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.

The Follies Trust has no paid staff and no office but over the nine years since inception it has conserved, throughout the island of Ireland, thirteen historic structures and assisted or advised on the conservation of a further three. Over those nine years the Trust has raised £400,000 from private donors, other trusts and government agencies to achieve all of this.

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

In addition it has published four books, six information leaflets, four sets of  illustrated greetings cards, erected two public information boards and run no less than thirty public lectures by distinguished practitioners and academics at a variety of venues throughout Ireland. The Trust also organises annual weekend visits to follies and other historic structures throughout Ireland and this year the visit was to follies in the Bath and Bristol area.

Follies are joyful little buildings that aim to please…

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