When an Irishman’s Home is by Castle

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Although now considered central Dublin, St Stephen’s Green originally stood outside the city walls, its name deriving from a church and leper hospital founded at the end of the 12th century a short distance to the west (at the junction of what are now Mercer and Stephen’s Streets). During the following centuries, the green comprised marshy ground with an area of around sixty acres used for…

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Rise Above It All

Part of the coved ceiling in the drawing room of Somerville, County Meath. The house dates from c.1730 when it was built for Sir James Somerville, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1736 and also sometime M.P.

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Built on a small island in the river Deel, Askeaton Castle, County Limerick dates from 1199 when built by the Norman settler William de Burgo.

All Washed Up

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Irish landlords, that small band of men who once owned the greater part of the country, do not enjoy a good reputation here. Judged to have been rapacious and, still worse in the popular imagination, foreign, it cannot be denied that many of their number often put personal interest ahead of concern for the condition of tenants, with disastrous results following the onset of the potato blight in…

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One of a Pear

A chimneypiece in the entrance hall of Furness, County Kildare. The name of 18th century amateur architect Francis Bindon has occurred here several times before (most recently…

Common Entrance

The shared carriage gates for a pair of houses on English Street, Downpatrick, County Down. The three-storey over basement buildings were designed c.1835-36 by the English-born John Lynn seemingly for himself.

In Praise of Narcissism

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Although undoubtedly a great humanitarian, Jonathan Swift was also capable of outbursts of spite. As evidence of which one cites his short essay Character of Primate Marsh, believed to have been written around 1710 (although only published thirty-five years later). In this piece of invective against the then-Archbishop of Armagh, Swift wrote ‘Marsh has the reputation of the most profound and…

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A Pale Reflection

120 St Stephen’s Green is one of a pair of houses on the west side of the square designed by Richard Castle to look from the exterior like a single unit.

A Painterly Effect

Two years ago the Irish public voted Sir Frederic William Burton’s 1864 watercolour The Meeting on the Turret Stairs the nation’s favourite painting.

Let the Door be Instantly Open, For There is Much Wealth Within…

Let the Door be Instantly Open…

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Some attention has already been paid here to the eccentricities of Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol, specifically the house he constructed at Downhill, County Derry (see It’s Downhill All the Way, October 28th 2013). Today the focus is on his other great building project in Ireland, one which attracted more attention at the time but is now largely forgotten, at…

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