Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Sorry about this, there will be some repetition of the last post, but as I was editing it after seeing gunter’s last post the previous one stuck.

Is it not a bit misleading to equate the name Dutch Billys with some profound sense of Loyalism in their occupants/builders? I’ve noticed the assumption on this thread before. If The Glorious Revolution ended the tradition of gabled houses in England, would one also say therefore that the Palladian style was a conspiritorial, Banksy-esque f***k you to the new regime? I don’t know this for a fact but it seems unlikely that the term “Dutch Billy” was in use in their period, but a later descriptive term to define the style and period they were built in. Notwithstanding the “Dutch House” reference to that house on Thomas St?

And even it the term was used close to the time in which they were built, and purely to throw a linguistic spanner in the works, could not “Dutch Billy” be a mutated form of “Dutch Bailey” denoting both origin and gable?

Ironically, perhaps this suggestion of Loyalism is what drove nationalistically indoctrinated Corpo planners to try and wipe out the last of them in the post independence period.

It seems obvious that the gabled tradition, (although diverging at a crucial historical point, in relation to our own vernacular building style) is a shared tradition of both England and Ireland and comes from the same source; earlier gabled houses of the late medieval period, also crucially in terms of the name “Dutch Billy”, buildings like this were commonly seen in Dutch genre paintings that were churned out in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Add to this “Bailey” instead of “Billy” and the term could be older than the William and Mary period.

The other side of College Green, with its stepped gable house would support the idea that the gabled terrace was a natural development of that earlier style. In fact it’s possible that some of the buildings we see further down Dame St could be late medieval too.

Certainly they were once common if not the standard stone buildings in Dublin, there’s a famous picture of one on Marrowbone Lane, and John Derricke’s The Image of Ireland contains many.

Not to mention the cruciform roof of the cagework buildings.

But to return to College Green instead of the wearing of the green, or even Whigs thereabouts…

Notice the white triangle behind the row? Do you think that this ghostly Billy air-snapped in the 50’s was contemporary with Clancarty House? Looks like there was some kind of green between the(small wedge-shaped terrace?)m and Clancarty House coming off the bottom of Grafton St. Rather splendid it must have been.

The sheer age, the continuous development of high density housing around Billys and the amount of re-modelling they went through right from the start is amazing. Indeed, it must have occurred to their gable fronted predecessors too. And since we know that most of the inner city-wall housing plots are based on medieval measurements. Is it possible that some Billys were/are framing bones of earlier buildings?

For instance, here’s what looks like a twin Billy, with a large carriage entrance to the right of the five bay Mansard roofed building (in Islandbridge?) in 1699…

And again in 1753, where the twin seems to have been replaced/altered to a large single gable, Dutch Billy replaced by Dutch Billy.

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