Connemara Marble designated a Heritage Stone

Posted on: 03 November 2022

Connemara Marble, seen to beautiful effect in Trinity College Dublin’s iconic Museum Building, has been designated a Heritage Stone. One of ten stone types to be designated as such this year, Connemara Marble is now one of only 32 Heritage Stones worldwide.

The designation, made by the International Union of Geological Sciences at a recent conference in Zumaia, northwest Spain, is due to the cultural, historic and scientific value of the stone, which has been widely used in Ireland, Britain, USA and in many other countries since the early 1800s.

Trinity's Museum Building, in natural light, showcasing green-grey Connemara Marble in the pillars and features

Trinity's Museum Building showcasing green-grey Connemara Marble in the pillars and other features

Promoted by the Trinity-led project Stonebuilt Ireland, Principal Investigator Dr Patrick Wyse Jackson from Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences said:

“This designation has been the result of several years’ research by the Stonebuilt Ireland team in association with collaborators from the University of Galway and the National Museum of Ireland. 

“Connemara Marble is an iconic Irish stone that resonates as a symbol of the cultural heritage of this country. Known across the globe for its wonderful greenish-white-brown colouration and complex textures, this designation will enhance its standing, afford greater visibility, and lead to greater usage in architectural and decorative applications.” 

Dr Louise Caulfield, Stonebuilt Ireland Research Fellow and co-author of the application, said:

“The Museum Building on campus showcases fine examples of this marble, extracted from quarries at Ballynahinch and Streamstown, in both internal and external decorative elements including columns, handrails, pilasters and roundels. The building is the earliest known instance of structural columns of this stone.”

Stonebuilt Ireland is a multidisciplinary research project funded by the Irish Research Council, Geological Survey Ireland and Office of Public Works that is investigating and mapping dimension and decorative stone in Ireland; their geological characteristics, the location of quarries, and stone utilisation in buildings and monuments.

The cultural and social aspects of stone extraction and fabrication play an important role in the history of the built environment in Ireland.

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