks, will take place in the City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2.

It is possible to attend all, one, or as many of the talks as you wish. The talks are priced at €15, which you may pay for at the door or book in advance for a special reduced price of €125 for all twelve talks. Complementary to the Tuesday talks will be a Saturday morning walking tour, at an additional cost of €15.

Download the 2019 programme.

Book for the full course online here - €140 (with tour) or €125 (no tour)
Book for individual lectures online here - €15 per lecture

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2018: Our Year in Review


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(Photo: Nicola Woods)

2018 was a landmark year for the Irish Georgian Society! The Society celebrated the completion of the restoration of the City Assembly House and the refurbishment of the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room. The City Assembly House has been returned to its original use as an exhibition and performance space, in the heart of Dublin’s historic South Georgian Core.

The Society hosted two major art exhibitions in the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room: 'Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland: The Society of Artists' Exhibitions Recreated' and 'Vain Transitory Splendours': The Irish Country House and the Art of John Nankivell’, as well as publishing two accompanying catalogues, ensuring there is lasting scholarship on both subjects.

We look forward to more achievements and events in 2019, and are grateful to all our members and funders for their support throughout 2018 and beyond.


The Society’s Conservation Grants Programme entered its fifth year with the announcement of the scheme in January, supplying much needed grant aid to projects across the country. This grants programme has been supported through the work of the Society's London Chapter and the genoursity of its members who left legacies to support our work in their wills.Grants help owners and guardians of architecturally important historic buildings to fund essential work that may not otherwise be possible. The full list of 2018 grantees can be found here. The total value of grants awarded in 2018 amounted to €46,300.


On 26 February the Society marked its 60th anniversary, with a special commemorative e-newsletter documenting six decades of the Society’s work (link here: The Irish Times acknowledged the anniversary as well in an articled dated 3 March (

The annual Spring seminar series ‘Conserving Your Dublin Period House’ ran throughout February, March and April in the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room in the City Assembly House. An expert panel of speakers spoke on a variety of common topics of relevance to period property owners including Sensitively Extending your Period House and Historic Windows: their history, significance and conservation.


Palm Beach was the location for a spring cocktail party hosted by Suzy Moran (pictured) and other fundraising events to raise funds to support the upcoming 'Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland' exhibition, taking place in June.

Robert O'Byrne and Turtle Bunbury spoke about the Irish Georgian Society at a fundraising event for the Society hosted by Board members Marti and Austin Sullivan in Savannah, Georgia.


DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama returned to its first home in the City Assembly House in South William Street, to perform in the newly restored Knight Of Glin Exhibition Room. On 15th October 1890, the Dublin Municipal School of Music opened its doors for the first time in the Assembly Rooms in William Street. The first of three free concerts took place on 30 April and ran at ‘rush hour’ until 21 May.


The Society partnered with Maynooth University and the National Museum of Ireland to deliver a symposium on 30 May focusing on silver in Georgian Ireland. The symposium showcased new research by established and emerging scholars, and examined the circumstances in which silver objects were made, used, valued and displayed in Georgian Ireland. Expert speakers included Dr Toby Barnard; John R Bowen; Damian Collins; Dr Jessica Cunningham; Dr Alison FitzGerald; Professor Bert De Munck; Dr Tessa Murdoch; Dr Zara Power and Dr Thomas Sinsteden. View the full programme here.


The Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland: The Society of Artists' Exhibitions Recreated exhibition was launched by former Taoiseach John Bruton at the City Assembly House. The landmark show of 18th century Irish art exhibited for six weeks in the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room and received extensive coverage in national and international press, including RTE News, CARA magazine, Irish Arts Review, Apollo Magazine, Country Life and The Journal. Celebrating the building’s original incarnation as the first purpose-built public gallery in Britain and Ireland, the exhibition reassembled paintings, including those by Thomas Roberts, Jonathan Fisher, James Forrester, Robert Carver, Robert Healy and Hugh Douglas Hamilton, in the room in which they were first displayed between 1766 and 1780. What made this exhibition even more exciting was the decision to hang these paintings in a 'salon' style hang, as they were first exhibited (see image 1 above). Over 50 American Supporters travelled over for the launch of the exhibition and were warmly welcomes whilst touring houses in Dublin and beyond.

On 24 June Irish Architectural & Decorative Studies, vol XX was launched at Castletown House, at a reception to mark 50 years of Castletown opening its doors to the public in 1968.

Click here to watch a video about the Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland exhibition
Click here to watch a video about the Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland exhibition

The Society of Artists' exhibition continued throughout the month of July with an extensive events programme, including regular curator’s tours, accessible tours of the exhibition and a film screening of ‘The Last September’ in the Irish Film Institute followed by a panel discussion with photographer James Fennell (Burtown House), Fionnuala Ardee (Kilruddery House) and location manager Colm Nolan (Love and Friendship, Penny Dreadful), focusing on the ‘Big House’ in Ireland, the use of the Irish country house in cinema, and the attraction of Ireland as a film location. Listen to that podcast here. To coincide with the exhibition the IFI's 'Archive at Lunchtime' series for the month of June focused on Georgian Ireland and the 'Big House'.

We were thrilled to host two harpsichord concerts in the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room, watch and listen to excerpts from one of those concerts here.


As part of our conservation education programme and to coincide with Heritage Week 2018, the Irish Georgian Society and Ulster Architectural Heritage came together to host a one-day trip on 19 August 'Sharing Conservation Stories - A built heritage day in County Monaghan'. The group visited key conservation projects in County Monaghan with Kevin Mulligan, Director of the 2015/2017 IGS/UAH Summer Schools and author of Buildings of South Ulster, and Shirley Clerkin, Heritage Officer for County Monaghan.


Coleman and Susan Burke, John Nankivell, Sir David Davies and Donough Cahill at the launch of ‘Vain Transitory Splendours’

Watch a video of DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama students Fionn ÓhAlmhain (Uilleann Pipes) and Jack Hennessy (Flute) performing in the Knight of Glin Room on Culture Night.Watch a video of DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama students Fionn ÓhAlmhain (Uilleann Pipes) and Jack Hennessy (Flute) performing in the Knight of Glin Room on Culture Night.cah-culture-night.jpg#asset:11141

The autumn exhibition ‘Vain Transitory Splendours': The Irish Country House and the Art of John Nankivell’ was launched by IGS President Sir David Davies on 4 September. Exhibition co-curators Kevin V. Mulligan and William Laffan led a curator’s tour of the exhibition for Culture Night. The show ran until 31 October and proved extremely popular with visitors. As before with the ‘Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland’ exhibition, we were grateful for our volunteer invigilators.

After a hiatus of two years, the Society was thrilled to participate in Culture Night on 21 September this year. The City Assembly House partnered with DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama to host a series of short musical performances in the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room. Watch a short video of one of these performances here.

The Great Georgian Architects lecture series on 11 September it ran for eight weeks until 30 October, with eminent scholars delivering a series of evening lectures celebrating the works of Dublin’s great Georgian architects responsible for designing the classical buildings of Dublin during the reign of Kings George I to IV.


For Open House Dublin weekend (13-14 October) volunteers led regular tours of the City Assembly House and the John Nankivell exhibition. We were also delighted to welcome back musician Yonit Kosovske to the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room who performed a series of afternoon harpsichord concerts over the weekend.

The annual US fundraising galas took place in Chicago and New York, raising money for conservation works to the Leixlip Castle boathouse, Myrtle Grove, Co Cork, and Curraghmore Co Waterford.

We were thrilled to welcome back our volunteers to the City Assembly House on 24 October for an evening party, with drinks generously sponsored by our friends in Chinnery Spirits!


The inaugural Mary Bryan memorial lecture took place on 1 November, the lecture was delivered by Livia Hurley (UCD) on ‘Irish Utopias’, which situated nineteenth-century settlements within the Irish Utopian Studies canon and questioned whether these aspirational spaces unwittingly materialised as dystopian in their tightly controlled planning and in their function as showcasing for philanthropic industrialists.

On 22 November the Society, in association with The Heritage Council, presented a day-long seminar 'Taken for Granted: spending to save Ireland’s architectural heritage' examining the critical role grants play in preserving our architectural heritage. Showcasing best conservation practice achieved and the technical lessons learnt through funding provided by the Irish Georgian Society, The Heritage Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and other governmental and non-governmental grant giving bodies. View the full programme here.


Michael Wall, Chairman IGF and Donough Cahill, Executive Director IGF with Molly Claire Gillett (Concordia) and Logan Morse (Sussex).

Following on from the Taking for Granted seminar, the Irish Georgian Society initiated a campaign to petition the government to increase financial support for building conservation in Ireland. Read the full press release here.

The 2018 Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Molly-Claire Gillett (Concordia) for her study of the collection of the 19th century lace designer Emily Anderson. Logan Morse's study on Irish landscape painter George Barret Sr. (1730–1784) was also acknowledged, and she was awarded the Desmond Guinness Prize. The Scholarship and Prize were presented to Ms. Gillett and Ms. Morse by Primrose Wilson OBE on Saturday 8 December, at IGS' annual members' Christmas Party, held at the Irish Georgian Society's headquarters in the City Assembly House.

‘White Elephants: The Country House and the State in Independent Ireland, 1922-73’ was launched by Senator David Norris in the Knight on Glin Exhibition Room on 6 December. Drawing on case studies of significant Irish houses including Russborough, Bishopscourt, Hazelwood and Muckross, this book illustrates the complex nature of the attitudes of politicians such as Charles J. Haughey and senior civil servants to the country house. Copies are available to purchase from the IGS bookshop.

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IGS Conservation Grants Programme 2018


Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society’s grants programme has been supported through the work of its London Chapter whose members organise events throughout the year in aid of Ireland’s built heritage. These grants help owners and guardians of architecturally important historic buildings to fund essential work that may not otherwise be possible.

The total value of grants awarded in 2018 amounts to €46,300.


St. Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, Co. Waterford - Grant awarded: €3,000
The cathedral is a major religious site dating from the early Christian era with continuity of worship on the site since its foundation. Its history over a millennium is encapsulated in the fabric and contrasting building styles from different periods. The fabric incorporates the work of notable architects of the past – Sir William Robinson, Sir Richard Morrison and the Pain brothers. In 2018, grant aid was offered towards the repair of early nineteenth century timber windows designed in the Perpendicular style.


Ballyarthur, Ballinagh, Co. Wicklow - Grant awarded: €5,000
Understood to have been built in the late seventeenth century, Ballyarthur’s current external appearance derives mid nineteenth century alterations. Grant aid in 2018 has assisted with urgent and innovative structural repairs to the gable wall which have allowed the removal of the raking shores which have been in place for many years.


7 Arch Bridge, Trim, Co. Meath - Grant awarded: €3,000
Constructed in the late 17th or early 18th century, the 7 Arch Bridge is a curious and easily overlooked piece of our industrial heritage. Serving as a pack-horse bridge for carriage of aggregate from Bearmount Quarry to Trim, it consists of a narrow causeway formed by the arches. The IGS grant supported the structural repair and repointing of six of the seven arches, a project championed by Scurlogstown Olympiad, a local community organisation.


Leixlip Castle Boathouse, Leixlip, Co. Kildare - Grant awarded: €5,000
This little octagonal building makes for a charming feature in the landscape. Designed in the mid eighteenth century with a tea house on the upper floor over the actual boat house. Conservation works will seek the revival of this important landmark through the reinstatement of copper coverings to the domed roof and repairs to the brick facades with reinstatement of windows and the interior being planned for 2019 with ongoing support from the IGS.


Ardrahan Church, Co. Galway - Grant awarded: €2,000
Ardrahan is a wonderfully intact example of a church type found across the island of Ireland. Maintaining such churches requires firm commitment by often small congregations. In light of this, the Society was pleased to be able to support the rolling programme of repairs to the timber windows.


Bridge House, Westport, Co. Mayo - Grant awarded: €2,500
Bridge House is a fine representative example of a well-appointed house typical of so many of Ireland’s towns and villages. Sited prominently on Westport’s Mall, the society has previously provided grant aid towards the repair of the roof. In 2018, a further grant was made available to assist with the stabilisation and repair of internal ceilings and floor structures, allowing the house to be brought back into use as a family home.


Former Christ Church, Rathcormac, Co. Cork - Grant awarded: €1,800
This mid Georgian church has sadly stood forlorn and abandoned for many years. The Society has long been concerned about its condition, in particular that of the carved timber colonnaded and pedimented 1760s family pew. Happily in 2018, the derelict building was acquired by an architect who proposes to sensitively convert into a studio. To assist in establishing the significance of the building and inform the conservation approach, the IGS has provided a grant for the preparation of a Conservation Assessment and Condition Report.


18 Ormond Quay, Dublin 1 - Grant awarded: €3,000
18 Upper Ormond Quay and its rear attendant house at 67 East Arran Street comprise an interconnecting pair of merchant premises of differing construction dates. The front house to the river, built in a conservative late Georgian idiom, dates to 1843. The rear house at 67 East Arran Street, to which this application relates, comprises a much older building of c.1760-1770 date. The houses are the subject of an ongoing restoration project by Dublin Civic Trust and in 2018 grant aid was provided towards the repair, conservation and part-reinstatement of a high status Rococo-style cornice.


Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork - Grant awarded: €4,500
Bantry House was first built in the early eighteenth century and since then has expanded considerably, particularly under Richard White, 2nd Earl of Bantry. The building has significant historic, social and cultural interest and has contributed greatly to the local area over the years. Undertaking initial investigations is vital before any works take place and therefore two-staged funding is proposed. The first stage will entail the inspection of the artificial-stone capitals of the pilasters decorating the building’s exterior by a specialist conservator with further assistance being made available on foot of the findings.


Abbeyleix Old Church, Abbeyleix Demesne, Co. Laois - Grant awarded: €1,500
Built on a pre-Reformation site, the mid eighteenth century church is of the few surviving indicators of the relocation of the town by the first Viscount de Vesci (1735-1804) from its historic location, now known as ‘Old Town’, southwest of the present planned town. Within the church, is an important alabaster and marble tomb effigy to Ema, Viscountess de Vesci (d. 1884), by Sir Alfred Gilbert. In 2018, grant assistance was provided for the replacement of the existing concrete floor with a breathable limecrete floor, to alleviate damp issues that were affecting the effigy tomb.


Curraghmore House, Portlaw, Co. Waterford - Grant awarded: €5,000
Continuously occupied and developed since medieval times, Curraghmore is a large early eighteenth century house built around a medieval tower house. The house incorporates the work of a number of the most pre-eminent architects and artists to practise in Ireland, including James Wyatt, John Roberts, Samuel Ussher Roberts and Paulo and Filippo Lafranchini. Renovated and refaced c.1875, the tower house, forms the focus of the current works programme with the Society grant aiding the conservation and restoration of the stuccoed barrel-vaulted ceiling and vaulted window openings of the entrance hallway.


Saunderscourt Gate Lodges, Co Wexford - Grant awarded: €5,000
Constructed by the 2nd Earl of Arran between 1773-1809, the gateway comprises a tall triumphal arch flanked by a pair of single-storey lodges, to which the archway is connected by four curved flanking walls with niches. Long derelict, the Irish Landmark Trust plan on renovating the lodges for short term holiday lets. Funding was offered by the IGS for floor repairs, storage of joinery, and treatment and removal of ivy.


Myrtle Grove, Youghal, Co. Cork - Grant awarded: €5,000
Myrtle Grove is a rare example of an unfortified sixteenth century Irish house to have survived with much of its original form intact. Though renovated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it retains its original character and some interior features, which may date back to the 1580s. The building’s Tudor features are characterized by the steep gables and tall chimneys. Funding has been offered towards repair of the oriel window in the S gable, which looks towards the medieval St Mary’s Collegiate Church and from which Sir Edmund Spencer is said to have written the “Faerie Queen”.

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'Making Victorian Dublin' project website goes live


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The quarrymen, stonemasons and craftspeople who cut, carved and constructed Ireland’s splendid Victorian buildings have been long lost to history, overshadowed by the architects and patrons who designed and commissioned them. Today Trinity College Dublin launched a ground-breaking research project which will illuminate the hidden history of one of Dublin’s most iconic Victorian buildings.

For the last two years the ‘Making Victorian Dublin’ project, funded by the Irish Research Council, has dissected and analysed Trinity’s Museum Building — regarded as one of the finest and most influential examples of Victorian architecture. Built in the 1850s, the building has been home to the college’s Departments of Engineering, Geology and Geography for almost 160 years. The building was pioneering in its patriotic use of Irish marble and decorative stone and established a taste for Connemara marble and Cork Red limestone which spread across Ireland to Britain, the United States and even as far as Cape Town in South Africa.

To mark the launch of the project today, a new interactive website ( allows the public to explore and navigate a 3-D digital scan of the splendid building. Users will be able to admire the splendid double-domed main hallway, the richly decorated interior carvings and 32 spectacular columns of coloured Irish stone.

The website also showcases new and exciting findings on the architecture, materials and sculptures of the building conducted by researchers from the Department of Geology and the Department of History of Art and Architecture. The team’s research, involving building surveys, extensive archival research and quarry visits, has led to new insights into the pioneering role of the Museum Building in the employment of Irish decorative stone and new understandings of the industry which sourced, supplied and crafted this stone.

Christine Casey, Professor in Architectural History, commented: “Too often we remember those who paid for these buildings and those who designed them. Architectural history is strong on telling the story of the patrons and architects and weak on those who translated design and ambition into reality. Ireland’s historic buildings were created by generations of craftsmen from raw materials extracted and cut by quarrymen and stone carvers. This project has sought to illuminate this largely hidden history by foregrounding the history of building materials and craftsmanship.”

Patrick Wyse Jackson, Associate Professor of Geology, added: “Built at the start of the golden age of Ireland’s decorative stone industry, Trinity’s Museum Building set out to showcase the extraordinary potential of Irish decorative stone. Featuring stone from right across the country the building is an Irish geology lesson in itself — in a few strides a visitor can encounter stone from the length and breadth of the country. The dominant use of Irish stone and the depiction of native Irish plants and animals in the building’s carvings were in keeping with a post-famine drive to promote and exploit Ireland’s natural resources through various Great Exhibitions and the newly launched ordnance and geological surveys.”

Images: Museum Building, 1853-7, Trinity College Dublin (Architects: Thomas Newenham Deane, Benjamin Woodward)

The 'Making Victorian Dublin' project is supported by the Irish Research Council.

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