Dublin’s Creative Quarter has fast become one of the most fashionable and frequented areas of Dublin city. Nestled among the independent cafes, boutiques and restaurants, in the shadows of Powerscourt Townhouse, sits the City Assembly House. Located on the corner of South William Street and Coppinger Row, the City Assembly House boasts an exciting and dynamic history. Now the headquarters for the Irish Georgian Society, we met up with the society's Executive Director, Donough Cahill to learn some more about this fascinating building.
Unoccupied since 2010, the Georgian Society took over the building in 2013 and with the help of Dublin City Council have been busy restoring the building to its original state. The ground floor, stairwell and first floor reception rooms were all completed in the first phase. Period fireplaces were installed and intricate cornicing have been lovingly restored. Donough's tour offers a wealth of knowledge on Georgian Dublin as well as providing us with a few entertaining tidbits. He told us how on first acquiring the building the entrance hall was still fitted with an ill-matched 1950's linoleum floor from when the building functioned as the Civic Museum. Beneath the lino they found an original Portland stone floor. Unfortunately the stone floor was in disrepair and had to be replaced. However, some good came of the retro lino floor and it can be now seen in the Damson Diner on South William Street... something to watch out for the next time you pop in for a cocktail!
The real highlight in this building is the exhibition room. As a result of the Georgian Society stripping back the plaster work in preparation for their next stage of renovations layers of stone work, pebble-dashed plaster and even slapdash cement rendering lie exposed. Each layer appears to tell a story and we were a little disappointed to hear this shabby chic gem will soon be covered up.
We visited the City Assembly Building during the exhibition of Susan Wood's remarkable photographs from the film sets of 1960's iconic movies Leo the Last, Easy Rider and Modesty Blaise. The exhibition in association with the Jameson Film Festival runs until February 22nd. Very aware of the City Assembly's prime location in the heart of creative Dublin, the Georgian Society are opening up the building for a variety of exhibitions, talks and tours. We highly recommend you pop-in for a look for yourself. The building can also be viewed by appointment when there aren't any exhibitions running.
A full listing of future events can be found on the Irish Georgian Society website www.igs.ie
Post compiled by Anne-Marie Neligan & Katie Gilligan