- This topic has 72 replies, 23 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 11 months ago by Boyler.
March 28, 2005 at 2:23 pm #707737
Which of Ireland’s cities or towns is the most, architectually, beautiful?
I think Sligo looks nice, especially the Town Hall.
March 28, 2005 at 2:27 pm #752235
Boyler this is where you ask for a poll, then when the votes are counted you know.
Sligo isn’t a bad place to start personally I would favour Kilkenny or Clonmel as towns of a similar size
March 28, 2005 at 2:29 pm #752236
Could you do it for me? I don’t know how.
Does anyone have pictures of Clonmel?
March 28, 2005 at 2:34 pm #752237
Only the boss can create polls but I’m sure if you ask nicely he would consider it.
Re Clonmel there is surprisingly nothing for County Tipp in the Buildings of Ireland section which can be found under the drop down ‘Countries’ (top left toll bar) under the section ‘Buildings of Ireland’
March 28, 2005 at 2:36 pm #752238
Who’s the boss?
Why would you start with Kilkenny or Clonmel?
March 28, 2005 at 6:19 pm #752239AnonymousInactive
March 28, 2005 at 6:26 pm #752240
Sligo isn’t bad. What was Cork like before the Black and Tans burned the city’s CBD?
March 28, 2005 at 6:40 pm #752241
College Green in Dublin has the best collection of beautiful architecture in Ireland. You have the facades of Trinity College, old Parliament Building( is the Bank of Ireland now ) and several banks.
March 28, 2005 at 6:44 pm #752242
Alas not all the banks on College Green are the prettiest in the world…
Dundalk is a beautiful town, easily has one of the finest collections of Georgian-Victorian transitional architecture in Ireland.
The people unfortunately have a bad reputation but their town is magnificent.
March 28, 2005 at 8:17 pm #752243
Is there any building that you like out of all the others?
March 28, 2005 at 8:27 pm #752244
March 28, 2005 at 11:28 pm #752245
March 29, 2005 at 12:15 am #752246
Yes, the delightful Dearey’s is just one – who’s future use is uncertain as a result of a recent sale.
These two late Georgians are other favourites:
Of course the town’s Pro-Cathedral does without saying – modelled on King’s College Chapel, on which there’s a good article in the UK forum at the minute:
The town lacks decent contemporary architecture unfortunately – most built at the minute is happy-clappy stuff, not least the woeful new Louth CC HQ.
Saying that, the new courthouse extension by Brian O’Halloran Associates works very well (low granite walls and ramps etc aside)
March 31, 2005 at 3:06 pm #752247
The cathedrals in Cork (St. Finbar’s) and Cobh (?) look nicer than Dundalk’s Pro-Cathedral, in my opinion.
March 31, 2005 at 3:28 pm #752248
March 31, 2005 at 5:50 pm #752249
March 31, 2005 at 6:21 pm #752250
Abbeyleix, Co Laois is an exceptionally beautiful town.
Adare, Co Limerick is often considered Ireland’s prettiest in the guide books.
March 31, 2005 at 10:41 pm #752251
Don’t forget Westport…
I’d agree with you Boyler that there are more beautiful cathedrals and churches than Dundalk, not least St Finn Barre’s – how could you compete with that?
But Dundalk is more iconic that beautiful, perhaps it would be considered more elegant without the bell-tower, added in c1906 (athough originally planned).
Saying that, it could be argued that its interior is particularly beautiful – much more so than the dull rendered lemon walls one’s usually greeted with in even the most externally elaborate Irish churches.
It has an exquisite almost Regency-gothic interior from the 1840s that is really magnificent.
March 31, 2005 at 11:18 pm #752252DevinParticipant
New Ross is probably my favourite Irish town. It has an amazing urban coherence; the quay with its mix of shop-houses and grain stores, and the four streets behind that centred on the town hall. And the picturesque old shopfronts running up the incredibly steep hill of Mary Street.
But like so many, itâ€™s undervalued and overrun with traffic, and itâ€™s suffering non-stop loss of architectural character (the usual PVC-ing etc.). Tragic to see this in such a beautiful place.
I think itâ€™s just seen as somewhere on the way to Waterford from Wexford.
April 1, 2005 at 1:30 pm #752253TLMParticipant
I think I agree with you Graham on Westport…an excellent town to visit and very pretty
April 1, 2005 at 1:41 pm #752254Jack WhiteParticipant
Agreed Westport is one of the best towns in the Country as is Kenmare in Kerry
April 1, 2005 at 2:01 pm #752255
I think Enniscorthy, with its magnificent cathedral and hillside location, beats New Ross hands down when it comes to the towns of Wexford. Of course, Wexford Town itself is also nice in its own way.
April 1, 2005 at 2:10 pm #752256AnonymousInactive
Castletownshend in Co. Cork really sticks in my mind. I also like Kinsale alot.
April 1, 2005 at 6:54 pm #752257
Hear hear for Enniscorthy! The view across the river flood plain on entering from the Dublin side, the view over the bridge through the Minch Norton buildings (sadly being mucked about for shops, yes, more shops), the qualities of its hillside location…
But Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny gets my no.1 vote. And Castlecomer comes near the top too. Then, like Kefu, I think Abbeyleix really has something special. And the formal arrangement of Fermoy deserves a mention.
And I nearly forgot Whitestown, Co. Louth, near Carlingford (itself a gem), though Whitestown is a one-off (AFAIK)- a dispersed cluster village of dwellings and farm/outbuildings.
And Lismore, with its shopfronts, bridge, castle, churches, and the fantastic Riding House.
And Villierstown, Co. Waterford…
I can’t really play favourites with these towns; each has its own character, which makes comparison difficult. Maybe in 20 years (or sooner?), when all Irish towns consist of a Spar, a Centra, a Lidl, a Starbucks, an internet cafe, a pub in a converted church, blanket suburban-style semi-ds and inappropriately located apartment blocks will comparisons be possible or worthwhile. For now, local distinctiveness and difference are what make places into, well, places. Treasure them.
April 1, 2005 at 8:56 pm #752258
Is there any regional architecture in Ireland? All the old buildings in Ireland were designed on foreign architecture like French Gothic for churches and Italian Classical for the Customs House, Four Courts etc.
April 1, 2005 at 10:18 pm #752259AnonymousInactive
There are regional variations in our vernacular architecture: ie, thatched cottages etc.
April 2, 2005 at 7:48 am #752260delta_jacobParticipant
what about cobh?
April 2, 2005 at 5:28 pm #752261
Regional variations exist not just in vernacular architecture, unless you define ‘vernacular’ very broadly. Kilkenny City has an unusual feature where the doors of two adjacent Georgian buildings are united under one fanlight (making for interesting solutions to the problem of internal partitioning). Many buildings in County Laois display a feature where the front door is recessed in a shallow ‘scalloped’ arch. Buildings in coastal towns such as Kinsale often have slate hanging on their (usually seaward) walls. Cork Georgian is markedly different from Dublin Georgian (and Limerick Georgian etc etc).
I must however disagree with you, Boyler, when you say that “All the old buildings in Ireland were designed on foreign architecture like French Gothic for churches and Italian Classical for the Customs House, Four Courts etc.”. This is far too simplistic a reduction. It might be true to say that there was no native style for large public buildings, but neither was Italian classical or French classical a native style, borrowed as it was from ‘the antients’. Each generation has taken a template and put a native spin on it, which has been used by many writers as an argument for the enduring validity of the classical model. If I must cite examples, then the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, the church on Pope’s Quay in Cork and the two Georgian churches (both Cathedrals?) in Waterford City spring readily to mind to refute your assertion re French Gothic. And the eighteenth century ‘barn’ church is one of Ireland’s most distinctive building types- a mix of large scale public with vernacular.
April 3, 2005 at 10:57 pm #752262AnonymousInactive
The slates on the side of the buildings in Kinsale are one of my favourite aspects of the town. That, its morphology and, of course, Robin Walker’s Weekend house.
April 10, 2005 at 2:04 pm #752263
How is Georgian architecture in Cork different from Dublin’s or Limerick’s?
April 11, 2005 at 11:09 am #752264d_d_dallasParticipant
The bow fronted houses of Georges Qy and North Gate (Boole’s house)
April 11, 2005 at 8:02 pm #752265lauraconParticipant
I think that Longford embodies what an Irish town should be, admittedly its not the most traditionally beautiful town but its cathedral is beautiful and the newly refurbished town hall is well done
April 11, 2005 at 8:05 pm #752266KeenboParticipant
Longford? From a distance it looks suprisingly well. St. Mel’s Cathedral is pretty striking.
However you are obviously joking since the main street is a mess. It represents the lack of planning there has been in some regional towns. I suppose if people can’t even park in an organised fashion, how can there be any pattern in their houses.
April 11, 2005 at 8:15 pm #752267
The Couthouse in Longford is set for restoration it is potentially an absolute gem
April 11, 2005 at 8:28 pm #752268lauraconParticipant
Yeah the courthouse could definately be great when finished but i’m not holding my breath as they have been trying to get it restored now for over a decade with absolutely nothing happening. Typical!
April 12, 2005 at 1:34 am #752269Paul ClerkinKeymaster
Isn’t there a story about the courthouse in Longford where the pub next door has toilets in its basement…. I have a a vague memory of some story like that….
April 12, 2005 at 11:19 pm #752270A-haParticipant
I think Cork is the nicest of Irelands cities. City hall and the Court house always seem to look fabulous. The bridges likewise. Also areas like Grand Parade and the newly refurbished Patrick Street add to Corks uniqueness.
April 13, 2005 at 1:32 am #752271
As that colour does to your text 🙂
April 16, 2005 at 7:49 pm #752272
Does anyone have pictures of Patrick Street?
April 16, 2005 at 9:09 pm #752273
Are there any baroque style buildinds in Ireland? Did the Protestant Ascendancy dislike baroque architecture in the 18th century, even though it was at it’s most popular (and beautiful) stage in Europe at that time?
April 17, 2005 at 3:04 pm #752274d_d_dallasParticipant
April 17, 2005 at 3:12 pm #752275
Thanks for the pictures d d dallas.
April 17, 2005 at 5:25 pm #752276
Irish Georgian – a term perhaps not used often enough, was quite different from the architecture of Europe or England of the day. It was a simpler form – presumably derived from a lack of funds, a lack of the direct influence with other countries which others were exposed to, and perhaps from a genuine desire to stay ‘pure’ and simple; more true to the forms of Greece and Rome.
Hence the Baroque you see emerging in the mid/late 17th centrury in the (now) UK, such as the likes of Vanbrugh’s fantastical Castle Howard never quite made its way over here.
Perhaps others can elaborate on this, but I would assume that the most influencing factor in all of this is that when baroque was at its height in the 17th century, Ireland was in turmoil. Considering little of note or of fashion was built here before the second quarter of the 18th century, baroque was well and truly out of fashion by the time stability and prosperity came along.
April 24, 2005 at 10:19 pm #752277
If only something like that was built in Ireland…………. But it’s okay, Irish architecture ain’t so bad.
April 25, 2005 at 9:56 am #752278Andrew DuffyParticipant
If only something like that was built in Ireland
It’s not baroque, but it’s certainly impressive:
April 25, 2005 at 3:17 pm #752279
In a nutshell (’cause I’m crazy busy)-
The key to this debate is religion. In England, there was a battle of the styles between austere Palladianism and exuberant Baroque in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, roughly along the lines of Protestants vs Catholics. This was an echo of the early seventeenth century, when the Jameses (I and II) and the Charleses (I and II) were fighting it out (English Civil War time), and Inigo Jones was trying to import Palladian classicism into England. This underlines the importance of the client in architecture (then as now)- if the architect’s style didn’t suit, he didn’t get to build,
Early eighteenth century Irish architecture was a curious hybrid of Palladianmism and Baroque- see Pearce’s Parliament House as an example (severe classicism allied to a Baroque spatial sensibility). This was no doubt due to the fact that he was Vanbrugh’s nephew (or at least a close relation), combined with the Molesworths’ (Robert and John) andd others’ taste for severe Palladianism as seen in their championing of Alessandro Galilei for work at Casltetown (the home of Speaker Conolly- see the Parliament connection?), which rubbed off on Pearce. Rubbed off? He wanted to work!
Echoing their English counterparts, the Irish gentry (i.e. Protestant landowning classes) preferred a plain style of building (with its quality coming from careful proportioning, and its exuberance appearing on the inside)- some have seen this as a reflection of the Protestant concept of maintaining a reserved personal exterior. (This reminds me of the great line in ‘Gosford Park’ where a male character tells his wife to stop crying because people might think they’re Italian! [or something like that]).
So in essence, while we had no doctrinaire Baroque architecture as such, many Baroque elements crept into other areas.
I must correct you though, Boyler, on one minor detail- the high point of Baroque in Europe was the mid- to late-seventeenth century (Borromini’s Roman churches are my own particular favourite- 1660s). It gave way in many cases to Rococo wispy plasterwork and a general disappearance of the ‘muscular’ quality of true Baroque. The date is, however, correct for Ireland, where things generally happen a bit later than elsewhere (architectural styles, Thatcherism, etc…) :rolleyes:
Sorry this is a bit disjointed. Check out Edward McParland’s writings for a very fine analysis.
April 25, 2005 at 7:22 pm #752280
I am not an architectural expert but is the other Castletown House- Castletown Cox in Co. Kilkenny a baroque house?
Also Curraghmore House in Waterford, which is in my opinion the most important and one of the least know houses/estates in Ireland.
April 25, 2005 at 8:15 pm #752281
Are there any Art Nouveau style buildings in Ireland?
Are there any paintings or prints of the old Parliament House before it became the Bank of Ireland?
April 26, 2005 at 1:50 am #752282
What an extrordinary house Curraghmore is. Can’t make out from the picture if it’s a ruin or not – is it lived in Michael?
Yes Boyler if you’re interested in the development of Baroque and Palladianism etc here, Dr McParland is the noted expert in the field.
Got some of his work last December but still haven’t laid eyes on it yet :rolleyes:
April 26, 2005 at 12:22 pm #752283
Boyler- for Art Nouveau, start with Sean Rothery’s ‘Ireland and the new architecture’ book. What little we had is mostly gone or changed beyond recognition.
For info on the Parliament House, that McParland book ‘Public architecture in Ireland 1680-1760’ is the best place to start. It has illustrations, and collects and summarises the various articles Dr McParland has written in different journals/books.
Michael- Your point is a good one about Castletown Cox- it does have Baroque (well, Irish Baroque) elements. As I pointed out above, many buildings were a hybrid of Palladian, Baroque, classical, etc. I think it’s one of the best thing we have going for our historic architecture- the fact that there was little adherence to any major style- a la carte classicism? Don’t know if this was due to many of the designers being ‘gentleman architects’.
And Curraghmore. Aah Curraghmore. I’ve often thought it would make a great town. The picture above doesn’t show the 300 ft long courtyard at the other side. On plan, the footprint looks like a tuning fork. Such a fascinating house- contains a tower house in its core (hence the unusual massing), was comprehensively reworked in the eighteenth century (hand of John Roberts? [Waterford’s Georgian master]). It even has a stag on the parapet, reminiscent of the Stupinigi Lodge in Turin (about which I know little). You’ve hit the nail on the head- they don’t come more Baroque than Curraghmore.
As far as I know it’s still lived in- certainly was in the late 1990s. And I recall seeing an episode of Nationwide, maybe a year ago, in which two people interviewed seemed to be living in part of one of the stable ranges- telltale signs were lunette windows, pleached trees in the courtyard and rugged window dressings.
The image above comes from last year’s NIAH Waterford County survey. I worked on the precursor to that survey and recommended that the building should be of International signoficance. Don’t know whether the re-survey felt the same, but I still think it’s the case. A real gem.
April 26, 2005 at 1:50 pm #752284TLMParticipant
Must say I’ve never been to Cobh before but the photos of it look really impressive. Will add it to my list of places in Ireland still to visit!
April 26, 2005 at 3:08 pm #752285
See further information about Curraghmore House on the following website. To the best of my knowledge it is still lived in by the original family and appears to be in a similiar anitiquated condition to the pre-restored Lisadell House (or one of them if you read the following article). Excellent pictures of it in book recent Houses of Ireland books. It appears to have a majestic setting by a river/lake somewhat similiar to Lyons House in Co. Dublin.
I believe that the grounds at least are regularly open to the public. I also think the house may by open by appointment. I believe it may be on the Department of Finance/Revenue’s list of historic property that have to open to the public.
I visited the area a few years ago and the estate is still completed enclosed with miles of stone walls. Very interesting gatelodge in a nearby village that is in the centre of two gates. Very unusual building but unfortunately it is a complete ruin.
Has anyone visited Curraghmore.
Castletown Cox I believe has been undergoing a huge renovation over teh last number of years where conterversally a number of huge trees were cut down around the house. I belileve this was actaully necessary to reopen up the vista particularly in front of the house.
April 26, 2005 at 3:09 pm #752286
April 26, 2005 at 4:36 pm #752287
Here’s another very good picture of it
April 26, 2005 at 7:33 pm #752288
Check out the following link. The main house is the third entry on page 2. The others are the demesne buildings and associated structures.
Michael- would the interesting gateway you mention be the one at the head of Portlaw village? If so, I concur. What a little gem! One of the gates led to the factory, the other to the main house. The gates were also opened by an ingenious cog mechanism, the remains of which are still in situ.
Portlaw was a model industrial village (think Saltaire, Bourneville etc, but much earlier). Though not documented anywhere, my own belief is that it’s layout derives from St Petersburg- the radial ‘avenues’ focusing on a central feature. I know this was a standard Baroque feature (Sixtus V in Rome et al) but crucially the Malcolmson family of Portlaw had trading links with St Petersburg. The similarity is too close to be a coincidence.
Though a little dejected when I last visited (1999?), Portlaw is still one of my favourite villages in Ireland. A real one-off. And I believe it has turned a corner recently by becoming a commuter settlement for nearby Waterford city. (I know commuter towns aren’t ideal, but in this case I make an exception.)
It may come as no surprise, then, to discover that Waterford County is my favourite in the country. (Laois and Clare come next- and me a Dub! Hope the IRDA don’t get wind of this- bleedin’ city interloper me! 😉 )
April 30, 2005 at 6:23 pm #752289
Wow- what an amazing history Portlaw has. Surely a likely candidate for historic vistoric status.
Ctesiphon- the pictures on buildings of ireland website are impressive. What an amazing amout of ruins and it is great to see them still standing.
Here is one final view which shows its position on the riverside.
May 2, 2005 at 6:33 pm #752290
For the full story of Portlaw, there’s an MUBC Thesis in the Architecture library in UCD (Richview) on the history and development of the village. It was written by, I think, Majella Walsh, in around 1995.
I also have an article from a journal somewhere on the village- if I can find it I’ll post the reference here, though it doesn’t say much more than the thesis.
Great to see the buildingsofireland.ie website finally up and running- the NIAH has been doing worthwhile work for many years now, but much of it was not published. Keeping electronic records seems the way to go, rather than expensive print publications that quickly go out of date.
May 3, 2005 at 8:15 pm #752291
Yes – an excellent website, incredibly comprehensive.
Quite funny at times when the site features modernised terraces of housing to see archispeak applied to what are frankly heaps of junk as a result of of what has been done to them.
Wonderful how the term ‘charm’ manages to cover even the most vile creations 🙂
June 3, 2005 at 11:26 am #752292munstermanParticipant
here’s some photos of clonmel,
the westgate, the mainguard, the friary, the courthouse, old st. Mary’s
June 3, 2005 at 12:48 pm #752293dodgerParticipant
I reckon Maynooth should get a mention – well ordered main street, the seminary, the castle, abbey and seminary. The royal canal way passes the largest harbour on the canal 100 metres from the town centre while at the east end of the main street there’s a very pleasant tree lined walkway to Carton House. Bucketloads of history here too.
June 3, 2005 at 4:35 pm #752294Paul ClerkinKeymaster
Something odd about maynooth – it just didn’t excite me when I was there… don’t know why
June 14, 2005 at 1:51 pm #752295
I think Roscrea is a lovely town
with many medieval buildings , pre chritian buildings and after too.
the castle is very impressive on castle street on coming from the Dublin side of town
its medival pattern is one of the finest i think .
iit has a round tower , a few mill house and a big friary which are all a stone throw from each other.
it is said that it is on the off the oldest towns in ireland as it was a major crossroad in central ireland.
quit a pretty town which has changed little even in the last century!
June 14, 2005 at 6:05 pm #752296
Thanks munsterman for the pictures of Clonmel. I was beginning to think that no one was going to show pictures of the town. I have to say that I really like the pictures of Cork. Isn’t it better to praise than to be complaining about the architecture of Ireland?
June 19, 2005 at 11:21 am #752297
Well, isn’t it???
June 19, 2005 at 7:46 pm #752298
Yes, yes it is.
Though mouthing off is also fun.
July 1, 2005 at 7:48 pm #752299
What would be the 10 most beautiful churches/cathedrals in Ireland?
July 1, 2005 at 8:09 pm #752300
St Finbarrs in Cork has to be in the top three doesn’t it?
Anyone read about this during the week? 🙂
From ‘The Kingdom’:
“Mass in Killarney is about to turn high tech as St Maryâ€™s Cathedral prepares to take delivery of its very own plasma television screens.
The screens are part of a massive renovation project to mark the 150th anniversary of the church and, according to Canon Declan Oâ€™Connor, they are to facilitate full participation and allow the faithful a view of all liturgical celebrations.
To date the renovation project has cost in excess of E650,000 and the next immediate phase, including the new plasma screens, will bring the cost to close to E1 million.”
And from Radio Kerry:
“Large plasma screens have been erected in St Maryâ€™s Cathedral in Killarney. Planned for some time, the screens aim to allow Mass-goers a fuller view of what’s taking place on the altar. 10 42 inch screens on single column stands have been installed in the aisles of the 19th century cathedral.”
Have you any favourites Boyler?
July 1, 2005 at 10:36 pm #752301
My two joint favourites , and the most beautiful in the country in my opinion, are the Rock of Cashel and the cathedral in Cobh. St. Finbar’s in Cork is nice but I find these two breath-taking. But I also like St. Nickolas’ in Galway and St. Patrick’s in Cork as well.
July 2, 2005 at 2:48 pm #752302
St. John’s Catherdhal in Limerick.
very gothic , towers to 68 meters.
it has also been restored to its former glory.
July 2, 2005 at 2:57 pm #752303
July 3, 2005 at 12:46 am #752304PTBParticipant
Cork I think has the most wide range of architechtural styles due to it’s position and influences. Dutch style buildings are about the place-crawford art gallery. Those unique steps/doors-since the days when cork was like venice. Though public classical buildings are rare the few that are there look great. We also have, in my opinion, the finest art deco building in the country-the Christ the King Church.
And on the subject of churches the fabulous situation of Cobh cathederal sends it to the top of my list.
Dublin definitly holds all the best public classical buildings giving it a grand European city look.
Limericks tall rigid georgian buildings on a gridiron pattern makes it feel like those parts of manhattan with the old red brick buildings
And Galway has the architechtural style of building site!
July 3, 2005 at 3:01 am #752305
PTb ,thats your opinion but , its like me thinking lets me see if i can pick out something that is awful about Cork?, you are been are narrow minded ,
for feck sake just because Cork is in the limlight…….. you swear cork never had pimple?
Every town and city in Ireland has its own style faults…..
you com across as Doube Dutch….
quite frankly cork is no better than any city in Ireland ,
if thats what you think of limerick maybe you werent been a bit open minded and understanding the word positivity?
rethink you views!
Limerick is a fine city with good and bad
It dosnt need money pumped into the city from the governmet to build cork airpot neither does it need to be the European capital culture and all his hype for cork.
cork has nice archtecture too, so does Limerick!
but i think its unfair to say stuff like that about lmerick when you put your statment across as if you haven’t a clue about limerick.
Grid patterns streets works very well in ciies by the way! Not all of Limerick is grid patter either!
also limerick has a medieval part and irishtown section and englishtown area
it has many mueseams and art galeries of its own!
There were many fantastic buildings in limerick in the early twentirth century which are sadly lost. especailly on O’connels street
What are the georgian builidings in Dublin like wavy? the,same kind of buildings in limerick
not a very clever description of limerick that you described….
July 3, 2005 at 2:34 pm #752306
I have to agree with PTB about Galway!
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