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Kildare’s Heritage Buildings Show 2019 (Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 June 2019)

Castletown will become a one-stop destination for old buildings owners in need of accurate, impartial and free advice on their care and repair.

The Irish Georgian Society, in partnership with Kildare County Council and the Office of Public Works, and with the support of Creative Ireland, are mounting an exhibition in the farmyard of the OPW’s Castletown House, Celbridge, from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June 2019.  Throughout the weekend over two-dozen craftspeople will demonstrate 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; stained glass and fanlight conservation; stone carving; dry stonewall construction; and furniture and clock restoration to name a few.

The demonstrations will be complemented by information stands hosted by the Irish Georgian Society, Kildare County Council’s Heritage and Conservation Office, the Office of Public Works, the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings Ireland, Construction Industry Federation’s Register of Heritage Contractors, Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland and the Institute of Clerk of Works and Building Inspectors in Ireland, where expert advice on planning law, insurance and finance can be gathered.

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, will officially open the exhibition at 12 noon on Saturday 16th June.  The exhibition will be complemented by two-days of interactive talks on the history, maintenance and repair of Kildare’s historic, period and traditional buildings delivered by leading authorities from such bodies as the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The Heritage Council, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and the Building Limes Forum Ireland. Building owners are encouraged to bring photographs of their houses to gain more meaningful advice from the lecturers and assembled traditional building skills experts.

Donough Cahill, Executive Director of the Irish Georgian Society stated: "We are delighted to bring the Society’s annual traditional building skills exhibition to Kildare. The county has a wealth of architectural heritage that includes examples of Ireland’s finest Georgian country houses, such as the venue of this year’s exhibition, Castletown House, to modest vernacular thatched cottages, the extraordinary 19th century seminary campus at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, the fascinating collection of late 19th century building located at The Curragh Camp, as well as handsome courthouses, churches, shops, railway and canal buildings located throughout the county.  These domestic, commercial, ecclesiastical, military and infrastructural buildings are of national significance and the exhibition presents an exceptional opportunity to view all the disciplines necessary for their conservation.” 

Cahill continued by noting that "We are grateful to the master craftspeople from both Kildare county and beyond, who have agreed to demonstrate the cross section of skills needed for the conservation of the county’s rich built heritage.’ 

“Bringing this exhibition to Castletown, would not be possible without the critical support of Kildare County Council, the Office of Public Works and Creative Ireland, who share the Society’s vision that our built heritage not only enhances our day-to-day lives but also acts as an economic driver and attracts tourism to the county” added Mr. Cahill.

Bridget Loughlin, Heritage Officer at Kildare County Council, who is partnering with the Irish Georgian Society to deliver the exhibition, described the event as a ‘key showcase event for Kildare’s built heritage’.  Ms. Loughlin explained that "Kildare County Council is firmly committed to the conservation and promotion of its heritage and that in my capacity as Heritage Officer, I work closely with Kildare County Council’s Architectural Conservation Officer, Peter Black to enhance the level of understanding, conservation and preservation of the county’s built heritage”.

Ms. Loughlin particularly welcomed the two days of conservation talks being offered as part of the event.  She noted that ‘the talks, which are free of charge and require no booking, are broad ranging and address many of the big questions and challenges of living in an old building, from what it means to have your building “listed” as a protected structure, to how to make your traditional building more energy efficient while respecting its historic features’. 

Ms. Loughlin added that ‘the Kildare Heritage Show is very much a family orientated event too, and that thanks to the support of Cruinniú na nÓg there will be free children’s workshops on both the Saturday and the Sunday.  The workshops will present a unique opportunity for children to learn from master craftsmen. Workshop will vary from creating handblocked wallpaper, wet dashing a wall with lime the traditional way, to gilding a frame, or sculpting their names in stone’, Ms. Loughlin continued.

Ms. Loughlin concluded by stating ‘I am confident that given the expertise assembled at Castletown on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June, no question or query, big or small, relating to Kildare’s built heritage will go unanswered’.  She encouraged all owners and guardians of Kildare’s old buildings, as well of those with a general curiosity about the county’s built heritage to avail of this unique opportunity and attend the exhibition. 

Speakers and topics being discussed include: Colm Murray, The Heritage Council (Reducing Energy and Carbon Use in Traditionally built Houses whilst Preserving their Heritage Value); Jane Wales, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage and Kildare County Council’s Built Heritage); Jeanne Meldon, Castletown Foundation (Castletown: the conservation and presentation of its decorative interiors and furnishing);  Jacqui Donnelly, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (My House is a Protected Structure: what does that mean? Built Heritage Policy and Legislation); Frank Keohane, author of Irish Period Houses: a conservation guidance manual (Maintenance and Controlling Damp in your Period House); Donough Cahill, Executive Director, Irish Georgian Society (Irish Georgian Society Conservation Grants: five years of supporting Ireland’s built heritage); John Beattie, Building Limes Forum Ireland committee member (The Importance of Using Lime in your Historic Building); David Skinner, author of Wallpaper in Ireland, 1700-1900 (History and Conservation of Irish Wallpaper); Dr Fidelma Mullane (Thatched Buildings of Kildare); Dr Nessa Roche, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (The History and Conservation of Irish Windows); Nicola Matthews, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Adaptation and Reuse of Kildare’s Everyday Buildings as an Approach to Sustainable Urban and Rural Development); and Laura Bowen, Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland Conservation Architect (The History and Conservation of Traditional Slate Roofs and Chimneys).

Kildare’s Heritage Buildings Show 2019: a weekend of traditional building skills and conservation talks takes place in the farmyard at Castletown House, Celbridge, County Kildare on Saturday 15 June and Sunday 16 June 2019.  All demonstrations, talks and children’s workshops are free of charge and no booking is required. For the full programme of events visit www.igs.ie or www.castletown.ie.

About the Irish Georgian Society

The Irish Georgian Society works to promote and protect Ireland’s built heritage, designed landscapes and decorative arts.  It is a charitable organisation founded in 1958 with 2,000 members. 

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