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Ulster Bank, 15-17 Oliver Plunkett Street, Mullingar, County Westmeath
15310065
General view.
Reg. No.15310065
Date1910 - 1915
Previous NameN/A
TownlandMULLINGAR
CountyCounty Westmeath
Coordinates243654, 252974
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Usebank/financial institution
In Use Asbank/financial institution
 
Description
Terraced six-bay three-storey bank building, built c.1911, having advanced bays to either end (east and west) with decorative round-headed gables over and with a canted bay shopfront/bank front to the central three bays. Central two bays to upper stories are slightly advanced from main body of building. Pitched natural slate roof hidden behind a raised cut stone balustraded parapet and having a moulded cut limestone eaves cornice. Banded ashlar limestone and ashlar sandstone chimneystack to the west gable end. Smooth rendered finish to bank front on ground floor with raised lettering to smooth rendered fascia and having a continuous moulded cornice over. Upper floor constructed using ashlar red sandstone with flush ashlar limestone bands/string courses. Decorative gables over advanced bays constructed using ashlar limestone with garland motifs in relief. Square-headed window openings to bank front with rendered sills and both timber sliding sash and fixed pane windows. Square-headed window openings over to the first and second floors having moulded limestone sills (bracketed to the second floor openings to the advanced end bays), moulded limestone lintels and one-over-one pane timber sliding sash windows. Pointed segmental-headed doorcase to the advanced end bay to the east having original timber paneled double-leaf doors, recessed rendered surrounds, plain glass overlight and a stucco hoodmoulding over supported on decorative brackets. Pointed segmental-headed window opening to the advanced end bay to the west end having similar decorative motifs to doorcase on opposite end bay. Road-fronted to the south side of Oliver Plunkett Street with decorative cast-iron railings to the front of the recessed bank front.

Appraisal

An unusual and highly decorative bank building, which retains its early eclectic character and much of its early fabric. It represents a rare example of late Art Nouveau influenced architecture in Ireland and has some unusual classical ornamentation, including the garlands to the gables and the decorative treatment of the doorcase to the advanced bay to the east end. This bank was built by the Belfast-based architects Blackwood and Jury for the Ulster Bank in 1911. This is an unusual building to find in an Irish provincial town and is of a form more commonly encountered in the larger English cities and in Belfast. The construction using banded ashlar limestone and ashlar sandstone creates an appealing visual contrast. This building has a commanding presence in the street, reflecting the period when bank buildings were designed to express the solidity and wealth of the institution through their architecture. The general layout with advanced end bays follows the established late nineteenth-century pattern for bank buildings such as with the former National Bank building to the west (14310060). The decorative gables are an unusual architectural motif in Westmeath. However, they are reflected in the style of Mullingar Credit Union (15310204) a short distance to the west on the opposite side of Oliver Plunkett Street, together creating an architectural set-piece in the centre of Mullingar. This building replaced an earlier Ulster Bank in Mullingar, which was opened in 1892.
 
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