Irishtown

Irishtown

Postby gunter » Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:26 pm

Irishtown is one of those districts, like Kilmainham or Oxmanstown, that started out as distinct villages or towns outside Dublin and then later, because of their proximity to the city, became absorbed into the general urban fabric as the city expanded around them. The intrinsic character of these places can be hard to define and even harder to protect, but future generations are not going to be impressed if we don't make some effort.

Apart from some weakness with some of the edges, on Church Avenue and at the approach from Ringsend, the village of Irishtown is still quite well defined with four parallel north/south streets, Irishtown Road, Bath Street, Pembroke Street and Strand Street crossed by a series of lanes and side streets. There is a strong indication that the centre of the village was marked by a small tringular 'civic' or market space formed by seting back the eastern frontage of the middle bit of Bath Street at the intersection of Herbert Pl. and Barrack Lane. Much of this space (if it actually existed) was subsequently built over and recently built over again.

Even if the market space (we'll call it) is no longer legible, the continued importance of the space is that it is highly probable that all the higher status houses in the village would have been built around it and consequently the structures that we're looking at today and which may not look especially impressive, may be more interesting under the surface.

In this context, a planning application was lodged last month to demolish two of these house, 11 & 13 Bath Street and replace them with something similar, because they're ' . . beyond economic refurbishment'.

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Mid 20th century O.S. map of Irishtown with the site of 11 & 13 outlined in red and the probable original outline of the 'Market space' dotted in blue.

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nos. 11 & 13 Bath Street.

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N. 13 Bath Street.

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Rear of no. 11 showing stairwell return with, apparently, an attic storey flight. Architect's survey plans (Ground Floor above and First Floor below)

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Herbert Place looking towards Bath Street (at the top of the possible original 'Market space'

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5,7 & 9 Bath Street, tall two and three storey structures.

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no. 22 Bath Street with attic storey gable window onto Herbert Place at the top of the 'Market space'.

I don't know the story of these two houses, but I believe there is more to them than meets the eye. For a start the buildings were originally red brick over a stone plinth and they appear to have had flush window frames. The internal arrangement, as recorded in the architect's survey drawings, is intriguing with corner fireplaces showing up all over the place, a strange interlocking of the two houses and stairwells that seem to want to go up to a third storey ( gabled? ) which is no longer there. The pub on the adjoining site at 7-9 Bath St is a three storey Victorian gabled structure which could well incorporate bits of earlier structures in it's fabric and the house at no. 22 opposite has a hipped gable (masked Billy?) that would have closed the vista at the top of the market space.

We've missed the deadline for commenting on this application, so it's down to the Planning Office to use their judgement and the provisions of the 'Residential Conservation Area' zoning to deal with this. The applicants are two well respected local publicans who's family have been pillars of the Irishtown community for ever. The architect is Conservation Grade III acredited! All we're missing is a deeper understanding of how valuable these two houses may be.

As an aside, the little shop was run by a lovely old man called Larry Skinner and many Fruit Pastiles were purchased in his tiny emporium.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby tommyt » Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:42 pm

Great post gunter and thanks for the insight. I've been surprised over the years that the pace of regeneration/gentrification ,call it what you will, hasn't consumed the working class areas of D4. Have always attributed it to De flats in the neighbourhood ( which I have heard the reidents are queing up to buy out and cash in on when the corpo eventually agree on their sale to the tenants) and what I have always known as 'legoland'- i.e. the 1980s 3 storey coprpo houses that dominate the environs.. As a general aside I think the fabric of Dublin's urban villages survives to an extent unappreciated by most Dubliners-they just require a bit of TLC. My favourite gem that requires a bit of polishing being Coolock village. I' sure more design conscious posters n here will disagree with this generalisation - I really mean it in an atmosphere concept...
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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:18 pm

tommyt wrote:
As a general aside I think the fabric of Dublin's urban villages survives to an extent unappreciated by most Dubliners-they just require a bit of TLC.



I have a vague recollection that 'seeing Dublin as a network of Urban Villages' was the title of an essay by none other than Dick Gleeson (he who is now top of the tree in the Planning Dept) as an entry in an essay competition on the theme of 'How would you Define Dublin', maybe around the time of the Dublin Millenium (1988?), sponcered by Dublin Corporation, or The Evening Hearald or somebody.

My memory could be faulty on this, but I think the bold Dick got second place.

The contents of that essay could make interesting reading (at an oral hearing)!

Apart from the man himself, presuming he's not a reader of these pages, who would be able to put their hands on a copy of something like that?
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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:07 pm

Just on tomyt's reference to 'Legoland', (which is what everyone called it). The scheme was a Dublin Corporation social housing development (I don't know was it designed in-house or not) and it got some stick at the time which focused on the painted render finish and the colour scheme, hence the nickname. There were other reasons two; people had to get used to three storey house types and there was some grumbling about not being able to get furniture up the stairs, as there was with the Pearse Street scheme from about the same time (I think early '80s is about right).

Some of the furniture accusations would have been better directed at Bargaintown and Flynns etc who's furniture made up, in chipboard and velour, what they lacked in ergonomic design. There were other issues as well, such as the fact that the scheme was erected on a land-fill dump and I remember one newspaper story of a family having to throw all their windows open in mid winter because there was some underground combustion process taking place and the heat was coming up through the floor slab.

Leaving all of that aside, the scheme was rather well designed, in an unpretentous way, with good variety in the house types and a reasonable attempt at layout. It also had some good street names like Bremen Road although there might be a couple of Pine Groves too. After a shaky start, it all seems to have bedded in very well, as I think these photographs show. The corner shop never worked, for some reason, it always had a shutter half down.

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It would be interesting to compare 'Legoland' with what would be done today. Densification targets will probably never allow housing schemes like this again.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby GrahamH » Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:41 pm

Most interesting buildings earlier there, gunter.

Yes, Legoland is a scheme that's survived very well. Interestingly it's kept its coherence precisely because people were given the opportunity - even required - to express individuality. Perhaps that's the only way to keep matters orderly in an Irish residential context - deliberately design in disorder...

Like picking out the Georgian on one of the squares you'd most like to live in, I always liked the dark green one near the main road. Probably lemon now.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby tommyt » Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:01 am

good photos Gunter and yes I vaguely remember similar stories of landfill/methane gas related incidents from 2 acquaintances who grew up around there (who rather charmingly refer to themselves as eastsiders!). The newer development at the Pigeonhouse roundabout got quite a bit of media attention a while back for being the first proper grass roots housing coop development in the state but I'm sure you're wide to th.at already An interesting area for sure and one that will see many changes as the DDDA start their foray into speculative development-mmm all that open space, sure they will pile 'em high on the glass bottles site ...
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Re: Irishtown

Postby alonso » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:36 am

As a near local, I'm delighted to see the area get this much attention in our own little media. Another important element of Irishtown is the triad of boozers - The Beach, Clarkes, Gleeson/Vintage inn. the latter two's back doors seperated by one of the laneways mentioned earlier. From what I can gather, Gleesons is the GS Station in the OS Map, Clarke's is no 82, and the Beach is photographed and identified by Gunter. Also there;s a brand new Garda Station almost complete on the conrner of Bath avenue and Irishtown/Tritonville.

As for Legoland, there's a Jenny's hair Salon on the periphery of the estate which I;ve never seen open but the corner shop opposite the IGB seems to be. Funny thing about Irishtown has always been it's lack of a real sense of place - IGB and Legoland are both Ringsend, where I live is Sandymount and is even the Garda station Ringsend?

Other notable but useless facts are the connections to soccer. Lawless' newsagents on Irishtown road is owned by the legendary Gino Lawless of Bohs fame and Ireland's greatests club Shamrock Rovers were born on a street called Shamrock Avenue which is somewhere in the vicinity of Irishtown but seems to have disappeared
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Re: Irishtown

Postby trace » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:04 am

Legoland in Ringsend was designed by Burke-Kennedy Doyle + Partners and received a commendation from the RIAI in the Silver Medal for Housing awarded for the period 1982-84. I think I heard that Ruairi Quinn played a large part in its design while he was still at BKD.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:08 am

I'd heard that too, trace. Was it mentioned in that Nation Building tv series, maybe?

The other story I heard about the estate was that, at the time houses were being allocated, those on the waiting list with physical disabilities were given priority (odd, given the three storey arrangement, come to think of it). However, once they'd received the houses, some people who had previously been disabled suddenly 'lost' their disability (if they ever had one...), hence the estate's nickname of 'Lourdes'. :D
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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:13 pm

I hadn't heard of the Ruairi Quinn involvement, I guess when you're out of the loop, you're out of the loop.

I'm surprised that, as a local resident and TD, he wouldn't have been flogging it at election time.
I don't want to find out now that there are politicians of modesty and principle.

Coming back for a minute to that planning application to demolish 11 - 13 Bath Street (Reg. no. 3285/08, lodged 19th June) I just want to make the point that the proposal looks innocuous (two storey, none of the usual over-development) but it still has to be stopped. These are two of the oldest house on the street (whether further research would reveal original attic stories or not) and if you demolish them and replace them with a pale immitation, no amount of hanging baskets are going to get your character back.

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Architect's drawings of the proposed replacement two houses.

You just have to look across the street to see how a seemingly innocuous development can critically damage the character of a place. This little terrace was built about seven or eight years ago, partially on the site of a blocky 1930s house, which itself had been built with little concern for context. The new terrace repeats the mistake of it's predecessor by presenting a rough rear aspect and blank gable wall to Bath Street, at the top of the phantom triangular 'market space'. Presumably they did this because little houses facing Herbert Place were more marketable than a fewer number of taller houses facing Bath Street.

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The planning officer appears to be Emma Deane again, she must be the only one in the building not on annual leave!

Disturbingly, from what I can see of her record, she's inclined to see good in everybody. I think Ms. Deane is goin' to have to get in touch with her inner bitch and start refusing some of this stuff.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby brady » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:45 pm

my nana which is dead now was raised up by her mam and dad my great nana and grandad in no 11 bath street beside barrack lane with her brothers and sisters by the surname of QUIGLEY

and im wondering if i could get some pictures of inside that house before it is knocked down
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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:23 am

brady wrote:
im wondering if i could get some pictures of inside that house before it is knocked down



According to the architects, '. . . the timber has rotted to such an extent that it was not safe to walk on some of the floors, particularly at first floor level' !

Personally, I'd be inclined to trust the floor boards more than the report.

The Building Condition Report also states (as justification for the proposed demolition) 'The houses are located in an area which has poor underground bearing conditions. Normal strip foundations are not suitable in this area.'

This is the old Sandymount myth, cut and pasted, to justify a demolition in Irishtown. 11 & 13 Bath Street are located at probably the highest point in a significant little rise in the local landscape. By rights, the soil bearing conditions here should be the best for miles around. This site was in the very centre of the village, from the 17th century on, the location would have been chozen as the most suitable to build on.

This site is zoned 'To protect and/or improve the amenities of residential conservation areas'. These houses are certainly among the oldest on the street, at least 18th century, and no ananysis has been offered to explain their age or origins, no analysis of their unusual plan form, no analysis of the unusual building form to the rear, particularly of no. 11, just a bunch of guff about cracks that look anything but life threatening.

Maybe this isn't in the Georgian Core and it's a bit off the beaten track, but these things still matter hugely at a local level. The fact that no one has objected to the development (inside the five weeks) should not be interpreted as informed consent. We're entitled to believe that one of the filters in the planning process is some kind of professional assessment at a deeper heritage conservation level and that proposals, which may look innocuous to the man in the street, become subjected to some more rigorous scrutiny during this planning process.

I know this is the sleepy season, but if there was rigorous scrutiny here, there's no way these houses would be knocked.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby alonso » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:54 pm

Legoland has just welcomed 2 new unruly neighbours. A family of Decauxs has just moved into Sean Moore Road. May have pics on Friday for the other thread
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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:47 pm

alonso wrote:
Also there;s a brand new Garda Station almost complete on the conrner of Bath avenue and Irishtown/Tritonville.

Funny thing about Irishtown has always been it's lack of a real sense of place - IGB and Legoland are both Ringsend, where I live is Sandymount



I meant to respond to this earlier.

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That new Garda station certainly makes a statement. (not sure what the statement is). They might have slightly overdone the corner window thing, but it's not pompous and it is really carefully detailed.

I couldn't agree more with alonso's second statement. I lived for years in a house that was patently in Irishtown, but the owners insisted on calling it Sandymount.

Here are a couple of pics of the cross laneways and side streets that are such a part of Irishtown's character.

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I'm not against hanging baskets.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby Rory W » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:34 pm

gunter wrote:
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Oh that looks really in context for the area (Irony alert) take a bow OPW
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Re: Irishtown

Postby alonso » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:37 pm

ah Rory it's not bad really. I go past here every day and it looks worse in the pic than it really is. I'll get some more pics soon enough
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Re: Irishtown

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:40 pm

Is the old (Arts & Crafts-y?) Garda Station gone? Or is it hidden behind the new one?
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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:55 pm

ctesiphon wrote:Is the old (Arts & Crafts-y?) Garda Station gone? Or is it hidden behind the new one?


Gone, I'm afraid. It was converted to a Garda station in the 1970s, it was originally the Rectory for St. Mathew's C of I church across the road. The original police station (DMP barracks?), the one alonso pointed out had the distinction of being hemed in by three pubs, is still there at the corner of Barrack Lane.

On the positive side, the tower of St. Mathew's has just undergone an excellent renovation, re-pointing the stonework with lime mortar. The contrast between the lime pointing and the remaining areas of cement pointing below, is striking.

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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:19 pm

I came across some photographs of Irishtown from about 1990. Not a whole lot has changed, maybe a few more trees have grown in the meantime, but one structure that's gone missing is the old R.C. chapel. The chapel was a small red brick rectangular structure tucked in behind Pembroke Street near Chapel Avenue (appropriately enough). It was slightly out of square with the later Victorian terraced houses around it and probably fell out of use about the time that Ringsend and Sandymount got grand new granite churches in the mid 19th century.

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The little R.C. chapel is just visible in the gap between the corner buildings on Pembroke Street.

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A slightly better view of the chapel which was just used as a shed in recent times. I don't think this one would have made it into Praxiteles' top ten, but it would have had local historical value and tiny little ( pre-catholic emancipation? ) chapels wouldn't be all that common.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby alonso » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:49 pm

The newsagents and Dodder Terrace behind

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Next Door, St Mathews National School, current use unknown, office?

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from right to left

Clarkes, Barrack Lane and rear of Beach Pub, back entrance to Gleesons out of shot, oul one being clever waiting on the wrong side of the road for the bus so she'll see it before the others

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Bus has come, front of Gleesons/Vintage Inn

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A few shots of the new Garda Station, as opposed to a few shots AT the Garda station as evidenced in the 2nd photo

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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:08 pm

alonso wrote: oul one being clever waiting on the wrong side of the road for the bus so she'll see it before the others

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I had forgotten about that Irishtown bus stop tradition of waiting at the Barrack's wall for the first sight of the no. 3 bus. Before the route of the no. 3 was extended out to Belfield, it's terminus was just up the road at St. John's Church in Sandymount, and the terminus of the no. 2 was even closer at Sandymount Green, yet the arrival of any bus was infuriatingly unpredictable. It wasn't uncommon for two or three buses to go down the road to Sandymount and, up to a half an hour later, none to have come back up. The bus stop is only about 20m from the corner shop, but the minute you dashed down to Lawless's (Robinson's as was) to get a packet of silvermints some aul dear would have got in there ahead of you and starting dithering over a slice of ham and before you could say euthanasia three feckin buses would shoot past the window.

Those are good shots of (also at) the Garda station. It's a classy essay in pre-brutalist modernism and it's intriguing to try and figure out which bit is which, where are the lock-ups and who gets to use that top room on the roof? I think it's a little beauty and it is really carefully composed and carefully detailed.

Here's a copy of the 1849 O.S. map with the three coastal villages of Ringsend (blue), Irishtown (red) and Sandymount (green) outlined. I've also high-lighted the line of the shore for clarity. Irishtown is, by far, the oldest of the three but by the mid 19th century the other two had already bypassed it in scale and population. It seems clear that Bath Street would have got it's name from being the direct route to 'Cranfield Baths'.

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Re: Irishtown

Postby alonso » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:53 pm

great map Gunter.

My street has been a street for 160 years!!! Explains the subsidence in the kitchen :) Also it's funny that londonbridge was seemingly always significantly narrower than the road and Bath Avenue, even where the physical potential to widen was there. Now it's a right pain in the arse as there's traffic lights that are wholly indepndent of traffic flows in either direction - interesting how the primary road network was substantially laid down at that stage but the railway, if i'm correct, is drawn like a road in places - ie the level crossing at Lansdowne road looks like a junction (caused me some confusion until i saw the bridge over Bath Avenue)

I wonder what became of the distillery and we can see some of those pesky overmature trees of the Trinity College Botanic Gardens which are to be undergo compassionate euthanasia from Sean Dunne in Ballsbridge. We can also see the eastern end of the grid layout which persists to this day around Grand canal Docks as well as the split in Ringsend Road at the library - the block and t-junction replaced by a one way slip and a sweeping curve which is dodgy at best on a flying bike on a wet morning like today. Also interesting that the coast road is interrupted where that Stationery shop is today giving Mountain View a nice view of Howth Head and Seafield, well a field/garden leading to the sea.

If I was around then I'd say in quite visionary tones that this area needs a dog track, a 50,000 all seater football stadium and a 37 storey tower block. ;) There woulda been shag all objections from locals

Gunter do you have any info on a street in Ringsend called Shamrock Avenue. I don't think it's there today and it was in a house here where Shamrock Rovers was formed. It was possibly where the flats are now - Stella gardens

from the club site
"The club was formed in 1901 in the city of Dublin in an area where the districts of Ringsend and Irishtown meet. The very first meeting took place at number four Irishtown Road but it wasn't until the second meeting was held around the corner in Shamrock Avenue that the name Shamrock Rovers was decided upon."

You could look at that map for hours and as it's past midnight on a school night I think i'll retire... Post Quick Reply my eye!
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Re: Irishtown

Postby tommyt » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:15 pm

alonso wrote:great map Gunter.

Gunter do you have any info on a street in Ringsend called Shamrock Avenue. I don't think it's there today and it was in a house here where Shamrock Rovers was formed. It was possibly where the flats are now - Stella gardens

from the club site
"The club was formed in 1901 in the city of Dublin in an area where the districts of Ringsend and Irishtown meet. The very first meeting took place at number four Irishtown Road but it wasn't until the second meeting was held around the corner in Shamrock Avenue that the name Shamrock Rovers was decided upon."

You could look at that map for hours and as it's past midnight on a school night I think i'll retire... Post Quick Reply my eye!


How terribly common - I would hazard a pretty strong guess that SRFC were founded on the doorstep of some gaff on that road,but actually having a home:confused:

The lack of panache was there from the start unlike the illustrious Bohemian Football Club, founded in the gatekeepers lodge of the Phoenix Park 11 years previous:p
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Re: Irishtown

Postby gunter » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:36 pm

alonso wrote: do you have any info on a street in Ringsend called Shamrock Avenue. I don't think it's there today and it was in a house here where Shamrock Rovers was formed. It was possibly where the flats are now - Stella gardens


I think you're right there alonso, there's a street on the 1887 map that runs up from Irishtown Road to the Dodder, where Stella Gardens are now, it's called something 'Avenue', I'm missing that bit of the map.

I thought that it was Shelbourne who were associated with Irishtown! Didn't they play at the old Irishtown Stadium?

I know Paul Cleary of the 'The Blades' was a useful footballer until he went off with his brother Lar to found the best Dublin band of the 80s. They lived at 33 Bath Street before they moved down market (gedit) to Ringsend. You don't see those lads thrashing any (protected structure) hotels.
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Re: Irishtown

Postby Peter Fitz » Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:01 am

Similar enough to Clondalkin Garda Station (which i think is fairly decent, certainly superior to the Irishtown job)

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Cullen / Payne

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