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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 objects to 21-storey building at Apollo/College House, Dublin

23.01.2020

Posted by IGS

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The IGS has made a submission to An Bord Pleanala raising concerns about the impact of a proposed new twenty-one storey structure (78.95m) in Dublin that would have a detrimental impact on the character, setting and integrity of key buildings and architecturally sensitive locations in the city including Trinity College, the Custom House, and College Green. The submission contends that this proposed development would be contrary to the provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan, the George’s Quay Local Area Plan and Building Height Guidelines for Planning Authorities.

Read the full submission.

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​Roscommon road projects threatens historic landscape and protected structure

10.01.2020

Posted by IGS

The IGS has raised significant concerns about the impact of new road proposals by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Roscommon County Council on the surviving parkland landscape of Mote Park demesne (home of the Lion’s Gate archway), and on the setting of mid-18th century Scregg House which received vital grant aid for conservation works from the Society some years ago.

IGS submission on the proposed N61 Ballymurray to Knockcroghery Road Project (Co. Roscommon)

The Irish Georgian Society welcomes this opportunity to comment on the proposals for the N61 Ballymurray to Knockcroghery Road Project but has considerable concerns about the heritage impact of route options C and C-3.

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The Society is particularly concerned about the detrimental impact of route C on an historic avenue through Mote Park demesne that was developed c. 1839 by 2nd Baron Crofton as a formal approach to the house. While Mote Park house was demolished in the 1960s and its parkland has been denuded, much of its outline remains and continues to contribute to an understanding and appreciation of the area. The record for Mote Park demesne in the historic gardens survey of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) notes that its Site Footprint and Boundaries remain visible and that its Entrances, Drives and Avenues have not moved. The NIAH also includes a record for the Lion’s Gate (RPS Ref. 04200073) which, together with its lodges, formed a southern entrance to Mote Park and was partially restored in recent years by the Roscommon Heritage Group with grant assistance from the Irish Georgian Society. Other surviving historic structures of note within the demesne include the Derrydonnell Bridge (RPS ref. 04200072), a former laundry house (RPS ref. 04200074), and a church and mausoleum (RPS Ref. 04200075).

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The surviving elements of Mote Park demesne are of significant architectural and designed landscape importance and, through the efforts of organisations such as the Mote Park Conservation Group, serve as a major local amenity. The further erosion of the demesne through the construction of route C would undermine its heritage and amenity value. For this reason, the Irish Georgian Society urges Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Roscommon County Council to discount this route as an option for the road project.

The Irish Georgian Society has further concerns about the impact of route options C and C-3 on the setting of Scregg House (RPS Ref. 04200045) which lies to the south of Mote Park. Scregg is a five-bay, three-storey over basement house that was constructed c.1765 and is of considerable architectural merit. It is also a site of archaeological significance with a tower house, a ringfort, and a cluster of Sheela-na-gigs lying within its pocket demesne. While Scregg House is no longer occupied, it is maintained by its owners who undertook repair works to the roof, windows, and rainwater goods some years ago with grant support from the Irish Georgian Society. The encroachment of a new roadway on the setting of Scregg would significantly undermine its character and diminish an appreciation of its heritage significance.

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County Roscommon possesses an important built, landscape, and archaeological heritage which should be conserved and championed for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. In considering proposals for the development of the N61 Ballymurray to Knockcroghery Road Project, every effort should be made to ensure this. As such, the Irish Georgian Society urges that route options C and C-2 are not selected as preferred routes and that careful consideration be given to the heritage impact of the other options.

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2019: Our Year in Review

20.12.2019

Posted by IGS

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IGS Membership Events Coordinator Roisin Lambe promoting membership of the Society at the RDS Horse Show in August

2019 was another bustling and exciting year for the Society, so as we wind down for the year, we wanted to share our highlights of the year with you, our members and supporters.

Thank you to all of our members and supporters who made these events worthwhile, your continued support enables to fulfill our mission and create an engaging and enriching conservation education programme as well as a programme of events for our members. From all of us in the office, we look forward to seeing you in 2020!

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Irish Georgian Society staff and volunteers at the Kildare Heritage Buildings Show at Castletown House in June: 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

JANUARY

Our year kicked off with our winter lecture series in the City Assembly House, with two talks: 'Conserving your Dublin period house - 1747 not 2019!' and ‘A Catholic College for a Catholic People’.

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Donough Cahill speaking at the Heritage Ireland 2030 public consultation event in Limerick

FEBRUARY

Our annual Conserving Your Dublin Period House lunchtime seminar series commenced. The Limerick Chapter held a Heritage Ireland 2030 public consultation event with Limerick City and County Council and The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaelteacht which was attended by over 80 participants. In its submission to the Department, the IGS welcomed the preparation of a new national heritage plan and called for the publication to include clear actions and measurable targets for the achievement of the objectives. Read it here.

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MARCH

The IGS 2019 Conservation Grants programme was launched, funded by IGS London. In the Unites States, the Society's annual gathering in Palm Beach saw a series of events including a talk on Sir Hugh Lane from Robert O'Byrne, and a fundraising Cocktail Party for local supporters.

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Sir David Davies, IGS President, welcomes guests to High Tea in The Brazilian Court, Palm Beach

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APRIL

We launched a website and hosted an open evening for the City Assembly House, to attract prospective clients. You can follow the City Assembly House on instagram. Christopher Moore gave an impassioned lecture on Castletown House: 50 years of re-appraisal’ and some of our members went on an international trip to Edinburgh.

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Dr Conor Lucey, Prof Christine Casey & Dr Ellen Rowley at the launch of Volume XXI of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies

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Dawood Nazerali (National Guide) with group at National Museum, Addis Ababa

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Coffee ceremony at National Museum, Addis Ababa - Diane and Trevor Orr with Mary O'Leary

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Michael Wall, Sir David Davies, Dr Finola O Kane, Andrew Carpenter and Donough Cahill at the launch of Volume XXI of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies in May

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Tom and Jane Kearns, Bob and Vicki Borden on the IGS Inc tour to Ireland in May

MAY

Volume XXI of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies launched at the City Assembly House, TU Dublin Conservatoire's May Rush Hour Concerts were hosted at the City Assembly House. The City Assembly House wins the 2019 RIAI Award for Adaptation and Re-use: Conservation. Some of members embarked on an International Tour to Ethiopia. The recipients of our 2019 Conservation Grants Programme were announced. IGS Inc supporters came to Ireland for an international trip, while taking in the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.

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Ken Curran of The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland (DSWAI) leading a dry stone walling demonstration

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Thatcher Ken Leonard with some eager heritage enthusiasts!

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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.

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Ruth Bothwell of Decowell at the Cruinniú na nÓg Children’s Workshops at the Kildare Heritage Buildings Show, Castletown in June

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David Skinner demonstrating how to design wallpapers at a Cruinniú na nÓg Children’s Workshop

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Doneraile Court reopening

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'Conservation without Frontiers' students gathered outside the Masonic Hall, Cavan town

JUNE

The Kildare Heritage Buildings Show took place at Castletown House. The cross-border 'Conservation without Frontiers' summer school took place in counties Cavan and Fermanagh, organised in partnership with Ulster Architectural Heritage. Doneraile Court, Co. Cork reopens to the public.

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Events Committee members Caroline Stephenson and Pat Murray at the garden party

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Katrina O'Sullivan, David Madden, Letitia Pollard and Rose Mary Craig at the garden party

July – Our members' Summer Garden Party took place in Durhamstown Castle.

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CAH Exhibitions Committee member Victoria Browne launches the Weber Furlong Retrospective exhibition

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Liberties walking tour with Arran Henderson

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Wexford Picnic Tour group

AUGUST

The City Assembly House hosted the Weber Furlong Retrospective exhibition. Members undertook a tour of the The Liberties with Arran Henderson, as well as the Picnic tour to Wexford and Lambay Island Day Tour.

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The Irish Baroque Orchestra performance at Culture Night in the City Assembly House

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Lexlip Boathouse undergoing conservation works


SEPTEMBER

The City Assembly House opened its doors once again for one of the best nights of the year - Culture Night! We were thrilled to host the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Pallas Projects artists, and 500 of you visited the building after hours! The major restoration of the 18th-century Leixlip Castle boathouse was completed with the support of funding from the Irish Georgian Society. Read about it here. An IGS sponsored exhibition ‘Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier’ opened in the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The six recipients of the President's Circle were announced by Sir David Davies.

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Capard House author Ciarán Reilly with his wife Tara at the book launch

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Marina Guinness accepting the President's Circle certificate from Sir David Davies on behalf of the Hon. Desmond Guinness in September

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IGS Conservation and Original Drawing Awards Committee: David Griffin, Edward McParland, Livia Hurley, Frank McDonald and Frank McCloskey

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Christine Casey delivering her lecture on the Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin for the Victorian Dublin Revealed lecture series

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Jacqui Ansell delivers the 2019 Standish Barry lecture

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Robert O'Byrne, Beth Dater, Michael Kerrigan, Suzy Moran and Michael Wall at the launch of 'Cost of Revolution The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier'.


OCTOBER

The annual New York and Chicago Gala dinners took place and raised substantial funds to support the Society's Conservation Education programme. Capard House was launched at the City Assembly House, and the winners of the 2019 Architectural Awards were announced. The sold-out Victorian Dublin Revealed lecture series commenced and the annual Standish Barry Lecture on 'To Rome, then Home: Batoni and his Irish Sitters (Fashioning Identities in the Grand Tour Portrait)'.

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Fred Krehbiel, Laurie Weed and Meredeth Moriarity at the Chicago Gala Dinner

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The Kearns and Bordens at the New York Gala Dinner

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Beth Dater and Susan Burke at the New York Gala Dinner in October

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Castle Coole Study Day Speakers and Chairs (left to right): Dr Patricia McCarthy, Dr John Martin Robinson; Terence Reeve-Smyth, Primrose Wilson, Christopher Monkhouse; Lady Belmore, Lord Belmore, David Skinner, Emmeline Henderson, Donough Cahill, Frances Bailey, Dr William Roulston.

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The Ballycumber Folly undergoing conservation works, funded by the Society's Conservation Grants Programme

NOVEMBER

The much anticipated Castle Coole Study Day took place in Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh, in partnership with National Trust Northern Ireland. The annual Mary Bryan lecture 'Navigating our heritage at Lough Rynn' was given by architect Robin Mandal, former president of RIAI. Conservation works to the Ballycumber Folly in Co. Offaly was completed.

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Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Cora McDonagh (Maynooth)

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Member Carmel Humphries and a friend enjoying the festivities at the Christmas Party in No. 12 Henrietta St

DECEMBER

The Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Cora McDonagh at the IGS Members Christmas Party to support her PhD research on ‘Irish Country House art collections: Exhibitions, Estate Expenditure and Civic Bequests 1814-1914.’. Dr Kathryn Milligan's study on ‘Exhibiting, viewing and selling art in Dublin, 1845-1849’ was also acknowledged, and she was awarded the Desmond Guinness Prize.

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IGS submission on Proposed N11/M11 road improvement scheme, Co. Wicklow

16.12.2019

Posted by IGS

Proposed N11/M11 road improvement scheme, Co. Wicklow

Through this submission the Irish Georgian Society notes its serious concerns about the impact of the proposed N11/M11 road improvement scheme on protected structures and historic designed landscapes lying within the designated route corridor options. It also wishes to express its dismay at the apparent lack of any consideration given to the impact of these options on sites and areas that are of regional and national heritage significance.

The Irish Georgian Society is a membership organisation, which encourages and promotes the conservation of distinguished examples of architecture and the allied arts of all periods in Ireland. These aims are achieved through our education programmes, by supporting and undertaking conservation works, publishing original research, planning participation and fundraising. The Society has had a marked and widely acknowledged impact on the conservation of built heritage in the state and has wide experience of the problems associated with the restoration, repair and maintenance of the fabric of historic property.

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Approximate locations of the Cottage Orne and of the Goulding Summerhouse

Picturesque and designed landscapes of Wicklow

County Wicklow is often referred to as the Garden of Ireland and has been a renowned destination for tourism and for artists since the eighteenth-century. The draw was, as it is today, the picturesque landscape and its surprising dramatic topography and ancient and more recent woodlands. Given its proximity to Dublin, the area subject to the current road improvement scheme historically drew most attention and formed the subject of celebrated works by artists such as Thomas

Roberts (1748-1777), George Barrett (1732-1784) and William Ashford (1746-1824). Its picturesque qualities were further explored in publications such as Thomas Fisher’s Scenery of Ireland (1796) and Thomas Milton’s Seats and Demesnes of the Nobility and Gentry of Ireland (1783).

The current road improvement scheme would have a devastating impact on the distinctive character of an area which has drawn visitors for centuries and would see the irretrievable loss or significant diminution of multiple sites through demolition or massive earth works.

The Irish Georgian Society’s submission considers the impact of the proposed routes on the following houses and landscapes: Dargle Cottage (protected structure), Kilcroney House (protected structure), Hollybrook House (protected structure), Bellvue Demesne, Tinnapark House (protected structure), and Mount Kennedy House (protected structure).

Dargle Cottage

The Dargle River valley was perhaps the best well known of Wicklow’s scenic destinations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and was described in 1796 by Jonathon Fisher as follows:

The Glen called the Dargle is in the county of Wicklow, 10 miles from Dublin. It commences near Tinnehinch… and extends for about one and a half mile. It is formed by two hills separated by a close and deep precipice, through the bottom of which, a rapid stream forces its passage over large detached rocks in a winding direction towards Bray, where it unites with the waters of the Irish Channel. Fisher, 1796, Scenery of Ireland, plate XXIV

The current road proposals would have a direct and severe impact on the northern end of the valley. This picturesque area is the home of an important garden situated on either side of a steep river gorge that was laid out by Sir Basil and Lady Goulding in the 1940s. Two protected structures lie within the gardens: Dargle Glen/Cottage (RPS ref. 03- 36 ), a cottage orné built for Sir Basil and Lady Goulding to the designs of Michael Scott and Partners; and the Goulding Summerhouse (RPS ref 03-37) described by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as:

A starkly modernist structure whose impact is made all the greater by its idyllic well-wooded setting. Perhaps the most dramatic and memorable later 20th-century building in the whole county.

The Blue Corridor and notably the Yellow Corridor Options would have an overwhelming impact on this highly sensitive site which, together with the garden, house and summerhouse, survives as one of the most important designed landscapes of the mid to late twentieth century in Ireland.

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Goulding Summerhouse (image source: The Modern House)

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Approximate locations of the Cottage Orne and of the Goulding Summerhouse

Kilcroney House (Dublin Oak Academy)

The same Corridor Options would completely destroy the setting of Kilcroney House (RPS ref 03-35) which lies to the south of Dargle Cottage, with the Blue Corridor running in very close proximity to the main building and associated structures.

The entry for Kilcroney in the Record of Protected Structures in the Wicklow County Development Plan reads as follows:

Extensive, Tudor gothic-revival house of circa 1850 designed by Daniel Robertson for Dr Lloyd, Provost of Trinity. It is built of granite ashlar with transom and mullioned windows, drip labels, crenulations, gables and pinnacles. On the right-hand side is a four-stage tower and out offices which are designed to look like the main (house).

The NIAH Survey of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes records the presence of Kilcroney on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Maps and, in the Initial Overview, notes that the site footprint remains visible, the boundary remains defined, and that there has not been significant development.

The construction of a new motorway in such close proximity to Kilcroney would be entirely contrary to the provisions of national legislation for the protection of our built heritage and can’t possibly be considered a suitable solution for the improvement of the N11/M11.

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Kilcroney House (image source: Dublin Oak Academy)

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Approximate location of Kilcroney House

Hollybrook House

To the east, the Green Corridor and Red Corridor Options would have a hugely detrimental impact on the setting of another protected structure, Hollybrook House (RPS ref. 07-06), while the Blue Corridor would also compromise the building. Hollybrook was built c. 1831 to the designs of the noted architect William Morrison who had previously worked on nearby Kilruddery with his father Richard. In the Record of Protected Structures for County Wicklow, the house is described as follows:

Important, Tudor, gothic-revival house by William Vitruvius Morrison, 1838. An energetic essay of granite ashlar with transom and mullioned windows, gables and tall stacks. Clock tower, stables and folly tower.

In its appraisal of the house, the NIAH notes that it:

…is in relatively original condition even though it has suffered considerably from fire and by subdivision into individual dwellings. The setting has been diminished with the selling of most of the demesne.

Though its setting has been compromised through the loss of much of its historic parkland, the proposed route options would largely erode what remains.

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Hollybrook House (image source: Gibbons Architecture)

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Approximate location of Hollybrook House

Bellevue demesne

Though Bellevue House was demolished in the 1950s and its demesne has since been divided up for use as a golf course and farmland, it retains some of the very best picturesque qualities for which it was previously celebrated. Most notable of these is the view from The Octagon and banqueting room which is situated on a

ridge above the ancient woodlands of the Glen of the Downs, a designated Nature Reserve. In 1796 it was observed that from here “there is an extensive view of the Scalp, the Sugar-loaf hills, Dromin, Howth, Dalkey, Lambay, Dunran, and Kindlestown hill” (Ferrar, J., 1796, A View of Ancient and Modern Dublin). If either the Orange Corridor or Pink Corridor Options were implemented, the view looking north would include not just the current dual carriageway but a motorway that would forever compromise the character and special qualities of the surrounding landscape.

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Approx. location of The Octagon. The red corridor runs through the Glen of the Downs

Tinnapark House

To the west of Kilpeddar, the Blue Corridor Option would have a significant impact on the setting of Tinnapark House (RPS ref. 12-05) and would also have a detrimental impact on Organic Life, an enterprise which pioneered organic horticultural in Ireland. Established in the mid-1980s, its carefully designed areas of production exploited the shelter provided by historic planting.

The entry for Tinnapark in the Record of Protected Structures describes it as a “five-bay, two-storey, gable-ended house of circa 1800 with rough-cast walls, Doric porch, sash windows with Georgian panes and natural slates on the roof”. In its appraisal of the house, the NIAH notes that it is “a well preserved early 19th-century house which is in good and substantially original condition, and has retained its original setting”.

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Tinnapark House (image source: NIAH)

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Mount Kennedy House

Immediately to the south lies Mount Kennedy House (RPS ref. 13-20) which is among the most architecturally sigificant houses in Co. Wicklow, and is a building of national architectural importance. It was built c. 1782 to the designs of James Wyatt, one of the most noted architects in Ireland and Britain of the time. In his recently published biography of Wyatt, John Martin Robinson observed that “Wyatt's work exerted a major influence on neo-classical architecture and decoration in Ireland, where a far higher proportion of his buildings has survived than in England” (2012, James Wyatt (1746-1813), Yale).

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Mount Kennedy House (image source: The Irish Times)

Mount Kennedy House is described as follows in the Record of Protected Structures:

Highly influential, neo-classical house designed by James Wyatt and executed to an exceptionally high standard. The façade, of five bays and two storeys over a basement has an engaged, pedimented, tetrastyle portico with a Diocletian window on the first floor.

Ferrar (qv) wrote enthusiastically of Mount Kennedy in 1796: .

Delightful views!–where’er we turn the eye,

Still varied prospects crowd upon our sight;

These charms the senses, and the thoughts employ.

And wrap the mind in tranquil, calm delight.

In The Seats and Demesnes of the Nobility and Gentry of Ireland (1783) Thomas Milton described the setting of Mount Kennedy as follows:

It is situated on an eminence and from the rear, or east side, commands a fine view of the sea, at the distance of about two miles; the country which the eye runs over in the interval is extremely beautiful. The west view, overlooking the demesne, is bounded at some distance by mountains, which form a bold termination of the prospect… There are, perhaps, few places in Ireland superior in beauty to Mount Kennedy.

The NIAH Survey of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes records Mount

Kennedy on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey maps (1836 – 1846) and notes that the same footprint and boundaries remain defined, that there has been no change in the location of entrances, avenues, woodlands or the drive. It also notes changes

in the historic landscape with the most notable perhaps being the development of a road into a dual carriageway. However, the integrity of the parklands around the house remains largely intact which is a fitting recognition of its significance and that of Mount Kennedy House itself.

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This important surviving historic landscape is now threatened by the proposed Blue Corridor Option which would slice through the north-eastern section of the demesne, cut across the main avenue to the house, and result in the loss of its gate lodge. The eastern view to the sea recorded in 1783 would instead be obstructed by a motorway cutting across the parklands.

National and local authority plans and strategies

The Irish Georgian Society wishes to highlight the following provisions relating to the protection of our built heritage and landscapes in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2016-2022, the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2004/2011), the National Landscape Strategy (2015-25), and the European Landscape Convention which was ratified in 2002 by the Irish government:

Wicklow County Development Plan, Built Heritage Strategy (Chp. 10):

(it is an objective to)… ensure that the protection and conservation of the built heritage of Wicklow is an integral part of the sustainable development of the county and safeguard this valuable, and in many instances, non-renewable resource through proper management, sensitive enhancement and appropriate development;

(it is an objective to)… ensure the protection of the architectural heritage of Wicklow through the identification of Protected Structures, the designation of Architectural Conservation Areas, the safeguarding of designed landscapes and historic gardens, and the recognition of structures and elements that contribute positively to the vernacular and industrial heritage of the County;

Wicklow County Development Plan, Strategy for Tourism and Recreation (Chp. 7):

(it is an objective to)… protect Wicklow’s principal strengths and capitalise on the distinct tourism and recreational attractions that are on offer – scenic beauty, woodlands and waterways, coastal areas and beaches, and built and natural heritage;

(it is an objective to)… preserve the character and distinctiveness of scenic landscaped as described in the Landscape Categories of the County set out in Chapter 10;

Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2004/11):

7.2.1 Conservation is the process of caring for buildings and places and of managing change to them in such a way as to retain their character and special interest. Historic structures are a unique resource. Once lost, they cannot be replaced. If their special qualities are degraded, these can rarely be recaptured.

National Landscape Strategy (2015-25):

Our landscape reflects and embodies our cultural values and our shared natural heritage and contributes to the well-being of our society, environment and economy. We have an obligation to ourselves and to future generations to promote its sustainable protection, management and planning.

The European Landscape Convention

the landscape has an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields, and constitutes a resource favourable to economic activity and whose protection, management and planning can contribute to job creation… The landscape is a key element of individual and social well-being and its protection, management and planning entail rights and responsibilities for everyone.

Conclusion

Ireland’s architectural heritage and its historic gardens and designed landscapes are intrinsic to the multi-layered character of its countryside. This is particularly evident in County Wicklow where its picturesque landscapes have been celebrated since the eighteenth-century through the work of artists and writers and continues through to the present day with the County having deservedly earned the moniker of ‘Garden of Ireland’.

If any of the various Corridor Options proposed for the N11/M11 Improvement Scheme are implemented, they would have a devastating impact on some of the county’s most important protected structures, historic gardens, and designed and natural landscapes. The picturesque setting of the cottage orné and summerhouse of Dargle Cottage would be ruined; the very future of Kilcroney House and Hollybrook House would be undermined; the celebrated views from the ridge above the Glen of the Downs would be forever compromised; the setting of Tinnapark would be significantly diminished; and a sizable portion of the historic designed landscape of Mount Kennedy House, a structure of national architectural importance, would be lost forever.

The protection of this heritage is embedded in the conservation and tourism objectives of the Wicklow County Development Plan and in conservation legislation while the National Landscape Strategy and the European Landscape Convention set out visions that should be applied to guide its sustainable management. The Irish Georgian Society is of the view that these provisions must be adhered to in order to protect the county and the country’s heritage and, as such, recommends that the proposed Route Options be set aside.

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IGS submission on proposed demolition Georgian houses on Kildare Street

12.12.2019

Posted by IGS

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The following submission was submitted to Dublin City Council's Planning Department on 12 December 2019

The Irish Georgian Society wishes to strongly object to the demolition 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.

Donough Cahill
Executive Director, Irish Georgian Society

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2019 Desmond Guinness Scholarship awarded to Cora McDonagh

11.12.2019

Posted by IGS

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Dr Conor Lucey, Cora McDonagh, Dr Kathryn Milligan, Michael Wall

The 2019 Desmond Guinness Scholarship was awarded to Cora McDonagh to support her PhD research on ‘Irish Country House art collections: Exhibitions, Estate Expenditure and Civic Bequests 1814-1914.’. Ms McDonagh is a PhD candidate at Maynooth University.

Dr Kathryn Milligan's study on ‘Exhibiting, viewing and selling art in Dublin, 1845-1849’ was also acknowledged, and she was awarded the Desmond Guinness Prize.

The Scholarship and Prize were presented by Dr Conor Lucey at the IGS Members Christmas Party at 12 Henrietta Street on Saturday 7 December.

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