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.

Inaugural John Maiben Gilmartin Award


Posted by IGS

The John Maiben Gilmartin Award, named for and endowed by the noted art historian, is a new prize granted annually by the Irish Georgian Society to support research in the history of Irish art, architecture and designed landscape, and of culture and society in Ireland of the long eighteenth century (broadly defined).

This award is open to post-doctoral researchers and early career scholars – that is, individuals who have been awarded their PhD degree within the previous seven years. Funds may be used to cover travel and accommodation costs for the purposes of research abroad or may be used to offset fees associated with academic publication, including for image rights and reproduction.

Students currently registered to post-graduate programmes are not eligible and are instead encouraged to apply for the Desmond Guinness Scholarship. https://www.igs.ie/education/scholarship

The assessor panel comprises: Dr Fintan Cullen, Professor Emeritus, School of Culture, Languages and Area Studies, University of Nottingham; Dr Conor Lucy, Associate Professor, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin; and Dr Finola O’Kane, Professor, School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy, University College Dublin.

Award winners will be required to deliver a talk on the subject of their research to the Irish Georgian Society within 18 months of receipt of the award; and are encouraged to submit an article for consideration to Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies, the peer-reviewed journal of the IGS, or similar accredited publication, within 36 months. It is expected that the role of the award in supporting the research will be formally acknowledged by the recipient in due course.

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 award fund available for distribution is in the region of €5,000.

The closing date for applications is noon, Thursday 2nd May 2024. Applicants will be advised of the outcome of the competition by Thursday 30th May 2024. The winner of the award will normally be announced at the IGS Summer Party in June.

Please note the following terms:

  • No additional information or any other accompanying material will be accepted.
  • All questions on the application form must be answered. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Late applications will not be accepted.
  • Two confidential reference letters supporting the application (with subject heading ‘John Maiben Gilmartin Award Reference Letter’) should be sent via email to emmeline.henderson@igs.ie. Each reference must be sent directly from the reference provider’s own email address (not the applicant’s) and arrive by the closing date of the competition.
  • Canvasing of assessor panel will result in disqualification.

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

Emmeline Henderson (emmeline.henderson@igs.ie) or by phoning 01 679 8675.

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Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2023 Announcement


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Caption: Desmond Guinness Scholarship adjudicator, Dr Conor Lucey presenting the Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2023 to Victoria McCarthy at the Irish Georgian Society’s Christmas party in Ely House.

Victoria McCarthy is a third year PhD candidate at the School of Architecture, UCD, under the supervision of Professor Finola O’Kane. Victoria’s doctoral research straddles the disciplines of designed landscape history and planning and uses the county of Kerry as a case study to explore the question of how the significance of Ireland’s designed landscapes are assessed, valued and managed.

Victoria applied for the Desmond Guinness Scholarship to undertake archival research in the Public Records Office Northern Ireland (PRONI). Whilst at PRONI, Victoria intends to consult the FitzGerald papers relating to the designed landscapes of Glanleam on Valentia Island, former home of the Fitzgerald’s, Knights of Kerry, as well as other Kerry-related papers (Crosbie, Kenmare, and Ward).

The Society welcomes the decision of the Desmond Guiness Scholarship adjudicators and acknowledges the relevance of this year’s candidate’s research to the Society’s work in promoting and protecting Ireland’s architecture and designed landscapes.

Lastly, the Society wishes to thank the Desmond Guinness Scholarship adjudicators (Christine Casey, Kathleen James Chakraborty, Alison FitzGerald, David Fleming, Conor Lucey, Anna Moran and Primrose Wilson) for lending their expertise, which ensures that the scholarship continues to be held in high academic regard.

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Celebrating Desmond Guinness: family, friends & supporters gather in Dublin Castle, 1st Nov 2023


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Jerry Hall & Robert O'Byrne

Caption: Celebrating Desmond Guinness convenor, Robert O'Byrne with speaker Jerry Hall.

Celebrating Desmond Guinness, Dublin Castle, Wednesday 1st November 2023.
Family, friends, and supporters gathered in Dublin Castle to celebrate and commemorate Desmond Guinness’s legacy in promoting and protecting Ireland’s architecture and allied arts.Celebrating Desmond Guinness was delivered by the Irish Georgian Society, in partnership with the Guinness family and the Office of Public Works, and with the support of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, The Heritage Council and Ecclesiastical Insurance.

Inspiring papers were delivered on themes that explored Desmond’s work in advocating for the protection of the Irish country house; campaigning to save Georgian Dublin; fostering research and publications on Ireland’s architecture and decorative arts; and his work overseas as an unofficial ambassador for Ireland’s cultural heritage, where he raised vital funds and forged relationships with benefactors in the UK and USA, which continue to this day through the Irish Georgian Society, which he co-founded with his first wife, Mariga Guinness.

The Society wishes to thank all the speakers and chairs for sharing their memories of and tributes to Desmond, as well as their knowledge and expertise of the Irish Georgian architecture and allied arts, which Desmond fought to save. The day was a fitting homage to Desmond’s herculean endeavours and achievements and captured and reflected the wit and dynamism, magnetism and aplomb with which he accomplished them.

Sir David Davies

Sir David Davies, President, Irish Georgian Society opening the Celebrating Desmond Guinness.

Rosemarie Collier

Rosemary Collier, Head of Heritage & Capital Works Delivery, Asst. Secretary General, OPW welcoming delegates to Dublin Castle.

Eddie McParland

Dr Edward McParland, (Chair), MRIA, Fellow emeritus of Trinity College Dublin chairing the morning session.

Sir Humphry Wakefield

Sir Humphry Wakefield Bt., Friend of Hon Desmond Guinness delivering his paper, Fleeting Glimpses of a Shining Dragonfly: A Life of Constructive Achievement from Childhood, Oxford, Ireland and America.

Erika Hanna

Dr Erika Hanna, Assoc. Professor, Modern History, University of Bristol delivering her paper, Desmond Guinness, the Irish Georgian Society and the Preservation of Georgian Dublin, 1957-1972.

Conor Lucey

Dr Conor Lucey (Chair of the afternoon session), Assoc. Professor, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, UCD, member of the board of the Castletown Foundation and the Irish Georgian Society delivering the paper Bulletin, Journal and Prize: a Legacy in Scholarship by Dr Christine Casey, Professor, Architectural History, Trinity College Dublin and Castletown foundation board member.

Mary Heffernan

Mary Heffernan, Director of National Monuments, OPW chairing the second morning session.

Máirtín D’Alton

Máirtín D’Alton,
Architect, Heritage Services - Conservation, OPW delivering his presentation entitled The Legacy of Desmond Guinness: Recent Works Uncover the Building History of Damer House which included a slide showing him at a reception where he was awarded the Desmond Guinness Scholarship by the Hon. Desmond Guinness.

Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore, former Irish Georgian Society and Castletown Foundation board member and Chair of the latter, 2013 -2018 delivering his paper, Castletown & Doneraile: from the brink, which included previously unseen images from the Guinness family's private photographic albums.

Jerry Hall

Desmond's friend, the cultural icon, Jerry Hall treating us to extracts from his Leixlip diaries.

John Goodall

Dr John Goodall, Architectural Editor of Country Life Magazine delivering his paper, Country Life and the Irish Country House.

Jeremy Musson

Jeremy G.D. Musson, LLB (Hons), MPhil, FSA deliver his paper entitled, ‘Through Desmond’s Eyes:’ Architectural History and Heritage Advocacy for a World Audience, which contained many personal reminiscences about his times spent with Desmond at Leixlip Castle and other Irish historic houses.

Donough Cahill

Donough Cahill, Executive Director, Irish Georgian Society chairing the afternoon session where he took the opportunity to thank all members of the Irish Georgian Society for their continuing support of the society which Desmond founded in 1958, while encouraging those not yet members to join today!

Ciaran Reilly

Dr Ciarán Reilly, Asst. Director, Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates, Maynooth University delivering his paper, ‘The Demesne Walls are Coming Down’ Figuratively Speaking: Opening Up the Country House, 1958-1978'.

Marion Cashman

Marion Cashman, former IGS board member and editor of The Irish Georgian Society: A Celebration (2008), sharing her paper, Memories of Desmond Guinness: 50 Years Campaigning for the Conservation of Ireland’s Architectural Heritage, which provided a wonderful account that spanned her first encounters with Desmond and the Society volunteering at Castletown in the 1970s through to her and her husband Adrian Masterson's work in commissioning the film, 'Saving Our Heritage, The Irish Georgian Society' which included in depth interviews with Desmond.

Robert O'Byrne

Robert O’Byrne, former IGS Vice-President and author of The Irish Georgian Society: A Celebration (2008) sharing his paper, Desmond Guinness in America.

Patrick Guinness at Celebrating Desmond Guinness

Patrick Guinness, son of Desmond Guinness, former President of the Irish Georgian Society making the concluding remarks and thanking all gathered for their participation.

Robert O'Byrne, convenor of Celebrating Desmond Guinness addressing the audience of family, friends and supporters gathered in Dublin Castle

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Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2023 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 and material culture of Ireland including the work of Irish architects, artists and craftsmen at home and abroad, 1600-1940. Preference will be given to work based on original documentary research. The Scholarship is intended for students who are currently enrolled for a postgraduate research degree either at MA/MPhil or PhD level.

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 2023.

Deadline for applications is 12 noon on Thursday 23rd November 2023.

Please note the following:

  • Applications must be made online through this form: https://bit.ly/DGscholarship23
  • 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.
  • The following criteria will be taken into consideration when assessing the applications:
    a) Originality and merit of the proposal
    b) Candidates’ academic strengths
    c) Potential of the project to contribute to scholarship
    d) Budget & value for money
  • A confidential reference supporting the applicant (with subject heading 'Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2023 Reference) should be sent via email to emmeline.henderson@igs.ie. 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.

Online application form can be found here

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

Emmeline Henderson (emmeline.henderson@igs.ie) or by phoning 01 679 8675 and selecting extension number for Conservation Education.

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IGS Conservation Grants 2022/23


Posted by IGS

St George's Arts & Heritage Centre
St George's Arts & Heritage Centre, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

The IGS gathered in Saint George’s Arts & Heritage Centre in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork on 11th October to celebrate the projects supported through its Conservation Grant Programme in 2022 and 2023. Primrose Wilson, IGS Vice-President, thanked IGS London for its essential support in funding the programme and congratulated them in marking the 10th anniversary of its launch. She also reflected on the generosity of the late Homan Potterton through whom the Society has been able to assist conservation projects in counties Meath and Westmeath, and commended IGS members in the US for their continued support of conservation projects in Ireland. She also strongly endorsed the work of the YIGs in raising funds for conservation projects through their events.


IGS London

Fiddown Church, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny (building report) €3,500
Temple Mills House, Co. Kildare (repairs to cast iron pedestrian bridge) €3,500
St George’s Art & Heritage Centre, Co. Cork (repairs to Gothic window) €4,000
Coollatin House, Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow (roof repairs in west wing) €4,000
Altidore Castle, Kilpedder, Co. Wicklow (repairs to external lime render) €4,000
Ballintemple House, Garvagh, Co Londonderry (repairs to front door) €700
Myrtle Grove, Youghal, Co. Cork (window repairs) €3,000
St Stephen’s Church, Mount Street Crescent, Dublin (railing repairs) €5,000
Civic Trust House, Pope’s Quay, Cork (window repairs) €5,000
Gatelodge, Temple House, Ballymote, Co. Sligo (window repairs) €2,250

Homan Potterton

7 Arch Bridge, Trim, Co. Meath (repairs to walls) €2,000
Malone Mausoleum, Co. Westmeath (external repairs) €4,000
Larchill Arcadian Gardens, Co. Meath (repairs to gazebo folly) €1,000
Mount Dalton, Mullingar, Co Westmeath (general conservation works) €3,000

IGS Inc (US)

Hindu Gothic Gateway, Dromana, Co. Waterford (building report) €3,200
Roundwood House, Mountrath, Co Laois (structural repairs) €7,500


St Pauls Church, Cahir, Co. Tipperary (window repairs) Sum to be determined


IGS London

Clonalis House, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon (window repairs) €4,000
Beaulieu House: Drogheda, Co Louth (dendrochronological survey) €1,340
Kilrush House, Freshford, Co Kilkenny (repairs to roof lantern) €4,000
St Philip’s Parochial Hall, Dartry, Dublin 6 (general repairs) €2,500
7 Arch Bridge, Trim, Co Meath (restoration of the buttresses) €3,000
Jamesbrook Hall, Midleton, Co. Cork (repair of porch windows) €1,000
Kildrought House, Celbridge, Co Kildare (window repairs) €3,000
Myrtle Grove, Youghal, Co Cork (window repairs) €2,000
Saint George’s Arts & Heritage Centre (repairs to chancel window) €3,000
Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork (repairs to balustrades) €4,000
34 Main Street, Chapelizod, Dublin 20 (general repairs) €2,500
Russborough House, Co. Wicklow (drawing room decorative scheme) €1,000
Headfort House, Kells, Co. Meath (window repairs) €4,000

Homan Potterton Grants

St Mary’s Church, Navan, Co. Meath (repairs to clock and bells) €3,000
Tullynally Castle, Co Westmeath (repairs to cast iron gates) €5,000
Malone Mausoleum, Co. Westmeath (conservation report) €2,000

YIGs project

Termon House, Co. Donegal (external works) €1,720

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Kingdom of Skills exhibition launched by Minister Noonan


Posted by IGS

Malcolm Noonan, TD, Minister for State for Heritage launches Kingdom of Skills: traditional building skills demonstrations & conservation talks at Kery’s Muckross Traditional Farms, Saturday 30th September 2023.

Last Saturday 30th September Minister Noonan launched the Kingdom of Skills exhibition at Muckross Traditional Farms to an engaged and appreciative gathering of skilled traditional building practitioners, conservation professionals, and owners and guardians of traditionally built buildings. Minster Noonan was welcomed to the county by Kerry County Council's Leas-Chathaoirleach, John O’Donoghue and thanked by Irish Georgian Society Executive Director, Donough Cahill.

The Kingdom of Skills exhibition, which was an action of the Irish Georgian Society's Conservation Education Programme, represented a successful partnership between the Society, Kerry County Council and the Trustees of Muckross House. The exhibition formed part of the Architecture Kerry festival overseen by Kerry County Council’s dynamic Architectural Conservation & Heritage Officer, Victoria McCarthy. Critical to successful delivery of the Kingdom of Skills exhibition was the partnering with the Trustees of Muckross House, who provided the most fitting of venues, Muckross Traditional Farms, where the Society was generously hosted by its manager, Toddy Doyle and his team.

For the two-days of the Kingdom of Skills exhibition, Muckross Traditional Farms become a one-stop destination for old buildings owners in need of accurate, impartial and free advice on their care and repair.

The Society wishes to extend a huge thank you to all the craftspeople who actively demonstrated key traditional building skills needed for the conservation and maintenance of old building:

The exhibition was further greatly enhanced by information stands presented by the below organisations:

At this year's traditional building skills exhibition there was an emphasis placed on generating an awareness of opportunities for training and avenues for careers in the traditional building skills sector. The Society was delighted that Kerry College of Further Education mounted two demonstrations showcasing the courses they offer in stone masonry and carving (tutor: Tom Little) and traditional stone wall construction (tutor: Donal Corcoran).

Additionally, the Office of Public Works’ National MonumentsMuckross depot mounted a demonstration of stonecutting and stonemasonry at the exhibition with OPW District Inspector Maurice FitzGerald emphasising traditional skills apprenticeships opportunities.

This was further complemented by The Prince’s Foundation – All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme stand manned by its programme coordinator, Hugh Kavanagh. Now embarking on its third year, the programme, which is supported by the Heritage Council and the Historic Environment Division, NI, provides a yearlong fulltime course aimed at those with experience in craft areas (such as stonemasonry, carpentry and joinery, bricklaying, blacksmithing, plastering, thatching, roofing) wishing to develop their craft with a focus towards heritage and traditional methods. Successful applicants are provided with a generous bursary, and benefit from both practical work placements and study modules in both Ireland and the UK.

Complementary to the training and apprenticeships showcased at the Kingdom of Skills exhibition was the presence of the CIF’s Register of Heritage Contractors where their manager Gillian Ross was on hand throughout the weekend to inform those with requisite traditional building skills of the benefits of joining this accredited register.

In tandem with the demonstrations there were two full days of free hourly talks delivered by conservation experts which celebrated Kerry’s built heritage and provide advice on best practice repair, restoration or retrofitting. We wish to thank all the speakers who gave presentations on the following topics :

  • Carl Raftery, Architectural Conservation Advisor, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, Improving Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings Guidance.
  • Tríona Byrne, Architecture Officer, The Heritage Council, A Greener Legacy: navigating the intersection of sustainability & old buildings.
  • Frank Keohane, Chartered Historic Building Surveyor, The Importance of Preventative Maintenance & Dealing with Damp in your Traditionally Built House.
  • Jacqui Donnelly, Senior Architect, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, My Building is a Protected Structure: What does that mean? understanding built heritage policy and legislation. (*delivered by colleague Carl Raftery)
  • Dr Nessa Roche, Senior Architectural Advisor, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage Historic Windows: their significance, history & conservation. (*delivered by colleague, Nicola Matthews, Senior Architect, Dept.HLGH)
  • Kevin Blackwood, RIAI Conservation Architect Grade I, Principal of Blackwood Associates Architects and member of RIAI Historic Buildings Committee, Muckross Demesne: case studies of best architectural conservation practice demonstrated & biodiversity considered.
  • Tom McGimpsey, RIAI Conservation Architect Grade I, Principal, MESH Architects and committee member of the Building Limes Forum Ireland, The Importance of Using Lime in Historic Buildings.
  • David Skinner, wallpaper maker, conservator and researcher and author, Wallpaper in Irish Rural Houses: transience and memory.
  • Dr Barry O'Reilly, Architectural Conservation Advisor, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, Understanding and Minding Kerry’s Vernacular Buildings.
  • Dr Claudia Kinmonth, Member of the Royal Irish Academy, furniture & art historian, Understanding & Conserving Authentic Furniture and Interiors in Kerry's Farmhouses.
  • Mary Sheehan, District Conservation Officer for Killarney National Park (NPWS) Making Sense of Place – the complementary linkages of our cultural, built and natural heritage in Killarney National Park.
  • Dr Fidelma Mullane, cultural geographer specialising in the study and conservation of vernacular architecture, President of ICOMOS Ireland, Irish Thatched Houses: Kerry’s regional styles & materials.
  • Ken Curran, dry stone waller and stone mason, committee member of Dry Stone Wall Association Ireland, Dry Stone Narratives of County Kerry & the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Dry Stone Construction.

In addition to wishing to thank all those who lent their expertise by demonstrating, manning information stands and delivering talks, the Society wishes to thank our partners and funders, Kerry County Council and the Trustees of Muckross House, as well as acknowledged the vital support of grant aid received from The Heritage Council, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Creative Ireland.

Top image: Malcolm Noonan, TD, Minister for Heritage, at the forge of master blacksmith Tom Allison at the launch of the Kingdom of Skills, Muckross Traditional Farms. Photo by Valerie O'Sullivan.

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