Ah good to see the thread has taken on a life of its own on a typically eccentric matter
On poor old St. Werburgh's, the facade was almost certainly designed by Thomas Burgh, who signed payments for its construction.
Not only was he working simultaneously on the Castle right next door, his trademark segmental headed doorcases are a prominent feature, while the segmented pediments to the windows were used to the interior of his Library at Trinity. He may have had a helping hand with the upper levels alright.
The crumbling stone front is the largest-scale example of an early sandstone faÃ§ade left in Dublin – once commonplace in early 18th century Dublin. It gives us an idea as to the likely state Burgh’s Trinity Library would be now be in, had its upper sandstone elevation survived the Victorian remodeling. Not that it wasn’t poorly built in the first place, with the faÃ§ade described in 1813 as being comprised of: “blocks so small that a single column consists of over thirty different pieces
Correct. About 32 is typical.
The crisp pediment and pilaster capitals are clearly replacements of a later date – possibly the 1880s.
While the pilaster bases almost appear to be composed of painted render.
A later paint and light render coating was removed from the entire facade roundabout 2000.
It appears the nutty octagonal tower was built, as Brooking shows it in context in his city panorama in addition to the famous vignette. But it didn’t last long. After the fire of the 1750s, when it appears the upper part of the faÃ§ade was also removed/collapsed, a square tower was built, as can be seen here in a Tudor print of the Castle’s Upper Yard of c. 1753 (the Bedford Tower didn’t even exist at this point, being gawkily conjectural).
The spire was added in the 1760s, as can be seen here in Malton’s later view of the Upper Yard.
There tends to be confusion about when the tower vanished. It was a two-part process. The upper spire was removed following the 1803 rebellion, in tandem with the building of the mighty defensive walls surrounding the Castle on Castle Street and the Forty Steps (which also appear to have come into existence at this point). The tower itself only disappeared after years of campaigning, in the 1830s, in spite of Francis Johnston – helpful fellow that he was, to use one of hutton’s choice phrases – offering to make the tower safe, after the Castle had managed to round up no less than seven architects (some things never change) to declare it ‘structurally unsound’.
The Presbytery is a charming transitional, Regency style building uncommon in Dublin, sadly unused I believe.