Below we cover a brief history of architecture in Ireland, and details some of the many architectural conservation societies, charities and trusts dedicated to building conservation in Ireland.
Historic Buildings – Ireland
Ireland has a rich architectural heritage with influences from all over Europe. From the early Christian era, through the Georgian and Victorian periods to modern day, Ireland’s landscape proudly displays some of the finest examples of work from Europe’s most celebrated architects.
Architecture in Ireland has been shaped by its interesting and sometimes turbulent past. As a result of numerous Viking raids, Ireland developed the famous protective round towers which can still be seen today. In 1161, the Normans invaded Ireland. From this point forward, through the Cromwellian Plantation and the Victorian and Georgian periods, architecture in Ireland changed forever.
There are a lot of architectural conservation societies in Ireland dedicated to the protection and conservation of historic architecture in Ireland. Conservation grants are available – funded by the government and private and charitable organisations to help promote the conservation and protection of Ireland’s most historic buildings.
The Georgian Society of Ireland
The Georgian Society of Ireland is an international organisation with branches in Dublin and New York. They have been involved in the protection and conservation of some of the finest historic houses in Ireland. The society also provides funding for conservation projects and scholarships. Below are a list of buildings which the society have helped to protect, or made funds available for certain conservation works:
- Vernon Mount, Douglas, Co. Cork
- Hazelwood House, Co. Sligo
- Donaghcomper House, Co. Kildare
- St Bigseach’s Church, Co. West Meath
- Birr Castle, Co. Offaly
The society are currently in the processes of conserving “Dublin City Assembly House” and will be relocating their offices there.
Irish Heritage Trust
The Irish Heritage trust was set up to care for historic houses and gardens in Ireland. It was created on foot of a report by Dr. Terence Dooley, NUI Maynooth entitled “A Future for Irish Historic Houses? A Study of Fifty Houses” In the report Dr. Dooley detailed the cultural and economic importance of these historic houses, and recommended the establishment of a National trust in Ireland similar to that of the “UK National Trust”.
On the 3rd of July 2006 the Irish Heritage Trust was officially launched. In December of the following year the Trust started caring for its first property, Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens, in Co. Cork
Dublin Civic Trust
The Dublin Civic Trust was formed in 1992 as a limited company with charitable status. They are an educational trust whose objective it is to protect historic Dublin architecture through encouraging new uses of old buildings. The trust produce policy documents in conjunction with Dublin City Council, the Department of Environment, and various business groups and street traders to promote the sensitive development of Dublin’s historic city core.
Throughout the years, Dublin Civic Trust have been involved in many projects such as the restoration of five historic buildings across Dublin. They have also completed two Architectural Conservation Area policies and inventories for Dublin City Council – O’Connell Street and Environs, and more recently, Thomas Street and Environs.
The Irish Landmark Trust
The Irish landmark trust was established in 1992 to restore historical buildings around the country. Once the buildings have been refurbished they are used as high quality self catering holiday homes. The trust have a variety of properties on offer, from lighthouses to gate lodges and old school houses. The refurbishment of these old buildings offer not only quality accommodation for guests, but it also brings vitality back to the areas where they had previously been laying vacant and in disrepair.
The above image was kindly provided by the Dublin Civic Trust