Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Anonymous
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Does anyone of a Cork persuasion know if the 18th century Bernard family (later inter-married with the Beamish family) had a town house in Cork?

This was their country seat, ‘Palace Anne’ near Enniskeane:


photograph from: ‘A guide to Irish Country Houses’ by Mark Bence-Jones

A remarkable mansion constructed in imported (and then transported) red brick with cut stone dressings it was completed apparently in 1714. The house had a total of five curvilinear gables, including a pair of close engaged wings. One of these wings survived the otherwise complete demolition, around 1960, of the roofless ruin, and this wing offers one of the few opportunities we have to come face to face with an actual surviving un-tampered-with ‘Dutch Billy’ in the flesh. These photographs were taken in 1996, but I imagine the structure, then in use as a farmyard store, is protected and survives in a similar condition today.

Palace Anne must have been an extraordinary sight in the Irish countryside, but even if it didn’t start a trend for Dutch gabled country mansions, the house stands as a testament to the movement’s depth of penetration into the Irish architectural scene by the second decade of the 18th century. The pilastered facades of the gabled wings, in particular, suggest that the architect was working with some knowledge of recent, if perhaps not exactly contemporary, Dutch architecture and wasn’t entirely winging it, as it were.

It would be interesting to know if the Bernards owned a town house in the city, perhaps one of the gabled houses depicted by Chearnley or Butts! . . . . I don’t know what line of business they were in, maybe they were just ‘landed gentry’, or maybe they were merchants made good, perhaps brick importers!

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