Dundalk

Re: Dundalk

Postby eamoss » Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:20 pm

Paul Clerkin wrote:Image

Phase 1 almost complete
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Phase 2 is to build the bit on the left!
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Re: Dundalk

Postby eamoss » Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:14 pm

Major mixed development planned for town centre site!
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Highlighted in red Williamsoms Mall
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:07 pm

This proposed development is great news on a number of levels, but of concern on others, particularly the impact on the existing historic streetscape.

For a town centre location, 151 apartments will be a fantastic boost to the area, and a significant nod in the right direction with regards sustainability, though the number of one and two beds is as usual disproportionate and ought to be addressed. The associated creche is also good planning in action. It is proposed to create a new street and small square as part of the development, demolishing a building on Francis Street and linking through to The Marshes shopping centre at the rear of the site - on paper at least another bonus for the town centre which is severely lacking in integration with the new centre. Here is the currently ugly and wasteful rear of Williamson’s Mall, with concealed Ramparts River along the roadside which will be opened up again.

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Furthermore, the new street’s 10 retail units, restaurant and substantial office space will be a great addition to the historic centre of the town, consolidating the retail core. And to cap it all off, the apartment elevation to Ramparts Road (above) is superb - an elegant, well proportioned composition that does justice to the riverscape and essentially what will be a new street created along here.


However, there are more than just a few downsides to this scheme. For a start, parts of it rise to a questionable seven stories in what is a three storey area, slap bang next to the 'Cathedral' which holds pride of place in this part of the town. It would appear the excessive height of the Imperial Hotel is being used as an excuse to squeeze that bit extra out of the site. Whereas I'd welcome a substantial increase in density and an element of extra height, from the planning application it would appear the effect on the Cathedral's primacy hasn't been fully demonstrated – particularly on the wider townscape where St. Patrick’s generates the charming impression of a college or cathedral town in various approaches to the Cooley Peninsula/Dundalk Bay. This glowing white box will be located right next to it.

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Of even greater concern is the bulldozing of a completely inappropriately scaled pair of buildings into Francis Street, as pictured by eamoss earlier.

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While of good design, the taller is audacious in the extreme in this highly sensitive Architectural Conservation Area, to be sited directly beside the tall building at the extreme right.

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It imposes on this delightful vernacular streetscape of late Georgian structures, exceeding the height of even the tallest existing building!

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Here's a rough mock-up of the impact.

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The height is completely inappropriate: the extra storey ought to be struck out outright.

Also of questionable merit is the proposal to demolish Williamson's Mall in its entirety, a charming 1840s traditional structure with unusual stucco dentil course and many original windows remarkably intact.

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Obviously it’s been messed around with over the years with the usual nasty signage and cheap shopfronts, but it could be smartened up quite easily to make an even better contribution to this historic streetscape. Curiously the building is not protected, though as mentioned is located in an ACA.

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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:11 pm

It could be very reasonably argued that this building should be retained in its current format, with mall entrance below, and open out into the new development to the rear. The new street entrance could be made much more inviting than the current mall one is, with the narrow building acting as a ‘bridge’ of sorts across the entrance.

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This is after all only going to be a narrow pedestrian street (and a decidedly dark one too going on the height of the proposed building) – it doesn’t need a landmark entrance forcing its way onto Francis Street.

While the Development Plan notes that any new buildings here ought to be contemporary, it also states “development should to be of a scale and form that respects the nature and form of the town centre, particularly the Francis Street frontage.” The proposed tall building couldn’t possibly be described as such, and even the smaller one oversails the parapet height of the neighbouring building.

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Why aren’t these views being expressed in a planning submission it could be asked? Well, why other than in typical developer form, it was lodged 3 days before Christmas Eve – I didn’t even hear about it until it was too late to get a half decent one together in time.

And it is of great concern that it will get through, given this monster was thrown up on Earl Street directly around the corner in the past while – replacing another vernacular early 1800s building that was burnt out in a disastrous accidental fire.

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The original façade could easily have been retained/partially rebuilt. Here it is in the distance on the right around 1900, terminating a completely uniform streetscape, abutting the tall signature corner building.

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And the monstrous impact on the street today.

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It’s just a ‘nothing’ building – it does and says absolutely nothing, while the hideous cheap and garish polished granite cladding is reminiscent of the worst early 1990s developments in Dublin. Where did the granite reference even come from in street like this?!

It also detracts from the should-be dominant Queens Hotel building fronting Market Square. Like Eden Quay in Dublin, the street hierarchy has been eroded with this yoke shovelled in. Laughably, the (possibly later) Development Plan notes:

Principles for Good Development within the Town Centre
Any new developments within the town centre will be required to:

a) respect the character of the streetscape in terms of design detail including proposed materials.
b) conform with the scale, massing, layout, height and urban grain of the streetscape as far as possible to ensure continuity of street frontage and definition of public and private space.
c) observe the historic building line, avoiding any setbacks where possible.
d) respect and not restrict important views/ vistas or landmarks within the townscape.


By contrast, the neighbouring damaged building was rebuilt in a more sensitive contemporary style, with a sharp take on traditional masonry techniques and relatively decent upper floors (even though it had elaborate stucco window dressings beforehand :()

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Re: Dundalk

Postby Devin » Sun Mar 18, 2007 2:56 pm

It's a shame that Williamson's Mall building can't be incorporated. These Irish town streetscapes are all about each individual building contributing to the overall. They are a work of art in themselves. You take one or two out and the whole thing suffers. This is exactly the kind of thing the ACA's were to give protection to.
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Re: Dundalk Clinic

Postby eamoss » Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:41 pm

lexington wrote:I'd be interested to hear opinions on the Murray O'Laoire design of Dundalk's new Private Healthcare facility (valued at €35m), destined to be located by the Cooley Peninsula on the outskirts of the town.

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The building will provide a suite of four new theatres and day services together with 100 beds - services to be included will encompass areas such as]http://www.murrayolaoire.com/health/projects/dundalk/models/380m_d.jpg[/IMG]

The project will amass to an area of 12,000sq m.

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Also Graham, I had intended to travel Dundalk way before Christmas - but it's looking increasingly doubtful lately. Any further images of The Marshes since its opening? Now that the dust is settling, what are perceptions of the scheme of late? Thanks! ;)


UPDATE:Same plans for this are going on a new site beside DKIT and Xerox.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby David Gray » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:39 pm

eamoss wrote:Major mixed development planned for town centre site!
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Highlighted in red Williamsoms Mall
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It appears that ABP were also concerned on the impact this development would have on the Pro-Cathedral.



Bord rejects Dundalk scheme

AN BORD Pleanála has refused permission for a major mixed-use scheme in Dundalk.

Paul Monaghan's Ampezzano Ltd was seeking permission to demolish the existing building and replace it with 151 apartments, 10 retail units and a restaurant on the site of the Williamson's Mall.

A new pedestrian street - providing a link between Francis Street and Ramparts Road - was also proposed. In refusing permission the board said the scheme would seriously injure the setting of St Patrick's Cathedral.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby johnglas » Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:03 pm

Guys, an interesting discussion on the intricasies of townscape, but a plan would have gone a long way towards elucidating the scheme better. I've always thought of Dundalk as an extremely dreary town, but clearly things are looking up. Although the scale of the insertion shown above may not be excessive in absolute terms, Graham H's well-argued points show the value of local knowledge - the rebuilt neighbouring shop looks to me like a textbook example of how to be trendy and respectful of the historic fabric at the same time.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:48 am

31/12/2008

Just an update on this commercial building on Market Square which has just been completed. It clearly demonstrates the folly that is shimmering glazing in most architectural renderings.

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Alas the detailing as executed is poor, with almost zero contrast with the supposed black louvre feature and glazing bars, while the lower elevation is sadly chaotic, with internal blinds, multiple materials and different coloured aprons.

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Bit of a shambles really. Hardly the coherence of form espoused by the render, nor the distinguished civic design character worthy of the town's central square.

The eastern portion of the scheme hasn't even been built yet either, so we're left with this Cork Streetesque delight facing the Courthouse probably until the next upturn.

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And shock! - the cute little red brick is up for sale as Paul predicted before.


Otherwise a beautiful evening in Dundalk yesterday.

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The lady who owned the house of this 1820s fanlight was out sweeping her path. Alas she thought the fanlight "has had it by now", so a desperate act of persuasion swiftly ensued. Hopefully it's now safe if she thinks it's worthy of a photograph. She did however regret PVCing up the rest of the house, having sadly ditched all the original sashes. I continued nodding through gritted teeth.

The little charmer next door.

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Re: Dundalk

Postby johnglas » Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:06 pm

No 67 looks as though the whole doorcase, door and surrounding wall had beeen coloured just to match the Christmas wreath - delightful!
More pics of Dundalk would be very welcome, Graham; we don't get nearly enough showing buildings in their general context, which is how you actually see and experience them. The word is that Irish 'provincial' towns are dull, but I don't think that's at all true - all that's needed is some design fascism (i.e. clear guidelines about what to do and what not to do), strong planning policies (not dictated by developers) and a GrahamH in every town to record the misdeeds! A Happy New Year!
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:50 pm

Jeez, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Happy New Year johnglas :)

Just some pictures of the handsome domestic vernacular to be seen about the side streets of the town. Dundalk was remarkably prosperous during the 19th century, at a time when the rest of the country was on its knees. Countless travellers and visitors of the time noted it too.

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Heartening to see some people still invest appropriately in their homes.

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Greater pretentions here.

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This was recently proposed for demolition and the site and gardens redeveloped for apartments :rolleyes:. Thankfully refused.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:12 pm

Also one of many surviving retail buildings. Absolutely pristine.

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And this little gem further down Bridge Street. I remember being dragged whinging into this shop as a child. It was one of the last surviving local businesses that sold absolutely everything in its field - in this case haberdashery.

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The two little amalgamated shops with low timber-lined ceilings were packed to the rafters with every product under the sun. The owner, a Mrs Flynn, used to just rummage through piles of bags and boxes to get what you were looking for - i.e. you always had to ask :)

Goodness knows what's going to happen to it now, if a few doors down is anything to go by....

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The former Wiseman's Inn - a handsome classical building mauled. This is happening absolutely everywhere.

While this development, which can only be described as criminal, has just been thrown up next door.

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Mountjoy Women's Prison has greater appeal. Shocking, shocking stuff.

I passed this rare survivor yesterday, which was posted here a few years ago and is now up for sale. It is on the An Tasice Buildings at Risk register. Incredibly, this perfectly intact, possibly small farm/holding building or forge, is just off the busy main street of the town.

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This grand, symmetrical late Georgian (really Victorian) terrace of 1851 dominates the centre of the town. Extremely old-fashioned in detailing for its date, in Dublin it'd be about 1790. Again it is in pristine original condition, though sadly recent incremental changes are already altering this in spite of PS and ACA designations.

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Scott Tallon Walker's elegant new theatre extension to DKIT. Very hot.

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And the Crowne Plaza in a flash moment of enlightenment.

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A building that elevates beyond the average when seen from certain angles. Strangely, it looks like it's fashioned out of cardboard.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:40 am

29/12/2009

A year on and sadly Dundalk's main streets continue to decline. The town has been crippled by the triple-impact of the economic downturn, cross-border shopping and an oversupply of retail space generated by The Marshes shopping centre, which is sucking the lifeblood out of the centre. Thus, there are multiple vacant shop units - some the largest and most prestigious in the town - short-let occupants with associated low-grade standards of presentation, and a plethora of historic vernacular buildings - the very essence of the town - falling ever more into decay through a lack of occupants and/or pride in owner-occupiership.

This state of affairs is merely being compounded by the most low-grade developments conceivable for a grand 19th century merchant town. This is the latest offering, courtesy of McGahon Architects and the granting hand of Dundalk Town Council. Noah's Ark comes to Park Street.

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The newly incarnated Ridleys - more colloquially known as riddled - with a rubble stone-faced, blank, expressionless facade on a traditional street of render-faced vernacular buildings, complete with a third-storey of an exposed smoking area. You couldn't make this stuff up. You just couldn't.

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And an elegant top-up of the adjacent property’s chimneystack.

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Not to mention a gable-end coated in synthetic slates, for which one would be hard-pressed to find a precedent north of the River Lee.

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This is beyond anything I thought possible of even the skew-ways standards of provincial planning authorities. It is so utterly obscene in its ignorance of context, its eschewing of most references to adjacent vernacular, its incoherent form, scale and detailing, its crass and ill-informed choice of materials, and above all its crude and gratuitous expression at rooftop level of a town’s already notorious alcohol-fuelled culture and nightlife. Is it any wonder this important street was not made an ACA in the new development plan. Clearly vested interests do not want it to be.

All the while, classical vernacular terraces, such as this one further down the street, languish in substandard presentation and ill-informed alteration. In the case of the third building in, permission was recently granted for this arrogant double-height shopfront, while the original margin-light sashes vanished and PVC went into the attic storey.

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More of the same can be seen two doors down in the other direction. This is the very latest addition to Dundalk’s commercial core. Really, what can be said about an upturned finger? It requires no further comment.

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Dundalk has such strength. This is a magnificent, well proportioned mid-19th century commercial edifice a little further down Park Street, where 1970s shopfronts were recently stripped away to reveal the most breathtaking double-fronted classical limestone shopfront with carriage arch, lurking in pristine condition underneath. What a coup!

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What a difference it would make to the street if just the original windows were put back and the façade given a lick of paint. That is all that is needed to lift it, yet the effect on improving the street would be a multiple of this. It is such a shame people do not see this.

Root around a little down the carriage arch, and what do we encounter only a little gem of a Georgian doorcase in pristine condition, with a most unusual concertina-like folding mechanism or fixed sidebar, and delicately glazed fanlight.

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Remarkably, this all survived a recent heavy-handed cement rendering all around it.

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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:42 am

Louth, like many other counties, has a marvelous conservation officer, but such a role can only be a drop in the ocean with the sea of planning applications and unauthorised developments taking place across two of the largest towns in Ireland, plus an entire county of buildings. Expertise is needed amongst standard planning staff; this is the coalface where the action happens.

I’ve been watching this handsome pair of Edwardian houses on the Avenue Road for a number of years. This is them in 2007 looking precariously on the verge of descending into decay.

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This is them precisely one year ago to this day, with the right-hand house burnt out.

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And this is them today. Both burnt out.

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This day next year, a planning file is being adjudicated on for their demolition?

Such a shame. From what can be made out of what remains, they had good staircases, timber-clad ceilings in the porches, pretty glazed timber doors and fibrous plaster flourishes. All gone.

It is upsetting that there is so little that is positive to report from a short visit to a town like Dundalk. And in all honesty, I have never ever visited a provincial Irish town and observed so much as a single decent contemporary intervention on a commercial street, anywhere. Architects must take the brunt of the blame for this, not planners.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Punchbowl » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:12 am

To make matters worse, I hear 'Russells Bus Saloon' is now 'Russells fake tan sexy champagne wine bar'
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:22 am

Whatever next, Punchbowl. Before you know it, the infamous Pheonix Bar will be attracting the same clientele as its Dublin park equivalent!
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Re: Dundalk

Postby johnglas » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:56 pm

Graham: Just to repeat last year's New Year greetings. Your righteous indignation shames us all into getting more concerned and involved. Pity it has to be exercised so comprehensively in the first place. As if the world in general isn't gloomy enough.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:44 pm

In all fairness, let's be totally honest here, there's nothing whatsoever "grand" about this town. It's a run of the mill, ugly, boring, Irish town. It has nothing of any distinction in it. That Riddler's building can only make the place more interesting. The way you're talking, you'd think it was constructed next to Leinster House.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby cgcsb » Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:33 pm

GrahamH wrote:Whatever next, Punchbowl. Before you know it, the infamous Pheonix Bar will be attracting the same clientele as its Dublin park equivalent!


Not being from Dundalk, what exaclty is wrong with the clientele of Pheonix Bar? and what is it's Dublin Park Equivalent?
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:55 pm

There's nothing wrong with its clientele - though I'm open to correction on that.

rumpelstiltskin wrote:In all fairness, let's be totally honest here, there's nothing whatsoever "grand" about this town. It's a run of the mill, ugly, boring, Irish town. It has nothing of any distinction in it. That Riddler's building can only make the place more interesting. The way you're talking, you'd think it was constructed next to Leinster House.


In which case, large tracts of your above description can also be applied to gloomy, anonymous, down-at-heel, and in part thoroughly mediocre Kildare Street.

There is indeed nothing grand about this part of Park Street, nor did I say there was, but as a collective of well planned, principally early 19th century commercial streets, Dundalk exudes a grandeur above that of many Irish towns, including its competitor Drogheda. In fact, it is precisely the above perception of Irish towns as being run of the mill, unremarkable and uninteresting that fuels developments such as the above, and its ilk as we regularly see elsewhere on this site. Such a mindset encourages the piecemeal demolition of vernacular streetscape, or where redevelopment is desirable, the insertion of mega-structural, bombastic infill which makes little or no reference to its environment. This planning approach is short-sighted and leads to the very result as first outlined - incoherent, haphazard and mediocre streetscape. It does nobody any favours. In fact, it encourages more of the same.

The above images, taken on a freezing, gloomy winter's day, do an injustice to the town. As shown earlier, this is some of the town's grandeur.

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Such quality streetscape, if dominated by traffic and on-street parking.

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Some of Dundalk's strong legacy of railway housing, incrementally ruined by replacement windows, as with every streetscape in the country.

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Not to mention the developer contribution. Did you ever see the like...

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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:01 pm

Returning to a building that was profiled here before, this grand c. 1800 house with Edwardian shopfront was recently 'restored to its former glory', with a ghastly developer shopfront installed in place of the pretty right-hand residential window - now unlettable - and badly detailed Georgian sash windows in place of the perfectly appropriate Victorian sashes seen here before works got underway.

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The above was the completed result, yet here it is barely two years later.

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It's extraordinary how a building can deteriorate so markedly in such a short space of time. Of course the job was superficial from the outset, with paint slapped over render and rainwater goods that needed repair, cheap sash windows that were falling apart before the job was even finished, and a roof that was never repaired and is now worse than ever - all for the usual cheap buck that plastered over the past seven years of non-productivity in the Irish economy.

The sash windows of the top floor were also inappropriately designed with squat little horizontal panes of glass - a big no no in classical principles of proportion. One need only copy and paste a pane formation from the floor below to demonstrate that these should have been three-over-sixes with tall rectangular panes, as shown to the left-hand window.

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The adjacent building, seen above, looks extremely ancient and requires further investigation. It's not protected at the minute.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:17 pm

Quite the deterioration for two years - combination of shoddy work and being left empty. Roof looks poorly patched in the "renovation" photo
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Re: Dundalk

Postby gunter » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:33 pm

GrahamH wrote:The adjacent building, seen above, looks extremely ancient and requires further investigation. It's not protected at the minute.


. . . interesting window arrangement there Graham. On the basis of what we we just found out about Newry and what we know about Drogheda, could be worth looking into.

Just as an aside, I came across this ugly gem in Collon, other end of County Louth.

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The shopfront seems to have been assembled using a truckload of architectural salvage, in no particular order.

However, in perhaps some measure of redress, the establishment is called ''The Hangin' Head''

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'ASS's [Architectural Salvage Suppliers] are a huge problem in this country in that, as well as supplying salvaged material they also create the demand for architectural features that can only be satisfied by ripping them out of their rightful place.

Further indications that there may be an 'ASS' holed up in the Collon area, is this house directly opposite 'The Hangin' Head' which features a complete mid 18th century door surround, in amongst a diverse collection of salvages stone steps and a pair of ornamental lions.

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nice :rolleyes:

Much of the rest of the streetscape of this one-street town is 18th and 19th century stuff, of understated quality.

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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:19 am

Ah Collon - renowned as the most intact planned Georgian enclave in the county. A lovely spot as your pictures (mostly) demonstrate. That limestone doorcase is incredible! Where on earth did that come from I wonder? Those hideously over-scaled lamps flanking either side are now cropping up everywhere in the county too - woeful aul yokes.

gunter wrote:. . . interesting window arrangement there Graham. On the basis of what we we just found out about Newry and what we know about Drogheda, could be worth looking into.


Oh great. So a notorious IRA head was shot dead in broad daylight outside the pub across the road, and you want me to flounce into Sean's Tavern extolling the virtues of 17th century gabled houses?!

I'll see what the weather's like tomorrow...
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Punchbowl » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:42 am

http://www.daft.ie/searchcommercial.daft?id=42354

Tell me this isn't what became of the bar I spent most of my college afternoons drinking Snakebites and hounding the jukebox in?
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