The purpose of this award is to recognise and reward an individual whose extraordinary efforts have:
- directly contributed to the raising of standards in the field of conservation in Ireland or internationally
- led to far-reaching benefits in the conservation field in Ireland or internationally
- promoted the profession of conservation and its activities over time to the wider community
- encouraged and helped other conservator-restorers over time to become accredited within the profession
The award was launched in 2014 with a call for nominations. The selection committee comprised the board of ICRI and two invited external members, Beatrice Kelly (Head of Policy and Research, Heritage Council) and Chris Bailey (Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Museums Council). Two nominations were received and given the strength of both, it was unanimously agreed that awards should be made to Anthony Cains and Maighread McParland.
Anthony Cains retired as Keeper of Conservation, Trinity College Dublin in 2002 having established the conservation laboratory in 1974 following his key involvement in the Florence floods rescue operation in 1967. He has garnered worldwide recognition through his publications and training programmes and is very highly regarded for his pioneering contribution to the field of conservation.
Maighread McParland also took part in the Florence rescue operation and established the Paper Conservation Studio in the National Gallery of Ireland in 1970 from which she retired as Head in 1999. She was responsible for training numerous interns, supporting professional accreditation, has published widely and initiated contact with other professional bodies on a European and worldwide level.
ICRI was delighted to honour two conservation professionals of such high calibre and standing in recognition of their commitment to the conservation profession in both Ireland and abroad. Both have hugely contributed to the professionalisation of conservation in Ireland and were founding members of the Institute in 1991. The inaugural Conservation Lifetime Awards were presented on 27 May 2014 at the National Gallery of Ireland.