Anglingham black marble quarry, Galway

Ireland contains a diverse range of rock types that are characterised as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic origin, which have been utilised for building over the past 2,000 years and more.  Until the mid-1900s local stone was generally used for vernacular, public and religious buildings, except where decorative stone had to be imported. Consequently, this has imparted a distinctive regional feel to villages, towns and cities.  Dublin is characterised by use of Leinster Granite and imported Portland Stone, Galway through Mississippian limestones, while Cork and Kerry showcase structures built using local sandstone. Decorative stones, such as Connemara Marble and Cork Red Limestone, have been used extensively in Ireland and abroad.

Accurate information on the types of stone used in protected structures is vital for both conservation and new development in architecturally sensitive areas, informing the work of conservation architects and all those involved with policy making in the conservation of Ireland’s built heritage stock.

By documenting sources of stone, and prominent examples of its use (in publicly accessible civic and religious buildings), STONEBUILT IRELAND aims to raise awareness of the regional characteristics of the built environment.  Using a combination of fieldwork and historic records and maps, the Department of Geology Trinity College Dublin, through collaboration with the Irish Research Council (IRC), the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the Geological Survey Ireland (GSI), will provide a country-wide inventory of building stone analogous to those already available in Britain and Northern Ireland.

A sample of publicly accessible buildings representing the dominant stone types in each region across Ireland will be documented in the STONEBUILT IRELAND online database (coming soon), i.e. antiquities, churches, court houses, town halls, etc. Through this website we would like to present a snippet of our findings to date.

About the research team and collaborators

This project is funded by the IRC COALESCE Research Fund.