Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Great pics there. The sheer scale of the Limerick Billies never fails to impress. The presence of the lunette window in that early picture begs the question if in fact some Billies were actually built with such a feature in their gables, and not a later ploy to retain some curvilinear form in their straight-jacketed reincarnations?

That type of moulded cill was a common characteristic of most grand buildings of the early 18th century, including classically ‘correct’ facades.

What has to be amongst the most curious terraces in Dublin is this suspicious display of Victoriana on Kildare Street, opposite the National Museum.

These houses are no doubt a puzzle to the many inquisitive sort standing at the bus stop across the road, as they were for me for quite a few years waiting endlessly on the 15. A freak instance of Victorian domesticity in a city that was otherwise in decay at the time of their construction, these late 19th century houses of distinctly odd proportions and charming manageable scale have always stood out as an incongruous late addition to a street that was supposedly the most fashionable thoroughfare in the capital for over half a century. This would immediately lead one to conclude that these are remodellings of much earlier, possibly gabled, buildings constructed in the 1730s as part of the Molesworth estate development.

Not so. Rocque shows the plots vacant in 1756. Only the pink block had been built.

I haven’t had a chance to check OS from the 19th century. I think we can safely conclude that little appears until the 1870s. But the question remains – why?

In spite of this, some structures did emerge. Notably this highly suspect house with charmingly squat door huddled at the bottom corner. The early 19th century doorcase in what is clearly an older building immediately sets alarm bells ringing.

What brought this house to my attention was when passing by at dusk one evening, the house was in shadow, yet the bright evening sky was oddly apparent through the attic window. On closer inspection another day, it proved to be a skylight in a pitched roof behind the attic storey and parapet.

The building also features low downpipe outlets characteristic of a formerly gabled house.

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