Irish Georgian Society co-founder Desmond Guinness dies

Descendant of Arthur Guinness ‘boldly championed’ cause of Ireland’s architectural heritage

Desmond Guinness, a descendant of Arthur Guinness and co-founder the Irish Georgian Society, has died aged 88.

The society said Desmond Guinness had “boldly championed the cause of Ireland’s architectural heritage at a time when it faced great challenges through neglect and threat of demolition from new development”.

Desmond Guinness, who was the great-great-great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness and an heir to the Guinness brewing fortune, helped to establish the society in 1958 in response to plans to demolish Georgian houses at Kildare Place in Dublin.

The society’s executive director Donough Cahill said Desmond Guinness saved “numerous buildings” through his “ardent campaigning and educating” despite encountering hostility from some quarters.


He said that thanks to this hard work “we are surrounded by a rich legacy of historic buildings saved to be celebrated as an integral part of our culture and identity”.

Mr Cahill said Desmond Guinness was a “conservation hero” who inspired thousands of people around the world to support the society’s work. The society also highlighted the work of Desmond Guinness’ former wife, Mariga Guinness, who co-founded the society and died in 1989.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast