Making Victorian Dublin is an exciting and innovative collaborative project between geologists and architectural historians at Trinity College Dublin which has revealed the building industry responsible for Ireland’s Victorian architecture. Funded by the Irish Research Council, the project aims to open new interdisciplinary horizons for the research of Ireland’s past. For too long the craftsmen and quarrymen who cut, carved and constructed splendid buildings in Ireland’s towns, cities and countryside have been lost to history, overshadowed by the architects and patrons who designed and commissioned them. But without the marble masons, stone cutters, carvers and builders these richly coloured and impeccably detailed buildings simply could not have been achieved.
Focused on Ireland’s most significant and influential building of the period, the Museum Building of Trinity College Dublin, researchers have uncovered the remarkable network of quarries, craft communities and transport routes which enabled its construction. A few strides within this building displays the full range of Ireland’s remarkable stone resources. The Museum Building pioneered the patriotic use of native coloured stone and established a taste for Connemara marble and Cork Red limestone which spread across Ireland to Britain and the United States. Connemara marble with its distinctive green and white colour banding would become emblematic of Irish identity.