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 Christmas cards 2018 now on sale!


Posted by IGS


Our 2018 Christmas card design features an illustration of Conolly's Folly, Castletown, Co. Kildare, by Silvie Cahill, with 'Merry Christmas' seasonal greeting on the front, and a festive wreath on the reverse.

A pack of five cards with red envelopes costs €10.

Card is blank inside for your own message.

All proceeds support the Irish Georgian Society's education programmes.

Buy online from or instore at the City Assembly House.

Remember the final postal dates for Christmas!

Read more

Dublin Civic Trust: Parnell Square and Rotunda Hospital Conference - Evaluating the Historic Urban Landscape


Posted by IGS


Dublin Civic Trust is pleased to announce details of its winter 2018 conference focusing on the history, development and future potential of Parnell Square and the Rotunda Hospital complex. The event takes place in the magnificent 18th-century setting of the little-known Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital, located beneath The Gate Theatre.

Sited at the northern end of O’Connell Street, Parnell Square is Dublin’s first Georgian square, developed c.1755-1795 as a series of residential terraces enclosing the grounds of the Rotunda Hospital. The square has its origins in the establishment, in 1749, of the New Pleasure Gardens, the fundraising enterprise of the Rotunda Hospital’s founder Dr Bartholomew Mosse, who attracted aristocratic patronage through annual subscriptions and concert events. The maternity hospital opened in 1757, built to the design of leading architect Richard Castle. This was followed by the construction of the great Rotunda entertaining room in the 1760s and the establishment of the New Assembly Rooms designed by Frederick Trench and Richard Johnston in the 1780s: the latter now forming part of The Gate Theatre. The mansions surrounding the square contain some of the best examples of 18th-century interiors and decorative plasterwork in the city, complemented by modern cultural institutions including the Dublin City Gallery - The Hugh Lane. Within this historic setting, the Rotunda Hospital continues to operate its original function as a leading provider of maternity services, with various plans afoot to expand facilities or move to an alternative site in the longer term.

Ticket: €75
Ticket with CPD Certificate: €100
Ticket Student/Senior Citizen: €40 (proof required on the day)

Purchase tickets and download a conference programme from

Image: Rutland (Parnell) Square extracted from 'Dublin from the Spire of Saint George's Church' by James Mahony, 1854

Read more

IGS London Reform Club Dinner Auction - 27 November


Posted by IGS

This is an exciting chance for a new innovation at the Reform Club dinner in London on 27 November with the chance to participate in an auction for items you always wanted and now have the chance to have. Some of the lots on offer include: one week’s use of a townhouse in Majorca with its own small pool, dinner with wine at the Rac Club Pall Mall, with a tour of the club, two nights stay at Salterbridge Gate Lodge, Co. Waterford, 2 nights stay with breakfast at the 5 star Merrion Hotel Dublin, dinner in a central Dublin french restaurant and two nights stay at Kilbrogan House, Bandon, Co. Cork, with breakfast.

Full details of each lot can be downloaded here.

All items for the auction have been donated by members or with help from the Irish Georgian Society in Dublin. Please do join us on 27 November. If you are unable to attend you are welcome to place a commission bid.

Please contact John Barber before 1pm on Tuesday 27 November ( if you wish to place a commission bid.

Read more

Taken for Granted: Spending to save Ireland’s architectural heritage - Thursday 22 November


Posted by IGS


The Irish Georgian Society, in association with The Heritage Council, presents a day-long seminar examining the critical role grants play in preserving our architectural heritage. Showcasing best conservation practice achieved and the technical lessons learnt through funding provided by the Irish Georgian Society, The Heritage Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and other governmental and non-governmental grant giving bodies.

Case studies under review include: stained glass window of Agher Church, Co. Meath (Deirdre McDermott & Emma Newman); and the slate roof at Bridge House, Westport, Co. Mayo (Nicolas Prins); lime wig pointing at the City Assembly House, Dublin City (Shane Nolan); plasterwork ceilings at Collen Church, Co. Louth (Frank Keohane); conservation of the thatched vernacular cottage at Lenankeel, Co. Donegal (Duncan McLaren); Coadestone lion at Mote Park, Co. Roscommon (Alasdair Rennie); conservation of timber windows at Myrtle Grove, Youghal, Co. Cork (Lucy O’Connor); O’Brien Column, Liscannor, Co. Clare (Úna Ní Mhearáin); and wrought iron gates at St. John’s Monsterevin, Co. Kildare (Richard McLoughlin).

Thursday 22 November 2018
City Assembly House
58 South William Street
Dublin 2

Tickets: €60 (queries to / 01 679 8675)


Read more

'Rugs & Jewels' - Nuala Goodman and Donatella Pellini at the City Assembly House


Posted by IGS


7 to 20 November 2018
City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2

The Irish Georgian Society is delighted to host the exhibition ‘Rugs and Jewels’ Originally shown in Milan where Irish artist Nuala Goodman and Italian designer Donatella Pellini live, Nuala Goodman's seven rugs and Donatella Pellini's seven pieces of jewellery draw inspiration from the 9th century illuminated Celtic manuscript 'The Book of Kells', a world famous Irish historic source. The illustrations in the Book of Kells are timeless; the intense colours and the fantastical creatures twisting around the ornate lettering are startlingly modern. In these rugs and jewellery presented at the Irish Georgian Society, the famous books' illuminated illustrations have been reinterpreted in a contemporary way.

The ornate celtic lettering has been recomposed into words, some of which resonate particularly in today's world, others are eternal. References can be found to the popular culture of graffiti and tattoos.

The Irish Georgian Society promotes and encourages an interest in the Decorative Arts of every period in Ireland. For this reason it is an ideal location in which to present this work which crosses the boundaries between art, design and fine craftsmanship.

Nuala Goodman’s Rugs or ‘Arazzi’ are produced in a limited edition of 7 pieces each. They are suitable for being displayed either on a floor or as a wallhanging. They are in wool and silk, handknotted by master craftsmen in India. Donatella Pellini’s resin jewellery pieces contain the same words and become 'wearable messages'. They are hand-made in the Pellini workshop in Milan, also in a limited edition.

Read more

IGS Submission: Extension and alteration of the existing building at Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (a protected structure)


Posted by IGS

Dublin City Council
Planning Department
Civic Offices
Block 4, Ground Floor
Wood Quay
Dublin 8

26 October 2018

Re: Application by Newydd Ltd for planning permission for the extension and alteration of the existing four storey over basement building at Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (a Protected Structure) for use as 6 no. apartments. The proposal also includes repair and refurbishment works and all other ancillary works necessary to facilitate the development.

Dublin City Council Planning Reg. Ref.: 4006/18

Date of Lodgement of application: 24 September 2018

Dear Sir or Madam,

The Irish Georgian Society (of City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2) wishes to make an observation on the application by Newydd Ltd for the extension and alteration of the existing building at Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (a protected structure) to facilitate the development of 6 no. apartments, plus roof terrace. To that end, we enclose payment, in accordance with the provisions of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001, as amended, in the sum of €20.00, as payment of the submission fee.

The buildings at Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street are of very considerable architectural heritage importance and are described by Christine Casey in her 2005 publication, Dublin: The Buildings of Ireland, as being “the only surviving example in Dublin of this early C18 house type”. The entries for No. 3 Fownes Street (Reg. No. 50020150) and No. 4 Fownes Street (Reg. No. 50020149) in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage refer to the buildings as being “significant mid-eighteenth-century” houses retaining features that are considered rare survivors in the city. Both houses are described as contributing “positively to the early architectural heritage of the area”. The buildings are located in an area designated as a Conservation Area under the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022.

Having regard to the architectural heritage importance of the buildings to which this application relates and to the national and international heritage importance of Dublin’s Georgian Core, the Irish Georgian Society has significant concerns about the scale, bulk, height and intensity of development proposed at Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street, protected structures. The proposed addition of a fourth floor (with roof terrace on top) will necessitate the destruction of the surviving historic roof profile, by removing the rear / western pitch of the roof and by concealing the surviving chimney stacks of the protected structures. The proposed extension (i.e. addition of a fourth floor and boundary treatments for the roof terrace) will rise to a height something of the order of 4 m above the ridge height of the existing protected structures. The proposal will also rise above the roofs of the adjoining protected structures. While works to the rear of the ridge of a pitched roof in a dense urban area would often not be visible from street level due to the angle of view, this will not be the case for the proposed development. The location of the application site relative to the public plaza to the front of the former Central Bank will offer open views of the proposed extension above the roof of the protected from areas of the plaza and from Dame Street, as illustrated by the photomontages submitted with the application.

The Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines advise that the character of a roof relates to its profile and pitch, whether gabled or hipped; the cladding materials; use or not of dormers; the style, materials, siting and number of stacks; the use of decorative bargeboards or rainwater goods; and the way all of these together contribute to the overall character of the structure or area”. The Guidelines go on to state that “Architectural details are important features of the roofscape and their removal should rarely be permitted where they are in good condition or are capable of repair. The removal of details of interest will have implications for the special interest of the structure, as they contribute to the quality and character of a roof. Where the structure forms part of a unified terrace, the alteration or removal of roof details from one structure will affect the character of the entire group and this should be borne in mind when considering a proposal for planning permission.” With regard to extensions, the Guidelines state that "If planning permission is to be granted for an extension, the new work should involve the smallest possible loss of historic fabric and ensure that important features are not obscured, damaged or destroyed. In general, principal elevations of a protected structure (not necessarily just the façade) should not be adversely affected by new extensions… In urban areas, careful consideration needs to be given to proposals for the construction of rear extensions to protected structures and buildings within ACAs. Rear elevations sometimes contain fabric that is useful in reading the history of the structure, for example surviving older windows or doors. The effect of extensions may have considerable impact on the appearance of buildings or on the setting of neighbouring buildings, or indeed on the appearance of the structure when viewed from a distance (or a set of similar structures such as in a terrace)." The subject application, which proposes to change the profile of and remove the rear pitch of the original roof, conceal chimney stacks and create a new roof profile, will result in a profound and negative change to the character of the roof of the protected structures at Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street. Moreover, as suggested by the Guidelines, the proposed development will result in negative impacts on the character of the group of protected structures at Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 5a Fownes Street when viewed from Fownes Street, Dame Street and the public plaza to the front of the former Central Bank.

The Society is also concerned by the extent of intervention proposed within the buildings. The Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines provide that: "Many old buildings suffer from minor structural defects but will continue to perform satisfactorily providing they are not subject to major disturbance. Alterations such as the creation of new openings, changes to the interior spaces or the installation of new services and equipment could overload an existing structural system and, where this is a possibility, the proposals should be reconsidered." The “removal of … partition walls, breaking new openings in external walls” are referenced in the Guidelines as interventions, which may result in the endangerment of a protected structure. Moreover, the Guidelines are clear that: The plan-form of a building is one of its most important characteristics. Where the original plan-form remains, or is readily discernible, it should be identified and respected” [Emphasis added]. The removal of existing walls and erection of new internal partitions now proposed will result in a profound change to the plan form of the existing buildings, particularly on the second and third floors. The subject application will also necessitate very significant works arising from the installation of services to facilitate bathroom and kitchen facilities on the upper floors.

While it is evident that the extent of intervention within the protected structures is likely to be very significant, it is also the case that the proposals for the interior of the buildings are not sufficiently detailed in the application documents to facilitate comprehensive assessment of the impact of the development on the protected structures. No architectural heritage impact assessment is included with the application. The Initial Conservation Appraisal submitted with the application is vague. It is unclear whether the report relates to the subject proposal (e.g. the appraisal alternately discusses proposals to provide four and five apartments, whereas the subject development proposes six apartments) or whether the Appraisal is intended as a feasibility assessment of whether it would be possible to convert the buildings into apartments in theory (e.g. the report states that converting the building into four apartments if carefully considered, can be successfully achieved” [emphasis added]).

In any case, Appendix B of the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines would suggest that, in order to adequately assess the impact of a proposal requiring a considerable level of intervention throughout protected structures of rarity and significant architectural heritage value, the following information should be submitted to the Planning Authority:

  • a photographic survey of the interior of the buildings;
  • a description of the structures, recording features of note or historical significance, architectural or engineering design, building materials, building techniques and craftsmanship. While it is noted that the Initial Conservation Appraisal submitted with the application mentions some original features surviving within the building, the location of these features within the structures is generally not clearly identified. Given that comprehensive works to Nos. 3-4 are proposed (i.e. requiring demolitions), the Guidelines would suggest that this this description would need to be carried out on a floor-by-floor, room-by-room basis;
  • a description of the overall development of the structures, noting evidence of successive building phases and supporting this analysis with annotated reference to stylistic elements, documentary sources or scientific dating methods;
  • a description of the current physical condition of both the fabric and the structures in order to establish the nature and extent of any apparent damage, including any indications of previous demolition or alteration to the structure;
  • a clear description of the extent of intervention within the protected structures, including a schedule of demolitions, highlighting where it is proposed to remove in whole or in part original fabric;
  • an impact assessment containing an evaluation of the quality and importance of the structure and a comprehensive assessment of the implications of the development for the character of the structure and the area in which it is located.

It is further noted that the application does not include an engineer’s report or structural assessment of the proposal, notwithstanding that the Initial Conservation Appraisal notes “evidence that significant movement of the building has occurred in the past and there is a significant slope on the floors at first and second floor level” and that “some structural stabilisation works has been undertaken in the past”. It is further not clear from the application if adequate consideration has been given to the extent of intervention required within the buildings to comply with the provisions of the Building Regulations on fire, ventilation and universal access. It is of critical importance that the cumulative impact of all proposed interventions to the protected structures are comprehensively assessed before consideration is given to permitting development within these sensitive buildings.

In conclusion, the Society respectfully submits that the subject application for the development of 6 no. apartments within at Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street, which appears to propose significant removal of original fabric and considerable change to the original plan form of these rare survivors in the city, will result in significant negative impacts on the architectural heritage value of the protected structures. It is further submitted that the design of the proposed fourth floor extension makes no attempt to respect or enhance the character and composition of Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street or any of the other protected structures on Fownes Street having regard to its scale, height, bulk or design. The proposed design of the extension will disrupt the roof profile of this early eighteenth century terrace and will appear jarring, visually obtrusive and grossly out of character with the fine grain facades of Nos. 3-4 Fownes Street at this visually prominent location. The construction of such an unsuitable and discordant addition to these fine houses will result in significant negative impacts on the architectural heritage of the buildings, Fownes Street and Dublin City, and should be refused permission.

Yours faithfully,

Donough Cahill
IGS Executive Director

Read more