Russborough House received Conservation Project Highly Commended at the Irish Georgian Society's 'Conservation Project and Original Drawing Awards 2014'.

The awards, presented at the society’s headquarters in the City Assembly House on South William Street, aim to recognise significant projects involving the conservation of historic buildings in Ireland. Awards in previous years have gone to large or small houses, churches, civic buildings, follies and Victorian glasshouses.

At Russborough, project architect Fionnuala Hayes explained that the West Wing – once the home of Sir Alfred and Lady Beit – had to be dried out after its walls became saturated from water used to put out a 2010 fire in the roof. And despite this huge setback, the building has been successfully restored for short-term lettings.

The work involved remaking the former stable block as two very well-furnished apartments; much of the furniture, including an elaborate monogrammed bed, once belonged to the Beits. Original features, including elements of the stables, have been retained and reworked in what the jury saw as a highly respectful restoration.

As McParland (juror Dr Eddie McParland) noted, both the Derry Guildhall and Russborough West Wing projects involved making good damage caused by external forces – bombs and fire, respectively. “What impressed me was a sense of conservation restoring the balance between wilful destruction on the one hand and tragic accident on the other.”

To view more information and for a list of the other winners please click here. To read the Irish Times article on the event click here.

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Russborough House Gallery (click on thumbnail to enlarge image)