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.

COVID-19 Update for Irish Georgian Society

16.03.2020

Posted by IGS

Due to the latest information from the HSE and the nationwide lockdown with COVID-19, the Irish Georgian Society has made the following decisions in relation to their events and programmes. This post will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Last Updated: 6 May 2020

City Assembly House

  • The building and IGS offices are closed until June, dates TBC. Staff will be working remotely.
  • 'Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection' is now closed until further notice.
  • Any queries in relation to events booked or future bookings, please email cityassemblyhouse@igs.ie

Membership Events

All the events listed below have been postponed taking guidance from the HSE. The Irish Georgian Society will be reviewing the situation on COVID-19 in the coming months and will keep all those concerned updated with events postponed and future events planned.

Conservation Education

IGS Bookshop

  • Due to the developing situation with COVID-19, the bookshop is now closed.
  • We are still accepting orders online at shop.igs.ie - these will be posted once a week until circumstances change. Please allow at least 1-2 weeks for delivery.



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RE: Submission on Planning permission for development at a site at No.'s 47, 48 and 49 Kildare Street

05.03.2020

Posted by IGS

In January the IGS welcomed a decision by Dublin City Council to comprehensively refuse permission for the demolition of a terrace of Georgian houses constituting the Kildare Street Hotel. This decision was appealed by the applicants to An Bord Pleanala on which the IGS has made a robust submission calling for the application to be refused once again. Read submission below...

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An Bord Pleanala

64 Marlborough Street

Dublin 1

D01V902

4 March 2020

Re: Planning permission for development at a site at No.'s 47, 48 and 49 Kildare Street and No.'s 1 and 2 Nassau Street, Dublin 2 comprising the demolition of nos. 47, 48 and 49 Kildare Street and No. 1 Nassau Street and demolition of the modern twentieth century fourth storey to No. 2 Nassau Street.

Case reference: PL29S.306595

Dublin City Council reference: 4414/19

Dear Sir or Madam,

The Irish Georgian Society wishes comment on the appeal submitted to An Bord Pleanala by Ternary Limited regarding the proposed redevelopment of nos. 47, 48 and 49 Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Kildare Street lies on the route of the former Coote Lane which was widened and renamed following the commencement of Kildare House in 1745. Over subsequent decades it emerged as one of the most desirable addresses in Dublin with the Georgian Society Records (1912, vol. IV, p. 83) noting the survival at that time of ‘several’ Georgian houses. Sadly many of these have since been lost including those on Kildare Place at the southern end of the street which prompted the foundation of the Irish Georgian Society by Desmond Guinness in 1958. The current refurbishment of long derelict buildings across the road from this site is welcomed and demonstrates the viability of restoring and reusing traditionally built buildings that have deteriorated over time.

Kildare Street remains one of Dublin’s premier thoroughfares and, in addition to Dáil Eireann, is home to multiple national institutions whose buildings contribute greatly to its distinctive character. Regrettably the evolution of the street has not always been successful with a considerable number of fine Georgian houses replaced during the second half of the twentieth century by monotonous new office blocks that contribute little of interest to the streetscape.

The Irish Georgian Society is strongly of the view that the current proposal to demolish the series of Georgian houses that today constitutes a part of the Kildare Street Hotel will similarly denude the character of the street and further erode the historic building stock of Georgian Dublin. The Society contests the purported justification for these works as set out in the Conservation Assessment Report (p. 37) and refutes the suggestion that cumulative changes to the building and inappropriate maintenance of their fabric provide reason for their demolition.

The Irish Georgian Society also wishes to highlight the following provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan:

Section 11.1.1 of the Development Plan states that “built heritage contributes significantly to the city’s identity, to the collective memory of its communities and the richness and diversity of its urban fabric.”

Policy CHC1 of the Development Plan is “to seek the preservation of the built heritage of the city that makes a positive contribution to the character, appearance and quality of local streetscapes and the sustainable development of the city”.

Section 16.10.17 of the Development Plan concerns the ‘Retention and Re-Use of Older Buildings of Significance which are Not Protected’ and states that “the re-use of older buildings of significance is a central element in the conservation of the built heritage of the city” and that “in assessing applications to demolish older buildings which are not protected, the planning authority will actively seek the retention and re-use of buildings / structures of historic, architectural, cultural, artistic and/or local interest or buildings which make a positive contribution to the character and identity of streetscapes.”

Conclusion

Dublin’s heritage of Georgian buildings is intrinsic to its identity and its preservation has long been accepted as a staple of good planning and conservation practice. The current proposal to demolish those Georgian houses forming part of the Kildare Street Hotel runs contrary to this and would see the irreversible loss of part of the city’s built heritage. As per the provisions of Section 16.10.17 of the Development Plan, the retention and re-use of these historic buildings should be championed by Dublin City Council to ensure they continue to form part of our national heritage.

The Irish Georgian Society is of the view that the buildings proposed for demolition make an important contribution to the character of Kildare Street, that the applicants have provided no justification for their replacement, and so recommends that this planning application be refused.

Yours sincerely,

Donough Cahill

Executive Director, IGS

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Launch of 'Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection' at the City Assembly House

21.02.2020

Posted by IGS

The Irish Georgian Society's Spring exhibition was officially launched at the City Assembly House on Thursday 20 February. Journalist Frank McDonald officially launched the exhibition, while Peter Pearson, Donough Cahill and IGS Chairman Michael Wall welcomed invited guests and supporters to the City Assembly House.

A number of Peter Pearson's paintings of Dublin scenes are available to purchase over the duration of the exhibition. If you have queries about making a purchase, please contact the IGS Bookshop (shop@igs.ie).

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Adam, Phil, Peter and Jerome Pearson

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Anne Fitzgerald and Carole Cullen

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Arran and Shirley Henderson and Ally Kay

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Bob Moore Lavinia Jobson John Jobson and Naomi Jobson-Moore

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Caroline Stephenson and Marion Byrne

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Charlotte O'Connor and Susan Seeger

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Leanne Bellouny, Alannah Pollard, Roisin Lambe and Zoe Coleman

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Desiree Shortt and Eoin Higgins

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Emmeline Henderson and Silvie Cahill

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Harry Hutchinson and Dr Melanie Hayes

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Ivor McElveen and Adam Pearson

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James Paul McDonnell and Denise Kelly

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Karin O'Flanagan

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Michael Wall and Simon Nugent

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Michael Wall, Frank McDonald, Peter Pearson and Donough Cahill

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Naomi Jobson and Gordon Douglas

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OPW Commissioner John McMahon and David Sheehan

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Peter Pearson, Shane Byrne and Andrew Smith

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Phil Pearson and Michael Craig

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Irish Georgian Society Conservation Grants Programme 2020

10.02.2020

Posted by IGS

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Previous recipients clockwise from top left: St. Paul’s French Church, Co. Laois (2019), 7 Arch Bridge, Co. Meath (2018), and Stradbally Hall (2017)

The Irish Georgian Society is inviting applications to its' Conservation Grants Programme 2020. The Irish Georgian Society has fundraised a total of €50,000 and grants will be awarded with priority given to protected structures and recorded monuments of significant architectural merit.

The Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Grants Programme is generously funded by IGS London. Over the last six years, the Society has supported over thirty significant conservation projects from around the country, that have included works to country houses and castles, thatched cottages and historic townhouses, architectural follies, and churches.

Full list of 2019 recipients

  • Myrtle Grove, Co. Cork: window repairs to nationally important unfortified late 16th century house.
  • Jamesbrook Hall, Co. Cork: window repairs to house dating to c. 1780.
  • Temple House, Co. Sligo: window repairs to house built c. 1820.
  • Ballyarthur House, Co. Wicklow: repairs to decorative plasterwork in late 17th century house.
  • Ballycumber folly, Co. Offaly: repair works to walls of architectural folly constructed c. 1830.
  • St. Kevin’s Church, Dublin 8: restoration of stencilled decorative scheme from c. 1870 designed by architect George C. Ashlin.
  • St Paul’s French Church, Co. Laois: repair works to mid-19th century cast-iron windows.
  • St Catherine’s Church, Dublin: repair works to clock face in tower of important mid-18th century church.
  • Royal & Prior School, Co. Donegal: grant for conservation report for mid-19th century structure.


Application forms must be submitted by 5pm on Monday 2nd March 2020 and can be downloaded here.

For articles on previous grants recipients from 2014-2019, please click here.

Decisions on the allocation of grants will be made by early May at which time applicants will be informed.

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Spring Exhibition - 'Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection'

06.02.2020

Posted by IGS

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Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection
21 February to 22 March 2020
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 5.00pm (closed Monday)
City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2
www.igs.ie
#DublinFragments

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

31.01.2020

Posted by IGS

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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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