The Irish National War Memorial Gardens Islandbridge, Dublin: Contested Cultural Heritage

Angela Rolfe gave a presentation on the contested cultural heritage of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens Islandbridge, Dublin, at the ICOMOS Ireland Member’s Meeting in February 2023.


To view a recording of this talk, please click here

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens [INWMG] Dublin, Ireland was constructed during the turbulent period of the Irish War of Independence, Partition and the creation of the Irish Free State. It was a joint initiative between the Free State Government and the Irish National War Memorial Trust. Although it was completed in 1938, its history has been marked by periods of delay, official support, antagonism – two bombs in 1950s, neglect, amnesia and vandalised during the build-up to the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It was restored in the years leading up to the Good Friday Agreement, but was only officially opened and recognised in 1988. IWMG was the last memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, architect responsible for more than 190 cemeteries and memorials in Britain, the Western Front and many former British colonies. The memorial was constructed by ex-soldiers – 50% British and 50% Irish servicemen – between 1930-8.

The architect’s original designs for this landscaped memorial illustrate a synthesis of Lutyens lifetime’s work, from the English Arts and Craft tradition, classical architecture and the formality of symmetry of the layout of New Delhi and the careful dignity of cemeteries on the Western Front. The full-size drawings of stone details and finely honed detailed design by Lutyens provide evidence of the care and attention that was given to every aspect that was carried through into the construction. The Irish National War Memorial Gardens is an All-Ireland Memorial, it has been and remains an important barometer of the complex relationships between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland/United Kingdom.

Angela Rolfe is an architect, formerly with the OPW, and a Board member of ICOMOS Ireland.

Workshop: The Future of the World Heritage Convention

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, 1972 ICOMOS Ireland is hosting a workshop on Monday 12th December, 2022 in University College Dublin.

The Workshop will create an opportunity to follow on from the subject matter of the Annual Maura Shaffrey Lecture 2022:

“The Future for the World Heritage Convention: Concepts, Challenges, and Changes”

which is taking place in Trinity College Dublin on Thursday December 8th.

Dr Roha W. Khalaf has kindly agreed to attend the Workshop which will be facilitated by the World Heritage Working Group supported by the Emerging Professionals Group of ICOMOS Ireland.

The Workshop will take place from 10am until 1pm. Lunch will be provided afterwards.

The Workshop will be held in Active Learning Room H240, the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science Hub, UCD, Belfied ,Dublin 4.(See Map below: Building 64, Grid D6)

Please RSVP prior to Midday on Thursday 8th December 2022. You can book your free ticket here:

ICOMOS Ireland was founded in 1984. It has grown and developed and has a wide membership drawn from the State heritage services, local government, museums, universities and private practice. ICOMOS Ireland follows and comments on matters in regard to World Heritage Sites and Sites on the Tentative list in Ireland.

Dr Roha W. Khalaf is a consultant architect and independent scholar, currently in Kuwait City, Kuwait. She holds a Ph.D. in Aménagement (Environmental Design) from Université de Montréal (2013), a Master of Architecture, a Bachelor of Architectural Studies with a minor in French literature and a Certificate in Teaching Skills from Carleton University, Canada. Her experience includes architectural and urban design, cultural heritage conservation and policy-making. Roha is member of ICOMOS Canada and member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Annual Maura Shaffrey Lecture, December 8th 2022

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention 1972 ICOMOS Ireland is hosting its Annual Maura Shaffrey Memorial Lecture on Thursday 8th December at 6pm for the 6.30 pm Lecture which will be held in the Edmund Burke Theatre, at the Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin.

ICOMOS Ireland requests the pleasure of your company at the Lecture entitled:

“The Future for the World Heritage Convention: Concepts, Challenges, and Changes”

Our Keynote speaker will be Dr Roha W. Khalaf. The Lecture will be followed by a reception in the Atrium. Booking is essential to allow us cater for the event. Please register by 12pm on Wednesday, 30th November for in-person attendance. 

Dr. Roha W. Khalaf is a consultant architect and independent scholar, currently in Kuwait City, Kuwait. She holds a Ph.D. in Aménagement (Environmental Design) from Université de Montréal (2013), a Master of Architecture, a Bachelor of Architectural Studies with a minor in French literature and a Certificate in Teaching Skills from Carleton University, Canada. Her experience includes architectural and urban design, cultural heritage conservation and policy-making. Her interest in World Heritage took off in 2016 when she felt the need to contribute to the debate on reconstruction. After publishing “A viewpoint”, she was invited to participate in the ICOMOS University Forum Workshop on Authenticity and Reconstruction in Paris, in March 2017. Shortly after, she spent two months at the University of Cambridge as a Visiting Scholar of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research to further develop her policy ideas, and was invited to participate in a UNESCO-World Bank brainstorming meeting on reconstruction at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Roha later decided, as an independent scholar, to gradually build up a practical policy proposal for the future implementation of the World Heritage Convention, moving from reconstruction and authenticity towards other World Heritage matters, including integrity, culture/nature divide, sustainable development goals, climate action, and periodic reporting. Because of this gradual approach, her research is published as a series of articles in international peer-reviewed journals. ORCID: Roha is member of ICOMOS Canada and member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Other Stories – Book Launch 2022

Other Stories: Cultural Heritage and Society

ICOMOS Ireland presents five events exploring themes of community-led heritage and cultural diversity across Ireland. These events mark the launch of OTHER STORIES: Cultural Heritage and Society and celebrate the ambition for the FARO Convention within the Irish context.

You are invited to a book launch and afternoon of activities with Bí Urban and 14 Henrietta Street at Dublin Port. All Welcome! The event will be held at the Port Centre, Dublin Port Company, on November 24th, 3-5pm.

Please RSVP by email to by 5pm on 22nd November. 

You can read OTHER STORIES: Cultural Heritage and Society here

International Day of Monuments and Sites 2022

Rushing to Retrofit. Climate Justice or Left Out in the Cold’
14 April 2022 | 1800 hrs | Online

For this year’s International Day of Monuments and Sites (IDMS), we explore the theme of ‘Heritage and Climate Justice’. We invite ICOMOS Ireland NSC and WG Conveners, international ICOMOS members and non-ICOMOS bodies to respond to this pertinent topic, under the title of ‘Rushing to Retrofit. Climate Justice or Left Out in the Cold’.
In consideration of the relevance of this year’s IDMS to ICOMOS Ireland’s Climate Change Conversation series, we are hosting a combined event in joint review. In response to the ICOMOS Triennial Scientific Plan, 2021-24, ICOMOS Ireland are continuing a series of exchanges titled ‘Climate Change Conversations’, to highlight and address our role in this initiative. This plan calls on all National Committees, International Scientific Committees and Working Groups to identify appropriate organisational climate action at every level . This event will offer the third installment in this series.

Click here to view a recording of this event. 


Introduction: David Hughes (The ICOMOS Ireland National Scientific Committee on Energy + Sustainability (NSC E+S) & comment on the effect of the current approach to viewing embodied carbon)

Speaker 02: Colm Murray (comment on ICOMOS Ireland NSC participations)

Speaker 03: Peter Cox (Appropriate retrofitting to existing built heritage to benefit all stakeholders, to include reference to the Historic England Scoping Study, ‘Understanding Carbon in the Historic Environment’)

Conclusion: Ishanlosen Odiaua (ICOMOS Climate Change Working Group)

Open Discussion


This Conversation is the third in a series of ICOMOS Ireland events relating to Climate Change and Cultural Heritage which are scheduled for 2021- 2022. For further information on previous discussions, and to view recordings of previous events in this series, please navigate to ‘News and Events’. 

ICOMOS Ireland-UK Meeting – April 2022

Date: Friday 8 to Sunday 10 April 2022

Venue: Galeri Theatre, Victoria Dock, Caernarfon

ICOMOS UK and ICOMOS Ireland are arranging to hold a joint meeting for members in Wales during 9-10 April 2022. Saturday will be a morning conference with papers on current issues from each group followed by a walking tour of Caernarfon Castle and Town Walls. A conference dinner is arranged for the evening. The second day will be a tour by coach of the most recently inscribed UK World Heritage Site – The Slate Landscape of North-West Wales – to view some of the quarries and associated vernacular buildings. A conference fee will cover attendance, teas/coffees/lunch and dinner on Saturday as well as coach transport around the slate landscape. 

To book your ticket, please click here.

We are advised to book our own accommodation in Bangor which is a short bus ride away from the conference centre in Caernarfon. It is assumed that members would opt to take the boat from Dublin to Holyhead in the afternoon of Friday 8th connecting to Bangor by train and returning on Sunday 10th in the evening.  If there are more people than places it would be possible to join by taking a car – perhaps on a shared basis.

Dip into the website to whet your appetite –

The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales illustrates the transformation that industrial slate quarrying and mining brought about in the traditional rural environment of the mountains and valleys of the Snowdon massif. The territory, extending from mountain-top to sea-coast, presented opportunities and constraints that were used and challenged by the large-scale industrial processes, which reshaped the agricultural landscape into an industrial centre for slate production during the Industrial Revolution (1780-1914). The components encompass relict quarries and mines, archaeological sites related to slate industrial processing, historical settlements, both living and relict, historic gardens and grand country houses, ports, harbours and quays, as well as railway and road systems illustrating the functional and social linkages of the slate industrial landscape.

Annual Maura Shaffrey Memorial Lecture 2021

The 23rd Annual Maura Shaffrey Memorial Lecture was held on Thursday, 18th October 2021 at 6:30pm.

The lecture, Cultural Heritage: A Missing Link in Climate Action: Post COP26 – Has the Gap been filled? was delivered by Andrew Potts, with a response from Senator Alice-Mary Higgins. 

A recording of this lecture can be found here.

The lecture was followed by a workshop with Andrew Potts, Will Megarry, and others. The workshop was organised as part of an ongoing series of Climate Conversation Workshops. The Workshop explored the relevant action and application of cultural heritage in supporting national and international objectives for net-zero carbon, just transition, and circular concepts.

Themes addressed in the workshop included:

  • Intelligent strategies for reuse and adaptation;
  • resilient cities/towns/villages;
  • vernacular and intangible cultural heritage

Recordings of all workshops held as part of this series can be viewed here

Both events were generously supported by the Heritage Council.

Andrew Potts
Andrew Potts coordinates the Secretariat of the Climate Heritage Network on behalf of ICOMOS, which hosts the Secretariat. The Climate Heritage Networks links organisations around the world that share a commitment to the role arts, culture and heritage can play in tackling the climate emergency. 

Andrew formerly coordinated the ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group (CCHWG). In 2019 the CCHWG released its report The Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action. The Future of Our Pasts Report scoped hundreds of ways in which cultural heritage can drive transformative climate action and catalogued the myriad impacts climate change is having on every type of heritage.

Andrew holds a legal degree from Indiana University in the United States. He previously served as Associate General Counsel of the US National Trust for Historic Preservation and received its National Trust’s John H. Chafee Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy. He also previously served as ICOMOS Focal Point for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins
Alice-Mary Higgins is a progressive, independent Senator. Elected to Seanad Éireann on the NUI Panel, she leads the Civil Engagement Group. As a member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Climate Action, she played a leading role in the parliamentary scrutiny of Ireland’s Climate Act. She also sits on the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and Public Expenditure and the Oireachtas Committee on Disability. She is a member of the Irish delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and one of four Irish parliamentary representatives at the Conference on the Future of Europe. 

She has participated in a number of the UN COP meetings on Climate Change. Senator Higgins is chair of the Oireachtas All-Party Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, a founding member of the Parliamentarians for the Global Goals network and part of the Parliamentarians for Peace initiative.  

Climate Change Conversations: Cultural Heritage


19 August 2021 | 1800 hrs | Online

“Time is much shorter than we think. Failure means disaster. The changes required are enormous and we must all contribute in every part of our daily life. Especially us in the rich countries where no nation is doing nearly enough.”

Greta Thunberg


“Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.”

Sir David Attenborough


The planet is at a crossroads where business as usual is no longer an option. In December 2020, the ICOMOS General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency. The declaration also recognises the immense potential of cultural heritage to enable inclusive, transformative and just climate action.


Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, and will affect every aspect of our lives. The solution will require action at every level of society. This Heritage Week, in advance of COP26, which takes place from 31 October to 12 November 2021, ICOMOS Ireland invites you to join our Climate Change Conversation, aimed at identifying ways and means to expand knowledge and define good practice for supporting heritage responses to climate change.


The event will consist of three short introductory talks, followed by a 40 minute discussion with participation from the audience. What can ICOMOS Ireland do to focus on Climate Change?

Please join us for this vital conversation, and share your thoughts and inputs with us.


Introduction – Deirdre McDermott

Deirdre is a ICOMOS Ireland member, Advisory Committee Officer and Irish representative to the ICOMOS Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Working Group.


Built Heritage Sectoral Adaptation Plan and the Climate Heritage Network – Jacqui Donnelly BArch MA FRIAI

Jacqui is a Senior Architect in the Built Heritage Policy section of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Grade 1 Accredited Conservation Architect with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. She represents Built Heritage Policy on the steering committee for the National Adaptation Framework on climate change and is engaged on the implementation of the Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Built and Archaeological Heritage. She chairs an inter-departmental committee overseeing the preparation of new guidance on enhancing the energy efficiency of traditional buildings under the Climate Action Plan 2019. She is a steering committee member of the international Climate Heritage Network and an ICOMOS member.


Climate Change: a Monumental Challenge – Professor John Sweeney

John Sweeney has taught at Maynooth and a number of universities in North America and Africa for over 40 years. He has published over 125 scientific papers on various aspects of Irish climate and has served as President of the Irish Meteorological Society, the Geographical Society of Ireland and An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland as well as being the Irish representative on a number of European academic bodies and a contributor to IPCC Assessment Reports.


Book your place here:


This Conversation is the first in a series of ICOMOS Ireland events relating to Climate Change and Cultural Heritage which are scheduled for 2021. Follow our social media for updates.