Chicagoans Celebrate Palm Beach’s Irish Georgian Week




By Judy Carmack Bross




Board Member Kipper and Bud Hendrick at the Irish Georgian Society’s week of celebration in Palm Beach


They might have been seeking sunshine in Palm Beach, but  several Chicagoans found themselves in their imaginations in Irish 18th century homes non pareil in fine architecture and spectacular interiors.   Through lectures and parties at some of Palm Beach’s chicest locations, The Irish Georgian Society invited Chicagoans and others to live the legacy of the Honorable Desmond Guinness who first came to Palm Beach over 50 years ago to build connections to educate and protect Ireland’s architectural heritage. 


Tay Ruthenburg, Nancy Traylor, and Peter Mark


John Sullivan and Tom Quick


Chicagoans Nancy and Glen Traylor kicked off a weeklong Irish Georgian celebration in Palm Beach with a party at the Palm Beach Yacht Club.  Events continued all around town, including a lunch at the Brazilian Court and dinner in the Peruvian Room at Renato’s, 


Executive Director and CEO of the Irish Georgian Society Michael Kerrigan, left, with Terry Dooley and Sir David Davies, President of the Society


Michael Kerrigan, Executive Director and CEO of the Irish Georgian Society told us:

“It was exciting to see so many members of the Society from Chicago at our events in Palm Beach and Naples. Chicago is one of the strongest and most loyal chapters in the country. Many Chicagoans have joined us on our yearly trips to Ireland and have made great friends with our hosts and hostesses who open up their beautiful estates when we visit for lovely luncheons and dinner parties. Doors open to beautiful private 18th century houses to view the outstanding architecture and beautiful interiors, many of them decorated with lavish plaster work by the great 18th century stucadores. 


“But it is the sociability which our guests enjoy the most, being welcomed and entertained so graciously by our Irish hosts. We also include stays at some of the most beautiful country house hotels in the world, such as Ballyfin, a magnificent late Georgian mansion restored to perfection by Fred Krehbiel and now owned by his family.”


Michael Wall, left, with Jay Krehbiel and Donough Cahill


Bill and Anne Hamm


Rosie O’Neill with Tom Tormey


Denise and Tom Tormey hosted a luncheon at the Brazilian Court Hotel in the ballroom and conservatory attended by over 100 friends and supporters, including Sir David Davies, Jay Krehbiel, Friederike Biggs, Lore Dodge, Kipper and Bud Hendrick, Ann and Bill Hamm, Sheila O’Malley, John Sullivan, and the Traylors. Luncheon speaker Professor Terence Dooley, a specialist in Irish social and political history of the 19th and 20th centuries and particularly the history of Irish country houses, who told of the FitzGerald’s of Carton House in Maynooth, first the Earls of Kildare and later the Dukes of Leinster, the largest landowners in 18th century Ireland.


Sheila O’Malley with Jay Krehbiel


Marti and Austin Sullivan


The IGS Board of Directors hosted a cocktail party and dinner when Johnny Sullivan, IGS Board Chairman, regaled guests and raised funds for the Society’s restoration of the Old Yacht Club in Cobh, County Cork, the current home of the Sirius Arts Centre. The Old Yacht Club is an Italianate building designed by the architect Anthony Salvin to house the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world, founded in 1720.


Richard Sammons and Anne Fairfax


A multi-disciplinary cultural organization open to the public, the Sirius Arts Center serves as an intermediary between art and the public that endeavors to raise community awareness of art and culture while offering professional development opportunities for both emerging and established artists.

The project focuses on the restoration and needed repairs to the historic Old Yacht Club building and coincides with a government plan to invest upwards of €30 million in the renovation of the Cork Harbour waterfront directly adjacent to the Arts Centre, with plans for a new waterfront park and esplanade.


Michael Kerrigan and Terry Dooley


Since its foundation in 1958, the Irish Georgian Society has accumulated an important collection of artworks and furniture which today can be seen in Castletown House, Co. Kildare, Doneraile Court, Co. Cork, the City Assembly House, Dublin, and other locations around the country. The IGS’s Acquisitions Fund supports the continued development of the Society’s collections and so works to enhance the interiors of buildings from Ireland’s long-eighteenth century. 


The Irish Georgian Society promotes awareness and protection of Ireland’s architectural heritage, gardens, and decorative arts. It achieves this through conservation projects that have saved many important historic buildings; through education programs that encompass seminars, publications, and specialist tours; and through campaigning for the protection of endangered buildings. 


For more information about the Irish Georgian Society, visit: 


Photos by Capehart