Categories of Special Interest
In Use As
1775 - 1795
Attached two-bay four-storey former house over basement, built c. 1785 as one of pair with No. 56, having single-storey return to rear with further storey to north end having glazed timber sides. Rear of building projects significantly from line of buildings to west. Now in use as offices. M-profile pitched slate roof with skylight to valley, set behind brick parapet with granite coping, and having rendered chimneystacks with clay pots shared with No. 56. Parapet gutters and shared cast-iron hopper and downpipe. Flemish bond red brick walling on granite plinth course to front elevation over painted smooth rendered walling to basement. Square-headed window openings, diminishing in height to upper floors, with painted reveals and painted masonry sills; granite block-and-start surrounds to basement openings. Timber sliding sash windows, front elevation having three-over-three pane to top floor, eight-over-eight pane to basement and one-over-one pane elsewhere, hornless to basement and second floors; and rear elevation has three-over-three pane to top floor and six-over-six pane elsewhere. Front elevation has decorative wrought-iron balconettes to first floor and replacement wrought-iron grilles to basement openings. Round-headed principal doorway with rendered linings, painted masonry doorcase, entablature with fluted frieze and moulded cornice, frieze having paterae, over engaged Adamesque Ionic columns, leaded batwing fanlight and eleven-panel timber door with brass furniture. Granite platform with cast-iron boot-scrapes and four bull's-nose granite steps. Wrought-iron railings enclosing basement area with decorative cast-iron posts on moulded granite plinth. Rear of plot has carparking and concrete block boundary to lane with steel vehicular gate.
No. 55 Merrion Square forms part of the eighteenth-century square developed by the Fitzwilliam Estate. This building is well retained, displaying a typically well-balanced yet restrained façade, enlivened by its Adamesque Ionic doorcase and ironwork features, which provide visual and craft interest. The building and its intact setting details contribute significantly to the intact appearance of this important architectural set-piece. 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 and the flanking Natural History Museum and National Gallery. 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 of twelve leases, with plots leased consecutively from east to west up until the row was completed in 1791.