Thursday, 28 September 2017

Three Edwardian houses
in a terrace in Limerick

No 8 to 10 O’Connell Avenue … an elegant Edwardian Terrace close to the inner city in Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 20170

Patrick Comerford

On my way into Limerick, usually about once a week, I often hop off the bus before it reaches the city centre so that I can walk in and have time on my way to appreciate the Victorian and Edwardian architecture of the houses that line each side of Ballinacurra Road and O’Connell Avenue.

Three houses on O’Connell Avenue, numbers 8, 9 and 10, form one elegant Edwardian terrace built in the early decades of the last century. This terrace of three elaborately composed Edwardian houses is an eye-catching example of large-scale domestic terraced architecture in the inner suburbs of Limerick dating back to the early 20th century. The houses and the terrace add to the architectural variety and heritage of the Edwardian and Victorian terraces on O’Connell Avenue.

Each of these three houses is individually named: No 8 is Naomh Iosaf, presumably after the nearby Saint Joseph’s Church; No 9 is Mayfair; and No 10 is Glenade. All three were built around 1900.

No 8, Naomh Iosaf, on the left in the photograph, is an end-of-terrace two-bay three-storey red brick and pebbledash-rendered house, with an advancing two-storey three-sided canted bay window surmounted by balustraded balcony accessed by gabled half-dormer window bay.

The pitched natural slate roof has terracotta ridge tiles, an intersecting secondary dormer gable roof with an elaborately detailed timber bargeboard that has a timber finial at the apex.

There is a redbrick chimneystack with a stringcourse and cornice beneath the concrete flaunching to the north gable wall and the south party wall, with moulded clay pots.

The façade at the ground-floor and first-floor levels is faced in redbrick that is laid in English garden wall bond with a limestone plinth course, and there is redbrick wrapping around the bay window aprons.

A moulded rendered stringcourse delineates the second-floor level, which is finished in a pebbledash render. There is timber strutwork to the dormer gable. The house has a plain rendered rear elevation.

The square-headed window opening over the front door has redbrick reveals, there is a flush chamfered limestone lintel and a sill and two-leaf timber casement window with over-lights and curvilinear glazing bars. The oculus above has a smooth rendered surround and a fixed multiple-paned coloured glass light.

The three-sided canted bay window has limestone ashlar surround that includes piers, flush chamfered sills and a lintel. The single and two-leaf timber casement window has over-lights and curvilinear glazing bars.

A cast-iron panelled balustrade encloses the bay balcony. The square-headed balcony opening is for a door flanked by sidelights, with the curvilinear glazing casement echoed by a glazed door panel.

There is a covered front-door porch with a timber frame rising from a red brick plinth base, and with closed brackets and an open tripartite light.

The encaustic tiled entrance platform has a limestone step. The segmental-arched door opening has a plain timber doorframe, a glazed and timber-panelled door, leaf and leaded coloured glass and a segmental over-light.

The front site of this house is enclosed by a snecked and coursed limestone plinth wall with limestone ashlar coping that supports wrought-iron railings. There are cast-iron gateposts and a wrought-iron gate leaf.

The central house in this terrace of these three is No 9, known as Mayfair. This mid-terrace house is similar to its neighbours on each side.

The third house in the terrace, Glenade, or No 10, is an end-of-terrace two-bay three-storey red brick and pebbledash rendered house. The principal difference with its neighbours is the replacement uPVC door and frame, but the house retains many of its original Edwardian features.

This terrace and these houses were designed by John Horan (1853-1919), who was the Limerick county surveyor. Horan, who was the son of an engineer, was born in Co Tipperary in 1853, attended Cookstown Academy, Co Tyrone, and then studied civil engineering at Queen’s College, Belfast (1871-1874), where he graduated BE (1874) and ME (1882).

During his college holidays, he worked with his father, who was the contractor’s agent superintending work on the Woodburn Reservoirs of the Belfast Waterworks. He worked alongside John Frederick La Trobe Bateman and Charles Lanyon.

After graduating, he worked at Rosslare Harbour, Co Wexford, in 1875, on the Upper Inny drainage scheme (1876-1877), on railway and private projects (1878), and in Rosslare again (1879-1881), when he lived at Bushville, Tagoat, Co Wexford, before going to England to work on building the Alexandra Dock.

Horan returned to Ireland when he was appointed county surveyor for the western district of Co Limerick in 1884, working from the County Surveyor’s Office in Rathkeale. In 1893, he was given responsibility for the whole county and also began to practise privately in Limerick. His private work include involvement in repairing the spire at Saint Mary’s Church, Rathkeale, in 1899;

He also had offices at 50 George Street, Limerick (1894-1900), 82, George Streeet (1901-1911) and 4 Pery Square (1911-1913). He was also the engineer for the Rathkeale and Newcastle Junction Railway Company (1896-1900).

He lived at Churchtown, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, and Templemungret, Limerick, before He died on 31 July 1919.

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