Landscape Design in Eighteenth-Century Ireland

Finola O'Kane

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2005, Cork University Press,                                                                                     Hardback, 320 pages

Winner of the inaugural John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize, given by the The Foundation for Landscape Studies 

A detailed and original study of 17th and 18th century landscapes in and around the Dublin Pale, of the gardens in the region, and a picture of the aesthetic, political and economic factors which persuaded their owners to create them. 

Unlike the landscapes of the West of Ireland, the cultivated demesnes of the great estates at Molesworth, Powerscourt, Carton and Castletown have received little attention. Finola O’Kane provides a stunning visual history of the demesnes, underpinned by a persuasive analysis of what remains of the original landscapes today. For this reason alone her study will be controversial, given the continuing threat of urban development on these unique and priceless spaces. 

The book includes an analysis of settlement history in the area from the 1600’s, European landscape design, economic and political influences of conquest in Ireland and elsewhere, as well as developments in methods and technology in horticulture. Dozens of previously unpublished maps, plans, watercolors and paintings illustrate the rich stream of research the book. 

As a major contribution to the study of the cultural landscape, to European garden history, Landscape Design in Eighteenth Century Ireland will be indispensable to landscape historians and garden specialists alike.