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June 10, 2010

Traditional Building & Conservation Skills in Action: Exhibition

The Irish Georgian Society & Kildare County Council in partnership with the Office of Public Works are hosting a Traditional Building & Conservation Skills in Action Exhibition on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th June 2010

Traditional building skills The exhibition will be held in the grounds of the splendid Castletown, Ireland’s largest and earliest Palladian house.  The exhibition will include demonstrations of all the traditional building skills needed for the care and repair of historic buildings to include: traditional ironwork restoration; traditional slate dressing; decorative plasterwork conservation; use of lime-based mortars and renders; building of traditional stone walls; mud walling; traditional wallpaper making; historic paint effects; pole lath turning and furniture restoration to name a few.

Visit conservation information stands provided by

  • Irish Georgian Society
  • Kildare County Council
  • The Heritage Council
  • Building Lime Forum Ireland

There is no admission charge to the exhibition which will run from 10am to 5pm.

10am to 5pm daily

The Venue

The Exhibition and associated demonstrations and lectures will take place in Castletown, Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

Castletown is Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian house. Built in the 1720s for William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland.  In the 1960s the future of the house was in jeopardy until the Hon. Desmond Guinness, founder of the Irish Georgian Society, purchased it.  Since 1994 the house has been in the management of the OPW, who have undertaken extensive conservation works.

Parking: Free parking is available at Castletown

Food: Enjoy gourmet food at the CHC restaurant at The West Wing or sample other culinary treats from the food stalls.

Tours: There will be OPW guided tours of Castletown house throughout the weekend.  Regular entrance fee applies.  By kind permission of the Irish Landmark Trust the newly restored Batty Langley Lodge and Round House will be open with respective conservation practices, Blackwood Associates Architects & Cathal Crimmins Architect on hand to interpret the restoration works they undertaken.

Directions: The house is located 20km from Dublin off the M4 Sligo Road, from the M4 take the R449 Celbridge West/Leixlip West exit 6, stay in the left hand lane and before the top of this sliproad there is a third lane on the left, go into this lane and then after approximately 100meters you will see the Castletown Estate gates on the right. Please note that cars/ buses access is from the above entrance as the avenue from Celbridge is for pedestrian/bicycle access only.

Pedestrians can get the 67/67A bus from Westmoreland Street in the centre of Dublin to Celbridge and walk 15mins up the avenue to the House.

Information on Castletown: or call 01 628 8252

Traditional Building Skills on Show

Don’t miss the opportunity to see:

  • Thatching
  • Stonecutting
  • Restoration of timber sash windows
  • Traditional ironwork restoration
  • Traditional slate dressing
  • Decorative plasterwork conservation
  • Use of lime-based mortars and renders
  • Building of traditional stone walls
  • Mud walling
  • Traditional wallpaper making
  • Historic paint effects
  • Pole lath turning
  • Furniture restoration

Visit conservation information stands provided by

  • Irish Georgian Society
  • Kildare County Council
  • The Heritage Council
  • Building Lime Forum Ireland

Hear relevant experts in the field of architectural heritage

A series of conservation talks will run throughout the weekend at Castletown. Admission to the lectures is free of charge and booking is not necessary.  However the capacity of each lecture will be limited to 60.

Traditional Building & Conservation Talks:

Saturday 26th June

11am My House is a Protected Structure: what does this mean?
Jacqueline Donnelly, Architect, Architectural Heritage Advisory Unit, DoEHLG

12noon The Significance & Conservation of Kildare’s Thatch Buildings
Charles Duggan, Heritage Officer, Dublin City Council

1pm Making & Using Lime: A Practical Demonstration
Edward Byrne, Traditional Lime Company (in farmyard)

2pm Conservation in the Limelight
Ivor McElveen, Chairman of The Building Lime Forum Ireland

3pm A Legacy of Light: the history & conservation of windows
Nessa Roche, Architectural Advisor, Architectural Heritage Advisory Unit, DoEHLG

4pm Conservation of Irish Decorative Ironwork
Ali Davey, Head of Technical Outreach & Education, Historic Scotland


Sunday 27th June

11am Grant Aid for your Protected Structure: how to apply & what to consider
Peter Black, Conservation Officer, Kildare County Council

12noon Peeling Back the Years: Historic Irish Wallpapers
David Skinner, Historic Wallpaper consultant

1pm Making & Using Lime: A Practical Demonstration
Edward Byrne, Traditional Lime Company  (in farmyard)

2pm Taking Care of your Old Roof,
Colm Murray, Architecture Officer, The Heritage Council

3pm A Stitch in Time Saves Nine’: the importance of preventative maintenance
Frank Keohane, Associate, Paul Arnold Architects

4pm The Dos and Don’ts of Plasterwork Conservation 
Andrew Smith, plasterwork conservation consultant

Family Friendly Event
Free Bouncy Castle all day & Face Painting from 12noon to 3pm Sat & Sun

The exhibition will be launched by Ciarán Cuffe, Minister of State with special responsibility for Sustainable Transport, Horticulture, Planning and Heritage at 12 noon on Saturday 26th June 2010.

This exhibition has been made possible through funding and support of The Heritage Council’s Heritage Education, Communications & Outreach Grants Scheme 2010, Kildare County Council & the Office of Public Works

The following have also kindly supported the exhibition:

Blue Bangor Company
George O’Malley Plastering
Stoneware Studios
Conservation & Restoration
The Traditional Lime Company
The Old Build Company
W&J Bolger Traditional Sash Restoration

Irish Georgian Society
The Irish Georgian Society has a remit to promote and protect Ireland’s built heritage & decorative arts.   It is a charitable organisation founded in 1958 with 2,800 members.  Everyone is welcome to join & by joining you support our conservation and education work.  Members have the opportunity to avail of a first rate events progamme, which includes access to significant historic buildings and gardens often closed to the public.

Kildare County Council
Kildare County Council has a strong commitment to the conservation and promotion of the county’s cultural heritage.  Kildare County Council employs a Architectural Conservation Officer, Peter Black and a Heritage Officer, Bridget Loughlin whose work ensures that there is an enhanced level of understanding, conservation and preservation of the county’s natural and built heritage. This exhibition is an action of the County Kildare Heritage Plan.

RTE’s Nationwide will be reporting at the event.

For more information contact the Irish Georgian Society, 74 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 (tel 01 676053, email: web

or Kildare County Council, Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare. (tel: 045 980200, web