Irish Georgian Society Review
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The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster an interest and a respect for Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s architectural heritage and decorative arts. www.igs.ie
Irish Georgian Society City Assembly House 58 South William Street Dublin 2 Ireland D02 X751
Irish Georgian Society 858 West Armitage Avenue Suite 286 Chicago, IL 60614 USA
T + 353 1 679 8675 E firstname.lastname@example.org
T + 1 312 961 3860 E email@example.com
The Irish Georgian Societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conservation programmes and activities are funded through the generous support of our members and private donors. As the Society has charitable status in Ireland
Irish Georgian Foundation: CHY 6372), the UK (Irish Georgian Trust: Chy. no. 3092084), and in the USA (Irish Georgian Society Inc.), donations are eligible for tax relief.
Front Cover Detail from the Thomas Jervais (d. 1799) stained glass window at Agher Church, Co Meath. Image: Nick Bradshaw
In this issue Regulars
Your Plan for Our Future Zoë Coleman
The value of making a bequest to the Society
The Loss of a Georgian Gem Tony Foy & Brendan Kelleher
The burning of Vernon Mount in Co. Cork
President’s Letter Sir David Davies
Our President casts an eye on some significant happenings 04
Heritage Update Donough Cahill
Overview of planning and other issues during the past year
Conservation Grants Scheme Ashleigh Murray
With the assistance of our London Chapter, several worthy projects received funding to maintain their structures City Assembly House: A venue for new 09 creative engagement Seamus Hogan
Professor Anne Crookshank, an appreciation William Laffan
A tribute to Professor Anne Crookshank (1927-2016)
A Generous Donation William Laffan
A donation of Irish miniatures to the Society are now on loan and display at Castletown
In demand as an exhibition space
City Assembly House Update Donough Cahill
The Living City Initiative in Georgian Limerick
Our Executive Director reports on the ongoing conservation of the CAH
Conservation & Outreach Programme Emmeline Henderson
Courses and exhibitions held during the past year
Events Round-Up Róisín Lambe
What we got up to during the year, around Ireland and overseas
The Conservation Challenges facing Limerick Ailish Drake
William Derham Lost Ireland
Author William Derham selects some of his favourite images of lost Ireland 28
UAHS/IGS Summer School Primrose Wilson
A report on the inaugural Summer School
In praise of the decorative ‘Irish’ lobby Patricia McCarthy
Author of Life in the Country House in Georgian Ireland reflects on the beauty of the Irish lobby
Limerick Ailish Drake Birr/Midlands Elizabeth Fogarty Cork Kevin Hurley London Ashleigh Murray IGS Inc. Michael G. Kerrigan
Conservation project update Deirdre McDermott & David Molloy
The Thomas Jervais window at Agher Church, Co. Meath and the Lion’s Gate, Co. Roscommon IGS support of publications on Ireland’s heritage 37 William Laffan Our publication grants scheme bears fruit
Editor Letitia Pollard Assistant Editor and Advertising Sales Zoë Coleman
Editorial Committee Donough Cahill Rose Mary Craig
Dear, Faithful, Loyal and Generous Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe
A tribute to Jeremy Williams (1943-2015)
President’s letter Sir David Davies
In 2015, Sir David Davies became the President of the Irish Georgian Society. In this letter he reflects over the past year and of things to come. I was honoured to accept an invitation in 2015 to become the fourth President of the Irish Georgian Society. Based in the City Assembly House in Dublin, the IGS has a vibrant Board, volunteer committees, and Chapters across Ireland, in London, and in Chicago, New York and Palm Beach. I am greatly heartened by the ever growing co-operation between the different locations that make up our Society. The financial contributions from IGS Inc are immense and the conservation grant from IGS London has allowed some 29 projects in Ireland to be individually financed since 2014. Our Society is driven by the enthusiasm of its members for Ireland’s rich heritage and by a shared goal to ensure we can pass this on to future generations. While we have come a long way from the wrecking ball of the past, buildings of national importance are still victims of neglect and wanton vandalism. Sadly I learned in July that Vernon Mount in Cork was left as a shell after a devastating fire, seemingly started by intruders. Vernon Mount has long been a place of interest for the Society. I had an opportunity to visit the house prior to its destruction, but regrettably entry was not permitted by its absentee owner. I therefore had no chance to explore a building described by Desmond Guinness as a “study in curves” and by Maurice Craig as “an exception to most rules”. The challenge now for this eighteenth-century gem is to consolidate its remains and to plan for its future. An initiative led by the local Grange Frankfield Trust has been championing Vernon Mount for some years and their chairman, Tony Foy,
has written an article for this edition of the Irish Georgian Society Review. Ensuring that heritage matters remain to the forefront of government is a difficult enough task at the best of times. However, the proposed removal of ‘Heritage’ from the departmental name after the formation of the new government suggested that it could be forgotten rather than celebrated. Fortunately, after lobbying from the Irish Georgian Society and other organisations, the department’s name was amended to Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs. The IGS has made great strides in this past year in its work to restore and revitalise the City Assembly House. Following generous support from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the street front has been immeasurably enhanced through the repointing of its brick and stonework and reinstating of Georgian-type windows. A further leap forward was made earlier this year when planning permission was secured for the restoration of what will be known as the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room. On completion, this remarkable octagonal room will reach its full potential as a cultural hub for exhibitions, performances, and educational activities. To mark this, an important exhibition commemorating the completion of the building in 1766 is actively being planned. However, additional funding must first be secured to allow the start of works. Already we have received generous pledges from Dublin City Council and the Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Family Foundation in the USA, so do get in contact if you are in a position to help us reach our fundraising target. We have another €600,000 to go.
In this edition of the Irish Georgian Society Review you will read of the Society’s trojan work in delivering its conservation, education and membership programmes. Central to this work is the role of you, our members, in providing support – whether as a volunteer or a participant in events, or by aiding our cause through membership and other contributions. Many thanks to you all and do spread the word!
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Your Plan for Our Future: Leaving a gift to the Society Zoë Coleman Through the generous support of its members and supporters for over half a century the Irish Georgian Society has been able to fulfil its mission to conserve, protect and foster an interest and respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage. The Society achieves this through its Conservation Education and Scholarship programmes, and through campaigning for buildings at risk and actively supporting conservation projects, as well as organising annual events for its members. Bequests from members have been essential in allowing the Society deliver these activities and especially the Conservation Grants Scheme. In the past, the Society has been the recipient of several bequests, which have significantly contributed to the work of the Society. In 2013, Mrs Elizabeth Burke’s bequest created a new development role in the Society’s offices and continues to support our activities in the City Assembly House, particularly as we prepare for the second phase of conservation work on our headquarters on South William Street. Fred Hughes, a New York based IGS supporter and Andy Warhol’s business manager, left a generous bequest to the Society in 2001 which benefitted the Society’s Conservation Grants Scheme for the best part of a decade. His bequest contributed toward saving such important architectural gems as Dunfillan Conservatory in Rathgar, Co. Dublin and the Dromoland Gazebo in Co. Clare. The current Conservation Grants Scheme is funded through bequests from past London Chapter members, and which recently supported the conservation of the Thomas Jervais window in Agher, Co. Meath.
By making the decision to remember the Society in your will, once all family and loved ones have been provided for, you could make an extraordinary contribution to the future work of the Society. By making a pledge to the Society you are helping the Irish Georgian Society to plan for its future. Knowing what funds will become available to us gives us more stability about planning projects in the long term.
Dunfillan Conservatory, Rathgar, Co. Dublin (c. 1850) – supported by an IGS conservation grant in 2005
If you would like to discuss the potential of remembering the Society in your will, you (or your representative) can speak in confidence to Donough Cahill, Executive Director on +3531 679 8675 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively, you can download a legacy pledge form from www.igs.ie/ support/legacy and return it to us at Irish Georgian Society, City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2.
Heritage Update Donough Cahill
Led by its Chairperson, Amy Hastings, the Architectural Conservation and Planning Committee prepared a range of submissions on planning and policy matters over the last year, which are reviewed here. CORK Castle Bernard, Bandon, Co. Cork. Castle Bernard was built for Francis Bernard, 1st Earl of Bandon, c. 1798 incorporating an earlier house and castle which he later remodeled in the Gothic Revival style. Burnt in 1921, the NIAH comments that today the house comprises “a spectacular addition to the architectural heritage” and the NIAH Garden Survey notes that “much of the structural footprint of the designed landscape has survived”. Proposals for the rezoning of lands for hotel use and for a retail village are of much concern. It its submission the IGS cautioned that any such proposals would be premature in the absence of an assessment of its historic designed landscape by a suitably experienced professional. DUBLIN Real Tennis Court, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2 The planned development of a new Children’s Science Museum in Earlsfort Terrace is warmly welcomed however, in considering the planning application, the IGS had some concern that an opportunity was being missed to reinstate the Real Tennis Court that forms part of the building complex and which was built for Edward Cecil Guinness in 1884. Comprising one of a small number of surviving courts internationally, this court was of considerable importance in the practice of the sport and hosted the 1890 World Championships. In granting permission for the overall works, Dublin City Council failed to adopt a recommendation from the IGS for a dual approach to be adopted for the building that would allow it to be used for both exhibitions and for the game of Real Tennis.
The application was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanala and in granting permission for the overall development, a condition was provided which required “the conservation of all original features in-situ… so as to allow for future reversibility to the original purpose”. Time will tell as to whether this will allow for its use again as a Real Tennis Court. ‘Bus cages’ and bus routes in Georgian Dublin For some years, the IGS has engaged with Dublin City Council and Dublin Bus in an effort to have the Dublin Bus “bus cage” reduced or removed from the southern side of Merrion Square. A new report carried out as part of a DIT initiative steered by lecturer David O’Connor identifies viable alternatives to this bus cage whilst also offering significant operational advantages. The Society is actively urging the City Council to consider these alternatives and will continue to advocate for the removal of the “bus cages” from Merrion Square. The IGS also made submissions on the Dublin City Centre Transport Study, the Dublin City Development Plan 20162022 and the College Green Traffic Management Measures consultation documents setting out the potential negative impacts of bus infrastructure on the historic built environment of Dublin and emphasising the need for an integrated plan for bus transport for Dublin City. MEATH Loughcrew, Oldcastle The Society made a submission to An Bord Pleanála on proposals for new agricultural buildings that would detrimentally affect the character
of nationally important heritage landscapes at Loughcrew, Co. Meath. This area is of special beauty and illustrates an overlay of many periods of habitation with passage tombs and ringforts from pre-historic times, to the designed landscape of Loughcrew Demesne which developed over the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries. In its submission, the Society urged that every consideration be given to the impact the proposals could have on the surrounding cultural landscape and that the conservation of its special character be treated as paramount. A decision is pending on the appeal. WEXFORD One-off house at Castleboro Demesne, Castleboro The IGS has supported an appeal against a planned one-off residence on a site within the historic parklands of Castleboro and close to the ruins of its once great house. Castleboro House is of national architectural interest and was built c. 1848 for the landowner and politician Robert Shapland Carew, 1st Baron Carew, and has been variously attributed to the architects Daniel Robertson or to Martin Day. In ‘Vanishing Country Houses of Ireland’ (1989, 149), Glin, Griffin and Robinson describe Castleboro as “a superb classical house [which, though] now a ruin… must be preserved as it is one of the most magnificent ruins in the country”. Intrinsic to any effort to save the remains of Castleboro must be an effort to secure its setting which includes key prospects from the house. A decision on the appeal is due in November.
IRISH GEORGIAN SOCIETY REVIEW 16
POLICY MATTERS Draft Stability Programme Update
Georgian Limerick waiting to benefit from the Living City Initiative
In writing to the Minister for Finance on his Department’s Spring Forecast, the Society highlighted the poor take-up of the Living City Initiative in participating urban areas. This submission expressed concerns about the efficacy of the initiative with restrictions serving to exclude a significant proportion of the buildings to which the Initiative is supposed to apply. It noted the need for the initiative to be reflective of the historic building stock in our cities and that in failing to so far meet this need, it has excluded a large proportion of the buildings to which it is intended to apply. The Society understands that a review of the Living City Initiative is to be undertaken and will fully support this. Draft Dublin City Development Plan (2016-2022) The Society made the following observations in its submission to Dublin City Council:
In writing to the Minister for Finance on his Department’s Spring Forecast, the Society highlighted the poor take-up of the Living City Initiative in participating urban areas. This submission expressed concerns about the efficacy of the initiative with restrictions serving to exclude a significant proportion of the buildings to which the Initiative is supposed to apply.
– Observed a failure to identify the protection of built heritage as integral to the future development of Dublin City. – Proposed a relaxation of Zoning Objectives for buildings of architectural heritage merit which have not been designated as protected structures so as to encourage their sustainable re-use. – Recommended a need for guidance on energy efficiency works to historic buildings. – Advised that there should be no presumption that development proposals for large and tall buildings in the historic core that reach a height of 28 metres be automatically considered acceptable. – Objected to proposals to allow a new heavily trafficked road close to Woodlands, Santry, Co. Dublin which Maurice Craig as “perhaps the most interesting small house of the early 18th century in the whole of Ireland.”
Conservation Grants Scheme Ashleigh Murray
The Irish Georgian Society is delighted to announce the third successful year of the Conservation Grants Scheme, which helps owners of historic structures to fund necessary works.
The London Chapter has made this scheme possible through funds raised from its activities and members’ generous bequests. Operating over a four-year period, annual funding will be available until 2017. Along with provision of several small grants, a larger core grant can be offered each year to an individual project. The distribution of the limited funding was very challenging this year as it was clear that numerous projects would really benefit from the Society’s help. The London Chapter has, therefore, decided this year to spread the funding more equally between fourteen successful applicants and to also go beyond the normal limit of €50,000 by generously offering €57,500. For a variety of reasons, assistance is required at a number of Georgian houses. At Kildrought House, Co. Kildare, the original carriage entrance to this early-18th-century house is subject to subsidence and necessary underpinning and restoration is required. The striking decorative chimneystacks of Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois, are in need of repair and reinstatement. This late-18th-century house was substantially renovated in c.1868 in the Italianate style by the English architect, Charles Lanyon (1813-1889). The maintenance and repair of historic buildings is vital to prevent the decay
of historic fabric through water ingress and the onset of damp, both of which can be disastrous in old buildings. Two Georgian houses face this problem: the late-Georgian Ballynager House in Co. Galway, designed by Richard Morrison (1767-1849); and Ledwithstown House, Co. Longford, a mid-18th-century house attributed to the architect Richard Castle (1690-1751). At Ledwithstown a condition report is required to help guide the owners with necessary roof repairs to prevent further water penetration. Other structures, ranging from castles to small chapels, can also be affected by water-ingress problems and necessary roof repairs are required for the following projects. Birr Castle is a large c. 1170 castle in Co. Offaly that is the home of the seventh Earl of Rosse, while Scots Church, Co. Carlow, was designed in 1818 by Thomas Alfred Cobden (1794-1842). Boyle Courthouse, Co. Roscommon, was constructed in c. 1830 and the proposed new use for this civic building is an exhibition hall for model railways. The Maunsell Chapel, Kildare, is a c. 1820 chapel that includes medieval fabric from the previous monastery on the site. The chapel is in association with a historic graveyard and a local community group, The Tea Lane Graveyard Committee, cares for the whole site.
Side view of Ledwithstown House, County Longford
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An organisation we are pleased to support is The Royal Society of Antiquaries Ireland. In their headquarters at 63 Merrion Square, Dublin, cracks to the chimneybreast have appeared in the front room of the principal floor in this late-18th-century terraced house. We are also delighted to support the independent charitable organisation, the Dublin Civic Trust, which works to recognise and protect Dublin’s architectural heritage. They have recently purchased two adjoining townhouses in the city centre and the works involve the reinstatement of the currently blocked and missing sash windows to the rear of the mid-19thcentury house, 18 Upper Ormond Quay. We are also supporting windowrepair works in two other buildings: the late-Georgian Ross House, Co. Clare, which retains original sash windows and also the 1821 St Michael’s Church, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, built by the Pollard family who founded the original settlement, where original Gothic-style windows remain. Last year, Collon Parish Church, Co. Louth, received a core grant for a detailed inspection of the roof space above the striking, fan-vaulted ceiling. This year, we are helping with the reinstatement of the original piercedstone parapet to the south gable of this c. 1815 building. Our funding also supports the restoration of a historic shopfront connected with Albert’s House, Waterford. This c. 1825 building functioned as bakery for nearly 120 years until it was tragically damaged by fire. As you can see, the wide range of buildings benefitting from this year’s grants scheme includes castles, residential buildings, civic structures and churches. There are a variety of issues that face owners of historic buildings, often resulting in financial pressures, and this scheme helps to fund essential works for the continued protection of these historic assets. We are very much looking forward to receiving applications in 2017 for the final year of the current scheme.
01 Maunsell Chapel, Tea Lane Graveyard, Celbridge, County Kildare 02 Exterior of Albert’s House, Dungarvan, County Waterford 03 Dublin Civic Trust’s new offices at 18 Ormond Quay, Dublin 2
City Assembly House: A venue for new creative engagement Seamus Hogan
When this project began we had no idea that the City Assembly House (in first instance) would be in such demand as a venue. Working on the assumption that the restoration programme would take some time, we decided to explore the possibility of public engagement through the arts. Very quickly we were overwhelmed with requests. The scope and breadth of ideas presented have been a joy. The quality and variety of exhibitions and performances has been tremendous and we now know that we were correct to believe in a future for this building. Our presence in CAH and consequent public profile has led to substantial increase in awareness of the wider work of IGS. Since 2013 CAH has played host to 200 or so arts events, too many to name individually, ranging from one hour performances to month long exhibitions. CAH has provided a temporary home to the annual Describing Architecture and Photo Ireland exhibitions; we have collaborated with galleries, societies and groups from many different parts of Ireland and a smattering of international shows for good measure. A lot of the work has been shown or performed for the first time. All of this activity mirrors the original uses of the building as a contemporary art gallery founded by the Society of Artists in Ireland and later uses as the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. We actively encourage all of our exhibitors to incorporate an educational element in their shows; these talks and curated tours have proved to be very popular.
City Assembly House photos by Stephanie Joy
The challenge facing us now is considerable. We are all aware that relevance and engagement are the watchwords which determine the survival of our built heritage. To make the building fit for purpose in the 21st century, whilst retaining its unique character, will be no small task. As the refurbishment gathers pace, opportunities for new events will temporarily diminish, but we are committed to a future programme of education, exhibition and performance which will enhance the already long and distinguished history of this building.
City Assembly House Update Donough Cahill
The Irish Georgian Society is currently planning the final phase of works to the City Assembly House, which will see the restoration of the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room as a cultural centre for art and photography exhibitions and for musical and other performances. A fundraising plan is being implemented to raise the €600,000 needed to complete the project, and we ask all members to consider contributing to help us reach this goal. In the meantime, work progresses on this Georgian gem through the support of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation and additional sponsorship and grants from The Ireland Funds and Dublin City Council. With their support, the Society has been able to pursue one of the core projects in its revitalisation of the building: the reinstatement of Georgian-type windows and the cleaning and repointing of the historic brickwork and stonework of the front facade. This project is bringing about a transformational change to one of Dublin’s most significant 18th-century buildings and, when complete, will significantly enhance the character of the associated streetscape.
REINSTATEMENT OF GEORGIAN-TYPE WINDOWS The reinstatement of Georgian-type windows to the City Assembly House in place of late 19th/early 20thcentury plate glass windows has successfully restored the intended fenestration of the building’s front and side elevations. The Society gave careful consideration to this project, judging that the plate glass windows significantly detracted from the visual appeal of the building through failing to sustain the contrasting rhythm between the horizontally proportioned bricks and the original vertical proportions of the fenestration. In resolving to replace them, survey drawings and details of windows from Charlemont House were used that had been prepared by David Griffin of the Irish Architectural Archive. Charlemont House was built in 1763 and so is a contemporary of the City Assembly House, which dates to 1766. The same details were used when replacing the windows in No. 85 St. Stephen’s Green and No. 20 Lower Dominick Street. Reference was also made to the 1795 Malton view of Powerscourt House, which illustrates a portion of the City Assembly House.
RE-POINTING THE FAÇADE As the IGS Review goes to press, work is underway on the brickwork of the City Assembly House using wigging pointing, and on the repair and re-pointing of its stonework. These works are necessary to remove cement pointing that was applied in the 1950s that had caused the spalling of the fabric of the façade and that left a dreary elevation that belies the great interest of the building’s interiors. Failing to address this issue would have resulted in the continued deterioration of brick and stone work and exacerbated future repair needs. Urgent repair works are also being carried out to replace lead flashing above the windows, over the doorcase and on the parapet, so as to halt water ingress. The work is being undertaken by Nolan Group Stone Brick Restoration, which has also been a generous sponsor of this part of the City Assembly House project.
01 Window sashes waiting in the upper hall before installatio 02 Looking towards Powerscourt House from the top floor of the City Assembly House 03 Re-pointing of faรงade in progress 04 Detail showing the removal of cement mortar from brickwork and an historic crack beneath granite window cill
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The Loss of a Georgian Gem Tony Foy & Brendan Kelleher
A once great house from an epoch that resonated with the stirrings of national self-determination in America and France, and with a hidden but rich cultural history spanning three continents, was engulfed in flames in July. Visible over a sizeable part of Cork City, the fire itself drew thousands of onlookers – the historic Vernon Mount burned on its steep escarpment overlooking Cork. Many people compared the impact of the fire on the community to the inferno which destroyed the old Cork Opera House in December 1955. There was shock and outrage that such a calamity had been visited on such a well-known and loved landmark, by an act of wanton vandalism. The vast numbers who observed its demise were a far cry from the packed attendance at the initial public meeting held on a November evening in a local church hall in Douglas village seven years previously. There, the first germ of the idea of restoring the grand old house came to life as part of the creation of a park that would connect suburbs and city on the former city landfill that faces Vernon Mount. At that meeting, the ad-hoc organising committee had prepared a presentation, and invited guest speakers from both City and County Councils. This cooperative approach was to become a feature of the campaign, and the meeting unanimously approved the proposal for a renovated Vernon
Mount connected to the new park. The meeting was just the first of many such public engagements with the local community and quickly drew a wider audience both online and off. Early in the process, the group – now named The Grange Frankfield Partnership (GFP) – developed its strategy to include three key and interlinked components; an extended park to incorporate open space lands on the escarpment to the south of the capped city landfill and located in Cork County, the creation of a cycleway/walkway route linking both land units and necessitating the construction of a ‘green bridge’ over the separating N40 motorway, and the jewel in the crown – the incorporation in the extended park of Vernon Mount House as an iconic feature of outstanding heritage and cultural value. Within a year, after plenty of groundwork and lobbying, the group met the then Cork County Manager, Martin Riordan. After an initially cautious reception, discussion warmed to the point where he was complimenting a well-constructed strategy.The meeting ended with a commitment to help the endeavour in whatever way he could. This success in drawing support from the Council was to result in the extension of the park planning study on the city landfill to the adjacent County lands, thereby producing a physically integrated plan and in the process dramatically changing the context and setting of Vernon Mount.
That leap forward led to the design of the proposed cycleway/walkway, including over-bridge, and the acquisition of land at the southern entry point. In addition, significant publicly funded restorative works commenced on the roof of Vernon Mount House, the structure having become endangered by deterioration and weathering. Central to the success of the project was the early appearance of a benefactor, whose generous support funded the design and printing of initial flyers, attractive display panels, professional PR assistance, and the creation of an informative and attractive website (www. vernonmountpark.ie). The Vernon Mount Lecture Series, enthusiastically supported by Douglas Library, was a key part of engaging the public in the initiative and has been an unqualified success. It maintained a permanent focus on the house, maintaining public interest and support for conservation of this singular building. GFP in recent times was on the crest of a wave as a result of a deeper engagement with the Irish Georgian Society. Through GFP’s website, contact had also been made by the custodians of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s ancestral home in Virginia, USA, and a commitment elicited to help our efforts in Cork. The key barrier to restoring Vernon Mount was the intractable difficulty of engaging meaningfully, if at all, with the owners of the house.
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Lobby of Vernon Mount (Courtesy of the Irish Architectural Archive)
01 Drone footage of Vernon Mount after the fire, July 2016 (Image courtesy of Evan Kelly Visuals) 02 Minerva casting away the spears of war’, formerly mounted on the ceiling of the drawing room, painted by Cork artist Nathaniel Grogan (1740-1807) - now lost. (Image taken in 2008) 03 Vernon Mount, c. 1910 (Courtesy of the Irish Architectural Archive)
Their indifference impeded not only a sustainable future for the house, but also an adequate regime of maintenance and security as it lurched from one crisis to another. A most disturbing sign of the continuing threat to the house came shortly after the roof was repaired in 2012, when youths entered and accessed the roof itself. Although apprehended by the Gardai the threat remained as the sealed windows and doors became a constant target for vandals. GFP was painfully aware that time was not on its side as it ramped up its efforts to gather sufficient support to convince the public authorities that unless drastic measures were taken to protect and preserve the house, it would not survive. We made strenuous efforts to bring other organisations in to help with this shared ambition. The enigma remains as to what might have been. Faced with the usual panoply of threats that endanger many protected heritage buildings, namely the: – incapacity or indifference on the part of owners – reluctance of planning authorities to become too financially or legally embroiled – uncertainty of State involvement
– limited resources of conservation NGO’s and semi-states – erratic popular interest and support for conservation it will require a monumental and persistent effort to succeed. Ironically none of these factors hindered GFP’s progress, as focussed action won friends and influenced people and organisations. Sincerity and persistence of effort were rewarded by generous help, support and advice from all quarters. In the end, it wasn’t lack of money that undid our efforts, rather the indifference of the owners to its legal obligations to safeguard the house, an exceptional failure by the local authority when alerted to the impending disaster, and society’s apparent ambivalence to ongoing vandalism. All is not lost, however, and both GFP and IGS believe a diamond still exists in the ashes – the graceful, curvilinear shell of the house must be saved. It should continue to stand as a monumental vestige of a once great house of an epoch whose revolutionary history resonates in the centenary year of our national commemoration.
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Professor Anne Crookshank: an appreciation William Laffan
As this Review goes to press, news comes of the death of Professor Anne Crookshank (1927–2016), a pioneering scholar of Irish art, and member of the Irish Georgian Society for more than fifty years. After positions at the Tate and the Witt Library – and research on the drawings of George Romney – Anne returned to Ireland in 1957 when she took up position as Keeper of Art in the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery, later the Ulster Museum, whose collection she was to transform with adventurous acquisitions of contemporary art including works by Antoni Tàpies, Sam Francis, William Scott and Karel Appel. Taste for such advanced art was not widespread in Northern Ireland of the 1950s and she gleefully recalled being denounced as the ‘Whore of Babylon’ at a meeting of Belfast City Council. The year after her arrival in Belfast, on a weekend in Donegal Anne met Desmond and Mariga Guinness who had just founded the Irish Georgian Society and, through them, Desmond FitzGerald, Knight of Glin. The first collaboration of this group (with James White of the National Gallery of Ireland) was the exhibition Irish Houses and Landscapes in 1963. Two years later Anne moved to Dublin to set up the History of Art Department at Trinity College. A further seminal
exhibition Irish Portraits 1660-1860, which showed at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 1970, set the tone for her researches on artists such as James Latham whose oeuvre of more than one hundred portraits she reconstructed from the starting point of just one mezzotint inscribed with his name. Through the 1970s she and Knight collaborated on the first scholarly book on Irish art since Strickland’s Dictionary of 1913, which was published in 1978 with a completely new edition in 2002. For many years a stalwart of the Castletown Foundation, in 1985 Anne was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Throughout Anne taught at Trinity, in whose Common Room she was a formidable presence, educating several generations of art historians. She was certainly a demanding taskmaster, but was unfailingly kind to students she thought interested in the subject. Her collaboration with the Knight, which set Irish art history on a firm footing for the first time, was characterized by furious rows over attributions. He later recalled: ‘These lively interchanges brought out the determined sparkle of her resolute character, and her ability to roar with laughter ten minutes later underlined her generous humour and refreshing
ability to laugh at herself. She always inspired her students with a zest for life – a zest that conquers every obstacle’. I recall, many years ago, discussing with Anne the hymns she wanted sung at her funeral (this was a very Anne Crookshank sort of topic). Foremost amongst these was Abide with Me, or, as she put it, ‘the one they sing at football matches’. Her memory will certainly abide with the numerous individuals who were taught, befriended or influenced by her. She was a great and very generous scholar, an unshakably loyal friend and a redoubtable Irish woman. May she rest in peace.
A Generous Donation William Laffan 01
A longstanding member has donated a collection of Irish miniatures to the IGS which has recently gone on display at Castletown. The carefully selected group focuses on the Boyle family, Earls of Shannon and on members of the FitzGerald family of Carton â&#x20AC;&#x201C; notably an oversized posthumous portrait of Lord Edward by Horace Hone.
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01 Lord Edward FitzGerald (1763-98), by Horace Hone (1806), oval enamel on copper 02 Maurice FitzGerald, 6th Duke of Leinster, by Miss Annie Howard (1888) on gilt metal frame. 03 Lord St. George FitzGerald – son of William Robert FitzGerald, 2nd Duke, as a child, on gilt metal and verre eglomise frame (Irish School circa 1790) 04 Lady Emily Mary Lennox, wife of the 1st Duke of Leinster, by Gustavus Hamilton, in a carved wooden frame.
Castletown, home to Lord Edward’s aunt Louisa, is, of course, a most appropriate home and the tragic decline of the FitzGerald’s fortunes is poignantly foreshadowed in depictions of the young brothers Desmond (killed accidentally in the First World War) and Maurice (the 6th Duke) who died in a psychiatric institution a few years later. Paul Caffrey who has written a book on the subject notes: ‘few historic family collections of miniatures have survived in Ireland making this a truly remarkable collection of national importance’. The IGS has had a long relationship with Castletown and the OPW and Castletown Foundation who run it, and, over many years has lent important paintings and furniture to the house. Many of these were catalogued in the fine volume Castletown, Decorative Arts (OPW,
2011) which rather highlighted the absence of miniatures in the otherwise comprehensive showcasing of Irish fine and applied arts. This gap has been comprehensively filled with this donation which includes works by the finest Irish artists working in miniature such as Nathaniel Hone and Henry Kirchoffer. Sincere thanks are to the Irish donor, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Conservation & Outreach Programme Emmeline Henderson
HERITAGE HOUSEKEEPING: PHILOSOPHY AND PRACTICE STUDY DAY, THURSDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2015 The Irish Georgian Society, in association with the Institute of Conservators and Restorers Ireland (ICRI), partnered to deliver a heritage housekeeping study day in the Saloon at Russborough on Thursday 26th November. The study day was at full capacity with owners, managers and curators of heritage properties, both in public and private care, eager to learn about the importance of good housekeeping and receive expert advice on the care and conservation of their collections. Attendees learnt about the appropriate handling, cleaning, storage and display of their paintings, furniture, textiles, books, glass, ceramics and silver. The seminar was of great benefit to everyone with a responsibility for private and public historic house and heritage property management. The Society wishes to thank The Apollo Foundation for their support of the study day, as well as Eric Blatchford, CEO Russborough and his team for welcoming us to Russborough; the day ended with informative guided tours of the collection. In particular, the Society wishes to thank: Jessica Baldwin, Chair of Institute of Conservator-Restorers in Ireland (ICRI) for assisting Emmeline Henderson in co-curating the programme. The IGS and ICRI were very grateful to all the speakers and chairs, which included: keynote speaker, Katy Lithgow, Head Conservator, The National Trust, UK; Jessica Baldwin, Chair of Institute of Conservator-Restorers in Ireland (ICRI); Donough Cahill, IGS Executive Director; Susan Corr, President of European Confederation of Conservators and Restorers’ Organisation (ECCO); Cliodna Devitt, independent textile conservator;
Dr David Fleming, IGF Chair; Sven Habermann, Manager, Conservation Letterfrack; Lesley-Ann Hayden, The Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland Coordinator; Kevin Mulligan, co-author of Russborough: A Great Irish House, its Families and Collections; Simone Mancini, Head of Conservation at National Gallery of Ireland and Fergus Purdy, independent furniture conservator. CONSERVING YOUR DUBLIN PERIOD HOUSE, SPRING 2016 Going from strength to strength, the sixth annual Irish Georgian Society and Dublin City Council, Conserving your Dublin Period House was in high demand with period house owners, conservation architects, planners and engineers, as well as heritage builders. New attendees included students from the Dublin Institute of Technology and History of Art students from Trinity College Dublin. The Society provided free places for these students in an endeavour to engender an appreciation of best conservation principles and practice in future building professionals. The Society wishes to thank all the speakers: Charles Duggan, Dublin City Council (stylistic development); Jacqui Donnelly, Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Dept. AHRRGA) (policy and legislation); Frank Keohane (preventative maintenance); Andrew Smith (plasterwork); Carl Raftery and Sarah Jane Halpin, Dublin City Council (energy efficiency); Dr Nessa Roche, Dept. AHRRGA (windows); Peter Clarke (doors); Grainne Shaffrey (lime pointing); Ali Davey, Historic Environment Scotland (ironwork); Nicola Matthews, Dublin City Council (sensitive extensions); Lisa Edden (water ingress), and Susan Roundtree (bricks). Thanks are also due to Dr Susan Galavan for her accompanying
walking tour of Dublin’s Victorian Domestic Architecture. The Society was also delighted that Irish Heritage Insurance (IHI) has come on board this year, and for the next two years, to support this Conserving your Dublin Period House course. IHI is a fitting sponsor for the course, as the company provides insurance tailored for protected structures. This is a most welcome development as many mainstream insurance companies are no longer offering insurance for protected structures. GALWAY’S HERITAGE BUILDINGS SHOW, MAY 2016 Portumna Castle become a onestop destination for old buildings owners in need of accurate, impartial and free advice on their care and repair, when the Irish Georgian Society, in partnership with Galway County Council and the Office of Public Works, mounted the annual traditional buildings skills exhibition in the castle grounds on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May 2016. Throughout the weekend over two-dozen craftspeople demonstrated the key traditional skills needed for the conservation of old buildings, including: sash window repairs; use of lime-based mortars; decorative plasterwork; ironwork; slate roofing; thatching; mud and earth construction; green wood working; stained glass and fanlight conservation; stone carving; dry stonewall construction, and furniture and clock restoration to name a few. The demonstrations were complemented by information stands hosted by the IGS, Galway County Council, the Galway Heritage Forum, the Association of Architectural Conservation Officers, The Heritage Council, the Building Limes Forum Ireland and the CIF Heritage Contractors, where expert advice on planning law, insurance and finance was on hand.
01 Ronan Finn, Thatcher (Photo courtesy of Munster Business) 02 Philip Quinn of Stone Mad chisels away in the grounds of Portumna Castle 03 James Grace of Architectural Wood Design demonstrating at Galway’s Heritage Buildings Show (Photo: Munster Business) 04 Michael Fearnhead of Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland gives a dry stone wall demonstration to children gathered at Galway’s Heritage Buildings Shows 05 Blacksmith Stephen Quinn giving a demonstration at Galway’s Heritage Buildings Show at Portumna Castle 06 Blacksmith (Photo: Munster Business) 07 Ruth Bothwell of Decowell gilds a mirror at Galway’s Heritage Buildings Show
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In tandem with the exhibition were two days of interactive talks on the history, maintenance and repair of Galway’s historic, period and traditional buildings delivered by leading authorities from such bodies as the Office of Public Works, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and ICOMOS Ireland. One talk was specifically aimed at Leaving Certificate students opting to answer a question on Georgian Architecture. Bringing this exhibition to Portumna Castle, would not be possible without the critical support of Galway County Council, the Office of Public Works, and the Association of Architectural Conservation Officer, as well as the Galway Heritage Forum, who share the Society’s vision that the promotion of traditional building methods and materials is fundamental for the preservation of Ireland’s built heritage. In particular the Society wishes to thank Galway County Council’s Architectural Conservation Officer, Máirín Doddy for inviting the Society to partner with Galway County Council on the exhibition, as well as the Galway County Council Heritage Officer, Marie Mannion and Brian Barrett of the council’s Community Support Schemes. In addition the Society is most grateful to the Office of Public Works’ Michele O’Dea, Senior Architect with responsibility for the conservation of national monuments in the west; John Cahill, OPW Assistant Principal Architect with responsibility for Conservation, and all the Portumna Castle team who manage and maintain this rare example of early 17th century Irish architecture, a most fitting backdrop for the exhibition. There was added significance in presenting this exhibition at Portumna Castle, as it is from there that the OPW operate one of its traditional skills apprenticeship programmes and indeed a cohort of the OPW’s apprentice stone carvers demonstrated at the exhibition. The final and most important words of thanks are to the master craftsmen and women from both Galway County and beyond, who volunteered their time and expertise to demonstrate the cross section of skills needed for the conservation of the county’s rich built heritage.
The Conservation Challenges facing Limerick Ailish Drake
It is the Georgian period of construction that gives Limerick its unique historic character, which sets it apart from other towns and cities in Ireland. In 1834 Inglis, a travel writer compares Limerick to Dublin and Cork, writing ‘the new town of Limerick is, unquestionably, superior to anything out of Dublin. It’s principal street, although less picturesque than the chief streets of Cork, would generally be reckoned a finer street.’ During this time, Newtown Pery, which runs from Rutland Street to Pery Square, was built. There is a misconception that Limerick has a ‘Georgian Quarter’, as indicated in the Limerick 2030 Plan, running from Roches Street to Pery Square. This is a dangerous oversight, which leaves a huge part of Georgian Limerick at risk. Without recognition of the value of conserving and regenerating Newtown Pery as a whole, this huge asset to our city could be lost. A heritage lead master-plan for Newtown Pery would be the first step in identifying the conservation challenges for Georgian Limerick. The plan should include an overall urban design plan, traffic management plan and specific design strategy of the public realm. The general environment of the public realm in Limerick is very poor. Especially when compared with recent public realm projects in Cork and Waterford. Footpaths are largely concrete or tarmac and in poor condition. Street lighting is basic and often (as on O’Connell St.) in the form of floodlights mounted at high level on the townhouses themselves. Recent attempts at upgrade have been
modern in character but lacking in overall appreciation of the existing historic context. For example the last completed project by Limerick City Council on William St involved the destruction of all the subterranean basements under the street (vaulted brick cellars and coal chutes all casually filled in). The recent announcement of EU funding for the ‘enhancement of Limerick’s urban centre’ is welcome news. The area earmarked for investment, which runs along O’Connell St., from Denmark St., to Barrington St., is the central spine of Newtown Pery. However, without an urban design master-plan for Newtown Pery, this piecemeal approach to public ream enhancement continues to leave the existing historic fabric at risk. Traffic management of Newtown Pery seems to involve getting cars from one end to the other in as little time as possible. Hence the two major streets parallel to the Shannon (Henry St. and O’Connell St.) are one way with little or no pedestrian crossings. This allows the through traffic to reach relatively high speeds and makes pedestrian use of the historic core both difficult and at times dangerous. At best the use of the buildings in Newtown Pery is commercial. Where this works, as on Pery Square, it works well and has provided a continued use for the townhouses when they were no longer desirable as residences. There are areas close to Newtown Pery, which are popular for residential use. The Edwardian terraces of O’Connell
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There is a misconception that Limerick has a ‘Georgian Quarter’, running from Roches Street to Pery Square, as indicated in the Limerick 2030 Plan. This is a dangerous oversight, which leaves a huge part of Georgian Limerick at risk. Georgian Limerick waiting to benefit from the Living City Initiative
Avenue (well set back from the street) are popular as are the small late Georgian terraces at the lower end of Henry St around the Redemptorist Church. There is perhaps potential for these areas to be extended into Newtown Pery. Particularly on the side streets such as Hartstonge, Barrington and Mallow where the townhouses are smaller and might suit families. Efforts to date have proved ineffective. The Living Cities Initiative aims to attract families to live in the city centre but has so far attracted no interest at all. It may be that it will not be possible to entice people back into Georgian Limerick to live. But with improved public realm, better traffic management and a more flexible Living Cities scheme there is potential for improvement.
Lost Ireland William Derham The images on the following pages are just a tiny sample of some 500 that fill the pages of Lost Ireland: 1860–1960, the book which I was asked to put together by a small London Publisher, Hyde Park Editions, early in 2014. As the title suggests, the vast majority of the buildings and structures featured no longer exist. A few exceptions were made such as Carstown House in Co. Louth or Carrigglas Manor in Co. Longford, in an effort to focus some attention on them while hope of their salvation is still possible, but by and large this is a book chronicling destruction. The very fact of their ruin and decline is illustrative of the history to which these structures have formed the backdrop – the people who lived and worked in them; the events that unfolded in or about them; the narratives and stories that describe their eventual loss. Where the actual structures are no longer around to be investigated themselves, old photographs like these are sometimes the only evidence of the one-time existence of a particular edifice. They are often the only means we have of reading them, that is, of interpreting their physical form, their construction, their symbolism, and working out what all of that says about the times that they witnessed – our past. It is hoped that, from this point of view, the published images prove intriguing and interesting to those who choose to open the pages and engage with them, even if sometimes indulging a little in nostalgia. The book attempts to give a representative spread of Irish architecture in all its varied, disappeared forms: quite literally from the field gate to the “big house”; and from Donegal to Kerry. The book is divided up by province, and then alphabetically by county,
and a concerted effort was made to present an even geographic spread. An effort was also made to balance the sometimes betterknown images of Georgian Dublin and of particular stately homes, with images of places that haven’t had so much limelight. With that in mind, there are some omissions. Dublin and Antrim for instance, could each have been many pages longer. An introductory essay sets out, in broad strokes, a brief account of Ireland’s built heritage and of the circumstances that led to so much of its destruction. It is intended as a first step for those who are inexpert, and perhaps just curious. The photographs however speak for themselves and will hopefully be useful to readers of all ranges of interest and levels of knowledge. Ideally, there should be something to interest everybody, encompassing both the familiar and the unknown. Lost Ireland, 1860-1960 (Hyde Park Editions, 2016) by William Derham can be purchased from the IGS bookshop instore or online (www.igs.ie/shop)
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Woollen Mills, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The Woollen Mills in Athlone were established in 1859 and at one time employed over 400 people weaving and producing tweed. The original substantial mills, seen here, were destroyed by a fire in 1940. Although rebuilt by 1948, they closed for good in 1952. The site has since been developed as an hotel.
01 Market House, Mountrath, Co. Laois. A fine example of a building type that has been much abused over the years, many having been radically altered to accommodate modern uses. This once ornamented the market square of Mountrath, but was swept away in favour of a small roundabout, which fills the site today. 02 St Macartanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cathedral, Monaghan, Co. Monaghan. This soaring, fantastical cathedral was constructed between 1861 and 1892. It was designed by the architect J.J. McCarthy who died before it was completed, but whose designs were faithfully carried out. Theâ&#x20AC;Żinterior once matched the gothic magnificence of the exterior, with a grand baldacchino over the altar. Sadly, this was stripped out around 1982 when efforts were made to bring the cathedral into line with Vatican II. It was possibly the greatest architectural loss that resulted from reorganisation of Roman Catholic churches following the second Vatican Council. 03 Bellevue, Delgany, Co. Wicklow. This elaborate ceiling once covered the private chapel at Bellevue House. The house was quite a plain structure, built in 1754 for the banking family of La Touche. The chapel was added in 1803 to the design of Richard Morrison. The house fell into disrepair in the first part of the twentieth century an was demolished in the 1950s. 04 Kenure Park, Rush, Co. Dublin. Kenure Park, the original house dating from the mid 18th century, was remodelled in 1842 to the designs of George Papworth for the Palmer family. Shown here is the large staircase hall, with walls of yellow scagliola and a coved ceiling of stained armorial glass. In 1964 the last resident, Colonel Fenwick-Palmer, sold the contents at auction and the estate to the Land Commission. The house went to Dublin County Council. It was used for the filming of several movies, including Ten Little Indians in 1965, which still offers an intriguing glimpse of theâ&#x20AC;Żnow vanished interiors. The house was allowed to fall derelict, was vandalised and set on fire, and was finally demolished by the council in 1978. 05 Ardfert Abbey, Ardfert, Co. Kerry. Ardfert was built in the late seventeenth century for Sir Thomas Crosbie, replacing an earlier house of 1635 that had been destroyed during the Confederate Wars. Within, the house was panelled in wood, with a fine staircase just visible off the main entrance hall shown here. This hall featured a set of grisailles paintings set into the panelling, which are also shown. The house passed from the Crosbie family to the Talbots before being burnt out in 1922.
01 Mount Tilly, Buncrana, Co. Donegal. This delightful terrace likely began life as one large house built about 1717 when the town of Buncrana was first laid out. The Dutch-style gables would have been a common sight in places like Dublin at the time. One interesting feature of note is the outside stone stair leading to the first floor. Sadly, both building and stair appear to have been demolished in the 1930s. 02 The Old Bridge, Kenmare, Co. Kerry. Ireland’s first suspension bridge was completed in 1841, spanning the Kenmare River on the road from Kenmare to Bantry. It was designed by William Bald and was paid for in equal parts by the Marquess of Lansdowne and the Office of Public Works, who each contributed £3,000. It was 18 ft wide, narrowing to 12 ft as it passed through the central arch. Being the first of its kind, there were teething problems, with the road surface being changed from wood to iron and eventually being covered with stone and tarmacadam. With the advent of modern traffic it began to warp and move, and so was demolished in 1932. The new, current bridge was opened in 1933. 03 Palace Anne, Ballineen, Co. Cork. Palace Anne was built c. 1714 for one Arthur Bernard. It was constructed of imported red brick and featured Dutch-inspired gables – three over the main block and one over each of the two small pavilion wings either side. At one point it also boasted suitably impressive panelled interiors too. After it was sold in the mid nineteenth century the house fell into disrepair, as shown here. One of the wings was converted for use as a residence and all but that converted wing was demolished in the late 1950s. It survives today in a derelict condition. 04 Tintern Abbey, Co. Wexford. The daughter house of Tintern Abbey in Wales, Tintern was built sometime around 1200 and, following the reformation, was converted into a dwelling and home. It was donated to the state in 1958 and thereafter heavily restored, removing much of its post-reformation additions and modifications, which can be seen here. 05 Weaver’s Hall, The Coombe, Dublin City. Weaver’s Hall was built for the weaver’s guild in 1745 and survived until 1968, when it was demolished. The first floor contained the actual hall where the members of the guild would have met. It was a large handsome room, with much fine detail executed in carved wood, including the overmantle. It was once hung with a tapestry by John Van Beaver, which was sold to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. 06 Lartigue Railway, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry. Charles Lartigue, a Frenchman, was inspired by the way African camels were loaded with goods across their hump to develop this monorail – two weights of similar size balancing each other across an apex frame. In 1888 the system was used to link Listowel to Ballybunion, a distance of just under nine miles, or just over 14 kilometres. The track survived until damaged during the Civil War, following which it was closed in 1924. A small segment has been restored as a visitor attraction and can still be visited today.
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UAHS/IGS Summer School Primrose Wilson In June 2015 the Irish Georgian Society and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society came together to organise a cross border Summer School. The event was for students, enthusiasts and practitioners who wanted to discuss and debate issues relating to our Irish heritage in the context of Armagh & Monaghan. Leaders of the Summer School included well-known academics, architectural historians, architects, planners, conservation and heritage officers. The three-day event celebrated the shared cultural heritage of the counties of Armagh & Monaghan and explored the common themes in conservation policy and practice with a view to identifying the mutual benefits that can be derived from cross-border co-operation. A key theme was the critical importance of the built heritage in maintaining the distinctive qualities of the region and supporting the growth ofâ&#x20AC;Żtourism, economic development and prosperity. There were several reasons for choosing the Counties of Armagh and Monaghan to hold the inaugural Summer School. In addition to their close geographical proximity, the two local authorities have a memorandum of understanding and work together on other projects. The Summer School Director, Kevin Mulligan, is author of South Ulster in the Buildings of Ireland series which includes Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan and was published in 2013. This is a widely acclaimed, well-researched and scholarly book providing the most up-to-date information on theâ&#x20AC;Żarchitectural heritage of the area. While IGS and UAHS have coexisted on the island of Ireland in an atmosphere of great mutual
respect this was the first time that the organisations had worked closely together. My appointment as Vice Chair of both organisations encouraged closer co-operation between the two societies and in June 2014 the two Boards met in Dublin and later in the year in Hillsborough. During discussions the idea of a North South Summer School was suggested and agreed. I was appointed Chair of the Steering Group tasked with carrying this through. Following the success of the 2015 Summer School there was discussion about the future of the initiative and it was agreed that a similar event might be organised in Counties Donegal and Londonderry in 2017. However the Societies had established links with students in disciplines ranging from Applied Archaeology to Architecture, Culture & Heritage, Planning and Property Development to Conservation of the Built Environment and two years was a long gap. So a one day event in 2016 in County Louth was planned! We were fortunate in obtaining sponsorship from Consarc to transport students from Dublin and Belfast and Kevin Mulligan organised an amazing day of visits. The tour began with a visit to Barmeath Castle; a building which evolved from a mediaeval tower into a mid-Georgian house, and was transformed in the 1830s for the first Lord Bellew by Thomas Smith. As well as the opportunity to visit the Castle, the group explored the restored walled garden and surviving eighteenth century designed landscape where some of the features, including an impressive rockwork bridge, are attributed to the eighteenth century polymath
Thomas Wright (1711-1786). He visited Barmeath in 1746, while assembling material for Louthiana, published in 1748. After Barmeath, we explored the demesne of Dowth Hall, located beside the Boyne in County Meath. Dowth Hall enjoys major international significance as a core part of the UNESCO world heritage site of BrĂş na Boinne. The demesne is easily the most complex in Ireland, containing monuments stretching back over several millennia with many artfully integrated to form key components of the later designed landscape. The visit to these sites offered excellent learning opportunities. Both Barmeath and Dowth are associated with the earliest AngloNorman settlers in Ireland (the Bellew and Netterville families respectively). Barmeath is one of an ever diminishing number of Irish country houses still in the possession of the family who built it, and who continue to live there, and manage the daily challenges of preserving the historic buildings and landscape for the sake of the past, present and future. Dowth, having passed out of Netterville possession in the midnineteenth century, after decades of decline, has found new owners who are about to embark on an ambitious programme of restoration. This will not only revive the house as a family home, but address all the extraordinary archaeological, architectural and historical complexities of the site in a manner that offers a sustainable model for helping to protect and conserve other historic demesnes. The visit concluded with a visit to Collon Parish Church in the estate village of Collon, County Louth. This building, which is facing a variety
01 The 19th century sunken archery range at Barmeath, Co. Louth surrounded by Irish Yew trees – Student Field Trip in June 2016 02 Participants at the 2015 Summer School with centre, seated Primrose Wilson (Chair), Kevin Mulligan (Director) and Shirley Clerkin (Monaghan County Council Heritage Officer)
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of challenges, is a delightful early nineteenth century evocation of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. The outing provided students with an opportunity to directly experience a distinctive group of historic buildings and their settings and to engage in study and discussion that addresses many of the complex conservation issues they face. From the perspective of both Societies it provided an opportunity to interact with students in an informal scenario, to have fun and to provide a positive image of our organisations which may have been perceived by a younger generation as stuffy and out of touch. We believe this is no longer the case as one of the 2015 students encouraged participation on social media in very flattering terms!
In praise of the decorative ‘Irish’ lobby Patricia McCarthy
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In our eagerness to see the more â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;importantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; rooms, these spaces are sometimes not given the attention they deserve. However, it should be stated at the outset that this is not about just any lobby: it is about a particularly Irish architectural feature that can be found in a number of Irish houses, not always in the country.
Opposite Page Russborough, Co. Wicklow This page Bedroom lobby at Bellamont Forest, Co Cavan (courtesy of Ganly Walters)
IN PRAISE OF THE DECORATIVE ‘IRISH’ LOBBY
They can be large or small, but they are often highly decorative spaces.
It might seem surprising that even as short an essay as this might be devoted to such a mundane space. Lobbies are, after all, generally small spaces that connect with rooms or apartments, through which we pass when visiting country houses, often without a second glance. In our eagerness to see the more ‘important’ rooms, these spaces are sometimes not given the attention they deserve. However, it should be stated at the outset that this is not about just any lobby: it is about a particularly Irish architectural feature that can be found in a number of Irish houses, not always in the country. It can be defined as a lobby that is usually located on the first floor; is not a landing, is self-contained, usually toplit (often via an opening in the ceiling by a lantern in the floor above), and from which access is gained to bedrooms and other rooms. It could be called a vestibule or even an ante-room. The late John Cornforth, architectural editor of Country Life, described it as ‘one of the happiest features in Irish country houses, and Maurice Craig mentions ‘these architecturally-treated upstairs central lobbies’. They come in different shapes - rectangular, octagonal, square, round, oval; they can be large or small, but they are often highly decorative spaces. It is interesting to look at some of them. First used at Bellamont Forest, Co. Cavan (c.1728, previous page) by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce, this form of lobby was taken up by his successor Richard Castle at Hazelwood, Co. Sligo (1731), Russborough (1741), Bellinter, Co. Meath (c.1750), in unexecuted plans for Headfort, Co. Meath (c. 1750) and in an early plan for Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh (c. 1730). There is one at Edermine, Co. Wexford (c. 1839), and at Mount Henry, Co. Laois, and probably in many other houses. A visitor to Hazelwood shortly after it was built described the ‘Octagon Lobby, from each side of which a door opens into a Bed Chamber. This Octagon is Illuminated by a large Lanthorn in the
Roof in the midst of the Octagon is a Well, with a Ballastrade around, which gives Light to the Stairs’. At Castle Coole, the lobby is a spacious rectangular room, two storeys high and lit by an oval skylight. It is interesting to note that this house, with this distinctively Irish feature, was designed by the English architect, James Wyatt in 1790. The same architect drew up plans for Mount Kennedy, Co. Wicklow in the 1770s, which were modified in the 1780s when the house was finally being built under the supervision of Thomas Cooley. While it is on a Cooley plan of 1781, whose was the original idea of the spacious octagonal lobby with its circular lantern? At Vernon Mount, Co. Cork (now, sadly, lost), seven doors leading off the lobby were painted as trompe l’oeil niches in monochrome with statues and urns, by the Cork artist Nathaniel Grogan, and the lobby itself surrounded by eight Corinthian columns. At Bellinter there is a dramatic entrance opening from the staircase to the lobby - a semi-circular arch, supported by two entablatures each, in turn supported by two Corinthian columns and pilasters. Compared to other lobbies, the layers of architectural detail here tend to be heavy and overstated. Russborough’s spacious lobby is lit by an elegantly-decorated oval lantern: the Ionic columns at each end of it were a later insertion to stabilise the roof. The only description to hand of this lobby being used is an account by Lady Louisa Conolly, in which she refers to the space as a ‘saloon’ at Bellamont Forest, when Lord Colooney, the only son of the earl of Bellamont, died in 1786. His body was laid out ‘in the saloon in the attic story for three days…the Saloon, which is supported by pillars and lighted by a cupola, and hung with black cloth; as also the cupola which was lighted with tapers and constantly attended by upper servants, appointed to succeed each other night and day.’ This room, however, is the spacious rectangular first-floor lobby, where doors to the
bedrooms and to the staircases are located, quite similar to Russborough. A screen of columns at each end of the space supports the oval lantern that is enriched with decorative plasterwork. Thomas Penrose’s drawing for Lucan House in Dublin demonstrates how attractive these lobbies can be. Also in Dublin, the approach to the lobby in the Provost’s House at Trinity College (begun 1759) is a theatrical experience - from the first landing of the octagonal main staircase, the Corinthian order of the lobby can be seen, as can the wrought-iron balustrade by Timothy Turner around the opening in the floor above, the Ionic order on that (second) floor and finally, the lantern itself with its decoration of carved floral wreaths. As the highest of the architectural orders, the Corinthian indicates the importance of the first floor; and the visitors’ arrival at the Saloon, the most important room in the house. The architect of the house is unknown, but it is attributed to either John Smyth or Henry Keene. Apart from its use for the Bellamont wake, the purpose of these spaces is so far unknown. For visitors they were simply a means of getting from one space to another. At Trinity College when Provost Francis Andrews entertained, the lobby was an integral part of the processional route. But in most houses it must have been seen only by overnight visitors. Nonetheless, these interesting spaces are worth our attention, if only to wonder why so much money was spent in creating and decorating them if their only purpose was to provide light. But perhaps that was the point of them. Life in the Country House in Georgian Ireland (Yale University Press, 2016) by Patricia McCarthy can be purchased from the IGS bookshop instore or online (www.igs.ie/shop)
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01 Thomas Penrose, Lobby to the Bed Chambers at Lucan for Ag. Vesey, April 1776. (Courtesy of National Library of Ireland, AD1593, Lucan House Collection) 02 William Ashford (1746-1824) Mount Kennedy, Co Wicklow, 1785; oil on canvas. (Yale Centre for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection) 03 Lobby of Vernon Mount with Nathaniel Grogan painted door panels (Image courtesy of the Irish Architectural Archive)
Conservation Project Update Deirdre McDermott & David Molloy CHURCH WINDOW BY THOMAS JERVAIS, AGHER, CO. MEATH. The church window in Agher Co Meath, came to the notice of the Irish Georgian Society (IGS) when an application was made to the Conservation Grants Programme, funded through the IGS London Chapter to support the conservation of the window. This grant enabled the preparation of a Conservation Report, detailing and costing the works required. The East window of Agher Parish Church is an interpretation of a 16th century cartoon by Raphael, of St Paul Preaching to the Athenians, now on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The church window, believed to date from c1770, was the work of Dublin born stained glass painter, Thomas Jervais, who moved to London during the later 1770s, where, together with his brother, he developed a prosperous business, supplying the domestic market and receiving Royal and Oxford College patronage. The window was commissioned by the Wellesley family for their home Dangan Castle nearby, now derelict. The first Duke of Wellington born in 1769, was brought up there, before the house was sold in 1793. Following a fire in 1809, the window was moved from Dangan Castle to Agher church built by the Winters family of a nearly estate; it is one of the oldest extant stained glass windows remaining in– situ in Ireland. Other patrons of Jervais in Ireland included the Duke of Leinster (for Leinster House) and Lord Charlemont at Marino, but no works are known to have survived. Only two monumental works by the artist are believed
extant: the New College Chapel ‘Seven Virtues’ window in Oxford; to the design of the renowned artist Sir Joshua Reynolds and the Agher Church window. The east window of St George’s Chapel in Windsor, commissioned by George III, to designs by Benjamin West, was removed in 1862 by the Victorians and has been lost. Technically, the window was experimental, exploring the use of techniques and overlaying thin (1.2mm thick) sheets of coloured glass, to achieve the vibrant colours of St Paul’s robes. Jervais’ later work in England demonstrates a progression in technique and style no doubt attained from his associations with other artists and stained glass painters in London. By 1992, the window was in poor repair and in imminent danger of collapse. Its survival for the next 24 years was aided by three panels of textured glass on T bars. However, the orange peel texture of the glass, the location of the bars, which cut indiscriminately across the faces of the Athenians, together with the lack of ventilation behind the glass and subsequent build-up of mould and dirt all detracted from the visual appearance of the window, as well as endangering its ongoing survival. Current best practice calls for a combination of iso-thermic glazing and a suitable ventilation gap, with the stained glass window set into a purpose-made frame in front, to minimise thermal fluctuations and avoid the development and build-up of mould and dirt. In 2014, a funding application was made to the Irish Georgian Society to support the conservation of this
window. The Society’s involvement began with the identification of suitably qualified professionals and subsequent preparation of the requisite Conservation Report, undertaken by York Glaziers Trust, due to the lack of suitable Irish based expertise. Additional funds from the Irish Georgian Society US chapters in Chicago and New York were pledged for the conservation work itself and together with funds from the Department of Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht’s Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2016, promoted by Jill Chadwick, Conservation Officer with Meath County Council; the current Duke of Wellington; the Primrose Trust and the Heritage Council have enabled the works to finally be commissioned in early 2016. A commitment to involving and upskilling Irish-based conservators was facilitated by links between the York Glaziers Trust and the University of York, where Meath born conservator Emma Newman was due to undertake her MA studies in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management. Initial reluctance on the part of the DAHG to permit the export of the window for conservation, which led to the delay of the project and the loss of funding under the Structures at Risk 2015 programme, was overcome by achieving sufficient funding to enable the window to be repatriated and re-instated within a six month interval, timed to facilitate Emma Newman’s placement and a temporary export permit was issued by the National Gallery of Ireland. The window was removed on April 25 2016 and packed in specially constructed cases by a small team ofthree conservators, Laura Tempest,
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01 Laura Tempest, Tony Cattle, Master Glazier (York Glaziers Trust) and Emma Newman during reinstallation 02 Pictured during the reinstallation of the Jervais window were Laura Tempest (York Glaziers Trust) and Irish MA student of Stained Glass Conservation, Emma Newman. (Images: Nick Bradshaw)
Tony Cattle and Emma Newman, templates of the window opening made and the opening temporarily blocked. Thereafter, the window was carefully conserved in the York studio, the glass cleaned and re-leaded and a new frame constructed. The original glass was finally repatriated during the week of 15 August by the same team, who worked first to install the iso-thermic protective glazing into the original opening, thereafter fixing the new frame for the original window, before finally slotting the three glass panels into their new position and triumphantly securing it in place. The newly conserved Jervais window was back in-situ in time for Heritage Week 2016 and was joyfully celebrated by a ‘Songs of Praise’ service during Sunday and during an Open Day. Full details of the project, co-ordinated by Deirdre McDermott, conservation architect in private practice and president of ICOMOS Ireland (www.icomos.ie), who worked as Temporary Conservation Manager for the Irish Georgian Society when the application was first made, are available online at www.igs.ie. Deirdre McDermott
CONSERVATION PROJECT UPDATE
THE LION’S GATE AT MOTE PARK, CO. ROSCOMMON Mote Park came into the possession of the Crofton family in the 1660s. They lived there up until the 1950s and the period of the family’s residence was to see the evolution of Ireland and in particular Roscommon, in terms of politics and economics, and the evolution of fashion in terms of landscaping and architecture. The family had a number of branches around the country. The early photographer Augusta Crofton was a member of one of these familial boughs. Mote Park House was the centre piece of the demesne. It had been rebuilt in the 1860s following a fire. One of the estate features is its imposing entrance gate/archway dating from 1787, of which there were a few. The original Athlone/ Roscommon main road runs over a gentle incline followed by a steep descent. From the ‘gentler’ side a road led to this locally sourced limestone entrance, that included an iconic lion and globe. Its flanks are surmounted by an urn on each. Built around the time of the previous 1860s house, the gate is thought to have Gandon influences. The lion is comprised of Coadestone, a composite invented by Eleanor Coade and made from crushed sand, porcelain and glass, heated to a high temperature. Moulded and with a hollow stomach, the lion appears like stone but its detail has proved more long lasting. Access to the interior is through the mouth and this has provided a home/hive for bees for many decades—they stood guard and possibly protected the lion from vandalism or theft. Following the construction of a new Athlone/Roscommon road on the Ballymurray side of the estate, the original entrance fell into disuse. The lion faces down towards the site of the house with its rear to the old original road. The structure cannot be seen from any of the roads and is approached by an avenue. However, it could be seen from the house. Roscommon Heritage Group had previously re-roofed the Crofton mausoleum and conserved its fine interior nearby. Over the past 20 years or so the Group has engaged with the owners (the Rogers family)
01 Lion before removal and repair 02 The Lion being reinstated on the arch at Mote Park (Images: Frank Scott)
whose Grandfather had rescued it from demolition. Initial repairs included removal of growth and realigning the upper level significant stones. We are fortunate to have an Architect on the Committee, Ms. Mary O’Carroll. As secretary she guided us on approaches and submissions to make further conversation. In parallel with our work, Eilish Feeley and her Mote Park Conservation Group have overseen the introduction of walks and preservation of areas of interest with an emphasis on flora and wildlife. It has made our tasks more appealing. The condition of the lion had begun to to deteriorate at an alarming rate, with cracks appearing on the limbs. The IGS (in particular Primrose Wilson) approached us. Following a report by Eoghan Daltun Sculpture Ltd., it became obvious that repair was urgent. The bees within the lion posed a serious problem. Over a period of months, local beekeepers, Jimmy Gleeson and Frank Kenny extracted new hives to keep the strain alive. NUIG was given samples to examine the possibility of the bees being virus free and healthy.
It was decided to send the lion to Steve Pettifer, Coadestone Ltd. of Wilton, Wiltshire, UK. Steve had not seen this particular design before. Following the lion’s head being bound the night before, it was disconnected (with some difficulty) by local builder, Gerry Dervin and his son Eoin. As it was removed from its plinth, the paws and globe fell off. Frank Scott (committee member) had the free loan of a van from Nick Craigie, Extraction Ltd. and drove to Wiltshire for six hours (it transpired there were two Wiltons—but the sat nav didn’t know!). Advised by Nollaig Feeney, Roscommon County Council Heritage Officer the lion was prepared for travel. Within two to three weeks it was collected and returned to its site looking magnificent, and a testament to an innovative woman ahead of her time. Finance was provided by Roscommon County Council/Dept for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, IGS, Follies Trust, Roscommon Heritage Group and anonymous donations. David Molloy
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IGS supports Publications on Ireland’s Heritage William Laffan
In the last year the IGS has supported several fine books in the fields of Irish architecture, the fine and decorative arts. All of these – and a wide array of other titles – are available in our bookshop, which is becoming one of the leading stockists for art and architectural history. First and foremost perhaps is Patricia McCarthy’s magisterial – and also very beautiful – account of the Irish country house which is previewed elsewhere in these pages. The Society has also made a financial contribution to an engaging volume of essays on visual culture in Ireland between 1620 and 1820. This amply illustrates the richness of current scholarship in the field. Subjects include Nathaniel Hone’s The Spartan Boy (and how it formed part of his attack on Sir Joshua Reynolds); Thomas Hickey’s Indian, and James Latham’s Irish, portrait practice – plus the royal portraits of the Royal Hospital – the ‘strange and unaccountable’ career of the sculptor Jan Van Nost in eighteenth-century Ireland and the ‘privileged status of
motherhood’ in early seventeenthcentury Irish funerary monuments. There is something for everyone and the volume maintains a consistently high standard of nuanced scholarship – not surprisingly, as all four of its editors have written for our Journal! If painting and sculpture are well served in this volume, the study of Irish material culture is greatly advanced by an important, and long awaited, book by Alison FitzGerald on the production and consumption of Irish silver on the Georgian period. Bringing a new methodological rigour to a scholarly field much in need of critical reinvigoration, the book ‘considers the context in which silver goods were made, used, valued and displayed in Georgian Ireland’. Given the importance of the subject – and the long wait for the volume’s appearance – it is rather to be regretted that the book comes with a price tag of £95 (sterling!) for a modest 256 pages; this will put it well beyond the reach of all students – and indeed many others.
More modestly priced is another delightful collaboration between the internationally claimed illustrator Nesta FitzGerald and the eminent Irish historian Declan Downey. This is the latest in what is turning into a series that has proved immensely popular – the last volume on the architecture of Kerry sold out its entire print run at a thronged launch in Listowel. This format (beautifully designed by Jason Ellams) has proved a highly accessible way of bringing the pair’s passion for our built heritage to wide and diverse audiences that academic architectural history often does not reach; if only each county in Ireland could be given such a treatment! The Society is currently seeking contributions to our publications’ fund for which we aim to raise €10,000. If you would like to consider making a contribution toward this fund, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 01 679 8675 to discuss it further.
Events Round-Up Róisín Lambe
Brittas House, Nobber, Co. Meath
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The first autumnal outing in 2015 began with a stop to pick up the McDonnells near Harold’s Cross and hear of the restoration work on their canalside home; we continued on to Coolcarrigan House near Naas where Robert Wilson-Wright gave us a tour of his beautiful house, its fine trees and gardens and the romantic Celtic revival church with Pollen stained glass. Our next stop was Lisnavagh in County Carlow where we had lunch at the home of the Bunbury family. Then we proceeded on to charming Moone Abbey, an 18th Century house lived in and loved by the very hospitable Matuschka family and their welcoming dachshund. Our last stop was at the very stately Harristown House, once owned by the La Touche family, in Brannockstown where Hubert Beaumont brought its story alive. Harristown is now up for sale, so let’s hope its future is assured. This year’s winter-spring programme began in November with a tour of the Provost’s House in Trinity College with the inimitable Dr Edward McParland, concluding with lunch at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. Our annual Christmas Party was in reopened Rathfarnham Castle, where despite belligerent fire alarms and a dark and stormy night, it was a festive occasion enjoyed by all. The evening lecture series from January to May included Vandra Costello on Irish Demesne Landscapes; Nicola Gordon Bowe on Wilhelmina Geddes which was introduced by Dr McParland; architect and travel writer Michael Fewer discussed the work of Thomas Joseph Byrne, Nation Builder; Michael O’Neill explored Bank architecture in Dublin from the 18th century while Glascott Symes, IGS committee member and great grandnephew of Sandham Symes addressed the work of his kinsman as an architect, artist and adventurer. With an audience including Beresford family members, Daniel Calley spoke on John Beresford and some Beresford family houses. Somewhat appropriately, our final talk in May was on 18th century gravestones of Co Wicklow by Christiaan Corlett. Shorter Dublin based tours undertaken included, in February, History of Medicine: Tour of Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Surgeons with Harriet Wheelock, archivist, explaining how the RCPI was established and its progress. We saw the idiosyncratic portraits and sculpture
of each president and items of historical interest included Napoleon’s toothbrush. Across Stephen’s Green we toured the early rooms of the College of Surgeons including a lecture theatre with George Walsh stained glass windows. Also in February there was an evening in the City Assembly House to welcome new members to the society in 2015. With some old photographs of past projects of the Irish Georgian Society as well as a video about our ongoing conservation work with the building conservation fund and chat with board members, it was also an opportunity to thank our volunteers. In March we visited houses of the Phoenix Park including Deerfield, Farmleigh and Aras an Uachtarain. In lovely June sunshine two groups visited Lambay Island, guided by Alex Baring and Matthew Jebb. Two walking tours by the irrespressible Arran Henderson encompassed the area around College Green, Dr Steeven’s Hospital and the Edward Worth Library, while Peter Clarke brought the area around the Royal Canal and the Blessington Basin, a hidden gem, to life, with stories of 18th century business activities mimicking more recent events. Joseph Lynch explored the area around Dublin Docklands and the Grand Canal Basin, so popular was this tour that it was repeated in somewhat sunnier weather in September! In late February, Glascott & Adrienne Symes led a day tour scheduled to take in the flowering of the snowdrop collection at Primrose Hill, Lucan, established by the late Cicely Hall and maintained by her son Robin and his wife Gay. As well as walking the garden we had a tour of the house, initially a simple farm house, a charming hall and staircase at the front and a bow window at the back were added, probably assisted by James Gandon who had retired to Lucan. We next visited Killadoon, Celbridge, built by Nathaniel Clements, where current owners, Charlie and Sally Clements gave interesting tours of the rooms, which retain much of their original contents, even including unused samples of wallpapers and fabrics. The group, which was split into two halves, came together at another 18th century house, Ryevale in Leixlip where Caroline Stephenson provided a lovely lunch.
01 Shanlis House, Co. Louth 02 Lisnavagh House, County Carlow 03 Christopher Moore’s cottage, County Kilkenny 04 The group enjoying a walking tour of the Royal Canal 05 Moone Abbey, Co Kildare 06 The garden Dangan cottage, County Kilkenny
A weekend in April saw a busy visit to Co Mayo where IGS members based themselves in a historic Irish country house and observed at close hand how the owners have created an environment to allow their property to survive and thrive in the early 21st century. Enniscoe House, near Crossmolina, known as ‘the last Great House of North Mayo’, is an elegant cut stone residence with some late Georgian interior plasterwork dating from c. 1798. Susan Kellett and her son D.J. run the small private hotel where guests can relax, enjoy the extensive gardens and local produce. Susan has also developed walks through the estate to the lake and established the Mayo North Heritage Centre and a small country life museum in this fairly remote corner of Mayo, giving employment locally and pleasure to those who visit. We also visited Strokestown House with its Famine Museum, untouched interiors and magnificently restored walled garden; Clonalis, seat of The O’Conor Don; the Jackie Clarke Museum in Ballina where one man’s collection of Irish memorabilia is beautifully housed in a former bank building designed by Thomas Manly Deane; the Gothic Revival Belleek Castle, built in the 1820s for the Knox Gore Family, now a hotel, with its exotic interior with many embellishments added by his late father, Marshal Doran and where a magnificent towering mausoleum by JF Fuller commemorates the Knox Gores; Foxford Woollen Mills where the nuns have a wonderful shop much enjoyed by the group; Westport House, sadly awaiting its fate; finishing up at Turlough House where the National Museum’s Country Life Museum is housed, and the last occupant of Turlough House, Patrick Butler, regaled us with stories of his childhood there. Our first summer outing in May was to Brownstown House, Kentstown, where Chris and Paula Stammschroer very kindly let us wander around their fine home and garden. The curious Jumping Church of Kildimock at Ardee was the next stop followed by a lovely al fresco lunch in the sunshine at Shanlis House, the home of Stuart and Marion McKeever, surrounded by its beautiful parkland. We ate again courtesy of Oinri Jackson and Neville Jessop in their beautifully restored seventeenth century home at Brittas House in Nobber. The house, once owned by the Bligh family, boasts an intact dining room from the
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1600s. Francis Johnston worked on the house at some point, and was involved in some tree planting on the estate. Our last stop was Rahinstown House, the magnificent Italianate home of the Fowler family at Summerhill. The house is attributed to architect, Sandham Symes. The Fowler family have a long history associated with equestrian pursuits. The Empress of Austria once hunted here in the 19th-century and it is still the centre of an equestrian estate. This year’s Summer Party in June was a garden party held in Abbey Leix demesne, home of the Irish Georgian Society’s president, Sir David Davies. The party was hosted by Sir David in association with the Birr and Midlands Chapter. Members were encouraged to roam the idyllic estate which includes terraced gardens, a walled garden, a lime tree walk and lake. There were light seasonal refreshments provided by Seamus Hogan in the octagonal Victorian dairy. There were house tours provided on a ticketed basis with William Laffan and John O’Connell. A sum of 1,000 euro from house tour tickets was donated to the ongoing conservation work of the Garden Pavilion in Beaulieu House, Co. Louth. The Society is grateful to the many volunteers who assisted with food and the raffle on the day. Special thanks are extended to Sir David and the Birr and Midlands Chapter for hosting. In July, County Kilkenny was the venue for a tour led by Glascott Symes. It started at Ballysallagh, Johnswell, where Kieran and Geralyn White have carried out a meticulous restoration of an early 18th century house that had caught the attention of Maurice Craig. We toured house and garden and were entertained to a welcome morning coffee. Next stop was Kilrush in Freshford, the home of Richard and Sally St George. The family originally settled in the tower house which survives in the yard before moving to a substantial house designed by William Robertson. Richard was also our enthusiastic guide to the interesting village church in Freshford which incorporates a spectacular Hiberno-Romanesque gabled porch. On to Dangan Cottage in Thomastown where Christopher Moore has recently transformed what started life as a cottage orné into a charming river-side home and created a notable garden. A lovely afternoon tea was supplied.
A newly revived event in our calendar was a summer picnic outing. In mid July we visited ‘oddities of interest’ in Co Wicklow including the fine gates of Bellevue House in Delgany, the magnificent monument to David La Touche in Delgany Church, Woodstock House, had tea and scones in the lovely gardens of Hunter’s Hotel. To Newcastle Church and on to Kilmacurragh House where Seamus Hogan provided Champagne, stuffed quail and strawberries and cream on the lawn and then to the magnificent pyramid mausoleum in Old Kilbride. Passing pinnacled Shelton Abbey and on to the church at New Kilbride with their very fine Harry Clarke window. We drove back to Dublin via Glenart Gate Lodge and Avoca Mines. Thanks to John O’Brien for his very entertaining commentary! Thank you to all those who contributed text and photographs for this year’s Event Round Up.
Tour to the Trieste Region by John O’Brien
Trieste, maritime gateway and under the protectorate of the Austrian empire for centuries, has long been overshadowed by Venice its larger sister state. Two consecutive groups of IGS members enjoyed the multi-layered city of architecture, art, James Joyce and coffee. While the weather was much kinder to the second group, and places visited varied somewhat, overall it was a splendid location. Villa Sartorio and the Revoltella Palazzo, were superb examples of the former wealth and generosity of the mercantile trading families of Trieste, with wonderful collections of objets d’art, souvenirs of their travels and erudition. The following day we visited the Archbishop’s Palace in Udine, its walls and ceilings copiously decorated by Tiepolo and thence to the Castello di Villalta, home of the Piccolomini di Caporiallo family. Our final stop that day involved a pre-drinks stroll in the gardens of Palazzo Lantieri before a tour of the ancient family seat. The following morning we rambled through Trieste, visiting the Gopcevich and Carciotti Palaces and churches around the pretty Grand Canal and the Morpurgo apartment, preserved in aspic since the 1940s, conveying the feeling of a welloff family living in the centre of town. On to Miramare Castle, built in the 1850s by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria on the edge of the bay, sparkled like a jewel in the brilliant sunshine and on to nearby Duino, entered through a protective arched gateway, where we were greeted by Princess von Thurn und Taxis. Ljubljana, just across the border, where we spent a day, is a city that shrugged off its communist era with alacrity with heavy architecture of Josef Plecnik side by side with the pretty Austrian feel of earlier architecture. Colour and greenery was everywhere, we were received by Professor Damjan Prelovsek at Plecnik’s only villa. Professor Prelovsek, an art historian and champion of Plecnik’s work, grew up in the villa built for his family which still contains much of the furniture and objects designed by Plecnik.
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Moravia by James White
Ranging from Renaissance Bucovice (late 16th century) to Villa Tugendhat (1930, Mies van der Rohe), 22 IGS members enjoyed a diverse range of buildings on their visit to Moravia, under the expert guidance of Harriet Landseer. Over five days we travelled throughout Moravia under cloudless skies. After a rapid walkabout of some streets, the main square (Cabbage Market) and a visit to St James’s church (heavily reconstructed late 19th century Gothic Revival), we departed northwards for Rajec, a mid-18th century country house in Louis XVI-style NeoClassicism. Thence to Boskovice, formerly a monastery but remodelled as a country house in the early18th century. An example of the history of confiscation of estates and country houses after the end of the Nazi occupation in 1945 by the Communist Party, in power until 1989. Today, some of these houses have been restored to former owners, at least to those who retained good Czech credentials throughout the Nazi occupation. A matter which was repeatedly touched upon by Harriet as we moved from property to property. On our return to Brno, we visited the Dusan Jurkovic House (1906), an Arts and Crafts house, a striking Gesamtkunstwerk by one of the leading Czech architects, a pupil of Otto Wagner. We also visited Jaromerice nad Rokytnou country house (early 18th century) with its sumptuous interiors and salla terrena alongside the gardens; Uhercice Castle, sadly dilapidated after 1945 by confiscation, but being gradually restored; Vranov nad Dyji Castle (late 17th century) on a magnificent cliff-top site, with its stunningly tall, ovalshaped Ancestors’ Hall (a favourite shape of its architect Fischer von Erlach). Next day to Buchlovice country house, famous for its former owner, the diplomat Leopold Berchtold in whose preserved study we saw reminders of his meeting there in 1908 with the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Austria. Milotice (early 18th century) was entered over a triumphal bridge with sandstone sculptures. Bucovice castle with its craftsmanship of 16th century Italian stonemasons is possibly the most beautiful in Moravia, and the most important Renaissance castle in the Czech Republic. After a visit to the castle of Austerlitz, we moved on to Kromeriz Gardens and Palace (late 17th century), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The extensive formal gardens retain
their Baroque layout; the Rotunda has a dome with murals depicting episodes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. A quick visit to Villa Tugendhat (exterior only, unfortunately) followed on our way back to Brno and a last evening dinner with a delightful hour-long concert by a string quartet in the intimate Mitrovsky Summer Pavilion (late 18th century Louis XVI-style gambling house). We had still some time to see a little more, as we travelled southwards next morning to Vienna and the airport.
01 Moravia, Czech Republic 02 Bucovice, South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic 03 Entrance to mausoleum at Žale Cemetery, Ljubljana, Slovenia 04 Duino in the province of Trieste, northeastern Italy
Chapter Reports Ailish Drake, Elizabeth Fogarty, Kevin Hurley, Ashleigh Murray & Michael G. Kerrigan
With Chapters in Birr, Cork and Limerick in Ireland, and overseas in London, New York, Chicago, Boston and Austin, members can enjoy talks and events in Ireland and abroad as the various reports for happenings over the last twelve months show.
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Limerick Chapter Ailish Drake 01
Limerick is an incredible city, with a rich built heritage in both the medieval and Georgian parts of the city. The Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society believes that raising awareness of the intrinsic value of Newtown Pery is key to its survival. If there is investment in its public realm and its historic buildings, we see huge potential for Limerick to become a great place to work, live and visit. To this end, the Chapter has run a series of lectures this year, which focused on the historic regeneration of Newtown Pery. The series began with a presentation by the Georgian Lab, SAUL (School of Architecture UL), who has examined the challenges and costs associated with the renovation of a sample of town houses in Newtown Pery. The chapter has continued to engage with ongoing research on Newtown Pery in SAUL during the year. In February, Frank McDonald, former Environment Editor of The Irish Times, lead a discussion panel on the reinhabitation of Newtown Pery. McDonald was very critical of the language used in the Limerick 2030 plan, which states that ‘The overall condition of the Georgian properties is extremely poor.’ He argues that although there has been much neglect, the buildings themselves are in fact in good condition.
Joining him on the night was Kieran Reeves, Senior Executive Planner with Limerick City and County Council and Mary Hughes, immediate past President of the Irish Planning Institute. With a large and vocal audience, what followed was a lively discussion on the failure of the ‘Living Cities Initiative’, the poor public realm and traffic planning of Newtown Pery and the proposed ‘Limerick Footbridge’. In March, the Chapter hosted a very enlightening talk by Giulia Vallone, senior executive architect at Cork County Council. Responsible for the beautifully designed RIAI award winning Emmet Square, Clonakilty, which brings life back into a Georgian Square, her presentation was entitled, Towns for People – Civic Stewardship through Public Spaces. She believes that in order to bring people back to live in our towns and cities, we must create vibrant places that citizens are proud of. Judith Hill, Architectural Historian and long-term member of the Limerick Chapter Committee presented our final lecture in the series. Judith presented an overview of the evolution of Newtown Pery and highlighted the great variety of buildings, from the late Georgian period but also including many fine examples of Victorian work, which are integral to its character. Judith also explained the
vistas and views (onto the river, the park and towards the various monuments) which create an environment that is unique and worth preserving as a whole. Our tours this summer took us to St Clerans Craughwell, constructed in the 18th century for the Burke family and for many years the home of film director John Huston, and the idyllic setting of Lough Cutra Castle near Gort. In June, we visited three fascinating buildings in Limerick demonstrating the rich Quaker history of learning, philanthropy and business in Limerick life. Ailish Drake, Chapter Head B Arch. Sc., MA MRAI
01 Limerick chapter members at St. Clerans Manor House, County Galway 02 Members of the Limerick Chapter at Lough Cutra Lodge, Gort, County Galway
01 Rosalind Fanning and John Joyce during the Famous and Notables of Birr trail. 02 Members of the Birr/ Midlands chapter at Portumna Castle, County Galway
Birr/Midlands Chapter Elizbeth Fogarty 01
Our principal project for the year was the development of the FAN trail -famous and notables – of Birr. The Birr/Midlands Chapter continued in their efforts to organise the acquisition and installation of commemorative blue plaques around the town. This culminated in the launch of 25 plaques at an event in Birr on 29 June 2016 with guest of honour, actor and Birr native Des Keogh. The FAN tourist trail will enhance the experience of visitors to the town. Following the visit of Camilla McAleese, Board Member, IGS, who suggested that membership should be increased , it was decided to change the name of the Chapter to Birr/Midlands in an effort to expand the membership base. As a result, new letterheads were designed to reflect the change. At the annual meeting held in November, the Chapter Head emphasised that the repatriation of the Eyrecourt Staircase from its current home in Detroit should be a main objective over the coming years. It was hoped that the Chicago Chapter would lend its support. A very successful Christmas party took place at Birr Castle in December, graciously hosted by Lord and Lady Rosse with many new and potentially new members in attendance.
After serving for 23 years as Secretary to the Chapter, Clodagh Dowley tendered her resignation. The Committee regretfully accepted and thanked her sincerely for her sterling service to the Chapter. In January a new secretary, Elizabeth Fogarty, was appointed. The idea of repatriation of the Eyrecourt Staircase came as a result of a meeting between Lord Rosse and Professor Loeber, Pittsburgh University and discussed the matter at the recent exhibition in the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. The staircase, which had been a main feature of Eyrecourt House built by John Eyre in the late 1660s was purchased by William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s, destined for the Hearst mansion in California but was subsequently donated to the Detroit Institute of Arts where it remains in storage. In April a new member and native of Eyrecourt, Damien O’Connor, who was working on a dissertation on the Eyrecourt Staircase gave a presentation on the subject.
Events During the year Visit of Cork Chapter: 18 June. Birr/ Midlands chapter was delighted to welcome a group of visitors from the Cork Chapter who were treated to tours of the Castle, the Castle gardens and the town. Garden Party, Abbey Leix Estate, 25 June: Members were happy to participate in the garden party co-hosted by Sir David Davies and Birr/Midlands Chapter Blue plaques launch, Birr, 29 June Excursion to East Galway, 2 July : an enjoyable and well supported tour of East Galway Castles was organised by Treasurer, Gerry Browne. Visits to Portumna Castle and Workhouse, Oranmore Castle courtesy of Leonie Leslie and Yeats’ Castle at Thoor Ballylee were included in the programme. Elizabeth Fogarty, Chapter Secretary
01 Cork chapter members visiting Lismacue House, County Tipperary 02 Cork chapter members visiting John’s Hall, Birr, County Offaly 03 Lord Rosse in the grounds of Birr Castle, County Offaly
IRISH GEORGIAN SOCIETY REVIEW 16
Cork Kevin Hurley Our 2016 programme began with a visit to the Crawford Art Gallery with an event organised by Dr. Alicia St. Leger on Saturday, 6th February 2016. Over fifty members attended the event which began with an overview of the exhibition by Alicia St. Leger and the world in which Adam Buck lived followed by an illustrated talk by Richard Wood on the Cork of Adam Buck. We were joined by Peter Darvall who wrote the catalogue A Regency Buck - Adam Buck (17591833). After the talk concluded, Peter Darvall guided the members around the exhibition followed by lunch in Isaacs. Grateful thanks to Peter Murray for providing the lecture space and to Dr. Alicia St. Leger for arranging this very enjoyable event. It’s a long way to Tipperary, but very much worth it for the experience in visiting three houses on Saturday 28th May 2016 with diverse identities. Our first house was Grenane House where we were welcomed by Philippa ManseraghWallace. Members enjoyed the guided tour of the house followed by delicious refreshments. Members next made their way to Lismacue via the very fine lime tree avenue where Jim & Katherine Nicholson welcomed us to their fine home with Gothic flourishes by William Robertson. Newtown Anner a secret treasure tucked away in Clonmel was our final destination. Having enjoyed our first visit in 2010 it was a delight for our members to view the progress since then. We welcomed by Nigel and Tessa Cathcart and our members were delighted to view the progress with the restoration and also again enjoyed refreshments which were very much appreciated. A delightful outing organised by Kevin Hurley. On Saturday 18th June 2016 members we were welcomed to Birr by Lord Rosse who gave us a fine history of the castle, the town and his family while we enjoyed wonderful refreshments. The group then set out a walking tour of the town by Margaret Hogan. A town with fine Georgian terraces, Victorian
and Edwardian architecture. Our group visited the castle and deferred lunch to a later time in the afternoon. Lord and Lady Rosse gave us an extensive tour of the castle. Afterwards we had lunch with wine generously provided gratis by the Birr Chapter. The world famous garden was the final instalment of the trip and led by Lord Rosse and despite drizzle members enjoyed the guided tour of the grounds. Grateful thanks to Lord Rosse, John Joyce, Margaret Hogan and Kevin Hurley who organised the trip. A ‘scorcher’ of a day as we might say in Cork was the weather that contributed in no small way to the afternoon at Rockrohan House on Sunday 17th July 2016 hosted by Richard Wood with guided tours of the house by Richard followed a ‘strawberry tea’. Members enjoyed the gardens and distant views the city. Anja Bakker, a harpist and singer gave the members a treat by performing several works on her harp composed by Turlough O’Carolan. A very pleasant day with all the refreshments being provided by the committee and members, Geraldine O’Riordan, Alicia, Guy and Eveline St. Leger, Catherine Fitzmaurice and finally the seating provided by Edmund Corrigan. Many thanks to Geraldine O’Riordan for coordinating such an enjoyable event. I would like to extend my thanks to the committee Dr. Alicia St. Leger, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Edmund Corrigan, Geraldine O’Riordan and our Patron, Myrtle Allen.
Kevin Hurley, Chapter Head 03
London Chapter Ashleigh Murray The London Chapter has had another enjoyable year with many wonderful trips and events. Our Autumn/ Winter programme began in October with two special tours. Our first tour was a YIG visit of the iconic Café Royal, led by the interior conservation architect, Fiona Raley of Donald Insall Associates. We also had an exclusive tour of 20 St James’s Square, built in 1772-77 for Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn and one of Robert Adam’s best interiors. This expert tour was provided by Dr Fran Sands, Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane’s Museum. The topic of our Autumn lecture was Russborough House, provided by William Laffan and Kevin Mulligan, authors of a recent book on the house and its collections. Following this, the Savile Club was the setting for the Annual pre-Christmas Dinner, kindly organised by Tim and Marylyn Bacon. The Club, founded in 1868, moved to its current premises in 1927 at 69 Brook Street. This wonderful dinner also marked John Redmill’s retirement as Chairman of the London Chapter, which took place in 2015 after some 25 years. 2016 began with an outing to John Wesley’s House and Methodist Chapel which are on the edge of the City but are little known. In February our Winter lecture was provided by Finola O’Kane on her 2013 publication ‘Ireland and the Picturesque: Design, Landscape Painting and Tourism 1700-1840’. In March, our traditional St Patrick’s Day Party took place at Lettsom House; in addition to our normal updates, we were also introduced to our new London Chapter Chairperson, Ashleigh Murray, and also the new IGS President, Sir David Davies. Nick Sheaff, former Executive Director of the IGS in Dublin, also provided a fun and informative review of the London Chapter’s events over the last year. Our Spring/Summer programme began with an outing to the William Morris Gallery, the only public gallery devoted to the life and legacy of the famous Arts-and-Crafts designer.
In early May, Robert and Pippa Jennings arranged our annual expedition with the 20 Ghost Club and, for the first time, the Chapter visited Cornwall. Our party was transported by eleven splendid pre-1939 Rolls-Royce motor cars and we visited several Georgian houses, the best probably being the 1720s Antony House. Other great houses included Pencarrow, Kelly House, and Trewithen. We also had a memorable dinner and tour at Bonnoc, rescued by the Fortescue family, and finished with lunch at John Nash’s Caerthays. Our May day trip was organised by Tim Bacon to two country houses near Peterborough: Elton Hall, originally a 15th-century house, extended in the 1670s and the mid-19th century; and Milton Hall, a private house originally built in the 1590s with subsequent improvements by the architects Henry Flitcroft and Sir William Chambers. In July, Marylyn Bacon organised a fabulous and very well-attended Summer Drinks Party at 1 Ilchester Place, the home of Julia and Oric L’Vov Basirov. This 1920s Neo-Georgian house was previously owned by the actress Anne Todd (1909-1993), who lived there with her husband, the Film Director, David Lean. The programme ended on a high with a YIG study day at Syon House, a 16thcentury house with wonderful interiors by Robert Adam. Our scholarly tour was provided by Adriano Aymonino, who completed his PHD on the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Room by room, Adriano expertly revealed the developing themes, idioms and sources of Adam’s decorative language. These events have been organised by both existing and past Committee members, to whom we are most grateful. We are also very thankful to our London Chapter members who continue to support us through our events. Ashleigh Murray, Chapter Head BSc (Hons) MSc MA
01 Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom 02 Ashleigh Murray Chairperson of the London Chapter, and in the background John Barber, IGS Member, and Sir David Davies 03 Front façade of Syon House 04 Fiona Raley in the Grill Room of the Café Royal, Regent Street, London 05 Young Irish Georgian tour to Syon House, West London 06 Antony House, Cornwall, UK.
IRISH GEORGIAN SOCIETY REVIEW 16
IGS Inc. Michael G. Kerrigan It has been an active last twelve months for the American Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society. Under the capable leadership of the Board of Directors, the American Board has been very involved in continuing to redesign and reinvigorate the American platform. The appointment of Sir David Davies as the new President of the Society also provided numerous opportunities to hold events to introduce him to American members and friends of the Society. Four new board members were added to the American board during this time; Paul Keeler, Greenwich, Connecticut, Tom Cooney, Chicago, Illinois, Susan Payson Burke and John M. Sullivan, New York. We are all very excited about the fresh perspective this group brings to the work the Society does to encourage and protect Ireland’s build heritage. September found a group of 14 American Irish Georgians on tour in Ireland, led by the redoubtable Marianne Gorman for Landscapes, Seascapes and Houses of Ireland. We had a wonderful group join us, with the tour starting in Dublin and proceeding south to Wicklow, Waterford, Cork, Kenmare and Adare, with a quick trip to the Hunt Museum in Limerick before proceeding back to Dublin. We saw many fine examples of Georgian architecture and were entertained in a most hospitable manner by gracious friends of the Society wherever we went. October found members of the Society gathering for the Fall Gala Fund Raising Dinners in New York and Chicago. Our speaker was the charming and talented Catherine FitzGerald, speaking about houses and gardens that have inspired her career as a gardener. Her husband, the actor Dominic West, was in attendance at the New York Dinner as was her mother, Madame Olda FitzGerald, whose presence at the fundraiser brought out a large cast of admirers and friends, something truly special to behold.
The gala dinners presented an opportunity to launch the Building Conservation Fund, a devoted this year to five smaller important projects which was met with a strong response in New York and Chicago, for which we are very appreciative. In November we were in Dallas, Texas at The Heritage Auction Gallery for a wonderful presentation by Merribell Maddux Parsons, the Curator of European Art at The San Antonio Museum of Art. Her talk, “Luck of the Irish, and San Antonio, too” focused on the John V. Rowan, Jr. Collection of Irish Silver, the most important collection of 18th c. silver to be found outside Ireland. A great mix of Irish Georgians, both long time members of the Society and first time attendees attended the talk. Many thanks to everyone in Dallas that helped ensure this event was a success, and particular thanks to Rachel Gaffney of the Dallas Chapter, without whom this event could not have taken place and to the delightful Netta Blanchard. December found American Board President Beth Dater and American Executive Director Michael Kerrigan in Dublin for an Irish Georgian Foundation Board meeting and the Christmas Drinks Party at Rathfarnham Castle. High winds and stormy conditions added an element of excitement to the evening as the security alarm system set off the high winds, briefly delaying the start of the party but all ended happily. After the December 8th Board meeting, Beth Dater hosted an elegant dinner party for the Irish Board of Directors as we all welcomed Sir David Davies as the new President of the Society. In early March of 2016, we welcomed Sir David Davies to the United States with a series of fund raising events to introduce him to American members of the Society and their friends. Longtime friend of the Society, Mr. Thomas Quick, hosted an elegant party in Palm Beach, Florida for Sir David Davies on March 6, attended by over 100 people and a great success. The next day, Mr. Thomas
Tormey, a second generation committed board member, hosted a tea at The Chesterfield Hotel where Mr. Robert O’Byrne gave a talk on the houses of the Black River Valley to a crowd of 50 or more. A private dinner followed the next evening for Sir David Davies, hosted by Fred and Kay Krehbiel. The next day Sir David Davies, Robert O’Byrne and Michael Kerrigan flying up to Boston, Massachusetts where Sir David Davies was introduced to a group of 65 to 70 members and friends of the Society at The Somerset Club, with a talk being given by Mr. Robert O’Byrne. We have Boston members Mary Kakas, Raffi Berberian and James Queeny to thanks for the strong turn out at this event. Afterwards, a smaller group met at The Chilton Club in Boston’s Back Bay for an elegant dinner underwritten by board member, Mr. Thomas Tormey, to assist in the re-launch of the Boston Chapter. April was also a busy month. Marti Sullivan, with her husband Austin, new members of the Society who bring a strong interest and knowledge of architecture and historic preservation, hosting Tom Tormey and Executive Director Michael Kerrigan on a “scouting tour” of Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. They opened doors for us in many beautiful private houses as well as museums. Both cities have some of our countries best examples of colonial Georgian architecture, of interest to American Irish Georgians as well as members of the Society everywhere. While in Savannah, we had the opportunity to meet with former IGS, Inc. Board President Paula Fogarty, who now lives in Savannah and has offered to assist there in any way she is able. Also in April, Executive Director Michael Kerrigan attended the Newport Symposium for Historic Preservation in Newport, Rhode Island where he met many fellow Irish Georgians. Mr. Ronald Fleming of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Newport, a leader in historic preservation circles, was kind enough to
01 US tour of Ireland: The tour group with the Dean of Armagh, Canon Gregory Dunstan, June 2016 02 Sir David Davies, Beth Dater and Tom Quick at the Palm Beach cocktail party hosted by Mr. Quick, March 2016 03 Mr. Turtle Bunbury speaking at the 1916 Commemorative event in Chicago, August 2016
IRISH GEORGIAN SOCIETY REVIEW 16
invite Michael to stay at Bellevue House, his circa 1910 Ogden Codman house on Bellevue Avenue in Newport while attending the seminar. In June, we hosted a tour to Ireland called Georgian Dublin, Early Palladian Mansions and the Great Houses of Northern Ireland from June 11 -19th, attended by 14 Irish Georgians. Again we were led by tour guide Marianne Gorman and a delightful time was had by all. Highlights included a tour of the early Georgian townhouses of Henrietta Street led by the eminent architectural historian, Dr. Edward McParland. We then drove north to the grounds of Bellamont Forest, one of the most important early Georgian houses to be built in Ireland. Inclement weather precluded our having an outdoor picnic, which did not stop local historic preservation expert, Mr. Noel Carney, from organising a beautiful catered lunch for us at the Dartrey Temple, restored in part through the efforts of the London Chapter of the Society. Our tour then took us to visit Mount Stewart on Strangford Lough in Co. Down, Northern Ireland, where we were greeted and given a tour of the house and gardens by Lady Rose Lauritzen, head curator Francis Baily and Head Gardner Neil Porteous. After the tour, Lady Rose Lauritzen hosted a lovely luncheon for us, very much enjoyed by all. The next day we were the guests of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn at Baronscourt in Newtownstewart, Omagh, Co. Tyrone. There we were warmly greeted and given a very interesting tour of the house by a wonderful and knowledgeable guide before proceeding to an elegant luncheon, again enjoyed by all. The tour continued the next day to Florence Court and Castle Coole in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. The day ended with a delightful visit to Crom Castle where we enjoyed a delightful dinner hosted by John Crichton, Lord Erne and Anna, the widow of Henry Erne.
On our return to Dublin the next day, we were very fortunate to be invited to lunch at Tullynally, the home of Thomas and Valerie Pakenham, where we had a wonderful tour and visit. We arrived back on American shores just in time to welcome Mr. Turtle Bunbury, the award-winning historian, to Chicago, on June 30th where he was the featured speaker at the 1916 Commemorative Cultural Event hosted by the Consulate General of Ireland in Chicago in conjunction with The Irish Georgian Society and The Chicago Fellowship Club, attended by over 200 people. In conclusion, it was a busy and productive year, all the events of which could not have taken place without the strong support from American members of the Society, our donors and our very committed Board of Directors, all of whom we owe a great debt of thanks in their commitment to preserve Ireland’s architectural heritage. Michael G. Kerrigan, Executive Director
Dear, Faithful, Loyal And Generous, A Tribute To Jeremy Williams Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe The following is part of a fond tribute penned for Jeremy Williams who died on Christmas Eve 2015. Talented, idiosyncratic, and mourned, many of his friends and admirers gathered at the Irish Architectural Archive on Merrion Square in March this year to remember a singular man… What a wonderful tribute to Jeremy that so many of the friends, colleagues and clients garnered on his continual peregrinations throughout Ireland, Scotland, England, Europe and beyond should have assembled in memory of a dear, faithful, loyal and generous friend. We all know Jeremy would go anywhere for a good party, and it is our great loss that he isn’t here to enjoy this one. Like you, I still can’t believe that Jeremy really has gone, suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving the life he relished so fully, and that we shan’t see his ubiquitously welcome face, hear his excitedly crescendo-ing voice, helpless laughter, and enjoy his familiar company again. But perhaps it’s fitting that, if he had to leave us, it was after a pre-Christmas supper with old friends, and on the doorstep of the book-lined Victorian house overlooking the 18th century graveyard of St. Catherine’s in the Liberties; the house which a legacy from his grandmother had enabled him to acquire years ago as his eyrie and architectural office. I first met him at an arcane Trinity Arts Society lecture, organized by George Wynne Willson, on ‘OpGothic Architecture’. Architecture was Jeremy’s greatest love, the result of lifelong explorations, first on a bike as a student; then on a scooter; by
Eurorail and in a succession of cars which came after the pea-green one he inherited from his grandmother, replete with a silver lamé eiderdown in the back - into which he would burrow on overnight trips. An open gate (as they mostly were then) leading up to a classic house of the middle or larger size or, even better, a castle served as an invitation to investigate what lay at the end of the drive. As many of you know, not only was he great fun on such explorations, but also a brilliantly informed guide. I remember him, en route to the Laois Hunt Ball, hoisting the front wheels of his car up onto a rockery, to give his passengers a headlight-illuminated introduction to the ground floor plasterwork of a house whose occupants had already left for the Ball – when suddenly suspicious Gardai arrived! Others remember him reversing erratically to look at a house he’d missed, quite oblivious of the queue of cars behind him frantically doing likewise! As he travelled the length and breadth of this country, which he knew inside out, he recorded in his wonderfully assured spidery drawings the exteriors and interiors of buildings – some threatened, others re-imagined by him with the fine rococo plasterwork ceilings he rescued and successfully re-installed with the help of stuccodore Tommy Leydon. A devotee of the Irish Georgian Society, his concern about the ubiquitous threat to Victorian buildings in Ireland, led to the formation of the Irish Victorian Society in 1974 as an informed conservation pressure group. His many clients valued his unique ability to seamlessly incorporate the
old with the new. For them he matched his inspired references to historic architecture with the workmanship of his team of builders and artist/ craftspeople, using carefully chosen materials, salvaged and new. For the extent of his work, witness the sheer quantity of job files, which are to be housed along with their attendant drawings and his impressive architectural library in the Irish Architectural Archive. On his ceaseless expeditions at home and abroad, in search of architecture and the music he loved to see and hear performed, he would establish temporary roosts, making often unexpected connections from his wide reading and first-hand knowledge, contributing ever-creative - but guileless - gossip, entertaining and relishing the company of those he met. Travels to India, Morocco, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Egypt with friends opened new horizons beyond his beloved Belgium, Germany and France. As long as Jeremy had his overnight bag, his sketchbook, pencils and pens, his radio, and current reading matter or writing material, he was in his element. Like Montaigne, his thoughts seemed to go to sleep unless they and he wandered. His magically romantic drawings were published in books which reflect his unique knowledge and sketching skills: in 1989, Renagh Holohan’s The Irish Chateaux; in search of the Descendants of the Wild Geese, for Lilliput Press; in his privately printed illustrated record of a grand weekend Shooting Party at theChateau du Fayel in 1994; and the same year, in his invaluable county-bycounty Companion Guide to Architecture in Ireland 1837-1921 for Michael Adams’
IRISH GEORGIAN SOCIETY REVIEW 16
The Casino at Marino, by Jeremy Williams (Courtesy of the Irish Architectural Archive)
Irish Academic Press. In the introduction, the eminent architectural historian Mark Girouard acknowledged Jeremy’s gift, notable in the best gazetteers, of “providing compulsive browsing” while “making the buildings which he describes seem desirable” by illuminating “them with a few deft phrases”, bringing them to life with engagingly idiosyncratic references to the people who built them and lived in them. Nearly four years ago, his carefully selected retrospective of 160 Watercolours and Drawings mounted at Damien Matthews’ majestic salerooms in Dublin’s Capel Street emulated the desire Jeremy shared with the late Knight of Glin - to see Joseph Leeson’s vision “of an Italian palace by a German architect embellished by Swiss stuccodores and Irish craftsmen” re-instated in their original settings in the seven principal interiors of Russborough. The exhibition featured other original re-constructions of richly stucco’d interiors, lost staircases, what he deemed Dublin’s “ten most beautiful reception rooms”, Gothick follies, neo-Palladian fantasies, rustic retreats, and sections illustrating the creative “Spell of Steel” and the “Lure of Resin”. The works on show concluded with homages to the work of his sculptor friend and craftsman/builder colleague, David Durdin Robertson at Huntington, Kilshannig and Clonmannon, and to Tommy Leydon’s skillfully transplanted stucco ceilings. Let us hope that Jeremy is orchestrating celestial picnics amongst Arcadian follies, regaling his beloved mother, and admired fellow free-spirits such as Mariga Guinness, Jelena de Belder, Christel Boorman and Aggie Bernelle with fantasies loosely drawn from life on earth.
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