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The Irish Aesthete: Buildings of Ireland, Lost and Found

‘A poignant cri de coeur for the neglected treasures of our architectural heritage’ Manchán Magan

By: Robert O’Byrne

Publication Date: 18 April 2024


The Irish Aesthete: Buildings of Ireland, Lost and Found by Robert O’Byrne

Inspired by his passionate interest in Ireland’s architectural heritage and its preservation, in 2012 writer Robert O’Byrne established The Irish Aesthete, a blog and social media phenomenon dedicated to sharing and showcasing the treasures of Ireland’s built environment. Ever since, architects, designers, decorators, historians and indeed those who are simply interested in the unique history of our Island’s architecture have flocked from around the world to The Irish Aesthete for insight, fascination and delight.

The Irish Aesthete: Buildings of Ireland, Lost and Found was born from O’Byrne’s tireless work charting the hidden glories of Ireland’s buildings. In this true everyman’s guide, Robert has set out to highlight these landmarks, and to demonstrate how readers young and old can enjoy them. Each photograph in this book was taken by the author using nothing but a simple phone camera, showing readers that they too can engage with the past in vibrant new ways.

Robert’s collection of photographs, covering everything from grand country houses to ancient monasteries, now runs to over 100,000 images and covers all 32 counties in Ireland. This new volume contains some 150 from his own selection of his best work with each photograph accompanied by illuminating descriptions and anecdotes.

‘Before setting out on any journey, I look to see what sites might be explored en route, and prepare a list in advance. Sometimes the results are disappointing, but sometimes there are unexpected, always welcome, delights: a house spotted over a hedge, or an old ruin in a nearby field. Astonishingly, there continue to be more places to be investigated. The sheer diversity of buildings on our small island and the quality of our historic architecture continue to excite me. The Irish Aesthete has a future as well as a past.’

About Robert O’Byrne
A former Vice-President of the Irish Georgian Society, Robert O’Byrne is today one of Ireland’s best-known writers and lecturers specializing in the country’s historic houses and gardens. He is the author of more than a dozen books, among them Hugh Lane: A Biography, Luggala: The Story of a Guinness House, Digging New Ground: The Irish Country House Garden 1650–1900, Left Without a Handkerchief and Romantic Irish Homes. For many years he has been a contributor to Apollo Magazine, The Burlington Magazine and the Irish Arts Review. During 2021/22 Robert curated a number of events, including exhibitions, lectures and a conference, all on the theme of Ireland’s country house gardens for the Irish Georgian Society. In autumn 2021, his series on the same subject, Ireland’s Historic Gardens, was shown on RTÉ 1 television.

Praise for The Irish Aesthete: Buildings of Ireland, Lost and Found
‘A poignant cri de coeur for the neglected treasures of our architectural heritage. O’Byrne’s admiration, and even love, for these fading glories of our built environment is infectious. He catalyses within the reader an increased appreciation and heightened sense of observation of these fine old buildings. His passion is evident within every word of prose and well-posed photograph.’ Manchán Magan

‘Satisfyingly timeless … discover architectural riches, from lavish mansions like Montalto, Co. Down, to absolute ruins: it’s like taking a road trip with a fascinating companion as co-pilot.’ Gemma Tipton, Irish Times

Ireland’s beautiful ruined buildings and abandoned architectural grandeur – Robert O’Byrne writes for The Irish Times here

Weight 1.000 kg
Dimensions 208 × 150 mm




Publication Date

18 April 2024

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