Main Record - County Westmeath
|Our Lady's Bower, Lower Road, Athlone, County Westmeath
|Date||1880 - 1890|
|Previous Name||The Bower|
|Categories of Special Interest||ARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC SOCIAL|
|In Use As||school|
|Additional Use||church/chapel|| |
Semi-detached seven-bay two-and three-storey convent building on H-shaped plan with advanced gabled breakfront to entrance gable (north) with copper spire above, built 1889. Chapel to west side of breakfront at first floor level. Various late-twentieth century extensions to the south. Pitched natural slate roofs with decorative clay ridge tiles, raised limestone verges, ashlar limestone chimneystacks and pedimented half-dormer windows. Constructed of dressed limestone with ashlar limestone plinth and ashlar detailing including moulded string courses and a gabled statue niche to pediment of breakfront. Square-headed windows to ground floor with replacement windows, trefoil-headed openings with stained glass to chapel to west side of first floor, paired square-headed openings with chamfered limestone surrounds to east side of first floor and square-headed dormer openings to east side of second floor. Pointed-arched doorcase to breakfront with timber double doors and overlight with trefoil and quatrefoil tracery above. Pointed-arched window to first floor of breakfront with limestone tracery. Set well back from road in extensive school grounds. Cast-iron gates to the north (15010104) and graveyard on rectilinear-plan to the west.
This is a very interesting combination of convent, chapel and school in W.H Byrne's (1844-1913) typical, rather severe Gothic Revival-style. It survives with its form and character intact and is set within attractive landscaped grounds. The finely carved limestone details and the stained glass traceried windows are of artistic merit. The robust grey limestone walls of this sombre structure are softened by the variety of differently shaped window openings with ashlar detailing and by the stained glass windows. It remains an attractive structure and forms an interesting group with the nun's cemetery to the west and the cast-iron entrance gates to the north.
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