Cultures of Conservation:
examining the cultural position of medieval buildings in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ireland.
Strand leader : Niamh Nic Ghabhann
Limerick city and county have been chosen as the focus area; in particular the village of Adare, and the cathedrals in Limerick city, St. John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Cathedral. This study will place the culture of antiquarianism and the conservation of these buildings in a broad social, economic, political and cultural context. Issues to be investigated include: 1) The specific position of Gothic buildings in antiquarian discourse in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, contrasting this with the discourse on the Hiberno-Romanesque style, and with the churches built using the classical language of architecture towards the end of the nineteenth century; 2) An exploration of the extent to which the culture of conservation can be understood in terms of the different social motivations of the different parties involved; i.e. those who owned the land on which the building existed, and those who claimed a type of ownership of the building for other factors, such as its use as a burial ground; 3) An examination of the relationship between the presence of medieval buildings in the landscape and the Gothic Revival buildings being constructed in Ireland at the time; 4) The specific location of the medieval ecclesiastical ruins in cultural and nationalist narratives.
Conferences Sessions and Seminars
13th July, 2010: 'Reconstructions of the Gothic Past' , Themed Session, International Medieval Conference, Leeds
Niamh NicGhabhann, ‘Chapel Villages and Estate Towns: medieval buildings in settlement development in late eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland’
18th June 2009: 'Reconstructions of the Gothic Past Roundtable'
Niamh NicGhabhann, 'Ruins and the Improving Landlord in the Early Nineteenth Century'
Other papers presented
- N. NicGhabhann,‘The architecture of the Franciscan Order in the Nineteenth Century – ruins and restorations’, Donatus Mooney Study Day, Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute for the Study of Irish History and Civilisation, University College Dublin, (forthcoming, 30 April 2010)
- N. NicGhabhann, ‘A complex metaphor - developing a national canon of architectural form in 19th century Ireland’, Association of Art Historian Annual 2010 Conference, Glasgow (forthcoming, April 2010)
- N. NicGhabhann, ‘Ruins in the Landscape’, National Gallery of Ireland Research Study Day, March 2010
- N. NicGhabhann, ‘Nineteenth Century Ireland: Conservation and its Context’, Irish History Students Association Annual Conference, Trinity College Dublin, February 2010
- N. NicGhabhann, ‘Gothic in Ireland: Ruins and the improving landlord in 19th century Ireland’, Gothic and its Legacies symposium, Courtauld Institute of Art, December 2009
- N. NicGhabhann, ‘Reconstructions of the Gothic Past: Cultures of Conservation’, Irish Association of Art Historians Study Morning, Newman House, April 2009.