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.

New Challenges Face Castletown


Posted by IGS

Castletown House

In July 2022 the Irish Georgian Society (IGS) strongly supported what was a Golden Opportunity for the State to acquire lands around Castletown that would have protected the setting of the house and reunited it with its parklands some 50 years after they had been severed. It is a huge regret that this acquisition didn’t happen and that the lands remain in private ownership. Indeed, the very closure of access to the demesne from the M4 motorway demonstrates most clearly why an area of such significant heritage interest should be in public ownership.

To ensure any temporary works to address this matter do not become permanent in nature, all options to provide a long-term solution must be explored, including the acquisition of the lands by compulsory purchase order.

Castletown is a national treasure that was saved by Desmond Guinness in the 1960s and restored by the OPW from the 1990s onwards at great public expense. The campaign to fully protect it for the future generations continues.

Image: Castletown House by Anne Brady.

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Wind Up! Susan Wood Photographs: 1960s and beyond


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Wind Up

The City Assembly House is hosting a retrospective of acclaimed photographer Susan Wood’s seven decades of work. Projected as a slide show on five walls, the exhibition presents her work like never before, promising viewers a unique experience. A mix of never-before-seen professional and personal work taken from a life behind the camera lens. Gathered from Susan’s extensive archive by curator Anthony Catania, Re/Collection celebrates her pursuit of beauty in the people, places, and objects she photographs.

Dates: Friday 23rd June to Friday 21st July (Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun 12pm to 5pm)

About Susan

Susan Wood (born in New York City on 3/25/32) is an American photographer most notable for her photography on location with the 1969 “Road Movie” “Easy Rider” starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper and her portraits of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Susan Sontag, Andy Warhol, John Wayne, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, Joseph Heller, Betty Friedan, Norman Mailer, and David Hockney, amongst others.

Her “life style” work during a span of 50 years - photographing families, individuals , their homes, gardens and careers - which she portrayed on assignments for Look, Vogue, House & Garden, House Beautiful, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Ladies Home Journal, McCalls, Esquire, Coronet Gentlemen,s Quarterly, New York Magazine, People and in England, the Weekend Telegraph, British Vogue, and Queen -documented the tastes and look of those times….The 50ties,60ties, 70ties, 80ties and 90ties.

Her work with famous chefs, food and food writers for magazines and books, introduced a new approach to food photography, it was more painterly with softer, appealing use of color , light and compressed depth of field, relating the images more to Oriental perspective than western. These works were generally done on assignment for Vogue and House and Garden, Some of the famous, their food and restaurants and nightlubs she photographed were Regone of Regines, the family owners (name?) and staff and food of Grenouille, Cepe Rengle, Four Seasons and Windows on World.

A Vogue magazine assignment to catch the life spirit of Grenouille, a famous 5 star French NYC restaurant notable for dramatic fresh flower displays piqued her interest in finding a unique and dramatic way to photograph flowers. Mary Kay Baumann art director of Geo admired her efforts and pushed her further in that pursuit assigning her to a story for Geo titled Nature’s Pharmacie – resulting in 8 double page spreads of medicinal plants as humble as dandolion and grand as orchids. Susan regards herself in this phase of her work as the direct descendant of the 18th and 19th century botanical illustrators such as Audabon and Redon.

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Malcolm Noonan, TD, Minister of State for Heritage launches the IGS & NIAH Vernacular Architecture Study Day.


Posted by IGS

Minister Noonan Vernacular Architecture
Minister Noonan launches the Vernacular Architecture study day at the City Assembly House (right to left: Emmeline Henderson, Rose Ryall, Dr Barry O’Reilly, Sarah Jane Halpin, Dr Fidelma Mullane, Minister Noonan, Donough Cahill and Dr Bairbre Ní Fhloinn)

On Tuesday 27th June, IGS Executive Director, Donough Cahill welcomed Malcolm Noonan, TD, Minister of State for Heritage to the City Assembly House, where Minister Noonan delivered the opening address at the Irish Georgian Society and National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s Appreciating and Minding our Vernacular Architecture study day.

The study day formed an action of the Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Education Programme which is supported by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and overseen by the IGS’s Assistant Director & Conservation Manager, Emmeline Henderson.

The study day was co-convened by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage Architectural Conservation Advisors Dr Barry O’Reilly and Sarah Jane Halpin.

The full capacity in person audience and the many who joined online comprised both owners and occupiers of vernacular buildings, as well as heritage professionals and practitioners responsible for their maintenance and care: with formal Continuing Professional Development received from the Construction Industry Federation, Engineers Ireland, the Register of Heritage Contractors and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

The Society would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the speakers: Tony Donoghue, independent film maker & furniture conservator; Sarah Jane Halpin, NIAH, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Dr Moses Jenkins, Historic Environment Scotland; Dr Fidelma Mullane, vernacular consultant; Rachel McKenna, Architectural Conservation Officer, Offaly County Council; Duncan McLaren, Dedalus Architects; Richard McLoughlin, Lotts Architecture & Urbanism; Anna Meenan, The Heritage Council; Dr Bairbre Ní Fhloinn, School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore, UCD; Tom Pollard, conservation stonemason; and Dr Barry O’Reilly (keynote speaker), NIAH, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for their considerable generosity in sharing their passion and expert knowledge of the many facets of Ireland’s vernacular architecture.

The study day was also greatly enhanced by the Chairs (Helena Bergin, Architectural Conservation Officer, Fingal Co. Council; Dr Joe Gallagher, Heritage Officer, Donegal Co. Council; & Rose Ryall, Architectural Conservation Officer, Waterford Co. Council) all of whom in their capacity as Architectural Conservation Officers and Heritage Officers have been to the fore in promoting vernacular architecture and traditional building skills at a county level.

The speakers’ presentations provided new research and fresh insights into the history and conservation of Ireland’s built vernacular heritage.

Additionally invaluable advice on the materials and methods used to build, repair and retrofit these vernacular structures was gained; and information on the many policies, initiatives and funding in place, at both central and local government level was provided.

It was also most interesting to gain an appreciation of the issues relating to understanding our vernacular architecture in the context of our intangible heritage and better understand the significance of their interiors and traditional furniture found in these buildings.

The Society wishes to thank all those involved in lending their support to making the vernacular architecture study day such a success. We trust that it represents a meaningful contribution towards raising recognition of this important and unique aspect of Ireland’s built heritage; and promoting its conservation and preservation.

Lastly, and importantly, the Irish Georgian Society would like to acknowledge The Heritage Council for their support of all the Society’s activities received through its Heritage Capacity Fund 2023.

If you missed the study day then it is possible to subscribe to watch the recording, which will be available to view until the 27th July. https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/recording-of-vernacular-architecture-study-day-tickets-668190916017?aff=oddtdtcreator

The full programme with speakers’ abstracts and biography can be downloaded here.

Vernacular Architecture study day audience at the City Assembly House
Vernacular Architecture study day audience at the City Assembly House

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Irish Georgian Society Conservation Grants Programme 2023


Posted by IGS

Grants cover image

IGS conservation grant pledges clockwise from top left: Dromdiah House, Co. Cork; Larchill Arcadian Gardens, Co. Kildare; St Eugene's Church, Co. Tyrone; Temple House, Co. Sligo; and Termon House, Co. Donegal.

The Irish Georgian Society is inviting applications for its Conservation Grants Programme 2023 with submissions accepted until Monday 20st February. A total of €45,000 will be available which will comprise €35,000 from IGS London and €10,000 through the Homan Potterton Conservation Grant.

Structures of architectural interest from across the country are eligible for funding from IGS London while the Homan Potterton Conservation Grant is available only to Georgian buildings of architectural merit anywhere in the counties of Meath or Westmeath.

Since 2014 the Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Grants Programme has been funded by IGS London during which time support has been given to over fifty conservation projects. These have included country houses, thatched cottages, townhouses, architectural follies, and churches with grants awarded for repairs to roofs, windows and rainwater goods, support for conservation plans and building appraisals, and for other essential conservation works.

In 2022 the Society pledged grants for the following projects:

IGS London grants

  • Clonalis House, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon: €4,000
  • Beaulieu House: Drogheda, Co Louth: €1,340
  • Kilrush House, Freshford, Co Kilkenny: €4,000
  • St Philip’s Parochial Hall, Temple Road, Dartry, Dublin 6: €2,500
  • 7 Arch Bridge, Trim, Co Meath: €3,000
  • Jamesbrook Hall, Midleton, Co. Cork: €1,000
  • Kildrought House, Celbridge, Co Kildare: €3,000
  • Myrtle Grove, Youghal, Co Cork: €2,000
  • Saint George’s Arts & Heritage Centre, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork: €3,000
  • Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork: €4,000
  • 34 Main Street, Chapelizod, Dublin 20: €2,500
  • Russborough House, Blessington, Co. Wicklow: €1,000
  • Headfort House, Kells, Co. Meath: €4,000

Homan Potterton Conservation Grants 2022

  • St Mary’s Church, Navan, Co. Meath: €3,000
  • Tullynally Castle, Castlepollard, Co Westmeath: €5,000
  • Malone Mausoleum: Kilbixy, Co. Westmeath: €2,000

Applications for the 2023 grants programme must be submitted by 5pm on Monday 20th February with forms available to download here.

For articles on previous grants recipients, please click  here.

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

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Desmond Guinness Scholarship Winner 2022 Announced


Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society is delighted to announce that the Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2022 has been awarded to Dee Ring, while a commendation has been given to Deborah White.

Dee Ring, DG Scholarship 2022 winner and Dr Conor Lucey

Dr Conor Lucey presenting Dee Ring with the Desmond Guinness Scholarship 2022


Dee Ring is a PhD Research Student at TU Dublin, Grangegorman, who is undertaking a PhD thesis on the documentation of Ireland’s visual graphic heritage of vernacular shopfront lettering with Kilkenny shopfronts as a case study. Dee Ring’s thesis is being supervised by Dr Mary Ann Bolger and Dr Niamh Ann Kelly.

Dee will use the Desmond Guinness Scholarship to help defray the costs of two study trips to the UK. The first will be to the city of Stirling, Scotland to study recent signage initiatives for Stirling's historic shopfronts rolled out by the Stirling Heritage Trust

While in Stirling, Dee will also examine the methodologies employed in recent shopfront audits conducted for Stirling City Council by Dr Lindsay Lennie, Stirling Heritage Trust Manager, and historic shopfront conservation specialist.

The second study trip will be to Birmingham City University to test Dr Geraldine Marshall's METL system for capturing and cataloguing environmental lettering. The process will involve examining existing images to learn and experience the system first-hand with the creator. Additionally, this research exercise will assist in informing and validating the classification system and methodology devised for the Kilkenny Traditional Shopfront Signage Project 2021 pilot survey, which Dee was commissioned to undertake by Kilkenny County Council with the support of Creative Ireland.

Kilkenny shop fronts


The Desmond Guinness Scholarship committee also recognised Deborah White’s application with a commendation and a grant. Deborah White is a PhD student at the Ulster University, whose thesis is providing an examination of hand-woven linen damask production and design in Ireland. Deborah’s research is being conducted under the supervision of Professor Karen Fleming.

The Desmond Guinness Scholarship committee have awarded a grant toward the technical investigation and analysis of a linen damask tablecloth point paper design (mise-en-carte) sold by Henry McCleary of Waringstown at Mountrath Street, Dublin in 1740.

This mise-en-carte is believed to be the earliest extant example of this kind of point paper design in Ireland, and Deborah anticipates that her research will help illuminate our understanding of linen damask design in eighteenth century Ireland, a trade then in its nascency, and now recognised by historians of material culture to be of international significance.

Deborah White

The Irish Georgian Society would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who applied for the scholarship in 2022.

The Society would also like to extend our gratitude to the Desmond Guinness Scholarship assessors (Professor Christine Casey, TCD; Associate Professor Alison FitzGerald, Maynooth University; Dr David Fleming, UL; Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty, UCD; Associate Professor Conor Lucey, UCD; Dr Anna Moran, NCAD; and Primrose Wilson, OBE) for their generosity in sharing their academic expertise and investing their time in evaluating the applications.

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


Posted by IGS

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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