11 January 2021

Victorian-era shops
add to the colour and
variety of Askeaton

A Victorian-era former shop at the bridge in Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The cold winter days in recent weeks have brought beautiful, clear blue skies and bright sunshine that have helped to highlight the details of some of the Victorian-era former shops and houses in Askeaton, Co Limerick.

They are integral components of the Victorian streetscape of Askeaton and contribute to its visual attractiveness. But they are often overlooked in favour of the more dramatic architectural buildings in the town, such as the Castle, the churches, the parochial house and the old rectory, the bank and the library.

The three-storey former shop standing on the north-west corner of the bridge on the River Deel and below the ruins of Askeaton and the open space of the West Square, is an example of these well-built Victorian buildings.

This is a semi-detached three-bay, three-storey house and former shop and was built ca 1850. Although the shop has long been incorporated into the house, this building maintains its classical proportions and form along with many original and early feature that add to its character and architectural interest.

We can see examples of these features in this building in the varied types of sliding sash windows, which range from the three-over-six pane to the six-over-six pane type.

The door and its overlight enhance the classical-style architecture of the building. The retention of the simple display window is as a reminder of the small-scale, family-run commercial activity that was typical of Askeaton and towns of its size all across Ireland.

The building has a pitched slate roof and rendered chimneystacks, and there are rendered walls. The windows have square-headed openings, with three-over-six pane timber sliding sash windows on the second floor, six-over-six pane windows on the first floor, and a fixed window on the ground floor. All these windows with painted stone sills.

There is a limestone threshold at the front door, which is a timber panelled door set in a square-headed opening, with a render surround and a multiple-pane glazed overlight over the door.

The west end of Church Street includes many two-storey terraced buildings with rendered and painted fronts that date mainly from the mid-19th century.

These buildings have a mixture of commercial and residential use, and often they were family-run shops, with the family living above and behind the shop. Some of them have been sold in recent years, and one has been refurbished and renovated in recent months.

A colourful terrace of former 19th century family-run shops in Askeaton (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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