20th Century Heritage Working Group.

20th Century Heritage Working Group


ICOMOS Ireland 20th Century  Heritage Group is a multi-disciplinary group of people with a wide range of experience, both practical and academic, in the 20th century built environment, motivated by the belief that 20th century heritage in Ireland needs to be recognised and better understood. The 20th Century Heritage Group was convened in September 2019.


The outline aims of ICOMOS Ireland 20th Century  Heritage Group are:-

  • To demonstrate the importance and value of retaining and conserving 20th century cultural heritage in Ireland;
  • To support a culture of interest in 20th century built environment and raise awareness by public engagement;
  • To extend recognition and protection to 20th century buildings and environments.
  • To provide a network to share information about projects, publications and events relating to  20th century cultural heritage in Ireland.   


In June 2018 a joint DoCoMoMo and ICOMOS Ireland ad hoc Group made a submission to the InnovConcrete research project following a request to identify the “100 of the 20th” century concrete structures in Europe. The submission consisted five significant 20th Century concrete-based cultural heritage in Ireland, that represented a diversity of time period, construction system and typology (housing, industrial, commercial, public and private). It included iconic architecture as well as great civic projects and infrastructure projects, that the Group felt expressed the full richness and a broad range of social, aesthetic, technical 20th century concrete cultural heritage.

The projects submitted were:-
  • Ardnacrusha Power Station;
  • Berkeley Library, Trinity College;
  • Church of Christ the King, Cork;
  • Donnybrook Bus Station;
  • US Embassy, Dublin;

A seminar hosted by ICOMOS Ireland in September 2018 Does Ireland have a 20th Century Concrete –based Cultural Heritage? 

Ardnacrusha, the Berkerley Library and US Embassy were selected and Busaras and the UCD Water Tower were added. https://100of20.innovaconcrete.eu/monument-search

The 20th Century Heritage Work Group was convened in September 2019.

The 20th Century Heritage Working Group prepared a Preliminary Desktop Survey of 20 th Century
Buildings in Co. Laois in 2020. County Laois was selected as a pilot for a Desktop Survey of
architecture/ built landscape constructed from 1900-1999, as it was one of the first counties
surveyed by the NIAH and it is relatively small in area. The survey was carried out using a
methodology that mirrors the NIAH surveys and a range of printed references and Google maps. The
intention was to locate buildings as an initial step to assess the scope, quantity and quality of 20th
century architectural heritage in Ireland and to understand the building types, condition and

The Preliminary Desktop Survey was sent to Laois County Heritage Office in November 2020 to seek
feedback and and to learn whether it is of interest and use to Laois County Council. The Work Group
met the Heritage Officer and Senior Planner and have made the desktop survey available as a
resource for Heritage Week and for further consideration.

Future Activities 

Embodied carbon/demolition of 20th century structures:
It has been noted that a greater understanding about the embodied carbon in the built environment
and life cycle analysis needs to be taken into account before demolition. Further study and research
is needed to understand how best to retain the embodied carbon in 20th century buildings.

Database of studies on 20th architecture:
A preliminary database on existing studies/research/thesis on 20th century architecture in Ireland has