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.

IGS Conservation Grants Programme 2018


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The Irish Georgian Society’s grants programme has been supported through the work of its London Chapter whose members organise events throughout the year in aid of Ireland’s built heritage. These grants help owners and guardians of architecturally important historic buildings to fund essential work that may not otherwise be possible.

The total value of grants awarded in 2018 amounts to €46,300.


St. Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, Co. Waterford - Grant awarded: €3,000
The cathedral is a major religious site dating from the early Christian era with continuity of worship on the site since its foundation. Its history over a millennium is encapsulated in the fabric and contrasting building styles from different periods. The fabric incorporates the work of notable architects of the past – Sir William Robinson, Sir Richard Morrison and the Pain brothers. In 2018, grant aid was offered towards the repair of early nineteenth century timber windows designed in the Perpendicular style.


Ballyarthur, Ballinagh, Co. Wicklow - Grant awarded: €5,000

Understood to have been built in the late seventeenth century, Ballyarthur’s current external appearance derives mid nineteenth century alterations. Grant aid in 2018 has assisted with urgent and innovative structural repairs to the gable wall which have allowed the removal of the raking shores which have been in place for many years.


7 Arch Bridge, Trim, Co. Meath - Grant awarded: €3,000
Constructed in the late 17th or early 18th century, the 7 Arch Bridge is a curious and easily overlooked piece of our industrial heritage. Serving as a pack-horse bridge for carriage of aggregate from Bearmount Quarry to Trim, it consists of a narrow causeway formed by the arches. The IGS grant supported the structural repair and repointing of six of the seven arches, a project championed by Scurlogstown Olympiad, a local community organisation.


Leixlip Castle Boathouse, Leixlip, Co. Kildare - Grant awarded: €5,000
This little octagonal building makes for a charming feature in the landscape. Designed in the mid eighteenth century with a tea house on the upper floor over the actual boat house. Conservation works will seek the revival of this important landmark through the reinstatement of copper coverings to the domed roof and repairs to the brick facades with reinstatement of windows and the interior being planned for 2019 with ongoing support from the IGS.


Ardrahan Church, Co. Galway - Grant awarded: €2,000
Ardrahan is a wonderfully intact example of a church type found across the island of Ireland. Maintaining such churches requires firm commitment by often small congregations. In light of this, the Society was pleased to be able to support the rolling programme of repairs to the timber windows.


Bridge House, Westport, Co. Mayo - Grant awarded: €2,500
Bridge House is a fine representative example of a well-appointed house typical of so many of Ireland’s towns and villages. Sited prominently on Westport’s Mall, the society has previously provided grant aid towards the repair of the roof. In 2018, a further grant was made available to assist with the stabilisation and repair of internal ceilings and floor structures, allowing the house to be brought back into use as a family home.


Former Christ Church, Rathcormac, Co. Cork - Grant awarded: €1,800
This mid Georgian church has sadly stood forlorn and abandoned for many years. The Society has long been concerned about its condition, in particular that of the carved timber colonnaded and pedimented 1760s family pew. Happily in 2018, the derelict building was acquired by an architect who proposes to sensitively convert into a studio. To assist in establishing the significance of the building and inform the conservation approach, the IGS has provided a grant for the preparation of a Conservation Assessment and Condition Report.


18 Ormond Quay, Dublin 1 - Grant awarded: €3,000
18 Upper Ormond Quay and its rear attendant house at 67 East Arran Street comprise an interconnecting pair of merchant premises of differing construction dates. The front house to the river, built in a conservative late Georgian idiom, dates to 1843. The rear house at 67 East Arran Street, to which this application relates, comprises a much older building of c.1760-1770 date. The houses are the subject of an ongoing restoration project by Dublin Civic Trust and in 2018 grant aid was provided towards the repair, conservation and part-reinstatement of a high status Rococo-style cornice.


Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork - Grant awarded: €4,500
Bantry House was first built in the early eighteenth century and since then has expanded considerably, particularly under Richard White, 2nd Earl of Bantry. The building has significant historic, social and cultural interest and has contributed greatly to the local area over the years. Undertaking initial investigations is vital before any works take place and therefore two-staged funding is proposed. The first stage will entail the inspection of the artificial-stone capitals of the pilasters decorating the building’s exterior by a specialist conservator with further assistance being made available on foot of the findings.


Abbeyleix Old Church, Abbeyleix Demesne, Co. Laois - Grant awarded: €1,500
Built on a pre-Reformation site, the mid eighteenth century church is of the few surviving indicators of the relocation of the town by the first Viscount de Vesci (1735-1804) from its historic location, now known as ‘Old Town’, southwest of the present planned town. Within the church, is an important alabaster and marble tomb effigy to Ema, Viscountess de Vesci (d. 1884), by Sir Alfred Gilbert. In 2018, grant assistance was provided for the replacement of the existing concrete floor with a breathable limecrete floor, to alleviate damp issues that were affecting the effigy tomb.


Curraghmore House, Portlaw, Co. Waterford - Grant awarded: €5,000
Continuously occupied and developed since medieval times, Curraghmore is a large early eighteenth century house built around a medieval tower house. The house incorporates the work of a number of the most pre-eminent architects and artists to practise in Ireland, including James Wyatt, John Roberts, Samuel Ussher Roberts and Paulo and Filippo Lafranchini. Renovated and refaced c.1875, the tower house, forms the focus of the current works programme with the Society grant aiding the conservation and restoration of the stuccoed barrel-vaulted ceiling and vaulted window openings of the entrance hallway.


Saunderscourt Gate Lodges, Co Wexford - Grant awarded: €5,000
Constructed by the 2nd Earl of Arran between 1773-1809, the gateway comprises a tall triumphal arch flanked by a pair of single-storey lodges, to which the archway is connected by four curved flanking walls with niches. Long derelict, the Irish Landmark Trust plan on renovating the lodges for short term holiday lets. Funding was offered by the IGS for floor repairs, storage of joinery, and treatment and removal of ivy.


Myrtle Grove, Youghal, Co. Cork - Grant awarded: €5,000
Myrtle Grove is a rare example of an unfortified sixteenth century Irish house to have survived with much of its original form intact. Though renovated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it retains its original character and some interior features, which may date back to the 1580s. The building’s Tudor features are characterized by the steep gables and tall chimneys. Funding has been offered towards repair of the oriel window in the S gable, which looks towards the medieval St Mary’s Collegiate Church and from which Sir Edmund Spencer is said to have written the “Faerie Queen”.

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'Making Victorian Dublin' project website goes live


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The quarrymen, stonemasons and craftspeople who cut, carved and constructed Ireland’s splendid Victorian buildings have been long lost to history, overshadowed by the architects and patrons who designed and commissioned them. Today Trinity College Dublin launched a ground-breaking research project which will illuminate the hidden history of one of Dublin’s most iconic Victorian buildings.

For the last two years the ‘Making Victorian Dublin’ project, funded by the Irish Research Council, has dissected and analysed Trinity’s Museum Building — regarded as one of the finest and most influential examples of Victorian architecture. Built in the 1850s, the building has been home to the college’s Departments of Engineering, Geology and Geography for almost 160 years. The building was pioneering in its patriotic use of Irish marble and decorative stone and established a taste for Connemara marble and Cork Red limestone which spread across Ireland to Britain, the United States and even as far as Cape Town in South Africa.

To mark the launch of the project today, a new interactive website ( allows the public to explore and navigate a 3-D digital scan of the splendid building. Users will be able to admire the splendid double-domed main hallway, the richly decorated interior carvings and 32 spectacular columns of coloured Irish stone.

The website also showcases new and exciting findings on the architecture, materials and sculptures of the building conducted by researchers from the Department of Geology and the Department of History of Art and Architecture. The team’s research, involving building surveys, extensive archival research and quarry visits, has led to new insights into the pioneering role of the Museum Building in the employment of Irish decorative stone and new understandings of the industry which sourced, supplied and crafted this stone.

Christine Casey, Professor in Architectural History, commented: “Too often we remember those who paid for these buildings and those who designed them. Architectural history is strong on telling the story of the patrons and architects and weak on those who translated design and ambition into reality. Ireland’s historic buildings were created by generations of craftsmen from raw materials extracted and cut by quarrymen and stone carvers. This project has sought to illuminate this largely hidden history by foregrounding the history of building materials and craftsmanship.”

Patrick Wyse Jackson, Associate Professor of Geology, added: “Built at the start of the golden age of Ireland’s decorative stone industry, Trinity’s Museum Building set out to showcase the extraordinary potential of Irish decorative stone. Featuring stone from right across the country the building is an Irish geology lesson in itself — in a few strides a visitor can encounter stone from the length and breadth of the country. The dominant use of Irish stone and the depiction of native Irish plants and animals in the building’s carvings were in keeping with a post-famine drive to promote and exploit Ireland’s natural resources through various Great Exhibitions and the newly launched ordnance and geological surveys.”

Images: Museum Building, 1853-7, Trinity College Dublin (Architects: Thomas Newenham Deane, Benjamin Woodward)

The 'Making Victorian Dublin' project is supported by the Irish Research Council.

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2018 Desmond Guinness Scholarship awarded to Molly-Claire Gillett


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Michael Wall, Chairman IGF and Donough Cahill, Executive Director IGF with Molly Claire Gillett (Montreal) and Logan Morse (Sussex).

The 2018 Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Molly-Claire Gillett for her study of the collection of the 19th century lace designer Emily Anderson. Logan Morse's study on Irish landscape painter George Barret Sr. (1730–1784) was also acknowledged, and she was awarded the Desmond Guinness Prize.

The Scholarship and Prize were presented to Ms. Gillett and Ms. Morse by Primrose Wilson OBE on Saturday 8 December, at IGS' annual members' Christmas Party, held at the Irish Georgian Society's headquarters in the City Assembly House.

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Financial Assistance for Architectural Heritage in 2019


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Images: The O'Brien column, Lisacannor, Co. Clare (read more) & thatched cottage in Lenankeel, Co. Donegal (read more). Both conservation projects were supported through funding from the Irish Georgian Society and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaelteacht.

Financial Assistance for Architectural Heritage

Financial assistance is provided to assist with the conservation and restoration of heritage properties through schemes which are generally administered by the local authorities.

In the context of a particular building, especially one on the Record of Protected Structures, the best advice for the owner may be to contact the Architectural Conservation Officer in the Local Authority. They will be able to advise on the various types of funding available to assist with the building.

Built Heritage Investment Scheme and Historic Structures Fund 2019

On 28th November 2018, Minister Madigan announced that the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund (formerly the Structures at Risk Fund) will operate again in 2019 with total funding of up to €4.3 million.

Full details and application forms for 2019 are available on local authority websites. Any enquiries about funding under these schemes must be directed to the relevant local authority (the Architectural Conservation Officer or other person in the local authority dealing with the schemes).

The Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2019 (BHIS) is for the repair and conservation of structures that are protected under the Planning and Development Acts. This Scheme aims to support a significant number of labour-intensive, small-scale conservation projects across the country and to support the employment of skilled and experienced conservation professionals, craftspeople and tradespersons in the repair of the historic built environment. Details and application forms etc. will be available from each local authority shortly. The allocation for 2019 is up to €2.5 million.

The Historic Structures Fund 2019 (HSF) (formerly the Structures at Risk Fund) is for conservation works to heritage structures, in both private and public ownership.

The primary focus of the Historic Structures Fund is on conservation and enhancement of historic structures and buildings for the benefit of communities and the public.

The fund is generally administered through the local authorities. Details and application forms etc. will be available from each local authority shortly. The allocation for 2019 is up to €1.8 million.

Please note: All information above is taken from the website of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaelteacht (link), this scheme is not administered by the IGS.

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Press release: Irish Georgian Society calls for greater support for building conservation


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The Irish Georgian Society has called for significantly increased public support for building conservation projects on the fifth anniversary of its own conservation grants scheme.

To mark this anniversary, the Irish Georgian Society, in association with the Heritage Council, held a conference in November titled Taken for Granted: spending to save Ireland's architectural heritage. This highlighted the excellent conservation work undertaken in recent years by owners, trusts and guardians of traditionally built buildings using grants from the Irish Georgian Society as well as funding from the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and Heritage Council.

An Irish Georgian Society report on the BHIS (download here) was also presented at the conference which, the Society noted, identified significant and unexplained disparities in the size of grant allocations offered to different counties. It also highlighted a reduction in funding for the BHIS from €3.5 million to €2 million between 2017 to 2018. A recent announcement indicates a marginal increase to €2.5 million for 2019 which falls far short of requirements.

At the end of the conference a resolution was agreed which called for
(i) a meaningful increase in government funding for conservation grants
(ii) greater flexibility in timelines for the completion of projects
(iii) the need to provide support for the retention of skilled craftsmen that are vital to undertake conservation work. The full text of the resolution is attached.

The Irish Georgian Society has also announced details of 13 building conservation projects it supported this year which together received just under €50,000 in grants. These include a late seventeenth-century bridge, several churches, a medieval cathedral and various houses ranging from the modest to some of Ireland’s most architecturally important and historic houses. These grants supported essential structural repairs as well as the conservation of architectural features in need of urgent repair. The recipients include private owners, built heritage charities and local community groups. Further details of grant aided projects are attached.


Contact: Donough Cahill, Executive Director, Irish Georgian Society
T. 01 6798675

Image: Saunderscourt Gate Lodges, Co. Wexford

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​City Assembly House Christmas Opening Hours​


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The Irish Georgian Society offices will close on Friday 21 December at 2.00pm, and will reopen on Tuesday 2 January, resuming normal office hours of 9.30am to 5.00pm.

The IGS bookshop will open on Sundays for the month of December, and will remain open until 6.00pm on Sunday 23 December.

The bookshop will close for the Christmas break, reopening at 10.00am on Saturday 29 December. You can collect purchases from the bookshop until 6.00pm on 23 December.

(Photo: Nicola Woods)

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