Irish Georgian Society

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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.

A Student's Perspective of 'Conservation Without Frontiers' Cross-Border Summer School 2019


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Summer School group at Ballyhaise House, Co. Cavan

This year’s ‘Conservation Without Frontiers’ summer school took place in Co. Fermanagh and Cavan. The 3-day school focused on exploring many challenges facing Irish towns, and the opportunities for enhancement through sustainable heritage-led regeneration to benefit built heritage, the local economy and the wider community. It was exciting, refreshing and re-assuring to see such important subject matters being tied back to our current and most relevant concerns, such as climate change.

Cole-Monument-Enniskillen-students-6.jpg#asset:12379Students pictured at the Cole Monument (1845-57), Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh on the first day of the summer school

Guilty to admit, but before attending the summer school, I had imagined the three days to be a series of tedious lectures on histories of architecture or perhaps monotonous speeches on historic plasterwork. It was exactly the opposite of my naive expectations. Student participation was central to the summer school; and in a sense this school assisted us in bridging the gaps between our academies by introducing us to tangible conservation and significant heritage issues.

In this short blog, I could tell you about the amazing sites and buildings we’ve been to, the humorous pub quiz evenings we’ve had, the new connections we’ve made or perhaps describe how spoilt we felt after all the food, wine, coffee and jam scones we’ve received and so much more. However, in this blog, I would like to highlight a few of the many important lessons that I had learnt during these wonderful couple of days. Lessons which I may not have learnt if it wasn’t for this school.

Alistair-Rowan-at-Florencecourt-Co-Fermanagh-Ian-Lennon-pic.JPG#asset:12367Alistair Rowan at Florencecourt, Co. Fermanagh

The first day of the school kicked-off by underlining several pressing issues on vital topics such as vast vacancy, town-planning, governing systems and adaptive re-use. Professor Alistair Rowan had nailed an excellent talk on the buildings of Fermanagh, where he not only raised awareness in terms of preservation dilemmas, but also encouraged us to always question our stance and ethics towards conservation. ‘Should some buildings be conserved in a specific way? If so, how? Is it the right thing to do? How can we integrate the new with the old in conservation?’ I found this interrogating aspect extremely valuable, as it makes us question the norms and current standards in preserving our heritage, hence bringing them under a new light.

CWF-summer-school-Dr-Philip-Crowe-in-Enniskillen-Methodist-Hall.JPG#asset:12372Dr Philip Crowe of Space Engagers presenting in the Methodist Hall, Enniskillen

Later, Dr Philip Crowe explored international case studies with us such as Scotland, Denmark and France, on how vacancy data is created and used, and further elaborated on incentives for the reuse of vacant buildings in town centres for sustainable communities. Speaking of our UN SDGs and natural limited resources, Dr Crowe pointed out that ‘vacancy’ itself should be viewed as not only vacant space but rather as a waste of spatial resource which is highly limited.

Miriam-Delany-Free-Market-presentation-CWF-summer-school-2019-Ian-Lennon-image.JPG#asset:12366Architect Miriam Delany's 'Free Market' presentation in Enniskillen for CWF summer school 2019 (Image: Ian Lennon)

Miriam Delaney had brought the 2018 Venice Biennale to us by describing the Irish Pavilion ‘Free Market’ which explored the common space of market towns across Ireland. These places have undergone fundamental change in recent times, especially due to increased car-parking areas, while the markets’ purpose as spaces of exchange and congregation has weakened sufficiently. With the exposure at the Biennale, these small towns resonated on an international scale and has once again reinforced the need to preserve townships and settlements as distinct urban morphologies in an era of increasing mobilisation and urbanisation.

Students-gathered-outside-Mason-Hall-Co-Cavan.jpg#asset:12370Summer school students gathered outside the Masonic Hall, Co. Cavan for the 2nd day of CWF summer school

The second day opened in the Masonic Hall in Cavan where Romy Kanitz elaborated on the hands-on practice behind architectural conservation in Ireland. She described not only its theory, but the actual practical working process which they undertook in the refurbishment of Cavan Town Hall, elaborating on the challenges and the decision factors which informed each step of the project. Conservation works can often bring about different corporate structures and cultures, where the involvement of multiple organizations such as consultants, contractors and suppliers are assembled as a team. Romy highlighted the most important factor in their process and perhaps a lesson for all, which was strong communication and organization skills.

Viktoria-Hevesi-Conor-Hamill-Angela-Reuda-Primrose-Wilson-Edward-McParland-Zinnie-Denby-Mann-Kevin-V.-Mulligan.jpg#asset:12368Viktoria Hevesi (TUD), Conor Hamill, Angela Reuda (TUD/OPW), Primrose Wilson, Edward McParland, Zinnie Denby-Mann (UCEM) and director Kevin V. Mulligan outside Kilmore Parochial Hall, Co. Cavan

The summer school encompassed many subjects through site visits, tours, lectures. We explored many current built-heritage case studies in order to consider different approaches to the integration of heritage into the wider social, economic and environmental context. I could fill an entire book with all the things I’ve learnt from everyone throughout the three days. Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers and everybody involved in this brilliant program to give us these wonderful opportunities. I look forward to attending even more events organized by the UAHS/IGS.

Viktoria Hevesi, Architecture student, Technological University Dublin

The 2019 Conservation without Frontiers summer school was supported by Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, Cavan County Council, Department of Heritage, Culture and the Gaeltacht under the Co-operation with Northern Ireland Funding Scheme, The Apollo Foundation and Hamilton Architects.

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Queen’s University Belfast and Cardiff University project - stakeholder engagement with the planning systems


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A research initiative being undertaken jointly through Queen’s University Belfast and Cardiff University is contrasting stakeholder perceptions of planning in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales. It is designed to explore the role and extent of stakeholder engagement with the planning systems; views of the planning systems in relation to the public interest and other issues; changes in perceptions, based on a survey of a comparable stakeholder population in Northern Ireland, carried out in 2011; perceived relationships between various stakeholders; and priorities for reform or change.

The research is based on a major online survey of individuals to represent those citizens and public, private and voluntary sector interests with direct involvement with the planning systems. This survey will be live from the end of June until 30 September 2019 and members and supporters of the Irish Georgian Society have been invited to participate in this. The survey can be accessed at and further information is available here.

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North Great George’s Street – A Unique Story of Effort and Success


Posted by IGS


The rejuvenation of North Great George’s Street, one of the principal streets of Georgian Dublin, into a living, breathing street is celebrated in this exhibition. The exhibition was organised by the members of the North Great George’s Street Preservation Society, (NGGSPS), which this year is celebrating 40 years since its foundation. Each member has played their individual part in restoring the street and its houses to their former glory.

North Great George’s Street was originally built as town houses for the gentry between the middle and end of the 18th century. The Act of Union in 1801 quickly marked its decline when the gentry moved to London. The street then became home largely to the medical and legal professions, but it went into massive decline in the early part of the 20th century in poverty ridden Dublin as many of the houses were turned into tenements.

In the early 1970’s, a far-seeing group of individuals bought houses (some still occupied by tenants at the time) that were often in an advanced state of dereliction. Over the years, these owners have painstakingly refurbished the houses and turned them into homes. The NGGSPS, supported by the North Great George’s Street Residents Association, has played a vital role in the conservation of the architectural fabric of the buildings. All this work on the individual homes has been painstakingly carried out at each owner’s expense and restored to meet the highest standards of the houses as they were first built.

The Preservation Society was founded in 1979 by Senator David Norris, Harold Clarke and Desiree Short and other home owners of the street made up the members, including the Loreto Order and Belvedere College. It, together with the North Great George’s Street Residents Association, has worked closely with Dublin City Council, the Georgian Society and the An Taisce to ensure the preservation of the street.

Chairman of NGGSPS, Tom McKeown said: “While all the original houses are ‘protected structures’, there are still huge risks in the form of over-development of the houses themselves and the mews lanes surrounding them. In order to reduce these risks, the NGGSPS is working closely with Dublin City Council to have the area designated an Architectural Conservation Area. This would offer an increased level of protection to the street and highlight the still existing need to improve the sadly neglected public domain including pavements, railings and facades”.

Vice President of The Georgian Society, Camille McAleese added: “When the wonderful, gorgeous Dublin city was crumbling or in a perilous state, North Great Georges Street was one of unique architectural merit where a growing number of private householders had already demonstrated a public-spirited concern. Their aim was to conserve their homes in North Great Georges Street for their own enjoyment and that of fellow citizens and future generations. It is imperative that NGGPS receives full support from all the relevant organisations to support their laudable work” she added.

North Great Georges Street is one of Dublin’s most beautiful and intact Georgian Streets. It is the challenge of the present generation who started the vision to bring the street back to its former glory and to continue the work to ensure the street will be enjoyed for many generations to come.

1 to 7 July 2019
Daniel O'Connell Room, City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2

Exhibition opening hours:
Monday 1 July to Saturday 6 July, 10am—6pm
Sunday 7 July, 12pm—6pm

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Doneraile Court, Co. Cork reopens to the public


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The Office of Public Works (OPW) has re-opened Doneraile Court, Co. Cork, following a major refurbishment program. Hundreds of people queued up for the official reopening on Saturday 22 June to see inside a house that has been closed for some 25 years. The IGS has lent a number of artworks and items of furniture, some of which were donated during the 1970s and 80s when the Society was restoring the house. Well done to all involved!

Read more: RTE & Irish Examiner

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Kildare Heritage Buildings Show at Castletown House


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TBS-Castletown-Minister-Moran-at-IGS-stand.jpg#asset:12274Irish Georgian Society staff and volunteers at the Kildare Heritage Buildings Show at Castletown House: 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


Pictured at the 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.


Conor Deasey of Old Chairs & the Irish Horological Craft Forum & OPW Minister Moran


OPW Minister Moran with Ruth Bothwell gilding and artefact conservator


OPW Minister Moran with the OPW Furniture Division


IGS Vice President Camilla McAleese with OPW Minister Moran visiting the OPW decorative plaster workshop stand


IGS Executive Director Donough Cahill, OPW Minister Moran & Kildare County Council Cathaoirleach Suzanne Doyle


Stone waller Jason Barcoe of the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland with OPW Minister Moran


Thatcher Joe Leonard with OPW Minister Moran


OPW Minister Moran & Bridget Loughlin, Heritage Officer, Kildare County Council


OPW Minister Moran with IGS Vice President Camilla McAleese, and George Biros and Chris Nolan of Nolan's Group examining an example of brick pointing


OPW Minister Moran with James Grace of Grace Architectural Wood Design


OPW Minister Moran with Liam McCorkell of Glassshaus Studio

Kildare’s Heritage Buildings Show: a weekend of traditional building skills demonstrations, conservation talks and children’s craft workshops

Some photographs of the Irish Georgian Society, Kildare County Council and Office of Public Works exhibition which took place in the farmyard of the OPW’s Castletown.

The event was made possible due to the support of Kildare County Council, the Office of Public Works and Creative Ireland.

OPW Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran officially launched exhibition on Saturday 15th June 2015, with Kildare County Council Cathaoirleach Suzanne Doyle and Irish Georgian Society Vice-President Camilla McAleese welcoming him the county and exhibition respectively.

Established in 1999, the annual exhibition promotes the need for and availability of traditional building skills in the conservation and care of historic building and provides an opportunity to view some of Ireland’s finest conservation craftspeople demonstrate. The 2019 exhibition showcased sash window repairs, the use of lime-based mortars, decorative plasterwork, traditional ironwork, thatching, stained glass and fanlight conservation, stone carving, dry stonewall construction, soft capping and green wood turning.

This successful collaboration represented a coming together of all sectors of the conservation community, not just the Irish Georgian Society, the OPW, and Kildare County Council’s with their dynamic, Heritage Officer, Bridget Loughlin and Architectural Conservation Officer, Peter Black but also the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The Heritage Council, the Castletown Foundation, the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland, SPAB Ireland, the Irish Horological Craft Forum, the Buildings Limes Forum Ireland, and the many wonderful independent traditional building skills professionals and practitioners who demonstrated at the exhibition and delivered lectures as part of the conservation seminar which ran in tandem with the exhibition.

Over the course of the two-days of the exhibition, 2,000 people attended. Castletown became a one-stop destination for people in need of free, accurate and impartial advice for the care and conservation of their historic buildings. The Society wishes to thank all those who made the show such a worthwhile endeavor.

(Photos by Peter Kwasu)

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IGS submission on the government's Climate Change Adaptation Sectoral Plan for Built & Archaeological Heritage


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In its submission to the government’s public consultation for a Climate Change Adaptation Sectoral Plan for Built & Archaeological Heritage, the IGS made the following recommendations:

  • In order to fulfil the objective to “establish a baseline for heritage resources from which change can be measured”, the following actions are required:
    • Complete the National Landscape Character Map which is an objective of the National Landscape Strategy and the National Planning Framework.
    • Complete and, where necessary, review and update the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage and the Survey of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes.
    • Ensure that all relevant authorities with forward planning functions be adequately resourced with qualified conservation professionals.
  • Funding for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme be increased to at least €3.5million p.a. in fulfilling the Plan’s objective to “develop grant schemes for preventive maintenance, sensitive adaptation and disaster recovery from climate impacts, supported by guidance documents”.
  • In responding to the Plan’s recognition of a “need to develop a risk register”, there should be an objective to prepare a national Buildings at Risk Register to provide quantifiable data to assist in formulating policies and planned actions.

Read the IGS submission in full here.

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