Irish Georgian Society

The Irish Georgian Society is an architectural heritage and preservation organisation which promotes and aims to encourage an interest in the conservation of distinguished examples of architecture and the allied arts of all periods across Ireland, and records and publishes relevant material. The aims of this membership organisation are pursued by documenting, education, fundraising, grant issuance, planning process participation, lobbying, and member activities; in its first decades, it also conducted considerable hands-on restoration activities.[1]

Irish Georgian Society
Formation1958
FoundersDesmond and Mariga Guinness
HeadquartersCity Assembly House, Dublin, Ireland
Membership
Approx. 2,400
President
David Davies
Executive director
Donough Cahill
Websiteigs.ie Edit this at Wikidata
Henrietta Street, Dublin - an example of active conservation work by the society
Aldborough House, Dublin - one of the properties now rated as most at risk by the society

HistoryEdit

An earlier Georgian Society had been set up in part by John Pentland Mahaffy and functioned from 1908 to 1913; it had no direct connection with the current body although the society deems it to be its predecessor.[2][3]

The initial catalyst for the establishment of the modern society was the demolition by the Irish government's Office of Public Works of Georgian houses at numbers 2 and 3 Kildare Place in central Dublin, ostensibly to provide rear access to Government Buildings. While the campaign to save the buildings was ultimately unsuccessful, it did help to highlight the plight of other notable buildings in decline and at risk and ignited the spark which motivated like-minded individuals to found the society.[4][5] In an open letter to the Irish Times in 1957 Desmond Guinness lamented the lapsing of the older Georgian Society and famously asked whether anyone would object to him restarting it.[6]

The modern society was hence founded in 1958 by Desmond Guinness and his wife Mariga and since that time many buildings of significant architectural merit have been saved through their work and the work of members and supporters. The next President of the society was Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin, who died in 2011, followed by Patrick Guinness.[7] Other founding members included Percy Le Clerc, the inspector of Irish National Monuments.[8][9]

In 2006 the Hon. Desmond Guinness was awarded a Europa Nostra prize for the society's preservation activities.[10]

An illustrated book by Robert O'Byrne on the society's first 50 years was published in 2008.[11]

Membership and fundingEdit

The society is a membership organisation of about 2,000 members whose purpose is to promote awareness and the protection of Ireland's architectural heritage and decorative arts.[12] The society's work within the Republic of Ireland was managed by the Irish-registered Irish Georgian Society (IGS), registered as a charity in 1970. In 2008 the Irish Georgian Foundation was set up to run the financial and charitable aspects, leaving the IGS as a membership body. The boards of both were merged in 2013 for reasons of governance, and the IGF is now the legal entity, while the IGS name and logo are retained for emotive purposes.[13]

There are headquarters in Dublin, and for the US branch, in Chicago.[14]

The conservation efforts are funded by the members' participation in the society's events programme, fundraising at central and chapter level, by donations and bequests and by sales from the society's online book and gift shop. A large proportion of the society's income comes from supporters outside Ireland.[citation needed] In the US, the organisation has been registered as a charity since 1968 as the Irish Georgian Society Inc. In the UK, the organisation fundraises as the "Irish Georgian Trust".[15]

ChaptersEdit

The society has semi-autonomous chapters in a number of locations, including Cork (founded 2003),[16] Limerick (founded 1996),[17] Birr (founded 1993, covering Ireland's midlands since 2015),[18] London (founded 1971),[19] and in Boston, New York and Palm Beach, Florida in the US.

ActivitiesEdit

The activities of the Irish Georgian Society have included the saving of threatened great buildings such as Castletown House, County Kildare; Damer House, County Tipperary; Doneraile Court, County Cork; Roundwood, Co. Laois; the Tailors' Hall, Dublin and 13 Henrietta Street, Dublin, and the restoration of mid-eighteenth-century panelled rooms at Ledwithstown, County Longford; these were led by the first president, Desmond Guinness, and in the early years, his wife also.

Guinness retired from leadership in 1990. Projects since then include the repair of the early nineteenth-century south tower roof at Barmeath Castle, Co. Louth; the restoration of the pavilion cupolas of Kilshannig, Co. Cork, built in the 1760s to the designs of the Italian architect Davis Ducart; and, in association with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the World Monuments Fund and the Headfort Trust, the restoration of the superb Robert Adam decorative schemes at Headfort House, County Meath.

Another major project, which started in 2008, was the restoration of Dublin's 1760s City Assembly House in South William Street, the first purpose-built public exhibition gallery in Britain or Ireland.[20][21][22] From 1809 it was the debating chamber of Dublin Corporation for nearly a century, and was the scene of many famous speeches by Daniel O'Connell.

The society has also compiled and makes available a list of craftworkers skilled in the maintenance of historic buildings.[23]

EventsEdit

The society runs a range of events, educational, exploratory, instructional (for example for property owners), some for members, some open.[24][25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "About Us". igs.ie. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  2. ^ "John Pentland Mahaffy". Hermathena. Trinity College Dublin. 19 (42): v–viii. 1920. JSTOR 23037099. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  3. ^ Maume, Patrick. "Dictionary of Irish Biography - Mahaffy, Sir John Pentland". dib.cambridge.org. Cambridge University Press. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  4. ^ "1756 - Nos 1-4 Kildare Place, Dublin". archiseek.com. 21 November 2014. Archived from the original on 17 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  5. ^ "Desmond Guinness: Socialite on a mission to save Ireland's Georgian heritage". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 17 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  6. ^ McDonald, Frank. "1950s Dublin: saving grand old houses from the politicians who hated them". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  7. ^ Ronald Porter, "Desmond Fitzgerald: Last of the Knights of Glin and champion of Ireland's heritage" Archived 19 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Independent, October 2011
  8. ^ "Lifetime devoted to preserving Ireland's past". The Irish Times. 16 March 2002. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Bulldozing Georgian Dublin: the battle between the ESB and those who wanted historic houses preserved". independent. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  10. ^ "The Honourable Desmond Guinness". European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  11. ^ Robert O'Byrne (2008). The Irish Georgian Society: A Celebration : [the Fiftieth Anniversary of Its Establishment]. Irish Georgian Society. ISBN 978-1-906429-02-7. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  12. ^ Irish Georgian Society. "About Us". IGS Craft (en-IE). Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  13. ^ "IRISH GEORGIAN SOCIETY". core.cro.ie. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  14. ^ "About Us". Irish Georgian Society. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  15. ^ http://www.charitiestrust.org/charities/IrishGeorgianTrust/index.html[bare URL]
  16. ^ "Cork Chapter". Irish Georgian Society. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Limerick Chapter". Irish Georgian Society. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Birr / Midlands Chapter". Irish Georgian Society. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  19. ^ "London Chapter". Irish Georgian Society. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  20. ^ Society, Irish Georgian. ">City Assembly House - a history". IGS Craft (en-IE). Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  21. ^ "City Assembly House". visitdublin.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  22. ^ "City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2". Buildings of Ireland. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  23. ^ "Traditional Building Skills Register". The Irish Georgian Society. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  24. ^ Gallagher, Alanna. "Irish Georgian Society's conservation talks for period properties go online". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  25. ^ Society, Irish Georgian. ">Events". IGS Craft (en-IE). Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.

External linksEdit