In the old days, these two houses would have been dumped in a skip before the smoke had cleared, so, if we’re searching for positives here, at least everyone involved [from the Corpo to Hegarty] have been taking their time with this.
As altered as these two houses were, they were still probably the least altered former Billys
in this whole Oxmanstown Green quarter of the city, and that redbrick façade of no. 6 was the absolute highlight of Benburb Street [no offence intended].
. . . the facades of the two houses taken a couple of years ago
In terms of Billy typologies, this pair had most of the standard features of the two-bay, three storey over basement, a type which used to be very common particularly in secondary locations, the likes of Bolton Street, Georges Quay etc. One feature that is missing is the half brick step-in to the rear gable above the roof of the closet return, but the reason for this seems to be that the Benburb Street houses were built with external walls of just one brick thickness in the first place instead of the usual brick and a half. This impressive level of frugality hasn’t helped with the rigidity of the structures which, it has to be said, were showing signs of some bulging and sagging a long time before the fire.rocque’s map 1756
This section of Benburb Street was originally called Tighe Street, presumably after Richard Tighe who, we discussed before, had acquired the site, previously the old Bowling Green, from the Corporation, of which he was a prominent member. Rocque shows a complete terrace of 17 houses on the North side of Tighe Street [then called Gravel Walk] in 1756, and the eastern six of these houses essentially survive in one form or another as nos. 1 – 6 Benburb Street.
That the Benburb Street houses originally featured standard cruciform roofs is very probable on typological grounds and it is also indicated on the ground in a pattern in the brickwork of the party wall with no. 4 to the east, however this is one element that should reveal itself much more clearly in the brickwork of the party wall between the two houses if the process of partial demolition is conducted with enough care.
I think the pair of returns must be kept to their full height, the damage here is not extensive and the fabric of the returns appears to be substantially original and largely unaffected by the 19th/20th century alterations.
What with these later alterations being out of the way and all that, one could see how this could yet turn into a good news story . . . . if we can get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.
Although I can already think of a few people who will want to pour cold water . . . and I'm not thinking here especially of the fire brigade.