Special Collections has material relating to Georgian architecture and in particular the activities of The Irish Georgian Society on display in the Boole Library, UCC. This display of material runs in tandem with Geraldine O’Riordan’s exhibition A Grand Tour.
The Records of Eighteenth-Century Domestic Architecture and Decoration in Ireland
The Records of Eighteenth-Century Domestic Architecture and Decoration in Ireland was published as a five volume set by Dublin University Press. It was a serious and pioneering exercise to record the splendours of 18th century Dublin before they disappeared. The set inspired Desmond Guinness to found the Irish Georgian Society in April 1958. Volume I (1909) and Volume II (1910) were both limited editions of 300 copies and 400 copies respectively. Volumes III (1911) and Volumes IV (1912) had limited editions of 550 copies. Volume V (1913) was a limited edition of 600 copies. UCC Library has Volume III (#438) Volume IV (#434) and Volume V (#520). All volumes have the Queen’s College Cork bookplate. The volumes are covered in linen with black lettering and doorknocker designs on the covers.
This table gives houses for County Cork and details the name and location of the house, the architect and the date it was built (if known), the original and present owners, authorities on the house and particulars relating to the house. Page 83 shows information in relation to Riverstown House.
Bowen’s Court & Riverstown House
Two of the houses from The Records of Eighteenth-Century Domestic Architecture and Decoration in Ireland are Bowen’s Court and Riverstown House.
Bowen’s Court is located in the townland of Farahy near Kildorrery in North Cork. The house was built in the 1770s by Henry Cole Bowen. The house was the seat of the Bowen family until 1959 when it was sold by the author Elizabeth Bowen. Wilson, writing in 1786, refers to it as Faraghy, the seat of Mr. Cole Bowen. It was held in fee by Mrs. Eliza Bowen at the time of Griffith’s Valuation, when it was valued at £75. (“House: Bowen’s Court” Landed Estates Database). The image on the left is taken from Bence-Jones’ article. It shows the house shortly before its demolition in 1961. Bence-Jones’ article describes the Bowens in Ireland and the building of the house. He notes how Elizabeth Bowen re-uses descriptions of the house in her novels. For example, the house in The Last September is directly modelled on Bowen’s Court.
Riverstown House is located in the townland of Riverstown near Glanmire. The house dates from the early 18th century and was the seat of the Browne family for over two centuries. In the 1850s it was valued at £32 10 shillings. The dining room has fine plasterwork by the Francini brothers. This room has been restored in the 1960s by the Doorleys with assistance from the Irish Georgian Society.
The Irish Georgian Society
The Irish Georgian Society is Ireland’s Architectural Heritage Society. It aims to encourage an interest in and to promote the conservation of distinguished examples of architecture and the allied arts of all periods in Ireland. The Irish Georgian Society organises day and weekend trip in order to give access to notable buildings, interiors and gardens which would not normally be open to the public. This leaflet which is on display gives information on one visit to Cork in 1965.
The Irish Georgian Society also publishes a quarterly bulletin and a newsletter. These provide updates on the Society’s activities. An article by Francis Townshend focuses on Irish silver and redecoration. An example of such silver is this candlestick holder on the left.
The material that formed the exhibition was selected from Frank O’Connor’s personal library (Frank O’Connor Collection) and the X Collection.
The Irish Georgian Society may be contacted at: http://www.igs.ie/
Bence-Jones, Mark. “Bowen’s Court: An Appreciation.” Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society 4.3 – 4 (1961): 32 – 40.
The Georgian Society. Records of Eighteenth-Century Domestic Architecture and Decoration in Ireland. Vols 3 – 5. Dublin: Dublin U.P. 1911.
Irish Georgian Society Cork Week-End (May 1st/2nd 1965).
Landed Estates Database: http://www.landedestates.ie/
“Riverstown House: Preservation in Ireland.” Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society. 7.2 – 4 (1964): 38 – 45.
Townshend, Francis. “Irish Silver: Decoration and Restoration.” Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society 8.1 (1965): 10 – 37.