Survey Data

Reg No

50100434


Rating

Regional


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural, Artistic


Previous Name

Convent of Marie Reparatrice


Original Use

House


Historical Use

Convent/nunnery


In Use As

Office


Date

1785 - 1795


Coordinates

316735, 233402


Date Recorded

29/07/2016


Date Updated

--/--/--


Description

Attached three-bay four-storey former house over basement, built c. 1790 as one of pair with No. 53, having full-height bow to eastern two bays of rear elevation, and multiple-bay two-storey return to rear of western bay abutted by return block to neighbouring building on Fitzwilliam Street Lower and having canted-bay to south end of east elevation. Pitched slate roof to front, behind rebuilt Flemish bond brown brick parapet with granite coping, and two hipped roofs to rear perpendicular to street, larger over bow. Very long rendered chimneystacks to party wall with No. 53 with clay pots. Concealed gutters and replacement metal downpipe. Flemish bond brown brick walls on moulded granite plinth over painted ruled-and-lined rendered walls to basement. Return has flat roof and rendered walls. Square-headed window openings, diminishing in height to upper floors, having painted rendered reveals, soldier arches and painted granite sills; with exposed granite block-and-start surrounds to basement, and round-headed stairs window opening to rear elevation. Timber sliding sash windows, three-over-three pane to top floor, nine-over-six pane to first floor and six-over-six pane elsewhere, rear elevation first floor having double-leaf timber casement windows with six-pane overlight. Ornate cast-iron balconettes to first and second floors and wrought-iron grilles to basement. Timber sliding sash windows to return. Round-headed principal doorway with Adamesque Ionic columns with respond pilasters, flanking decorative leaded geometric sidelights, stepped dentillated frieze and moulded cornice, with swags over door, fluting above sidelights and paterae above capitals, elaborate leaded batwing fanlight, fluted moulded architrave and eight-panel timber door, top panels glazed and having decorative metal screens, and brass furniture. Granite platform with three granite steps. Wrought-iron railings enclosing basement area with decorative cast-iron posts on moulded granite plinth. Replacement timber glazed door with sidelight accesses basement interior below bridged platform. Fire escape to rear of Nos. 53-54. Casey notes good ceilings to interior. Much of rear plot occupied by mid-twentieth-century former chapel.

Appraisal

No. 54 Merrion Square forms part of the eighteenth-century square developed by the Fitzwilliam Estate. This building is an elegant and well-proportioned house that makes a strong contribution to the early streetscape character of Merrion Square. The relatively modest fa├žade is enlivened by its ornate Ionic doorcase with an elaborate fanlight and leaded geometric sidelights, while the railings and balconettes provides additional features of visual and craft interest. Good ceilings (Casey, 2005). Nos. 53-54 was adapted as a convent, St. Mary Reparatrice, for which a chapel was installed in 1939. 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. 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.