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.

Planning Matters - Flesk Castle, Co. Kerry


Posted by IGS

The IGS has objected to the proposed development of a house to the front of Flesk Castle, Co. Kerry that would intrude upon its principal view to the west towards the Lakes of Killarney and the mountains beyond. Flesk Castle was built on an elevated site in a Gothic Revival style c. 1820 to the design of its owner, John Coltsmann, with a possible professional input from the Pain brothers. Having stood as a ruin since the 1930s, it is being given a new lease of life through the vision and dedication of its current owners who should be encouraged in their endeavours in every way. Building a new house that would compromise views that are integral to its architectural and historic interest would certainly not be the best means of achieving this. The IGS submission can be read in full by clicking here.

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IGS Offices Closed for Christmas Break


Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society offices will be closed from Wednesday, 23rd December and will reopen on Monday, 4th January.

The Irish Georgian Society Bookshop will also be closed for this period - Any orders made after 23rd December will be processed when we reopen on 11th January 2021.

Wishing you a happy Christmas and New Years.

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A fond farewell to our colleague Zoë


Posted by IGS


Zoë Coleman, Emmeline Henderson, Donough Cahill, Róisín Lambe and Olivia Brosnan at Castletown House in June 2018 celebrating the Society's 60th anniversary

After five years working with the IGS, our Programmes and Communications Coordinator Zoë Coleman is starting a new position with Dublin City Council Culture Company in the new year. Throughout her time with the Society she has done a stalwart job in supporting fundraising initiatives, managing events in the City Assembly House, editing the Irish Georgian Society Review, and managing IGS digital communications. She will be hugely missed by all but we wish her very well in her new position and are delighted that she will continue her involvement with the Society through the Young Irish Georgians and City Assembly House Committee. Bon Voyage Zoë!

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DISASTER ADVICE SEMINAR, Wednesday 9th December 2020


Posted by IGS



The Irish Georgian Society was delighted to partner with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to deliver the Disaster Advice Seminar, which took place on the morning of Wednesday 9th December 2020. Over 170 people joined the webinar which outlined how to help owners and custodians of an historic property, where possible, to prevent or reduce the risk of disaster striking their property by fire, floods, storms, lightening strikes or vandalism, and to lessen the damage caused should disaster occur.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan gave the opening address and officially launched Disaster: A guide to prevention and preparedness in the historic built environment, which is the latest volume in the Advice Series of publications for those responsible for the care and conservation of historic building.

Download the publication: https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/resources

The Society would like to thank Jacqui Donnelly, Senior Architect at DeptHLGH's who is the Advice Series editor and convened and chaired the seminar.

The Society also wishes to thank Margaret Quinlan, keynote speaker and Disaster Advice publication author; Helena Bergin, Architectural Conservation Officer Fingal County Council; Alicia Clements, Birr Castle; Paul Collins, Ecclesiastical Insurance and Gavan Woods, CEO St. Patrick's Cathedral for delivering informative presentations encompassing topics to include the creation of disaster risk management plans; climate vulnerability assessments; and considerations when insuring historic structures.

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Planning: Blackwater River Valley, Co. Waterford


Posted by IGS


Photo illustrating view of proposed windfarm from Headborough House, a nine-bay two-storey over basement house, built c.1830 incorporating an earlier structure of c. 1680.

The IGS has objected to a proposal for 8 wind turbines standing up to 155m meters high on a site in the Drum Hills, overlooking the Blackwater River Valley in west County Waterford. If granted, this proposal would have a considerable detrimental impact on the character and settings of protected structures of Regional and National interest in the Blackwater Valley, would compromise views along designated Scenic Routes, and would also compromise the tourism potential of the area.

Writing about the Blackwater Valley in the 1790s, the antiquarian and artist Daniel Grose noted that “too much cannot be said of those picturesque scenes [it] affords which multiply as you proceed up the stream”. The Blackwater continues to be celebrated today through the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative, and with castles, houses and churches forming a backdrop for the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival. One wonders how permission could be granted for a major development that would only undermine the area’s special interest and squander the potential to draw more visitors to enjoy its outstanding scenery.

Read the IGS submission here.

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Remembering Desmond Guinness (1931-2020): 'Unrelenting Dedication'


Posted by IGS


Desmond Guinness and family at a reception in Iveagh House, Stephen's Green, Dublin to celebrate the Europa Nostra Cultural Heritage Medal (2005)

In 1993 I was nominated by An Taisce to serve as the Irish Council member of Europa Nostra, the pan-European federation for cultural heritage, and I served in this role for more than twenty years. Europa Nostra is known for running the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards which promote best practices related to heritage conservation, management, research and education. Desmond Guinness and I served as Trustees of the Alfred Beit Foundation at Russborough for 34 years. Having known of his excellent work in the area of conservation, I decided in 2004 to nominate him for an Award in the category ‘Dedicated Service to Heritage Conservation’ which is awarded to individuals or groups. I secured three letters of support for this nomination from An Taoiseach of the day, Bertie Ahern, Bonnie Burnham of the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Lord Rosse. My nomination of Desmond was up against a total of 214 applications across Europe in four categories.

These applications were assessed over a few months by independent experts and then evaluated by the Heritage Awards Juries. Desmond won one of these prestigious prizes and in so doing became the first Irish individual to win this European Award. The citation by the Jury read as follows: “For fifty years of unrelenting voluntary efforts and spectacular achievements in favour of Ireland's architectural heritage”. He received his Medal from H.M. Queen Sofía of Spain at the prestigious European Heritage Awards Ceremony in June 2005 at the Palacio Real de El Pardo in Madrid. Later that year, an Irish celebration took place at a reception in Iveagh House hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs. We were delighted that Desmond was finally recognised on a European level for all of his achievements over fifty years.

One of Desmond’s first significant projects was when he took on the saving of Tailors' Hall, Back Lane, Dublin 8 after it was nearly lost through dereliction in the 1960s. This work inspired the An Taisce Tailors’ Hall Fundraisers to come together in 1966. Under the Chairmanship of Stella Dunphy, the Committee raised funds for the restoration of the building until 1990. Back in 1984, it had been agreed that An Taisce would take on responsibility for the Hall and so it became the organisation’s headquarters. It remains so until the present day. An Taisce continued Desmond’s early work in conserving it over the years. This work was also recognised by Europa Nostra when Tailor's Hall won a conservation Award in 1989.

Consuelo O'Connor, Board Member, The Alfred Beit Foundation.

This was originally featured in the Irish Georgian Society Review (2020).

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