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.

Permanent closure of the Georgian House Museum, Dublin


Posted by IGS


Permanent closure of the Georgian House Museum, Dublin

The permanent closure of the ESB's Georgian House Museum at No. 29 Fitzwilliam Street will be a sad and significant loss to the public presentation of Dublin's eighteenth-century heritage. Announced through a planning application with Dublin City Council which seeks a change of use of the building from museum to residential purposes, the ESB have indicated that the move is being driven by a number of factors including "budgetary realities" and a "changed cultural environment".

Though this may be so, since its opening in 1991 when Dublin held the position of European Cultural Capital the museum has provided an unique opportunity for visitors to experience the architecture and the fine and decorative arts of a Georgian townhouse. The ESB is to be commended for its vision in creating the museum and sustaining it for so many years and in doing so demonstrated its credentials as a company with a “commitment to preserving Ireland’s heritage and environment”. In tempering this praise, it should be noted that the reconstruction and refurbishment of the house and of its neighbours in the late 1980s was on foot of an agreement with Dublin Corporation allowing the ESB to exceed standard plot ratios for nearby office blocks.

If the closure of the Georgian House Museum on Fitzwilliam Street is inevitable, the ESB should continue its commitment to Dublin's heritage through leading a drive for an alternative location. While the city possesses some very fine museums located within townhouses such as the Little of Museum of Dublin and No 14 Henrietta Street, these do not fully capture or present original home life of a Georgian townhouse.

Prof. Christine Casey has noted that "the city house was an occasion for the display of wealth and status, of presenting and doing justice to one's place in society" (The Eighteenth-Century Dublin Town House, 2010). With its Georgian House Museum the ESB sought to explore this from the basement through to the attic and in doing so provided a glimpse as to how Dublin’s many Georgian houses may have been furnished and lived in over 200 years ago.

With other Georgian cities such as Edinburgh and Bath presenting this important part of their histories through dedicated townhouse museums, it would be to the detriment of Dublin if its residents and visitors were no longer able to have a similar experience.

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2020 Desmond Guinness Scholarship awarded to Priscilla Sonnier


Posted by IGS


The 2020 Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Priscilla Sonnier to support her PhD research on portraits of elite Irishwomen and how they evolved throughout the eighteenth-century to reflect the ‘patriotic’ sensibilities of the Protestant Ascendancy. Ms Sonnier is a PhD candidate at University College Dublin.

Nele Lüttman's study on 'German Architects in England and Ireland 1700-1750' was also acknowledged, and she was awarded the Desmond Guinness Prize.

The Scholarship and Prize were announced by Dr David Fleming, please click here to watch the announcement.

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Planning Matters - Flesk Castle, Co. Kerry


Posted by IGS

The IGS has objected to the proposed development of a house to the front of Flesk Castle, Co. Kerry that would intrude upon its principal view to the west towards the Lakes of Killarney and the mountains beyond. Flesk Castle was built on an elevated site in a Gothic Revival style c. 1820 to the design of its owner, John Coltsmann, with a possible professional input from the Pain brothers. Having stood as a ruin since the 1930s, it is being given a new lease of life through the vision and dedication of its current owners who should be encouraged in their endeavours in every way. Building a new house that would compromise views that are integral to its architectural and historic interest would certainly not be the best means of achieving this. The IGS submission can be read in full by clicking here.

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IGS Offices Closed for Christmas Break


Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society offices will be closed from Wednesday, 23rd December and will reopen on Monday, 4th January.

The Irish Georgian Society Bookshop will also be closed for this period - Any orders made after 23rd December will be processed when we reopen on 11th January 2021.

Wishing you a happy Christmas and New Years.

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A fond farewell to our colleague Zoë


Posted by IGS


Zoë Coleman, Emmeline Henderson, Donough Cahill, Róisín Lambe and Olivia Brosnan at Castletown House in June 2018 celebrating the Society's 60th anniversary

After five years working with the IGS, our Programmes and Communications Coordinator Zoë Coleman is starting a new position with Dublin City Council Culture Company in the new year. Throughout her time with the Society she has done a stalwart job in supporting fundraising initiatives, managing events in the City Assembly House, editing the Irish Georgian Society Review, and managing IGS digital communications. She will be hugely missed by all but we wish her very well in her new position and are delighted that she will continue her involvement with the Society through the Young Irish Georgians and City Assembly House Committee. Bon Voyage Zoë!

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DISASTER ADVICE SEMINAR, Wednesday 9th December 2020


Posted by IGS



The Irish Georgian Society was delighted to partner with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to deliver the Disaster Advice Seminar, which took place on the morning of Wednesday 9th December 2020. Over 170 people joined the webinar which outlined how to help owners and custodians of an historic property, where possible, to prevent or reduce the risk of disaster striking their property by fire, floods, storms, lightening strikes or vandalism, and to lessen the damage caused should disaster occur.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan gave the opening address and officially launched Disaster: A guide to prevention and preparedness in the historic built environment, which is the latest volume in the Advice Series of publications for those responsible for the care and conservation of historic building.

Download the publication:

The Society would like to thank Jacqui Donnelly, Senior Architect at DeptHLGH's who is the Advice Series editor and convened and chaired the seminar.

The Society also wishes to thank Margaret Quinlan, keynote speaker and Disaster Advice publication author; Helena Bergin, Architectural Conservation Officer Fingal County Council; Alicia Clements, Birr Castle; Paul Collins, Ecclesiastical Insurance and Gavan Woods, CEO St. Patrick's Cathedral for delivering informative presentations encompassing topics to include the creation of disaster risk management plans; climate vulnerability assessments; and considerations when insuring historic structures.

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