SIRIUS Restoration Project - Irish Georgian Society | Visual Arts | Sirius Arts Centre Cobh

SIRIUS Restoration Project - Irish Georgian Society SIRIUS Restoration Project - Irish Georgian Society

SIRIUS Restoration Project - Irish Georgian Society

1st Apr 2024 - 21st Jun 2025

SIRIUS celebrates our heritage and location in the historic town of Cobh, and is working with the Irish Georgian Society to restore our building, originally the home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Through the support of members of the Irish Georgian Society in the United States and local private philanthropy, we are reinstating significant lost architectural elements of the building and enhancing its role as a vibrant centre of cultural activity.

About the Clubhouse

The clubhouse was built by the Royal Cork Yacht Club between 1852 and 1854, according to the designs of the architect Anthony Salvin (1799-1881), on a site donated by its Commodore, James Smith Barry (1816-1856) of nearby Fota House. It was positioned on the western end of a quay built at the start of the century, allowing its members easy access to the sea. Salvin’s design was for an Italianate-style building, which was in keeping with the Cobh's character. To allow more space, two wings were added to the east and west in 1866, based on the designs of the architect Sir John Benson (1812-1874). Today, the building is a single-storey basement structure with a wide-hipped roof, a seven-bay façade to the street and a handsome three-bay loggia to the rear that faces out over Cork Harbour.

In the 1960s, the Royal Cork Yacht Club moved from Cobh to Crosshaven on the other side of Cork Harbour for better moorings. Over the following two decades, the building fell into a derelict state from which it was rescued by a local organisation called Sirius Commemoration. Its members wished to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first steam-powered crossing of the Atlantic by the SS Sirius, which left Cobh for New York in 1837. Following extensive works, they re-opened the building as the Sirius Arts Centre in 1995.

While the future of the old clubhouse was secured in the 1990s, it was only possible to partially restore the building at the time. With essential support from its US members, the Irish Georgian Society and SIRIUS have embarked on a collaborative project to complete these works and revitalise the building further.

Restoration Project

There has been a hive of activity since the restoration project was first adopted by the Irish Georgian Society in June 2023. In the summer of 2024, works have started on site, led by specialists JCA Architects and Moroney Conservation. These have entailed the reconstruction of two tall chimney stacks that were once a key feature of the building and the reinstatement of a roof lantern that will provide natural lighting to the central gallery. Further funds have been raised for a project to underpin the loggia to the rear of the building, which includes a significant grant from the Historic Structures Fund operated by the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage.

Fundraising Campaign

SIRIUS welcomes gifts of all values to raise further funds to develop and implement new phases of the restoration project. Donations can be made online here or via other means by contacting us directly through or +353 (0)214813790.