A Field Guide to the Buildings of Ireland


Sean Rothery

Regular price €32.00

1997, Lilliput Press
Hardback, 255 pages

The history of buildings 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 pointed church spires. 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. Rothery describes and illustrates styles to help the interested observer identify building types. 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. It is an enduring stimulus to the awareness of environment and the fascinating legacy of a built heritage. It is essential to the understanding of the history of buildings in Ireland.