Survey Data

Reg No

21517041


Rating

Regional


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural, Artistic, Historical, Social, Technical


Original Use

Building misc


In Use As

Unknown


Date

1800 - 1820


Coordinates

157384, 156860


Date Recorded

20/07/2005


Date Updated

--/--/--


Description

Attached two-bay two-storey structure, built in 1808, forming part of Roche's Hanging Garden's base structure, devised by William Roche, which also functioned as stores. Roof structure concealed behind a parapet wall to front and sides. Limestone ashlar faced façade comprises irregular composition of two red brick arches (one larger than the other), standing on limestone ashlar piers. The arches in both cases are filled in with red brick laid in Flemish bond at first floor level and rubble limestone at ground floor level. Red brick parapet wall standing on limestone stringcourse above a red brick dog-tooth course; terminated by rusticated limestone ashlar red brick corners and coping. Paired round-arch window openings with red brick arches, reveals and limestone sills and six-over-six timber sash windows beneath fanlights. Window lights drop beneath sill level. Camber-arched window opening to ground floor level with high sill level and timber casement windows. Red brick camber-arched vehicular opening closed by roller shutters. Access was not possible to the interior, however, fine barrel vaults were detected at first floor level.

Appraisal

Given its origins this structure is certainly among one of the most unique within Limerick City. It was conceived by the banker William Roche (d. 27th April 1850) as a vast store, which was surmounted by enclosed gardens referred to as Roche's Hanging Gardens. They were built to the rear of his residence at 99 George's Street - now O'Connell Street. According to an article by Jim Kemmy: 'the plan involved the building of stores under a series of arches ranging from 25 to 40 feet high. On top of these arches elevated terraced or "hanging gardens" were created and the whole structure was crowned by classical statues.' It is estimated that the work cost £15,000 to complete. Quite sophisticated heating and irrigation systems were employed to maintain the vegetation, such as, exotic fruits like oranges, grapes and pineapples. Only two bays of the store and substantial parts of the original vaulting which supports the terraces is still intact