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Reconstructions of the Gothic Past

Funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences

This project aims to re-shape the study of Gothic architecture in Ireland through the use of modern analytical methods and data resources. The study is focussing on the introduction and spread of Gothic forms from the thirteenth century, and lays particular emphasis on the perception and exploitation of these buildings in succeeding ages.

A small research team is taking a 'holistic' view of the Gothic monuments, examining building as part of a continuous historical process; analysing buildings not just as monuments of one particular period, but as historical 'documents' which have much to tell us about the attitudes and aspirations of subsequent eras. The project is thus examining how the use and treatment of Gothic buildings has been affected by social, economic, religious and cultural change in subsequent ages (including the modern era). Particular emphasis has been placed on the process of colonisation and post colonisation, combined with the investigation of how the meaning and perception of Gothic monuments have changed and evolved over a period of five hundred years.

The project has four distinct but interrelated strands that will collectively contribute to the overall aim of the project.

  1. Architectural colonisation in Anglo-Norman Munster
  2. The Conversion of the Monasteries
  3. Medieval Ecclesiastical Buildings in the Seventeenth Century
  4. Cultures of Conservation

Key deliverables include a project monograph (forthcoming 2012) and an innovative open-access visual archive of Irish architecture and sculpture - Gothic Past

Project Staff

Image Collections

Reconstructions of the Gothic Past Colloquium