Categories of Special Interest
In Use As
1780 - 1800
Attached three-bay four-storey former house over basement, built c. 1790 as part of terrace of eight (Nos. 80-87), having three-bay two-storey return to rear. Now in use as offices. Pitched slate roof to front, behind reconstructed brown brick parapet with granite coping, and two hipped roofs to rear perpendicular to street, that to east shared with neighbouring property. Shouldered rendered chimneystacks to west with clay pots. Concealed rainwater goods. Flemish bond brown brick walls with painted moulded granite plinth over painted ruled-and-lined rendered walls to basement. Square-headed window openings, diminishing in height to upper floors, with painted rendered reveals, soldier arches, painted granite sills, and with painted granite block-and-start surrounds to basement with wrought-iron grilles. Round-headed stairs window to rear elevation. Timber sliding sash windows, three-over-three pane to top floor, six-over-six pane elsewhere to front elevation; rear elevation similar but having nine-over-six pane to first floor and six-over-nine pane stairs window. Decorative wrought-iron balconettes to first floor front and rear and painted metal window-guards to second floor of front. Return has hipped slate roof, rendered walls and two-over two-pane timber sliding sash windows. Round-headed principal doorway with moulded architrave, Ionic columns, fluted frieze and moulded entablature, plain fanlight and replacement eight-panel timber door with brass furniture. Granite platform with five granite steps. Basement area enclosed by wrought-iron railings with decorative cast-iron posts on painted moulded granite plinth. Replacement timber door provides access to basement. Yard to rear.
No. 81 Merrion Square is a well-proportioned and elegant house, whose relatively modest façade is enlivened by its Ionic doorcase. The good-quality metalwork to its railings and balconettes provides additional features of interest that also contribute to the intact appearance of the square. The building forms part of the original development of the eighteenth-century square as part of the Fitzwilliam Estate and is one of the best-preserved Georgian streetscapes in Ireland. The north, east and south sides of the square are lined with terraced houses of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century date, while the west side is terminated by the garden front of Leinster House . The houses maintain a relatively uniform building height and design, attributed to standards promoted in Fitzwilliam's leases. Individuality was introduced through the design of doorcases, window ironwork and interior decorative schemes. The south side of Merrion Square was initially set in large plots to twelve lessees; plots were leased consecutively from east to west up to 1791.