The Irish Georgian Society: Traditional Building Skills Exhibition

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

Pat Ronan Forge TBS Cork 2005

The Irish Georgian Society, now in it’s 51st year, is Ireland’s Architectural and Preservation Society. Anyone with a love of Irish architecture and period houses will be familiar with the society. Its stated aim is ‘to encourage an interest in and to promote the conservation of distinguished examples of architecture and the allied arts of all periods in Ireland’. The society was formed in 1958 to protest and prevent Georgian buildings around Ireland from being demolished and to promote the preservation of this wonderful Irish architectural heritage. In the 1950s the Irish state, and unfortunately many of the builders, architects and planners in Ireland, did not care about this heritage believing that these buildings were a symbol of the British regime in Ireland and a reminder of how repressive this regime was. In 2009 we should all know how ridiculous this is and how important these buildings are to our cultural landscape and yet many Irish Georgian buildings are still under threat. The society agitates for the preservation of these buildings through appeals, publicity and education, and throwing it’s weight behind groups who are fighting for the preservation of buildings in their locality. Of all of their education and outread programs, the one that has struck me as the most interesting is the Traditional Building Skills Exhibition that is taking place this Saturday and Sunday (and in conjunction with Roscommon Co. Council) at Strokestown Park, Roscommon.

An innovative program and a key part of their larger conservation promotion program, the society invites traditional craftsmen with skills associated with the preservation of period homes to demonstrate their craft. These demonstrations include ‘thatching, slating, lime mortar use, repair of historic windows, dry stonewalling, decorative plasterwork and much more’ all undertaken with traditional historic methods (or as near as possible) that will maintain the fabric of these historic buildings. The exhibition shows people who own period homes that they can use traditional craftsmen to repair and replace parts of their house that may be damaged and in need of repair. They do not have to turn to modern alternatives such as PVC windows (one of the greatest modern threats to a period building). They use skills and materials from whatever period the house is from and keep these skills alive and accessible. It ensures the fabric of these buildings and houses are protected so it’s a fantastic way to protect and preserve these buildings in their original condition. I think it’s a really interesting exhibition even for the majority of us who do not own period homes because it promotes architectural heritage, local skilled craftsmen and local business as well as keeping historic skills alive!

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4 Responses to “The Irish Georgian Society: Traditional Building Skills Exhibition”

  1. Patrick Walsh Says:

    It does sound like a fascinating event alright. Even more importantly it moves away from the image of the IGS as only concerned with country houses/stately homes or in current historiographical parlance historic houses (a deeply problematic term, but thats another debate). These skills: thatching, mortaring etc were used outside as much, if not more, than inside the demense wall. I cannot see “belted earls” (to use Kevin Boland’s famous term) thatching! Together with other IGS events like their public lectures, events like this can only encourage a wider audience to see the value of their superb work for our built heritage…

  2. fabric buildings Says:

    Oh its great from this such traditional skills we can obtain new verity thoughts.

  3. destiny-Ann Duncan Says:

    You did not answer my q. You talked about some society or a tour group but I wanted to know the history of the architecture and the history behind it.

  4. SIMON Says:

    I SEE MORE NEON SIGNS FOR PLANNING PERMISSON ON BAGGOT STREET.THEY SHOULD ALL BE BANNED OR AT LEAST REVERT TO TRADITIONAL ,TASTEFUL SIGNAGE FROM THIS PART OF THE CITY AS THEY DETRACT FROM THE HISTORIC NATURE AND PERIOD NATURE OF THE STREET AND SURROUNDING SQUARES.

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