Pair of Early 18th Century Houses Demolished
A pair of early eighteenth-century houses on Benburb Street in Dublin 7 have been largely demolished as a result of a fire that broke out on St. Patrick’s Day.
The fate of the two houses, one of which was derelict, had been of concern to the Trust for some time, with the rear of the empty house at No. 6 exposed to vandalism and interior access, while both houses exhibited extreme bulging to their front facades, which was exacerbated by the fire. Following the incident, and a structural investigation commissioned by the Dangerous Buildings section of Dublin City Council, both houses had to be largely demolished down to shopfront level by Hegarty contractors.
The buildings comprised a rare, intact example in the city of a pair of early eighteenth-century houses that almost certainly were originally gable-fronted in the ‘Dutch Billy’ manner. They likely dated to the 1720s and were built as part of a regular terrace of houses on the main road leading to the newly built Royal Barracks, now Collins Barracks. The fire damage revealed diagonal lines in uppermost parts of the houses' walls, suggesting the lines of the steep cruciform roofs that originally supported the gables fronting the street. An extensive amount of river stone also became apparent within the contruction of the exterior walls.
What was particularly of significance about the houses was their matching projecting closet returns to the rear, a charming feature that is almost universally associated with Dutch Billy houses. Exceptionally few closets of their quality survive in Dublin today – their loss is to be sorely regretted.. Early windows with exposed, flush sash boxes were also intact before the fire, while the massive central chimneystack has also been demolished.
The events highlight the continued vulnerability of vacant historic properties in the city, many of which were site assembled during the boom years and now await a new future. What is particularly of concern is the amount of early buildings that fall into this category, many of which are unprotected through a lack of identification or listing on the Record of Protected Structures. A review of these buildings is urgently required.
Further pictures of the houses can be viewed here:
http://www.dublincivictrust.ie/news-ent ... 1332287117
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