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.

2017: Our Year in Review


Posted by IGS

Another year has flown by at the Irish Georgian Society! We had a busy 12 months with the completion of a number of conservation projects supported by grants from the Society, the announcement of the Conservation Awards, the delivery of a packed Conservation Education Programme, and the transformation of the City Assembly House where works have been on-going since before the summer. 


Maunsell Chapel (c.1820), Tea Lane cemetery, Celbridge, Co. Kildare

At the beginning of the year IGS announced details of our 2017 Small Grants Scheme, for which we received over 77 applications, and grants were awarded to 9 projects around Ireland. Starting off the New Year of events with our Winter Spring Lecture Series, there was a fantastic lecture given by Dr Matthew Jebb entitled ‘Lambay and Lutyens’. Dr Matthew Jebb, who is a cousin of the current Lord Revelstoke, give an insight to Lutyens and his design for Lambay as well as regaling island memories of his grandparents and their enthusiasm of natural history and wildlife.


Work underway at the Thatched Cottage, Lenankeel, Co. Donegal 

In February, work was completed on a vernacular conservation project supported by IGS - the Thatched Cottage, Lenankeel, Co. Donegal (c. 1780). The Limerick Chapter of IGS announced their plans for a Pilot Project Grant Scheme at Newtown Pery, Limerick.

In the Spring, IGS continued its annual Conserving Your Dublin Period House Course in partnership with Dublin City Council, the course is run over 12 weeks and is made up of a series of talks on the history and significance of Dublin's period houses and practical advice on their conservation. These are open to all with an interest and enthusiasm for our built heritage.

In March, IGS made a submission to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaelteacht, commenting on the consultation paper, Review of Section 482 Relief. IGS also appealed a decision by Fingal County Council to approve a major housing development at Belcamp, Malahide Road, Co. Dublin.


In April, the exhibition 'Burning Books - June 1922: The Destruction And Recreation Of The Irish Parliamentary Bookbindings' went on display at Dublin Castle. The exhibition detailed the reproduction of 14 volumes of the Irish Parliamentary Journals dating from the 1700’s which were destroyed during the Irish Civil War in 1922. The reproductions of the Irish Parliamentary bookbindings were commissioned by Dr Philip Maddock, an Irish book collector and IGS member based in the United States. Through an exceptionally generous gesture, Dr Maddock is donating six of the volumes to the Irish Georgian Society for the purpose of their display with the Office of Public Works. 


Nick Robinson and Edward McParland at the 'Irish Landmark Trust - A Celebration' lecture in 63 Merrion Square

Work commenced on the second phase of the City Assembly House Conservation Project in May. The IGS held a lecture and reception for a very significant milestone of the Irish Landmark Trust who celebrated their 25th Anniversary. Members were treated to a whistle-stop tour of all the notable and worthy projects by Dr Edward McParland who co-founded the organisation with Nick Robinson who was also in attendance. After the lecture, members had a chance to enjoy a drink in the Landmark Trust’s mews building and the Georgian gardens. 


Summer School participants outside Holy Hill House, Strabane


Placemaking - Site visit to Scutcher's Cottage, Newmills, Co. Donegal


The group exploring the interior of Fanad Lighthouse, Co. Donegal

Visiting speaker Yaima Gill (Cuba) and Eddie McParland at Holy Hill, StrabaneYoung-Irish-Georgians-at-the-Summer-Party-Knockanree-Gardens-Avoca-Co.-Wicklow.JPG#asset:8251

Young Irish Georgians at the IGS Summer Party, Knockanree Gardens, Avoca, Co. Wicklow

There were more day tours for members including two trips to see the very special Lambay Island and a lovely picnic tour to Co. Meath. 

June was a very busy month in the IGS! At the beginning of the summer, volume XIX of the Irish Georgian Society's journal Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies was published, edited by Finola O'Kane Crimmins. It is the only scholarly periodical dedicated to the study of Irish art and architecture. In mid-June the Conservation without Frontiers cross-border summer school, organised in partnership with Ulster Architectural Heritage, took place in Derry and Donegal, exploring the connections between people and place in North-West Ulster. We awarded scholarships to 29 students, and two of the winners of our student design competition wrote about their experiences: here (Emma McGarrity, University of Ulster) and here (Steven Playford, Heriot Watt University). At Russborough House, IGS presented a study day - Engineering the Past to Meet the Needs of the Future: best practice installation of mechanical and electrical services into historic buildings. This CPD study day was specifically organised for all built environment professionals and services contractors who have to install and upgrade mechanical and electrical services in historic buildings. The members' summer party took place in the beautiful surroundings of Knockanree Gardens, Avoca, Co. Wicklow. 

IGS participated in National Heritage Week again in August, by hosting an Open Afternoon at Agher Church, Co. Meath, where the conservation of the 18th century Thomas Jervais window was supported by the IGS from 2015-16.

The IGS online bookshop was given an upgrade and makeover and was unveiled in July, and can be found at! Following a series of catastrophic fires in protected structures in Cork, IGS called for a greater understanding of the importance of and threats to the city's architectural heritage, by announcing its commitment to actively support research into architectural history of Cork city, through dedicating Volume XXI of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies to the architectural and landscape heritage of Cork city. There were more day tours for members including two trips to see the very special Lambay Island and a lovely picnic tour to Co. Meath. 


Patrons Event at Luggala


O'Brien Column, Liscannor, Co. Clare

The grantees of the 2017 IGS Small Grants Scheme were announced in September, some of the projects awarded were the Maunsell Chapel (c.1820) in Tea Lane cemetery, Celbridge, Co. Kildare; the O’Brien Column overlooking Liscannor Bay, Co. Clare and Ballinrobe House (c. 1740), Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. A wonderful afternoon was spent at enchanting Luggala with the Society's Benefactors and Patrons, much thanks to our host The Hon. Dr. Garech Browne for welcoming us into his home and harpist Denise Kelly-McDonnell for the music.


David Davies, Maribeth Heeran (Chicago Chapter Head) and Michael Kerrigan at the Chciago Gala


Donough Cahill, Susan Wood Richardson, Christina McInerney, Michael Kerrigan at the New York Gala


Original Drawing – Winner Vincent Coleman with IGS Chairman Michael Wall

In October, IGS Inc hosted our annual Galas in New York and Chicago, this year's fundraising went to support IGS' 2018 exhibition 'Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland'. The 2017 IGS Conservation Awards were held at the Irish Architectural Archive, where the overall winners were The Shelbourne Hotel for their conservation of the facade of the building, while the Best Original Drawing award was presented to Vincent Coleman for his drawing of the Cathedral Church of St. Brendan, Clonfert.


Westport Study Day registration in the Hall


Study Day in the Long Room at Westport House


Donough Cahill at Westport House, Co. Mayo

The Westport Study Day took place at Westport House, Co. Mayo in November. Organised by IGS in partnership with Mayo County Council, to commemorate 250 years of Westport town, this study day celebrated the history and heritage of Westport House and its planned Georgian town. Later that month, work began in earnest on laying down the European oak floor of the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room, and choosing a colour scheme for the room! Sadly, Mary Bryan, friend, colleague, conservation champion and former Chair of the Irish Georgian Foundation, passed away after an illness.


June Stuart and Denise Kelly-McDonnell at Belvedere House


Roisin Lambe, Alannah Pollard and Nicola at Belvedere House


Zoe Coleman, Sara Moorhead and Sara's mother at Belvedere House


Kathleen James Chakraborty, representing the Desmond Guinness Scholarship committee and Kristina Decker, 2017 Desmond Guinness Scholarship recipient at Belvedere House

In December we held our annual members Christmas party in Belvedere House, Great Denmark Street, where the announcement of the 2017 Desmond Guinness Scholarship recipient was announced. The 2017 scholarship was awarded to Kristina Decker (University College Cork) for her study on Women and Improvement in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: The Case of Mary Delany.  Christmas was also celebrated by IGS London in the RAC Club, by the Limerick Chapter in No. 2 Pery Square, by the Birr and Midlands Chapter in Birr Castle, and also by the Cork Chapter. The Standish Barry lecture and reception was hosted in Ireland this year at the Royal Society of Antiquaries, architectural historian Roger White spoke about his recent publication Cottages Ornés

Thank you to all our members and donors for your continued support of the IGS and its activities throughout 2017, and we hope to see you at an event in 2018!