Country House Collections


The CSHIHE's 17th Annual Country Houses Conference, entitled Country House Collections; their Present, Past and Future.

The Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates is based in the History Department at Maynooth University. The 2019 conference will take place over three consecutive days at different locations in Dublin and Kildare.

Country houses have been defined by their contents as much as by their architecture or the families who built and occupied them. Owners assembled collections ranging from antiquities, paintings, decorative arts, libraries and manuscripts to those of antiquarian, ethnographic or scientific importance. Outdoors their gardens were often adorned with collections of other sorts; monuments, sculpture and horticultural specimens.

Collections have rarely survived intact as sales, destruction, fire or theft have been repeated occurrences, which means that country house collecting has been as much about dispersal as acquisition. The conference will look at how and why collections were amassed, examine their break-up and consider the afterlife of objects as they moved into the art market, the museum world and elsewhere.

How does the identity of a house change when its contents have been removed? What were the reasons for dispersal, were these actions chosen or enforced? What happens to a collection once it has begun to be dismantled and how are the various objects viewed and understood in new locations by different audiences?

The conference will also discuss the role of art in country houses today and will conclude with a forum debating the future of collections


Day 1, Monday 13 May, Maynooth University, County Kildare

Day 2,  Tuesday 14 May, Castletown House, County Kildare

Day 3, Wednesday 15 May, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin 2

Conference Dinner, Tuesday 14 May, Pugin Hall, Maynooth University

For PDF with full details of Programme and registration form contact


Price per person €200

Additional Information:

One-day conference only fee €80 per person 

Two-day conference only fee €150 per person 

Three-day conference only fee €200 per person

Conference Dinner €50 per person

Event Summary & Location

13 May 2019 - 15 May 2019

Location Address & Contact

Maynooth University, Maynooth, Kildare


Organiser & Contact

Centre for the Study of Irish Houses and Estates, Maynooth University