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.

Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2022 open for applications


Posted by IGS

The Hon. Desmond Guinness (1931-2020)

Desmond Guinness

The Desmond Guinness Scholarship is awarded annually by the Irish Georgian Society to an applicant or applicants engaged in research on the visual arts of Ireland including the work of Irish architects, artists and craftsmen, material culture and design history, 1600-1940. Preference will be given to work based on original documentary research.

The Scholarship is intended primarily for applicants who are not yet established at an advanced professional level in research or publication of the visual arts.

The Scholarship does not have to be awarded in any one year, and the decision of the assessors, appointed by the Irish Georgian Society, is final. The total value of the scholarship fund available for distribution is in the region of €2,000. The award will be made before the end of December 2022.

Deadline for applications is 12PM on Thursday 24th November.

Please note the following:

  • Applications must be made online through this form:
  • No additional information or any other accompanying material will be accepted.
  • All questions must be answered and incomplete applications will not be considered. Late applications will not be accepted.
  • The Scholarship will not cover tuition fees.
  • A confidential reference supporting the applicant (with subject heading 'Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2022 Reference) should be sent via email to This emailed reference must be received directly from the reference provider's own email address (not the applicant's) and arrive by the closing date.

If you have any further queries about the scholarship please contact:

Emmeline Henderson ( or by phoning 01 679 8675.

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Georgian Homes: material culture of the domestic interior in 18th century Ireland lectures autumn 2022


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Georgian Homes: material culture of the domestic interior in 18th century Ireland.

The Irish Georgian Society is delighted to present our Conservation Education Programme autumn 2022 lecture series. These thematic talks will explore the material culture of the Irish Georgian house, in both town and country, focusing on interior decoration, furniture and fine art.

Commencing on Tuesday 11th October, the talks will run for nine consecutive Tuesday evenings.

The keynote introductory talk, Great Irish Households: understanding their inventories will be delivered by John Adamson, editor, producer and indexer of the new publication, Great Irish Households: Inventories from the Long Eighteenth Century.

Other distinguished speakers include: Dr Aidan O'Boyle (art collections); Dr Alison FitzGerald (silver); James Peill (furniture); Sarah Foster (shopping); Annabel Westman (textiles); Dr Patricia McCarthy (wine cellars); and Dr Mark Purcell (books and libraries). The concluding lecture in the series will be delivered by Dr Conor Lucey, who will provide insights into his forthcoming publication, House and Home in Georgian Ireland.

Enjoy the lectures in person at the IGS's City Assembly House or virtually through Zoom. *It is now possible to book for in-person CAH tickets on an individual basis.

To book visit our events page where talks can be booked individually or at a discounted whole course rate.

Download the full lecture programme here.

Photos of speakers (top left clockwise): John Adamson; Dr Alison FitzGerald; Dr Patricia McCarthy; Mark Purcell; Sarah Foster; Dr Conor Lucey; James Peill; Dr Aidan O'Boyle; and Annabel Westman.

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2022 Architectural Conservation Awards Shortlisted Projects


Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society launched the 2022 Architectural Conservation and Original Drawing Awards sponsored by John Paul Construction in the Spring, receiving a total of 20 applications across the two categories. The Awards are open to Irish architects and architectural practices, building surveyors, contractors, engineers, and other professionals involved in the conservation of historic buildings on the island of Ireland.

Click here to learn more about the awards.

The judging panel consisting of Livia Hurley (Chair), Karen Latimer, Simon Lincoln, Frank McDonald, and Kevin V Mulligan, met in May to reduce the 16 applications for the Architectural Conservation Project category to a shortlist of nine projects. The panel gained Andrew Tierney as additional panelist for the shortlist tour which they completed at the end of August.

Please join us as we announce the winner of the 2022 Architectural Conservation and Original Drawing Awards at a reception hosted at the City Assembly House on Thursday 20 October at 6:30pm.

Congratulations to the shortlisted projects:

Alistair Coey - Gunpowder Store in Donaghadee

Howley Hayes - Carlingford Castle in Carlingford & 9 Merrion Square in Dublin

Fingal County Council - Casino Railway Museum in Malahide

Lotts Architecture - Riverstown House in Kildangan

FMP Architects - Honan Chapel UCC in Cork City

ACP Architectural Conservation Professionals - Dunraven Fountain in Adare

O'Neill Architecture - ONA Farmhouse in Nenagh

Office of Public Works - Gate of Justice at Dublin Castle

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IGS stand at Timeless: The Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair 2022


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Timeless 2022

The IGS is delighted to announce that it will once again have a stand at the Irish Antiques Fair in the RDS from 23rd – 25th September 2022. An invitation to attend can be downloaded from the following link and entitles the bearer plus one guest free entry to the event: Timeless 2022 invitation

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Castletown House – A Golden Opportunity


Posted by IGS

Bring the lands into public ownership

A letter by Donough Cahill originally published on The Irish Times:

Sir, – The recently featured article on the sale of lands immediately to the rear of Castletown House, Co Kildare, raises great concerns for the future protection of one of the most architecturally significant buildings of Ireland’s Georgian period (“Celbridge landholding with ‘future development potential’ for €5 million”, July 6th).

The Irish Georgian Society has called for the State to bring the lands into public ownership through the Office of Public Works and so forever safeguard the setting of Castletown.

The urgency of this is illustrated in the marketing materials for the site that were highlighted in The Irish Times article which suggests they have a “future development potential”. It should be noted that this is entirely aspirational as the lands are currently zoned for open space and amenity and which, given their proximity to Castletown, is an objective that should never be changed.

In purchasing Castletown in 1967, Desmond Guinness acquired 120 acres to the front of the house “so as to preserve them” and in doing so provided a protective envelope that secured its setting and protected views extending to the south. While some housing was subsequently built, the greater part of the historic demesne remains intact. This is a testament to the success of Desmond’s vision and the subsequent custodianship and management of Castletown by the Castletown Foundation and by the Office of Public Works.

Extending the State’s ownership of land in the Castletown demesne would not just protect the setting of the house but would also greatly enhance the amenity value of its parklands. It is noted that Castletown House & Parklands was the fifth most popular visitor destination in Ireland in 2019 attracting 965,632 visitors. This additional landholding would present opportunities for visitors to further explore and utilise the parklands to the rear of the house and would facilitate and secure the current access route from the M4 motorway. As one of the most important historic buildings in Ireland, it is incumbent on all with an interest in and responsibility for our heritage to ensure that Castletown House is protected for the present and for future generations. Ever since the demesne was broken up in the 1960s there have been aspirations to reunite the house with its historic landscape. It seems that now, after over 50 years, a golden opportunity has arisen for the State to achieve this. – Yours, etc,


Executive Director,

Irish Georgian Society,

Dublin 2.

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Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show launched by Minister for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan


Posted by IGS

Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan, TD officially launching the Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show in Merrion Square Park, Dublin, Saturday 11th June 2022

The Irish Georgian Society wishes to thank all those who made the Dublin’s Heritage Buildings Show in Merrion Square park on Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th June 2022 such a success.

We wish to thank our partners, Dublin City Council’s Conservation and Heritage Offices, in particular Charles Duggan, Heritage Officer and Niamh Kiernan and Mary McDonald, Architectural Conservation Officers, and Sarah Halpin and Mary-Liz McCarthy, Conservation Research Officers, as well as DCC’s Department of Parks and Biodiversity for hosting us in Merrion Square Park. The Dublin’s Heritage Buildings Show is an action of the Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan, and was part-funded by the Heritage Council’s County Heritage Plan Grant Scheme.

The exhibition was formally launched at noon on Saturday by Minister Malcolm Noonan, TD, Minister of State for Heritage with Lord Mayor Dr Alison Gilliland, Councillor and IGS Vice President, Camilla McAleese.

Together they praised the highly skilled traditional building skills craftspeople who agreed to give over their weekend to demonstrate at the Dublin’s Heritage Buildings Show and promote the importance of using appropriate traditional methods and materials in the conservation of our built heritage.

Over two dozen craftspeople actively demonstrate key traditional building skills needed for the conservation of old buildings including: sash window repairs, stained glass & fanlight conservation, stone carving, dry stonewall construction, use of lime-based mortars and hemp; brick pointing; brick making; decorative plasterwork; ironwork, slate roofing, gilding and wallpaper making.

Exhibitors included:
Glasshaus Studio
Smith & Henderson
George O'Malley Plastering
The Traditional Lime Company
The Old Builders Company
Maclyn Joinery
Stoneware Studios & Conservation Technology
Nolans Group
David Skinner & Sons
Crannog Roofing
Ecological Building Systems
Conservation Technology
Forgecraft: artist blacksmiths
Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland
Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings Ireland

In addition to the traditional building skills demonstrations there were conservation and residential amenity information stands from:

Dublin City Council’s Architectural Conservation & Heritage Offices
Dublin Civic Trust;
Register of Heritage Contractors
Upper Leeson Street Area Residents Association
South Georgian Core Residents Association
Irish Georgian Society

Thanks are due also the cultural institutions on the square who graciously opened their doors for tours:
Goethe-Insitut Irland
Irish Architectural Archive
Irish Traditional Music Archive

National Gallery of Ireland
O’Connell House
Oscar Wilde House

Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland

In tandem with the traditional buildings skills demonstrations and visits to cultural institutions on Merrion Square there were a series of walking tours focusing on the architecture, designed landscape and conservation of Merrion Square and its environs.

The Irish Georgian Society wishes to thank everyone who opened their doors and lead tours, in particular; James Howley, FRIAI; Kieran O'Brien, Director, Grafton Architects; Rob Goodbody, local historian, planner and conservationist; Jeffrey Jones, DCC gardener; Graham Hickey, Conservation Director, Dublin Civic Trust; Eamonn Kehoe, Director, Shaffrey Associate Architects; Kevin Blackwood & Alice Bentley, Kevin Blackwood Associate Architects; Aideen Ireland, Committee member, RSAI; Laura Conlon, Senior House Manager, Notre Dame; Seán Potts and Iarfhlaith Ó Dómhnaill, ITMA team members; Simon Lincoln, Exhibitions & Outreach Officer, IAA; Martin Burns, Creative Director, Oscar Wilde House.

Additionally, the Society would like to thank all those who delivered the series of architecture, conservation and designed landscape lectures on Sunday 12th June: Shona O'Keefe, Chairperson, SPAB Ireland; Shane Nolan, BLFI Committee Member; Colm Murray, Architecture Officer, The Heritage Council; James Howley, Howley Hayes Cooney Architects; and Damian Murphy, Architectural Heritage Officer, NIAH.

On Saturday 11th, for younger attendees to the Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show, there were Cruinniú na nÓg children’s workshops. This was a wonderful facet to the show and we greatly appreciate the time invested in preparing and delivering the workshops on stone carving by Philp Quinn of Stone Mad; wallpaper making by David Skinner of Skinner & Sons; fanlight making by Liam McCorkell of Glasshaus Studios; gilding and stencilling by Ruth Bothwell of Decowell; traditional joinery techniques by Sven Habermann of Letterfrack Conservation; and lime rendering by Edward Byrne of The Traditional Lime Company.

It was fantastic to see the high level of engagement and participation at these ancillary Dublin’s Heritage Buildings Show events, as well as the enthusiasm and appreciation of the public who visited the exhibition over the course of the weekend to receive free, accurate and impartial advice on traditional methods and materials needed to best conserve their Dublin heritage buildings.

The Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show represented a coming together of the conservation community: state; semi-state; non-governmental organizations; and independent conservation practitioners and professionals. Without all these stakeholders' generosity and support it would not be possible to deliver the exhibition and allied activities.

Critically, the last word of thanks goes to the Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show funder: The Heritage Council; the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Creative Ireland; the Upper Leeson Street Area Residents Association; and the South Georgian Core Residents Association.

Lord Mayor Councillor Alison Gilliland welcome address at the Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show
Emmeline Henderson, IGS Assistant Director; Niamh Kiernan, DCC Architectural Conservation Officer; Malcolm Noonan, TD, Minister for Heritage; Michael Wall, IGS Chairperson; Alison Gilliland, DCC Lord Mayor; Camilla McAleese, IGS Vice-President; & Charles Duggan, DCC Heritage Officer.
Attendees and participants at the launch of the Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show
Attendees and participants at the launch of the Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show
Nolan's Group brick maker speeking explaining the craft to Minister Noonan and Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland with Shane Nolan, MD, Nolan's Group
Nolans Group brick maker explaining the craft to Minister Noonan and Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland with Shane Nolan, MD, Nolans Group
Shona O'Keefe
Minister Noonan discussing traditional building skills with Shona O'Keefe, Chair of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in Ireland
Pat Lynch of McLynn Joinery
Pat Lynch, McLynn Joinery explaining timber sash window joinery details to the Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland and Minister for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan
Edward Byrne of the Traditional Lime Company
Charles Duggan, DCC Heritage Officer, Niamh Kiernan, DCC Architectural Conservation Officer, Alison Gilliland, DCC Lord Mayor with Edward Byrne of the Traditional Lime Company
Dry stone wall & dignitaries
Camilla McAleese, IGS Vice-President; Niamh Kiernan, DCC Architectural Conservation Officer; Alison Gilliland, DCC Lord Mayor; Malcolm Noonan, Minister for Heritage; Michael Wall, IGS Chairperson with Ken Curran, DSWAI, Chair; & Stephen Barcoe, Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland committee member

Minister and family
Minister Malcolm Noonan and family with stone carver, Philip Quinn of Stonemad
Paddy Byrne discussing roofing techniques with exhibitor Niall O'Regan of Crannog Roofing
Acquilla Cooper & Jonathan McCormick of Forgecraft: artist blacksmiths demonstrating
Dry Stone Walling Association of Ireland practitioners demonstrating
Nolans Group pointing
Demonstration of pointing by Nolans Group
Sven Habermann of Letterfrack Conservation teaching traditional timber jointing techniques at the Cruinniú na nÓg children's workshops in the Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square.
Kieran O'Brien, Director, Grafton Architects leads a tour of the ESB project, Fitzwilliam Street to participants at the Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show
RSAI entrance hall
Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show participants arrive at 63 Merrion Square for a tour of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland from RSAI Committee Member, Aideen Ireland.
NGI tour
Kevin Blackwood and Alice Bentley of Blackwood Associates Architects lead a tour explaining their conservation work at the National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square to Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show participants.
Rob Goodbody
Rob Goodbody, local historian, planner & architectural conservationists, and author of RIA Irish Historic Towns Atlas, Dublin, Part III, 1756-1847 leads a walking tour tracing the history & development of Merrion Square to Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show participants

Dublin's Heritage Buildings Show participants enjoying live traditional music from the Georgian era from Irish Traditional Music Archive team members Seán Potts (uilleann pipes) and Iarfhlaith Ó Dómhnaill (fiddle) in the ITMA HQ, 73 Merrion Square.

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