Posts Tagged ‘Irish Georgian Society’

Review: Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies

13 April 2010

Contributed by Patrick Walsh

The last twenty years have seen a revolution in Irish consumption practices and attitudes. Property and its acquisition became the watchword for success, while Irish culture and heritage became sellable commodities. This has become one reading of the Irish experience during the so-called Celtic Tiger years, and it contains many truths. Similar comments could have been made about Ireland in the mid to late eighteenth-century, when the Georgian cities of Dublin and Limerick began to acquire their modern shape, and Irish country houses began to multiply in the countryside. Often seen as symbols of political power and patronage as well as avarice by contemporaries and later generations, these products of a time that was both a Penal Era and Golden Age have slowly come to be seen as important markers of Irish architectural and cultural heritage. This process owes much to the ‘search and rescue’ activities of the Irish Georgian Society, whose famous battles with the nascent developer class from the late 1950s onwards are well known. By the 1990s relations between developers and the ‘Georgians’ had become more complex as the new rich of the Tiger years sought trophy homes, often those erected in that previous age of prosperity. Similarly that other phenomenon of the last two decades the ‘celebrity’ similarly desired their own ‘pile’. Together with a more favourable government attitude the wealth of the boom years allowed Irish Georgian to become fashionable again, leading to the Lord of the Dance becoming the Lord of the Manor. Here I am referring to Michael Flatley’s purchase of the fine Co. Cork country house, Castle Hyde, which he had lovingly restored. Its history during the turbulent years of the great famine is the subject of a fine article by Terry Dooley in the latest issue of Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies, the journal of the Irish Georgian Society, which is the subject of this review. This journal reflects the IGS’s longstanding commitment to scholarship seen in its original periodical, The Quarterly Bulletin and since 1998 Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies now in its twelfth volume which has become one of the leading journals in the field of Irish art history. Read more

Interview: Donough Cahill, Executive director, Irish Georgian Society

8 March 2010

What book do you wish you had written?
Maurice Craig’s Dublin: 1660-1860.

What would you do if you were not working in conservation?
Quite possibly I’d be working in field archaeology as that’s where I was before starting with the IGS.

When was the last time you looked at wikipedia?

What event had the greatest impact on history in Ireland?
The famine because of its broad social, cultural, economic and political legacy.

What book are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and trying to decide now between fiction and non-fiction – any suggestions?

Interview date: 8 November 2009

The Irish Georgian Society: Traditional Building Skills Exhibition

11 June 2009

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.

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