Welcome to the Follies Trust

Mariga Guinness claimed in a magazine article that ‘Ireland has more follies to the acre than anywhere else in the world’. Is that true? Who knows and does it matter? We have lots. What is a folly anyway? These delightful buildings defy categorisation – that is part of their charm.

‘Follies and garden buildings fail totally to comply with any neat recognizable group because they are so inconsistent, a feature that contributes greatly to their charm. In one sense their designers are architecture’s greatest plagiarists, happy to quote unashamedly from anything good that is going, with a cavalier attitude to time and geography.‘ (James Howley)

The Follies Trust was formed in 2006 by a group of people who share a passion for a motley collection of unusual buildings which enhance and enrich our landscapes, towns and cities. These structures – or ‘follies’ – are part of the intricate fabric of our history but, because they serve no obvious useful purpose, are too often regarded as superfluous.

The Follies Trust aims to encourage – throughout the island of Ireland – the conservation, preservation, restoration and protection, in their original setting, of mausolea and monuments; follies; grottoes; garden buildings and other structures of particular beauty or historic, environmental, architectural or industrial significance. The Trust also aims to promote traditional construction and building skills, and to encourage knowledge and appreciation of Ireland’s artistic and cultural heritage.


This map shows the locations of conservation projects undertaken or assisted by the Follies Trust since 2006. They are all either accessible or visible from a public road with one exception – the Cooke mausoleum.

The Follies Trust has no paid staff and no office but over the past ten years has conserved or grant aided the conservation of sixteen historic structures across the island of Ireland. In addition it has assisted or advised on a further three projects. The Trust has raised almost £500,000 to achieve all this conservation work and to publish its five books.

The Trust has a  further three projects in process or in planning.

In addition it has published five books, six information leaflets, ten illustrated greeting cards and run no less than thirty public lectures by distinguished practitioners and academics at a variety of venues throughout Ireland. The Trust also organised visits to follies and other historic and quirky structures in Ireland. See our events.

Follies are joyful little buildings that aim to please…

Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC101116. Company limited by guarantee:NI060272