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E-Newsletter of the Irish Georgian Society | November 2017

Conservation Project Update: O'Brien Column, Co. Clare

The O’Brien Column is situated on a prominence overlooking Liscannor Bay, Co. Clare. It was built c. 1858 as a tribute to the achievements of Cornelius O’Brien, a local MP and improving landlord who was also responsible for opening the Cliffs of Moher as a tourist amenity. Standing c. 80 ft. high, the fluted Doric column sits on a substantial square plinth and is topped with a fine urn, all in local limestone.
The IGS provided a grant of €6,000 through its London Chapter to support a project by The Follies Trust and the Friends of the O’Brien Column to stabilise the column and undertake necessary conservation works. This timely intervention revealed that the urn was in imminent danger of collapse and was rocking back and forth. The repair of the urn required its temporary removal and the dismantling and repair of the drum on which it stood. With these works, rusted and corroded iron dowels have been replaced with stainless steel ones inserted and set in resin. Primrose Wilson, chair of The Follies Trust, has assured all that “it was the best long term solution to the problem and ensures the column should last for another 100 years”.

View all building projects supported by the IGS on

Conservation Project Update: City Assembly House

A magnificent new oak floor has been lain down in the Exhibition Room which reflects its octagonal plan and is focussed on a central starburst. New sash windows have been commissioned and installed to replace decaying 1950s sashes. Together with secondary glazing, these will enhance energy efficiency in the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room and will also improve sound insulation.
Air ducts concealed beneath grills around the perimeter of the Exhibition Room are linked to an air handling unit stored in the basement. This forms an integral part of a climate control system to regulate heating and humidity levels which in turn will ensure the Exhibition Room meets necessary curatorial standards.

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IGS Submission: draft National Planning Framework

In its submission to the draft National Planning Framework, the Irish Georgian Society called on the Government to demonstrate a clear commitment to the conservation and protection of Ireland’s historic environment. It emphasised the need to ensure that heritage (including built heritage and historic landscapes) is not side-lined, but is central in any considerations and that a failure to do so is likely to result in permanent damage to and loss of heritage assets. The full submission can be seen on the Society’s website.

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Lecture: 17th & 18th Century Irish Glass and Ceramics
Tuesday 5th December, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2  - For most of the last century it was believed that the history of fine-glass and ceramics manufacture in Ireland was well understood, but new documentary research and archaeological excavations in Dublin, Belfast and the United States have revealed that this country actually played a far more significant, international role than was previously recognised. Francis' lecture will present all of this new and exciting evidence, much of which remains as yet unpublished.
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Lecture: Headfort House and the Taylour Legacy
Tuesday 9th January, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2  - This well-illustrated lecture from George Williams explores the wealth of riches surrounding the house and family from the late 17th right up to the early 20th century. A rare insight into the furnishing and running of this great house.

George Williams is a furniture restorer and antique dealer based in County Meath.  
Book Now
Upcoming Events: Cork Chapter
Christmas Event at Frankfield and Donnybrook, Saturday 25th November - The group will meet at Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, Frankfield at 10.30am for registration, before being led on a tour of Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, courtesy of Ven. Adrian Wilkinson. Afterward the group will continue on to Donnybrook House, for a tour, courtesy of Mr. Crichton. The day will conclude with a three-course lunch at Hayfield Manor. Tickets €50 (€55 non members). To book, contact Kevin Hurley: 087 9266826 or email
Upcoming Events: Limerick Chapter
Christmas Party, Thursday 7th December, The Georgian House, No. 2 Pery Square, Limerick - We are delighted to welcome Frank Keohane, author of Irish Period Houses, to speak on the evening. Derek Moloney, tenor, is returning after thrilling our Christmas Party audience last year. All proceeds from this fundraising evening go towards our Small Works Grant Scheme for the repair and restoration of historic kerbs, railings, and steps in Newtown Pery, Limerick City. Your support is greatly appreciated. Tickets: €25. Book Now.
Upcoming Events: Birr/Midlands Chapter
Christmas Party at Birr Castle, Friday 15th December

Once again the Chapter Christmas Party will be hosted by the Earl and Countess of Rosse at Birr Castle. The Castle gates will be open to guests between 7.30pm to 8.00pm.

Tickets cost €30 per person. RSVP to Elizabeth Fogarty ( or by phoning: 087 6090010 before 30th November.
IGS Bookshop: Book of the Month
Maria Edgeworth's Letters from Ireland
Valerie Packenham
January 1 2018 will be the 250th anniversary of Maria Edgeworth’s birth. Valerie Pakenham’s sparkling new selection of over four hundred letters, many hitherto unpublished, will help to celebrate her memory. Born in England, she was brought to live in Ireland at the age of fourteen and spent most of the rest of her life at the family home at Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. Encouraged by her remarkable father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, whose memoirs she edited, she became, in turn, famous for her children’s stories, her practical guides to education and her novels – or, as she preferred to call them, ‘Moral Tales’. By 1813, when visiting London, she was, as Byron testified, as great a literary lion as he had been the season before, and she was hugely admired by fellow novelists Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen.
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Irish Georgian Society Christmas Cards

We are delighted to stock a new range of Irish Georgian Society Christmas Cards for 2017 featuring a festive view of the City Assembly House illustrated by Silvie Cahill. A packet of 5 cards costs €10 and are available to purchase in the IGS bookshop from next week. This is a lovely token to send to friends and family with all money raised supporting the IGS Education Programme!

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Gift the gift of IGS membership this Christmas!

This Christmas, why not give someone the gift of Irish Georgian Society membership? Your gift will not only provide someone with a year’s full calendar of events to enjoy, but will provide a unique way to support the Irish Georgian Society. 

Included with their membership the recipient will have a choice of either: An event voucher for one lecture in 
our Winter/Spring 2018 lecture series or a €10 voucher redeemable in our bookshop (instore or online). Your gift of membership will be valid for one year from date of purchase.

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City Assembly House Venue Hire

In 2018, the Irish Georgian Society will reopen the City Assembly House for public events. The refurbished octagonal Exhibition Room will be used, primarily for exhibitions, performances and educational events. With a capacity of up to 90 people seated, it will offer a chance for intimate recitals and small scale performances. With the seating removed the gallery becomes a grand and imposing exhibition space.

For details please contact
Seamus Hogan.

Carraig Books: a fare-thee-well

Read - Visit - Remember

an old bookshop's photo-poetic portrait

(with extensive online photo gallery)

poetry: Louis Hemmings
photography: Dora Kazmierak

Politics, Pleasure & Empire: Making Ireland's Great Gardens

This two-part documentary series on RTE Lyric fm vividly brings to life the story of 17th and 18th century garden-making in Ireland as broadcaster Mary Brophy explores the influences, characters and obsessions that made Ireland’s great historic gardens and landscapes. This Sunday's episode, the second in the series focuses on Castletown, and the influence of the influence of Capability Brown on the garden designs of Lady Louisa Conolly, and how for an 18th century aristocratic woman, gardening was freedom.  Listen in on Lyric FM on Sunday 26th November at 6.00pm.

Lecture: The Conservation of the O'Brien Column

Tuesday 12th December, 7.30pm, Liscannor Hall, Co. Clare - The memorial column to Cornelius O'Brien is an important landmark close to the Cliffs of Moher. The Follies Trust, working with Friends of the O'Brien Column & Clare County Council, decided that work needed to be undertaken to repair the top of the column and the plinth below. At this lecture stone mason Eoin Madigan will outline the project and how he dealt with the various issues and problems which arose during the course of the work. Tickets €5.

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From Our Friends
The Jonathan Swift Festival, 23rd to 26th November 2017, Dublin - The Jonathan Swift Festival is run by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. It is supported by both Failte Ireland and Dublin City Council and collaborates with a number of cultural institutions across the city who have a historic or thematic link to Jonathan Swift’s life and work. In 2017 these include; Marsh’s Library, Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College, The Irish Writers Centre, and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

Christmas on the Square, Saturday 25th November, Merrion Square - This free event brings you the best of Irish design, craft, innovation, food, drink and culture. Take a peek inside some of the Georgian houses of Merrion Square. Pick up the perfect Irish gift for friends and family, discover Merrion Square’s fashion history, learn to make the perfect Christmas wreath for your home during our workshops. Tuck into warming treats at our pop up cafe Luncheonette or visit the newly refurbished National Gallery of Ireland. There will be plenty to delight you on the day.

Bewley’s Café Theatre and Annesbrook present: A Gothic Diversion, Saturday 25th November, Annesbrook, Duleek, Co Meath - Poe/Show is a theatrical celebration of the work of Edgar Allan Poe, the tormented genius of Gothic literature. The show was staged in Bewley’s Café Theatre in 2009 to mark the 200th Anniversary of Poe’s birth and was a big critical and popular success. Tickets €45. To book: 041 9823293.

Concert: A Quartet is Not just for Christmas, Sunday 17th December, Freemason's Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 - This Christmas, join 4 in a Bar quartet in the elegant Grand Lodge of the Freemason's Hall on Molesworth Street as they present a seasonal collection of vocal harmony music. With a range of beautiful vocal harmony music from 4 in a Bar, combined with the 20+ voices of The Ramparts, this night will put you right in the Christmas mood!  Tickets: €17.70. Book Tickets.

Please note: None of the events listed above is affiliated with the Irish Georgian Society.
Get involved with the Irish Georgian Society
Members' Lottery
The winner of October's Lottery was Rose Mary Craig. Monthly tickets cost €20 each and can be given as gifts!
Download Form
The Irish Georgian Society operates a Traditional Building Skills Register for architects, skilled craftsmen and contractors.
View the Register
Become a Member
Support our work by becoming a member, which includes free entry to OPW heritage sites & a 10% bookshop discount.

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The Irish Georgian Society is a not for profit organisation that is registered as a charity in Ireland, the USA and UK.
Support our work by 
donating to us or by becoming a member.
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