This exhibition is the culmination of ten years of research work by Professor Terence Dooley, Curator and Director of the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates (CSHIHE) at the School of History in Maynooth University. It introduces a new perspective to the Decade of Centenaries Programme – the experiences of the Irish aristocracy or former landed elite who found themselves caught up in the War of Independence and the Civil War.
Seen through the prism of the burning of country houses, more generally referred to in Ireland as the Big Houses, the exhibition presents the stories of a broad sample of these Big Houses from across the country. It is the product of original research based on a wide variety of primary sources, challenging many commonly held misconceptions about this period in history. The exhibition explores the extent and geographical location of Big Houses burned, and examines the political and social motivations for destruction. It also addresses why many houses were not destroyed. The exhibition explores the national context for these events and the impact of the Land Acts on the country houses.
The Irish Architectural Archive was established in 1976 to collect and preserve material of every kind relating to the architecture of the entire island of Ireland, and make it available to the public.