Book Launch: "Approximate Formality - Morphology of Irish Towns" by Valerie Mulvin

Book Launch: "Approximate Formality - Morphology of Irish Towns" by Valerie Mulvin

"Approximate Formality" discusses the origin, originality and potential of towns and town plans in Ireland, from earliest times to the Famine, so they can be understood as a part of European and world culture. When people are genuinely looking for more sustainable ways to live lightly on the earth, this book opens the possibility of sustainable re-use of these brilliant places, bringing life back to what is actually an instant environment, based on an understanding of their significance. The book’s intention is to highlight the originality and excitement of these places, not just as old things re-made, but as potentially a whole new way of looking at living.

“This book is partly a lockdown project and partly the completion of something which has been with me for over 20 years. Since my work on the book started, Ireland has also changed. During lockdown, lots of people have moved out of cities to new lives in the countryside - particularly in small Irish towns. This is a natural process, but it brings huge opportunities to those towns at a key moment. This book is timely in showing how an understanding of their architecture and urban design serves to support ways in which Irish towns might be carefully conserved, and sustainably developed, to provide homes for thousands of additional people. This is one of the key questions for Ireland now. If it is answered originally, it will be Ireland’s significant contribution to world culture for the next number of years.” – Valerie Mulvin

"Approximate Formality" is extensively illustrated with new plans, maps and images, many of which are being published in Ireland for the first time. It is designed by Unthink and published by The Anne Street Press. It will be available in hardback for €35 from all good book shops, or by emailing

The book will be launched on Tuesday 15th June at an online event hosted by Trinity Long Room Hub. Professor Linda Doyle (Provost Elect of Trinity College Dublin) will speak, along with an introduction to the book by author Valerie Mulvin, followed by Q&A.

Please click here for full details and to register for the event link.

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