10 August 2018

Stucco decoration makes
a Georgian house in
Limerick eye-catching

No 16 William Street, Limerick, with its richly decorated stucco façade dating from the 1860s (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Local historians seem to be deeply divided when it comes who is honoured by the name of William Street, off O’Connell Street in Limerick.

Seán Spellissy, in his History of Limerick City (1998) says William Street ‘derives its name from William Russell, a local merchant. Ellen Street and Patrick Street were named after members of the Arthur family. Catherine Street was named after Catherine Unthank …’

Other local historians say the street was named after a King William. But William III (1689-1702) reigned long before the Georgian development of Limerick, and as William of Orange whose forces were victorious at the Siege of Limerick in 1690, would have been too unpopular to give his name to a Limerick street in the century that followed.

On the other hand, the historian Maurice Lenihan (1811-1895), in The History of Limerick (1864) says William Street was named in 1787, which is half a century before the reign of William IV (1830-1837).

For their part, Dominick and Tomás Moloney, in their Discover Limerick walking guide (2013), say William Street is believed ‘to be named after William Pery, whose family is credited with the Georgian development of Limerick city.’

Most historians agree that this William Pery who gave his name to William Street is William Cecil Pery (1721-1794), Bishop of Limerick (1772-1784) and 1st Baron Glentworth. He was a brother of Edmund Sexton Pery (1719-1806), 1st Viscount Pery, who began the Georgian development at Newtown Pery in Limerick.

Bishop William Pery was the ancestor of the Earls of Limerick, and at least three people in his family with the name William Pery were successive Earls of Limerick: William Henry Tennison Pery (1812-1866), 2nd Earl of Limerick, William Hale John Charles Pery (1840-1896), 3rd Earl of Limerick, and William Henry Edmund de Vere Sheaffe Pery (1863-1929), 4th Earl of Limerick.

Today, William Street is one of the busiest shopping streets in Limerick city centre, with wide footpaths and many modern shops.

The round-arched door opening at No 16 William Street has an elaborate stucco surround (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

But it is still possible to pick out many of the once elegant Georgian townhouses on William Street. The most eye-catching of these, for me, is No 16, now the offices of Mark Murphy & Co, solicitors.

This terraced, two-bay, four-storey over basement townhouse, was built around 1810, when this part of Georgian Limerick was being developed. It was once part of an hotel and has a railed front site basement area. But the house stands out today because of its richly decorative stucco façade, which dates from around 1860.

The round-arched door opening has an elaborate stucco surround that has panelled pilasters with console brackets supporting elaborate vermiculated stucco over the front door; a timber-framed fanlight with round-arched glazing bars; and a tripartite timber doorframe with sidelights over the panelled timber bases flanking a flat-panelled timber door.

This opens onto a limestone front door platform that bridges the front site basement area, which is enclosed by a limestone plinth wall supporting wrought-iron railings with cast-iron rail posts that have pineapple finials.

A ground floor window at No 16 William Street with stucco decoration (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

At the ground floor level, there are two camber-arched window openings with panelled uprights and console brackets standing on painted sills and with supporting elaborate vermiculated stucco window heads.

There are painted rendered walls with a channel rusticated ground floor level, and a moulded stringcourse delineating the ground and first floor sill level.

There are distinctive soldier quoins at the party walls. The square-headed window openings above the ground-floor level have elaborate stucco lugged architraves, painted sills, and cast-iron sill guards at first-floor level.

Above, there are acroteria or architectural decorations on the enriched parapet entablature, and the parapet wall hides the pitched roof. There is a large brick chimney-stack at the west party wall.

Sadly, the original windows have been lost, and there are replacement uPVC windows throughout the building.

The house has a red-brick rear elevation with cement rendering. I understand there are square-headed openings, with tripartite timber sash windows that have timber mullion piers.

This is an attractive terraced house that received a late 19th-century stucco makeover to form the current street-fronting façade elevation. But it would be so easy to pass this enriched façade with its stucco decoration and its distinctive expressions of architectural individuality.

The enriched parapet entablature at No 16 William Street with its acroteria or architectural decorations (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Parish raises funds to help
victims of fires in Greece

People escaping wildfires wade into the waters in Mati, Greece

Patrick Comerford

The Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes came together for a Group Eucharist in the Rectory Garden in Askeaton at the end of July, followed by the Parish Summer Barbecue. Once again, this has been a successful event, bringing together parishioners and friends for an enjoyable day that has become a regular fixture in the parish calendar.

This year’s event was also successful in raising €250 to support the victims of the recent devastating fires in the Attica area near Athens in Greece.

The latest figure for the death toll in the fires has now climbed to 93.

The Greek community in Dublin and the Greek embassies in Dublin and London are collecting funds to help the victims of the fire.

The embassies have provided these details of the official bank account for the support of fire victims:

Account Name: Eidikos Logariasmos Pyroplikton ths 23hs kai 24hs Iouliou 2018

Beneficiary Name: Ministry of Finance

Bank of Greece


Account number: 23/2341195169

IBAN GR4601000230000002341195169

‘Given the international and national solidarity and support that has been shown to Greece and the people affected by the fires, the Greek government has decided to open this special bank account at the Bank of Greece (FEK B’ 3014/25.07.2018), in order to fund activities for the support of the people struck by the fires in Eastern and Western Attica, especially for the reconstruction and compensation of the destroyed houses and infrastructure.

‘The account will be managed by a committee, composed of the President of the Hellenic Parliament, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport and the Finance Minister.

‘The account will be audited annually by chartered accountants, instructed by the Finance Minister. Their report will be submitted to the Court of Auditors.

‘The Greek state has contributed to the account with €20 million from the Hellenic Manpower Employment Organisation (ΟΑΕD), €10 million from the Ministry of Finance, while the Hellenic Parliament has decided to contribute €10 million.

‘The bank account will be available for foreign states, businesses and individuals from Greece and abroad to provide their financial support.’

After the recent fires in the Greece, the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) posted ‘A prayer for our friends in Athens’:

God of all comfort, hear our prayer for the people of Greece as they battle the flames of wildfire.

We hold in our hearts families and communities who have been forever changed by loss, grief and trauma.

Bring healing and peace to those suffering, and sustain those who rescue, comfort and rebuild.

Meanwhile, throughout this week, USPG has continued to post prayers for Greece on its social media platforms:


We pray for refugees in Greece who have fled war or persecution in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. Pray that they may have hope for the future.


We give thanks for the work of Apostoli which is working in Athens to provide support for migrants and Greeks made vulnerable through poverty.


We give thanks for the Anglican Chaplaincy in Greece, which is reaching out to some of the 45,000 refugees in the country, with support from USPG.


We pray for the shelters for unaccompanied refugee minors in Athens, which have received support from USPG among others.

Anticipating the shared Group Eucharist and Parish Summer Barbecue in the Rectory Gardens, Askeaton