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.

Spring Exhibition - 'Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection'


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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.


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Nominations Open: IGS President’s Circle


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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: dcahill@igs.ie

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.

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


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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.

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​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.

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2019: Our Year in Review


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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.

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IGS submission on Proposed N11/M11 road improvement scheme, Co. Wicklow


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Proposed N11/M11 road improvement scheme, Co. Wicklow

Through this submission the Irish Georgian Society notes its serious concerns about the impact of the proposed N11/M11 road improvement scheme on protected structures and historic designed landscapes lying within the designated route corridor options. It also wishes to express its dismay at the apparent lack of any consideration given to the impact of these options on sites and areas that are of regional and national heritage significance.

The Irish Georgian Society is a membership organisation, which encourages and promotes the conservation of distinguished examples of architecture and the allied arts of all periods in Ireland. These aims are achieved through our education programmes, by supporting and undertaking conservation works, publishing original research, planning participation and fundraising. The Society has had a marked and widely acknowledged impact on the conservation of built heritage in the state and has wide experience of the problems associated with the restoration, repair and maintenance of the fabric of historic property.


Approximate locations of the Cottage Orne and of the Goulding Summerhouse

Picturesque and designed landscapes of Wicklow

County Wicklow is often referred to as the Garden of Ireland and has been a renowned destination for tourism and for artists since the eighteenth-century. The draw was, as it is today, the picturesque landscape and its surprising dramatic topography and ancient and more recent woodlands. Given its proximity to Dublin, the area subject to the current road improvement scheme historically drew most attention and formed the subject of celebrated works by artists such as Thomas

Roberts (1748-1777), George Barrett (1732-1784) and William Ashford (1746-1824). Its picturesque qualities were further explored in publications such as Thomas Fisher’s Scenery of Ireland (1796) and Thomas Milton’s Seats and Demesnes of the Nobility and Gentry of Ireland (1783).

The current road improvement scheme would have a devastating impact on the distinctive character of an area which has drawn visitors for centuries and would see the irretrievable loss or significant diminution of multiple sites through demolition or massive earth works.

The Irish Georgian Society’s submission considers the impact of the proposed routes on the following houses and landscapes: Dargle Cottage (protected structure), Kilcroney House (protected structure), Hollybrook House (protected structure), Bellvue Demesne, Tinnapark House (protected structure), and Mount Kennedy House (protected structure).

Dargle Cottage

The Dargle River valley was perhaps the best well known of Wicklow’s scenic destinations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and was described in 1796 by Jonathon Fisher as follows:

The Glen called the Dargle is in the county of Wicklow, 10 miles from Dublin. It commences near Tinnehinch… and extends for about one and a half mile. It is formed by two hills separated by a close and deep precipice, through the bottom of which, a rapid stream forces its passage over large detached rocks in a winding direction towards Bray, where it unites with the waters of the Irish Channel. Fisher, 1796, Scenery of Ireland, plate XXIV

The current road proposals would have a direct and severe impact on the northern end of the valley. This picturesque area is the home of an important garden situated on either side of a steep river gorge that was laid out by Sir Basil and Lady Goulding in the 1940s. Two protected structures lie within the gardens: Dargle Glen/Cottage (RPS ref. 03- 36 ), a cottage orné built for Sir Basil and Lady Goulding to the designs of Michael Scott and Partners; and the Goulding Summerhouse (RPS ref 03-37) described by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as:

A starkly modernist structure whose impact is made all the greater by its idyllic well-wooded setting. Perhaps the most dramatic and memorable later 20th-century building in the whole county.

The Blue Corridor and notably the Yellow Corridor Options would have an overwhelming impact on this highly sensitive site which, together with the garden, house and summerhouse, survives as one of the most important designed landscapes of the mid to late twentieth century in Ireland.


Goulding Summerhouse (image source: The Modern House)


Approximate locations of the Cottage Orne and of the Goulding Summerhouse

Kilcroney House (Dublin Oak Academy)

The same Corridor Options would completely destroy the setting of Kilcroney House (RPS ref 03-35) which lies to the south of Dargle Cottage, with the Blue Corridor running in very close proximity to the main building and associated structures.

The entry for Kilcroney in the Record of Protected Structures in the Wicklow County Development Plan reads as follows:

Extensive, Tudor gothic-revival house of circa 1850 designed by Daniel Robertson for Dr Lloyd, Provost of Trinity. It is built of granite ashlar with transom and mullioned windows, drip labels, crenulations, gables and pinnacles. On the right-hand side is a four-stage tower and out offices which are designed to look like the main (house).

The NIAH Survey of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes records the presence of Kilcroney on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Maps and, in the Initial Overview, notes that the site footprint remains visible, the boundary remains defined, and that there has not been significant development.

The construction of a new motorway in such close proximity to Kilcroney would be entirely contrary to the provisions of national legislation for the protection of our built heritage and can’t possibly be considered a suitable solution for the improvement of the N11/M11.


Kilcroney House (image source: Dublin Oak Academy)


Approximate location of Kilcroney House

Hollybrook House

To the east, the Green Corridor and Red Corridor Options would have a hugely detrimental impact on the setting of another protected structure, Hollybrook House (RPS ref. 07-06), while the Blue Corridor would also compromise the building. Hollybrook was built c. 1831 to the designs of the noted architect William Morrison who had previously worked on nearby Kilruddery with his father Richard. In the Record of Protected Structures for County Wicklow, the house is described as follows:

Important, Tudor, gothic-revival house by William Vitruvius Morrison, 1838. An energetic essay of granite ashlar with transom and mullioned windows, gables and tall stacks. Clock tower, stables and folly tower.

In its appraisal of the house, the NIAH notes that it:

…is in relatively original condition even though it has suffered considerably from fire and by subdivision into individual dwellings. The setting has been diminished with the selling of most of the demesne.

Though its setting has been compromised through the loss of much of its historic parkland, the proposed route options would largely erode what remains.


Hollybrook House (image source: Gibbons Architecture)


Approximate location of Hollybrook House

Bellevue demesne

Though Bellevue House was demolished in the 1950s and its demesne has since been divided up for use as a golf course and farmland, it retains some of the very best picturesque qualities for which it was previously celebrated. Most notable of these is the view from The Octagon and banqueting room which is situated on a

ridge above the ancient woodlands of the Glen of the Downs, a designated Nature Reserve. In 1796 it was observed that from here “there is an extensive view of the Scalp, the Sugar-loaf hills, Dromin, Howth, Dalkey, Lambay, Dunran, and Kindlestown hill” (Ferrar, J., 1796, A View of Ancient and Modern Dublin). If either the Orange Corridor or Pink Corridor Options were implemented, the view looking north would include not just the current dual carriageway but a motorway that would forever compromise the character and special qualities of the surrounding landscape.


Approx. location of The Octagon. The red corridor runs through the Glen of the Downs

Tinnapark House

To the west of Kilpeddar, the Blue Corridor Option would have a significant impact on the setting of Tinnapark House (RPS ref. 12-05) and would also have a detrimental impact on Organic Life, an enterprise which pioneered organic horticultural in Ireland. Established in the mid-1980s, its carefully designed areas of production exploited the shelter provided by historic planting.

The entry for Tinnapark in the Record of Protected Structures describes it as a “five-bay, two-storey, gable-ended house of circa 1800 with rough-cast walls, Doric porch, sash windows with Georgian panes and natural slates on the roof”. In its appraisal of the house, the NIAH notes that it is “a well preserved early 19th-century house which is in good and substantially original condition, and has retained its original setting”.


Tinnapark House (image source: NIAH)


Mount Kennedy House

Immediately to the south lies Mount Kennedy House (RPS ref. 13-20) which is among the most architecturally sigificant houses in Co. Wicklow, and is a building of national architectural importance. It was built c. 1782 to the designs of James Wyatt, one of the most noted architects in Ireland and Britain of the time. In his recently published biography of Wyatt, John Martin Robinson observed that “Wyatt's work exerted a major influence on neo-classical architecture and decoration in Ireland, where a far higher proportion of his buildings has survived than in England” (2012, James Wyatt (1746-1813), Yale).


Mount Kennedy House (image source: The Irish Times)

Mount Kennedy House is described as follows in the Record of Protected Structures:

Highly influential, neo-classical house designed by James Wyatt and executed to an exceptionally high standard. The façade, of five bays and two storeys over a basement has an engaged, pedimented, tetrastyle portico with a Diocletian window on the first floor.

Ferrar (qv) wrote enthusiastically of Mount Kennedy in 1796: .

Delightful views!–where’er we turn the eye,

Still varied prospects crowd upon our sight;

These charms the senses, and the thoughts employ.

And wrap the mind in tranquil, calm delight.

In The Seats and Demesnes of the Nobility and Gentry of Ireland (1783) Thomas Milton described the setting of Mount Kennedy as follows:

It is situated on an eminence and from the rear, or east side, commands a fine view of the sea, at the distance of about two miles; the country which the eye runs over in the interval is extremely beautiful. The west view, overlooking the demesne, is bounded at some distance by mountains, which form a bold termination of the prospect… There are, perhaps, few places in Ireland superior in beauty to Mount Kennedy.

The NIAH Survey of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes records Mount

Kennedy on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey maps (1836 – 1846) and notes that the same footprint and boundaries remain defined, that there has been no change in the location of entrances, avenues, woodlands or the drive. It also notes changes

in the historic landscape with the most notable perhaps being the development of a road into a dual carriageway. However, the integrity of the parklands around the house remains largely intact which is a fitting recognition of its significance and that of Mount Kennedy House itself.


This important surviving historic landscape is now threatened by the proposed Blue Corridor Option which would slice through the north-eastern section of the demesne, cut across the main avenue to the house, and result in the loss of its gate lodge. The eastern view to the sea recorded in 1783 would instead be obstructed by a motorway cutting across the parklands.

National and local authority plans and strategies

The Irish Georgian Society wishes to highlight the following provisions relating to the protection of our built heritage and landscapes in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2016-2022, the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2004/2011), the National Landscape Strategy (2015-25), and the European Landscape Convention which was ratified in 2002 by the Irish government:

Wicklow County Development Plan, Built Heritage Strategy (Chp. 10):

(it is an objective to)… ensure that the protection and conservation of the built heritage of Wicklow is an integral part of the sustainable development of the county and safeguard this valuable, and in many instances, non-renewable resource through proper management, sensitive enhancement and appropriate development;

(it is an objective to)… ensure the protection of the architectural heritage of Wicklow through the identification of Protected Structures, the designation of Architectural Conservation Areas, the safeguarding of designed landscapes and historic gardens, and the recognition of structures and elements that contribute positively to the vernacular and industrial heritage of the County;

Wicklow County Development Plan, Strategy for Tourism and Recreation (Chp. 7):

(it is an objective to)… protect Wicklow’s principal strengths and capitalise on the distinct tourism and recreational attractions that are on offer – scenic beauty, woodlands and waterways, coastal areas and beaches, and built and natural heritage;

(it is an objective to)… preserve the character and distinctiveness of scenic landscaped as described in the Landscape Categories of the County set out in Chapter 10;

Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2004/11):

7.2.1 Conservation is the process of caring for buildings and places and of managing change to them in such a way as to retain their character and special interest. Historic structures are a unique resource. Once lost, they cannot be replaced. If their special qualities are degraded, these can rarely be recaptured.

National Landscape Strategy (2015-25):

Our landscape reflects and embodies our cultural values and our shared natural heritage and contributes to the well-being of our society, environment and economy. We have an obligation to ourselves and to future generations to promote its sustainable protection, management and planning.

The European Landscape Convention

the landscape has an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields, and constitutes a resource favourable to economic activity and whose protection, management and planning can contribute to job creation… The landscape is a key element of individual and social well-being and its protection, management and planning entail rights and responsibilities for everyone.


Ireland’s architectural heritage and its historic gardens and designed landscapes are intrinsic to the multi-layered character of its countryside. This is particularly evident in County Wicklow where its picturesque landscapes have been celebrated since the eighteenth-century through the work of artists and writers and continues through to the present day with the County having deservedly earned the moniker of ‘Garden of Ireland’.

If any of the various Corridor Options proposed for the N11/M11 Improvement Scheme are implemented, they would have a devastating impact on some of the county’s most important protected structures, historic gardens, and designed and natural landscapes. The picturesque setting of the cottage orné and summerhouse of Dargle Cottage would be ruined; the very future of Kilcroney House and Hollybrook House would be undermined; the celebrated views from the ridge above the Glen of the Downs would be forever compromised; the setting of Tinnapark would be significantly diminished; and a sizable portion of the historic designed landscape of Mount Kennedy House, a structure of national architectural importance, would be lost forever.

The protection of this heritage is embedded in the conservation and tourism objectives of the Wicklow County Development Plan and in conservation legislation while the National Landscape Strategy and the European Landscape Convention set out visions that should be applied to guide its sustainable management. The Irish Georgian Society is of the view that these provisions must be adhered to in order to protect the county and the country’s heritage and, as such, recommends that the proposed Route Options be set aside.

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