Irish Georgian Society

Show / Hide Menu


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.

Irish Georgian Society Conservation Grants Programme 2020


Posted by IGS


Previous recipients clockwise from top left: St. Paul’s French Church, Co. Laois (2019), 7 Arch Bridge, Co. Meath (2018), and Stradbally Hall (2017)

The Irish Georgian Society is inviting applications to its' Conservation Grants Programme 2020. 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 six 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.

Full list of 2019 recipients

  • Myrtle Grove, Co. Cork: window repairs to nationally important unfortified late 16th century house.
  • Jamesbrook Hall, Co. Cork: window repairs to house dating to c. 1780.
  • Temple House, Co. Sligo: window repairs to house built c. 1820.
  • Ballyarthur House, Co. Wicklow: repairs to decorative plasterwork in late 17th century house.
  • Ballycumber folly, Co. Offaly: repair works to walls of architectural folly constructed c. 1830.
  • St. Kevin’s Church, Dublin 8: restoration of stencilled decorative scheme from c. 1870 designed by architect George C. Ashlin.
  • St Paul’s French Church, Co. Laois: repair works to mid-19th century cast-iron windows.
  • St Catherine’s Church, Dublin: repair works to clock face in tower of important mid-18th century church.
  • Royal & Prior School, Co. Donegal: grant for conservation report for mid-19th century structure.

Application forms must be submitted by 5pm on Monday 2nd March 2020 and can be downloaded here.

For articles on previous grants recipients from 2014-2019, please click here.

Decisions on the allocation of grants will be made by early May at which time applicants will be informed.

Read more

Spring Exhibition - 'Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection'


Posted by IGS


Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection
Extended until January 2021
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 5.00pm (closed Monday)
City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2

This Spring the Irish Georgian Society are delighted to present Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection curated by artist Peter Pearson.

This exhibition of architectural fragments and installations presents a dazzling display of Dublin craftsmanship. Today, most significant buildings are protected, thus it is (or should be) impossible to salvage such artefacts as these rescued since the sixties from demolished buildings.

Seen here out of their natural settings, this display of fanlight and plasterwork, architrave and woodwork, cast and wrought iron only accentuates their intrinsic beauty. The creativity of those talented craftsmen show mementos of a time and people long gone. Much has been written about whole streets razed, mostly between 1960 and 1990, and there are many fascinating photographs of what has been lost. Here too are items from public buildings: one of the iron cramps from the Custom House which caused so much damage to its stonework; a plasterwork acorn from the Four Courts rescued before the 1920 fire; City Hall plasterwork; and there’s a decorative toilet from Dublin castle!

When does a few items become a collection? When there are several examples of the same type of railing head, you have the basis of a collection. The speed of demolition in Dublin city and county in the 1980s made it possible to acquire these objects, but they did not simply fall out of the sky! Attempts were first made through the Planning process to prevent such destruction. Often being unsuccessful, this led to the hour of demolition - if one was lucky enough to know when it might happen. In general, nobody wanted to save anything and developers were keen to clear a site speedily. Some of the bigger elements were recycled - slates from two houses went for the re-roofing of Drimnagh Castle; joists, floorboards, doors and mouldings were always useful. Rescuing ironwork balconies or plasterwork required time, tools, dexterity, help from like-minded friends, and transport. Much was moved on the back of motorbikes; cars were willingly lent for larger items. Plasterwork had to be detached, sometimes using a hatchet, whilst balancing on makeshift scaffolds made out of old wardrobes and joists.

The black filth of demolition, dust in the eyes, splinters and sharp nails were all routine hazards, not to mention the lifting of very heavy stones and timbers! Lastly, space was needed to store everything – usually in basements or outside sheds.

This form of collecting fragments from a wide range of Dublin’s built heritage can be regarded as a sort of archaeology of the 18th and 19th centuries, except these items never got the chance to be buried. On another level, like some archaeological artefacts, these exhibits are artistic pieces in their own right illustrating aspects of the building of this city and reflect the social history of those times.

The collection has been displayed publicly on several occasions since 1991: at the Guinness Hop Store; Dublin Castle; Collins Barracks [IGS]; Cork [IGS} and Bonhams Dublin.

Much of this collection was professionally photographed in 2003 by the Irish Georgian Society. Each item was described and its provenance noted.

Peter Pearson
Dublin, February 2020

Artist’s biography

Peter Pearson is an artist and writer who has always been attracted to the physical heritage of his native Dublin. He has had a lifelong interest in documenting and protecting the architectural and natural heritage of Ireland and his paintings reflect this. In his work there are recurring themes of decay and destruction alongside celebration of architecture and building – but there is a certain ambiguity in the beauty of a decaying Georgian house – its mellow brickwork, its shattered fanlight and its mangled railings.

This exhibition is complemented by a selling exhibition of Peter Pearson’s paintings of Dublin scenes. A commission from these paintings will go toward supporting the Irish Georgian Society’s conservation and education programmes.

The Irish Georgian Society gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the following donors and supporters for the Dublin Fragments exhibition: IGS London, John Barber DL and John Nolan, Camilla and Dermot McAleese, Susannah McAleese and Sara Moorhead.


Read more

Nominations Open: IGS President’s Circle


Posted by IGS


Sir David Davies, Irish Georgian Society President, is calling on IGS members to propose names for nomination to the IGS President’s Circle.

The President’s Circle honours those who have given esteemed service and/or support to the Society. It has no formal governance or advisory role. Esteemed service and/or support shall include those who have given such service or support either as officers, former members of boards, committees, or working groups, benefactors, patrons, donors, scholars, and volunteers. Those still active on boards, committees or working groups shall not ordinarily be considered for such honour.

Members should send details of nominees to the IGS President together with supporting reasons why such person(s) should be honoured. These should be addressed to:

Sir David Davies

Irish Georgian Society President

City Assembly House

58 South William Street

Dublin 2

Or by email to:

Nominees will then be considered by the President’s Circle Nominations Committee which is composed of the IGS President (who acts as its chair), the Chairman of the IGF Board, the Chairman of IGS Inc., the Chairman of Irish Georgian Society London trust, and one IGF Board member. Membership of the President’s Circle shall be announced at the Annual Meeting of the IGS in September 2020.

The deadline for making a nomination is Saturday 29 February 2020. Further details governing the President’s Circle are available via this following link.

Read more

IGS objects to 21-storey building at Apollo/College House, Dublin


Posted by IGS


The IGS has made a submission to An Bord Pleanala raising concerns about the impact of a proposed new twenty-one storey structure (78.95m) in Dublin that would have a detrimental impact on the character, setting and integrity of key buildings and architecturally sensitive locations in the city including Trinity College, the Custom House, and College Green. The submission contends that this proposed development would be contrary to the provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan, the George’s Quay Local Area Plan and Building Height Guidelines for Planning Authorities.

Read the full submission.

Read more

​Roscommon road projects threatens historic landscape and protected structure


Posted by IGS

The IGS has raised significant concerns about the impact of new road proposals by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Roscommon County Council on the surviving parkland landscape of Mote Park demesne (home of the Lion’s Gate archway), and on the setting of mid-18th century Scregg House which received vital grant aid for conservation works from the Society some years ago.

IGS submission on the proposed N61 Ballymurray to Knockcroghery Road Project (Co. Roscommon)

The Irish Georgian Society welcomes this opportunity to comment on the proposals for the N61 Ballymurray to Knockcroghery Road Project but has considerable concerns about the heritage impact of route options C and C-3.


The Society is particularly concerned about the detrimental impact of route C on an historic avenue through Mote Park demesne that was developed c. 1839 by 2nd Baron Crofton as a formal approach to the house. While Mote Park house was demolished in the 1960s and its parkland has been denuded, much of its outline remains and continues to contribute to an understanding and appreciation of the area. The record for Mote Park demesne in the historic gardens survey of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) notes that its Site Footprint and Boundaries remain visible and that its Entrances, Drives and Avenues have not moved. The NIAH also includes a record for the Lion’s Gate (RPS Ref. 04200073) which, together with its lodges, formed a southern entrance to Mote Park and was partially restored in recent years by the Roscommon Heritage Group with grant assistance from the Irish Georgian Society. Other surviving historic structures of note within the demesne include the Derrydonnell Bridge (RPS ref. 04200072), a former laundry house (RPS ref. 04200074), and a church and mausoleum (RPS Ref. 04200075).


The surviving elements of Mote Park demesne are of significant architectural and designed landscape importance and, through the efforts of organisations such as the Mote Park Conservation Group, serve as a major local amenity. The further erosion of the demesne through the construction of route C would undermine its heritage and amenity value. For this reason, the Irish Georgian Society urges Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Roscommon County Council to discount this route as an option for the road project.

The Irish Georgian Society has further concerns about the impact of route options C and C-3 on the setting of Scregg House (RPS Ref. 04200045) which lies to the south of Mote Park. Scregg is a five-bay, three-storey over basement house that was constructed c.1765 and is of considerable architectural merit. It is also a site of archaeological significance with a tower house, a ringfort, and a cluster of Sheela-na-gigs lying within its pocket demesne. While Scregg House is no longer occupied, it is maintained by its owners who undertook repair works to the roof, windows, and rainwater goods some years ago with grant support from the Irish Georgian Society. The encroachment of a new roadway on the setting of Scregg would significantly undermine its character and diminish an appreciation of its heritage significance.


County Roscommon possesses an important built, landscape, and archaeological heritage which should be conserved and championed for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. In considering proposals for the development of the N61 Ballymurray to Knockcroghery Road Project, every effort should be made to ensure this. As such, the Irish Georgian Society urges that route options C and C-2 are not selected as preferred routes and that careful consideration be given to the heritage impact of the other options.

Read more

2019: Our Year in Review


Posted by IGS


IGS Membership Events Coordinator Roisin Lambe promoting membership of the Society at the RDS Horse Show in August

2019 was another bustling and exciting year for the Society, so as we wind down for the year, we wanted to share our highlights of the year with you, our members and supporters.

Thank you to all of our members and supporters who made these events worthwhile, your continued support enables to fulfill our mission and create an engaging and enriching conservation education programme as well as a programme of events for our members. From all of us in the office, we look forward to seeing you in 2020!


Irish Georgian Society staff and volunteers at the Kildare Heritage Buildings Show at Castletown House in June: Executive Director Donough Cahill; IGS volunteer Tatiana Smith-St Kitts; Programmes and Communications Coordinator, Zoë Coleman; Kildare County Council Heritage Officer Bridget Loughlin; Assistant Director and Conservation Manager Emmeline Henderson, OPW Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran; IGS Membership and Events Coordinator Róisín Lambe


Our year kicked off with our winter lecture series in the City Assembly House, with two talks: 'Conserving your Dublin period house - 1747 not 2019!' and ‘A Catholic College for a Catholic People’.


Donough Cahill speaking at the Heritage Ireland 2030 public consultation event in Limerick


Our annual Conserving Your Dublin Period House lunchtime seminar series commenced. The Limerick Chapter held a Heritage Ireland 2030 public consultation event with Limerick City and County Council and The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaelteacht which was attended by over 80 participants. In its submission to the Department, the IGS welcomed the preparation of a new national heritage plan and called for the publication to include clear actions and measurable targets for the achievement of the objectives. Read it here.



The IGS 2019 Conservation Grants programme was launched, funded by IGS London. In the Unites States, the Society's annual gathering in Palm Beach saw a series of events including a talk on Sir Hugh Lane from Robert O'Byrne, and a fundraising Cocktail Party for local supporters.


Sir David Davies, IGS President, welcomes guests to High Tea in The Brazilian Court, Palm Beach



We launched a website and hosted an open evening for the City Assembly House, to attract prospective clients. You can follow the City Assembly House on instagram. Christopher Moore gave an impassioned lecture on Castletown House: 50 years of re-appraisal’ and some of our members went on an international trip to Edinburgh.


Dr Conor Lucey, Prof Christine Casey & Dr Ellen Rowley at the launch of Volume XXI of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies


Dawood Nazerali (National Guide) with group at National Museum, Addis Ababa


Coffee ceremony at National Museum, Addis Ababa - Diane and Trevor Orr with Mary O'Leary


Michael Wall, Sir David Davies, Dr Finola O Kane, Andrew Carpenter and Donough Cahill at the launch of Volume XXI of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies in May


Tom and Jane Kearns, Bob and Vicki Borden on the IGS Inc tour to Ireland in May


Volume XXI of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies launched at the City Assembly House, TU Dublin Conservatoire's May Rush Hour Concerts were hosted at the City Assembly House. The City Assembly House wins the 2019 RIAI Award for Adaptation and Re-use: Conservation. Some of members embarked on an International Tour to Ethiopia. The recipients of our 2019 Conservation Grants Programme were announced. IGS Inc supporters came to Ireland for an international trip, while taking in the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.


Ken Curran of The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland (DSWAI) leading a dry stone walling demonstration


Thatcher Ken Leonard with some eager heritage enthusiasts!


Launch of the Kildare Heritage Buildings Show at Castletown House on 15 June: Bridget Loughlin, Heritage Officer KCC; Emmeline Henderson, IGS Assistant Director & Conservation Manager, IGS; Councillor Michael Coleman, Kildare County Council; Donough Cahill, IGS Executive Director; Cathaoirleach Suzanne Doyle, Kildare County Council; Peter Black, Architectural Conservation Officer, Kildare County Council; Camilla McAleese, IGS Vice President; Councillor Venessa Liston; OPW Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran; John Cahill, OPW Assistant Principal Architect; Michael Wall, IGS Chairperson; and Jacqui Donnelly, Senior Architect, Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht.


Ruth Bothwell of Decowell at the Cruinniú na nÓg Children’s Workshops at the Kildare Heritage Buildings Show, Castletown in June


David Skinner demonstrating how to design wallpapers at a Cruinniú na nÓg Children’s Workshop


Doneraile Court reopening


'Conservation without Frontiers' students gathered outside the Masonic Hall, Cavan town


The Kildare Heritage Buildings Show took place at Castletown House. The cross-border 'Conservation without Frontiers' summer school took place in counties Cavan and Fermanagh, organised in partnership with Ulster Architectural Heritage. Doneraile Court, Co. Cork reopens to the public.


Events Committee members Caroline Stephenson and Pat Murray at the garden party


Katrina O'Sullivan, David Madden, Letitia Pollard and Rose Mary Craig at the garden party

July – Our members' Summer Garden Party took place in Durhamstown Castle.


CAH Exhibitions Committee member Victoria Browne launches the Weber Furlong Retrospective exhibition


Liberties walking tour with Arran Henderson


Wexford Picnic Tour group


The City Assembly House hosted the Weber Furlong Retrospective exhibition. Members undertook a tour of the The Liberties with Arran Henderson, as well as the Picnic tour to Wexford and Lambay Island Day Tour.


The Irish Baroque Orchestra performance at Culture Night in the City Assembly House


Lexlip Boathouse undergoing conservation works


The City Assembly House opened its doors once again for one of the best nights of the year - Culture Night! We were thrilled to host the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Pallas Projects artists, and 500 of you visited the building after hours! The major restoration of the 18th-century Leixlip Castle boathouse was completed with the support of funding from the Irish Georgian Society. Read about it here. An IGS sponsored exhibition ‘Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier’ opened in the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The six recipients of the President's Circle were announced by Sir David Davies.


Capard House author Ciarán Reilly with his wife Tara at the book launch


Marina Guinness accepting the President's Circle certificate from Sir David Davies on behalf of the Hon. Desmond Guinness in September


IGS Conservation and Original Drawing Awards Committee: David Griffin, Edward McParland, Livia Hurley, Frank McDonald and Frank McCloskey


Christine Casey delivering her lecture on the Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin for the Victorian Dublin Revealed lecture series



Jacqui Ansell delivers the 2019 Standish Barry lecture

Cost-of-Revolution-The-Life-and-Death-of-an-Irish-Soldier.jpg#asset:13195'Cost of Revolution The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier', IGS sponsored exhibition in the Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia


Robert O'Byrne, Beth Dater, Michael Kerrigan, Suzy Moran and Michael Wall at the launch of 'Cost of Revolution The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier'.


The annual New York and Chicago Gala dinners took place and raised substantial funds to support the Society's Conservation Education programme. Capard House was launched at the City Assembly House, and the winners of the 2019 Architectural Awards were announced. The sold-out Victorian Dublin Revealed lecture series commenced and the annual Standish Barry Lecture on 'To Rome, then Home: Batoni and his Irish Sitters (Fashioning Identities in the Grand Tour Portrait)'.


Fred Krehbiel, Laurie Weed and Meredeth Moriarity at the Chicago Gala Dinner


The Kearns and Bordens at the New York Gala Dinner


Beth Dater and Susan Burke at the New York Gala Dinner in October


Castle Coole Study Day Speakers and Chairs (left to right): Dr Patricia McCarthy, Dr John Martin Robinson; Terence Reeve-Smyth, Primrose Wilson, Christopher Monkhouse; Lady Belmore, Lord Belmore, David Skinner, Emmeline Henderson, Donough Cahill, Frances Bailey, Dr William Roulston.


The Ballycumber Folly undergoing conservation works, funded by the Society's Conservation Grants Programme


The much anticipated Castle Coole Study Day took place in Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh, in partnership with National Trust Northern Ireland. The annual Mary Bryan lecture 'Navigating our heritage at Lough Rynn' was given by architect Robin Mandal, former president of RIAI. Conservation works to the Ballycumber Folly in Co. Offaly was completed.


Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Cora McDonagh (Maynooth)


Member Carmel Humphries and a friend enjoying the festivities at the Christmas Party in No. 12 Henrietta St


The Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Cora McDonagh at the IGS Members Christmas Party to support her PhD research on ‘Irish Country House art collections: Exhibitions, Estate Expenditure and Civic Bequests 1814-1914.’. Dr Kathryn Milligan's study on ‘Exhibiting, viewing and selling art in Dublin, 1845-1849’ was also acknowledged, and she was awarded the Desmond Guinness Prize.

Read more