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Convent of Mercy, Barrack Street, Granard, County Longford
13305011
Front elevation (south).
Reg. No.13305011
Date1890 - 1900
Previous NameN/A
TownlandGRASSYARD
CountyCounty Longford
Coordinates233659, 281288
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Useconvent/nunnery
In Use Asconvent/nunnery
 
Description
Detached eleven-bay (nine-bay to first floor) two-storey convent, built in 1892 - 5, having a central single-bay gable-fronted breakfront and gabled-fronted two-bay breakfronts to either end (east and west). Two-storey return to the rear at the west end and convent chapel (13305009) attached to the rear at the east end. Pitched slate roofs with red brick chimneystacks, and timber bargeboards to projecting gables and having cast-iron cross finials to gable apexes. Roughcast rendered walls over rendered plinth course with cut stone quoins to the corners. Freestanding statues to gable-fronted sections at first floor level having cut stone plinths and canopies. Carved limestone roundels with heraldic motifs to centre-bays of recessed sections at first floor level. Pointed arch window openings with rendered surrounds, limestone sills and replacement windows. Square-headed window openings to recessed sections at first floor level with rendered surrounds, limestone sills and replacement windows. Triple-light pointed arch opening to breakfront at first floor level having cut limestone tracery with cusped/trefoil-headed lancet openings with quatrefoil detail over and with quarry glazed stained glass windows. Pointed arch door opening to central breakfront with panelled timber door, overlight and having hood moulding over. Flight of limestone steps to entrance. Pointed arch opening to west elevation having hood moulding with carved foliate label stops over tympanum with carved limestone tracery and heraldic motif over timber panelled door. Set back from road in extensive grounds to the east end of Granard. Rubble limestone boundary wall to road-frontage (south). Main entrance gates to the east end of boundary wall comprising pair of moulded dressed limestone gate piers (on square-plan) having carved capstones and double leaf iron gates. Gateway flanked to either side by iron railings set on limestone plinth walls (on quadrant-plan) and terminated by dressed limestone gate piers (on square-plan) having incised cross motifs.

Appraisal

This imposing and well-detailed late nineteenth-century convent retains its early form, character and much of its original fabric. The form of this building is characteristic of the convent architecture in Ireland during the second half of the nineteenth century, a period when a great many buildings of this type were constructed. It is built in the Institutional Gothic Revival style is typical of the convent architecture at the time of construction. The front façade is enlivened by the advanced gable-fronted projections with ornate bargeboards and by the statues framed with carved canopies atop ornate plinths. Of particular interest is the fine triple-light window to the central breakfront, which has cut stone tracery of high artistic merit. The quoins to corners help to articulate the form of the building. It was built to designs by the eminent architect William Hague (1836 - 1899) and the main contractor was P. Kelly of Longford Town. The foundation stone was laid on the 21st of April 1892. It was extended to the rear in 1930 to designs by T.J. Cullen (1879 - 1947). This building is of social importance to the local community as a convent and school and is an historical reminder of the role of the Sisters of Mercy in Granard. It forms a pair of structures with the associated convent chapel (13305009), attached to the northeast end, and the graveyard (13305010) to the north and it is an integral element of the built heritage of the local area. The simple rubble stone boundary wall and the good-quality entrance gate complete the setting and add to this composition. It cost £5,000 to build (Slater's Directory 1894).
 
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