Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@Devin wrote:

. . . . . but, after that, there are a huge number which have just been too heavily altered or worn out to ever be accorded any conservation or preservation status.

Devin, that’s the 1960s Fitzwilliam Street counter argument:

”one damed house after another” . . . . ”second rate” . . . . ”no significant internal features” . . . ”riddled with dry rot” . . . . and so on . . . and so on.

This is 2010, there is no excuse for that kind of nonsense today. Many of these houses are now three hundred years old, many represent the survival of original fabric from the initial development of important Dublin Streets, they are hugely significant in both cultural and architectural terms.

We’ve treated the Dutch Billy as the daft auntie of the Irish architectural record. She’s been shut up in the attic and air-brushed out of the family album.

If we’re serious about valuing heritage in this country, we could start by setting the architectural record straight, and in doing this I believe that we could reveal a lot about our cultural identity in the process. These houses might have worn their protestant-loyalism on their slieve, but they were also distinctively national in their distribution and the contrast that they represent with contemporary British building practice and that’s not someting you can say about the the ‘Georgian’ phase that succeeded it and which seems to absorb so much of our heritage consciousness.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need to start to re-evaluate these structures and the contribution that the whole gabled tradition made to the development of our towns and cities. We have a cultural achievement here of national, perhaps international, significance and instead of celebrating it and doing everything we can to let the story tell itself, we seem to want to brush it under the carpet, or be content just to treat it as a footnote.

I just don’t understand why that seems to be so.

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