Survey Data

Reg No

50100418


Rating

Regional


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural, Artistic


Original Use

House


In Use As

Office


Date

1785 - 1795


Coordinates

316618, 233470


Date Recorded

29/07/2016


Date Updated

--/--/--


Description

Attached three-bay four-storey former house over basement, built c. 1790 apparently as one in terrace of seventeen, with bow to two eastern bays of rear elevation, with two-storey over basement return to third bay. Now in use as offices. Replacement hipped slate roof spanning depth of building, with flat-roofed attic level, behind Flemish bond brown brick parapet with granite coping; hipped slate roof to return. Shouldered rendered chimneystacks to east with clay pots, concealed gutters and with cast-iron downpipe to west end of front elevation. Flemish bond brown brick walls to front elevation with moulded granite plinth over painted ruled-and-lined rendered basement walls. Square-headed window openings, diminishing in height to upper floors, with painted rendered reveals, soldier arches and painted granite sills; exposed granite block-and-start surrounds and wrought-iron grilles to basement; round-headed stairs window opening to rear elevation of third bay. Timber sliding sash windows, front elevation having nine-over-six pane to first floor, three-over-three pane to top floor and six-over-six pane elsewhere; rear has tripartite windows, three-over-three pane to top floor and six-over-six pane elsewhere. Decorative cast-iron balconettes to first floor, and wrought-iron window-guards to second floor. Round-headed Portland limestone principal doorway with paired Ionic columns, stepped fluted frieze and entablature, decorative radial leaded fanlight, moulded architrave and twelve-panel timber door with brass furniture. Granite platform with cast-iron boot-scrapes and five granite steps. Wrought-iron railings enclosing basement area with decorative cast-iron posts on moulded granite plinth. Basement area has replacement timber panelled door to house and separate timber-sheeted door gives access below bridged platform. Plaque to front wall reads 'Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu 1814-1873 Writer Lived Here'. Areas of garden and carparking to rear, with recent residential building to stable lane.

Appraisal

No. 70 Merrion Square is an elegant Georgian house that forms part of the eighteenth-century square developed by the Fitzwilliam Estate. It has a relatively modest fa├žade that is enlivened by its ornate Ionic doorcase, while the metalwork of its railings and first floor balconettes provides additional features of visual and craft interest. It was the home of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873), a writer best known for his ghost stories and mystery novels. He resided here from 1856 until his death in 1873. The square is one of the best-preserved Georgian streetscapes in Ireland. The north, east and south sides 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 the square was initially set in large plots of twelve leases; plots were leased consecutively from east to west up until the row was completed in 1791.