Categories of Special Interest
Architectural, Historical, Social
In Use As
1910 - 1920
Attached four-storey Carmelite priory, built 1915, comprising slightly advanced three-bay entrance block with breakfront to entrance bay, flanked by five-bay blocks and having further block to south having two-bay façade to street and five-bay façade to side street (Whitefriar Street). Replaced priory of c. 1840. Entrance block and north block have flat roofs, with rooflights to former. South flanking block has two pitched slate roofs to south part with hips to south end. Flat section to middle. Two pitched slate roofs to north end with glazed element in between. Further corner-sited block at south has hipped slate roof. Rendered chimneystacks throughout, with terracotta chimneypots. Principal elevations, to Aungier and Whitefriar streets, are rendered, with channelled render to ground floor over granite plinth course and having carved granite stringcourse. Granite quoins to southeast and southwest corners of corner block. Yellow brick walling to rear (west) elevation of south flanking block. Entrance block upper floor bays flanked by rendered Doric pilasters, paired to ends of elevation, supporting moulded entablature and having rendered cross finial. Canted oriel window to first floor over entrance, having concave sides. Open pediment with keystone to round-headed window opening flanked by square-headed windows, over moulded corbel brackets flanking archway to ground floor doorcase. Square-headed window openings to upper floors having replacement windows, granite sills and moulded architraves. Openings to end bays of first floor of breakfront flanked by pilasters supporting deep entablature. Second and third floor openings of middle bay of breakfront set within recess having raised moulded reveals, Venetian-style openings. Square-headed openings to second floor and round-headed to third floor, middle lights flanked by pilasters and sidelights having similar responds supporting deep entablature. Round-headed window openings to ground floor with granite sills. Windows to rear generally paired square-headed with replacement frames. Round-headed openings to ground floor of north block. Recessed round-headed doorway to central bay of breakfront, having channelled reveals and keystone bearing inscription 'Founded 1278 Rebuilt 1915', with recent door and overlight. Flanking windows set within recesses having channelled reveals. Recent square-headed doorway to north end bay, with flat metal architrave and recent door. Projecting two-storey portico to south end of southern flanking block, providing principal access to priory church, comprising ground level having Doric columns on raised plinths, with responds to ground floor and supporting moulded cornice further borne on heavy moulded brackets. Portico fronts round-headed doorcase with engaged pilasters, cast-iron double-leaf gate with inset bronze lettering 'Carmelite Church' and double-leaf timber panelled door. Cornice surmounted by similar arrangement of columns and responds, with central projecting portico with open-bed pediment with rendered cross finial and fronting round-headed recess with glazed shrine containing Madonna and Child sculpture. Flanked by round-headed Venetian-style windows with moulded archivolts, keystones, flanking pilasters and moulded entablature. Plinth to front of entrance has bronze sculptures of St. John to left with lettering 'This is the disciple whom Jesus loved' beneath and of Virgin Mary to right with lettering ‘refuge of sinners pray for us', flanked by marble slabs both bearing inscription 'Carmelite Church Whitefriars Foundation 1274'. Round-headed door opening to southernmost block, with moulded render surround and keystone and open-bed pediment, timber panelled door with sidelights and plain overlight, accessed via nosed granite steps with decorative cast-iron railings and decorative openwork piers over rendered plinth. Rendered walls to rear (west) elevation, with carved granite coping to parapet. Granite kerbing to footpath to front. Site bounded to three bays south of breakfront by decorative wrought-iron railings on masonry plinth. Building bounded at rear by cast-iron railings, with garden beyond. Recent flat-roofed three-storey block to northwest linked to north block by glazed corridor and stairs link.
The Carmelite priory on Whitefriar Street has an imposing presence in the street. Its Doric pilasters and channelled ground floor giving an impression of strength and longevity. The building is well-proportioned. Its breakfront, together with its elongated ground floor and over-sized corbel brackets, centres attention on its entrance. In 1330, Robert Bagot, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, built the friars a house in St. Peter's parish on the south side of the Dublin city walls, almost exactly on site of the present-day church, which is immediately to the south of the current priory. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Carmelites went into hiding, but re-emerged in the eighteenth century and built the present church in 1825. In 1858, J.J. McCarthy, the well-known architect of Irish Catholic church buildings, built a large extension to the priory at the same time that he completed designs for a new north aisle to the church. In 1914-15, the priory was rebuilt in the neo-Classical style to the designs of Charles B. Powell.