Historical Periods

Buildings may be understood in many different ways. They can be seen as documents, reflecting the different stories of the times that they were built; or they may be analysed according to the materials they employ, the use that they are put to (that is the building type), their architectural style or how they should be rated in terms of art.

When we consider the art that is involved in any building, there is an important distinction to be made between a building that is erected primarily to provide for some practical need - a farmhouse or a stable - and a structure which is conceived in a more ambitious way, designed by an architect, with the intention of making it impressive and giving it the sort of importance that makes it stand out. When a building is designed to meet such formal considerations it is a work of architecture and will often have a monumental quality to its design.

In Irish architecture the different historical periods, which chart the progress of our history, are often characterised by particular ways of building or by different sorts of buildings which typify the age.

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