By: Sean Rothery
‘It is difficult to praise this book highly enough. This book makes it plain exactly why librarians’ worth can be judged by whether or not it is on their shelves; it is of enormous educational importance.’ – Richard Wood, The Examiner
‘…a celebration of the ordinary, featuring building types as diverse as medieval friaries, 19th Century banks – and even lighthouses. The illustrations are wonderful. [Rothery’s] observations are equally acute.’ – Frank McDonald, The Irish Times
The history of building in Ireland spans more than five thousand years. The evidence of these years of building persists throughout the intricate and richly textured landscape of the island. In the course of an hour’s drive or, in some areas, a walk, strange stone monuments from neolithic times, remnants of Early Christian settlements and the romantic ruins of great medieval monasteries can all be seen. The streetscapes and skylines of Irish towns and countryside are often punctuated by a stone castle or the pointed spires of various churches. On headlands and lonely offshore islands we find the white towers of old lighthouses, stone fortifications, signal-stations of Napoleonic times, or even silent deserted villages. The long history of the island is legible in the architecture of the past.
Illustrated by over two hundred pages of delicately detailed ink drawings by the author, this is a book for the explorer and traveller, encompassing the larger towns and hidden laneways alike. The author begins his story of Irish building with the stone cells of Early Christian times and concludes with the architecture of the twentieth century. Styles are described and illustrated to help the interested observer identify building types, while further examples are listed and located to tempt the curious.
A Field Guide to the Buildings of Ireland is no mere rehearsal of dates and historical facts but is in itself a cultural monument, an enduring stimulus to the awareness of environment and the fascinating legacy of a built heritage.
SEAN ROTHERY is an architect and architectural historian. Author of ‘Everyday Buildings of Ireland’ (1976), ‘The Shops of Ireland’ (1978) and ‘Ireland and the New Architecture’ (Lilliput; 1991). He has lectured widely in both Europe and the USA.