The Passing of a Pioneer


A view of the south front of St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, County Waterford drawn by Jonas Blaymire and engraved by J Haydon in 1739. At that date the building still assumed the appearance given after an extensive programme of restoration work undertaken by Sir William Robinson from 1769 onward. Robinson rightly features prominently in A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 published in 1981. Sadly its author, Rolf Loeber, who thanks to the Hon Desmond Guinness was able to live in Castletown, County Kildare during the book’s preparation, died in Pittsburgh earlier this week. Although a distinguished professor of psychiatry and psychology, Loeber had a life-long passion for Ireland’s architectural history, first inspired when as a student in Amsterdam in the 1960s he had read a copy of Maurice Craig’s Dublin 1660-1860. Beginning with an article on Irish Country Houses and Castles of the Late Caroline Period: An Unremembered Past Recaptured (Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society XVI, 1973), he published extensively on the subject, often breaking fresh ground and often in collaboration with his wife Magda (together they produced A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900 which appeared in 2006). His knowledge and passion will be much missed by everyone interested in Ireland’s built heritage.

4 comments on “The Passing of a Pioneer

  1. James Canning says:

    Great post.

  2. Sine nomine says:

    Psychiatry, psychology and Irish Architectural History would not appear obvious complementary areas of expertise, and yet Professor Loeber’s foray in Ireland was never trivial or incidental as demonstrated by his extensive research.

  3. Robert, you will be interested in Dublin Civic Trust’s conference video proceedings of Rolf which we captured in 2011.

  4. Mairtin Conor D'Alton says:

    Thank you for a lovely tribute to a lovely man. He is sorely missed by his many friends in Ireland and beyond.

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