Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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That’s a fabulous piece of descriptive writing, it would be great if the names turned out to be authentic references and the description is actually tracable to one of the bigger Aungier Street houses. On the other hand the author could have just made the whole thing up, as novelists are wont to do. The description of the creepy ‘alcove’ off the back bedroom would seem to equate well with the characteristic ‘closet return’, which sometines was fully joined up with the main back room and sometimes was treated as a separate space with a connecting door.

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That Ranelagh terrace on Old Mountpleasant has tickled my fancy for years. I don’t have anything concrete on it, but you’re right that the three storey house does exhibit undenyable ‘transitional’ tendancies, and the odd thing is that this house is actually the only one in the group that doesn’t seem to be built in 18th century brickwork . . . leaving aside no. 6, the recessed one which is reputedly the last home of Thomas Ivory, [d. 1786] architect of the Bluecoat School and a number of uber-refined edifaces in third quarter 18th century Dublin.

The three houses to the right of the three storey house [ok one is rendered] have intriguing brick facades showing strange patterns in the bonding, with one in four or five courses consisting entirely of headers. I can’t remember the name for this, I think it’s ‘English garden wall bond’ or some such, but it doesn’t seem quite regular enough to know if it’s deliberate. These three houses are raised over basements and the window heads are slightly arched. Many of the entrance doors [apart from the granite surround to the ‘transitional’ house] appear to have been scooped out of the brick facades as a later alteration. This is Ranelagh after all . . . . and one must keep up.

The four houses to the left of Ivory’s house are very similar to the three on the right but they don’t appear to have had basements and the brickwork [on the one non-rendered facade] looks just a shade less red.

All of these houses appear to have corner fireplaces with single central chimney stacks rising awkwardly from the valleys running between front and back lateral roofs. Obviously you’d be locked up if you started claiming these as altered ‘Billys’, so we won’t do that, but I think we can say that there’s more to these houses than currently meets the eye and a good root around the inside of one or two of them might shed a bit more light on matters.

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