No. 25 Fenian Street


No. 25 Fenian Street became the subject of urgent remedial works this week to stabilise its front wall which had become seriously undermined from years of vacancy and lack of maintenance.

This building is very special as it predates the design and layout of Dublin’s best known Georgian Square – Merrion Square commenced c. 1762. It is a rare survivor of the earlier Dublin Mansion typology which originated in Aungier Street in the C17th to house the socially elite returning to the Dublin Castle after the restoration of Charles II to the throne.

Another reason why this little known residence is so special is that it reflects the early origins and form of the C17th city  as it was sited on the then coast road and orientated towards the river and bay –  accounts of shipwrecks and shells within rear gardens of the house to the north side of Merrion Square are further proof of this seaside setting. Merrion Square subsequently developed was laid out around a formal square and turned its back to the sea

Late C17th Dublin, after the Restoration – Historical Context; – Map of Dublin City by Bernard de Gomme, 1660. This map shows the original profile of the city’s coastline with the proposed star –shape defensive fort on the site of present day Merrion Square and the wider flood plain of the River Liffey without the protection of the extended channel – the projecting peninsula is the site of Ringsend prior to the reclamation of the South Lotts. This coastline was the setting of No. 38 Fenian Street set with a view out to sea.



A further contextual map of Fenian Street in relation to the coastline and the subsequent draining of the South Lotts enclosed by the extended early C18the century quays/channel to the River Liffey – Charles Brooking Map of Dublin 1728

The site of No. 25 Fenian Street as built in 1729, clearly indicating that this 5-bay house was originally built with a high pitched roof with over-hanging eaves as per the Aungier Street mansion and then subsequently truncated in accordance with the subsequent Palladian style of straight parapets concealing the roof form – Sub denominations of the Fitzwilliam Estate by Jonathan Barker, 1762 – the Pembroke Estate papers National Archive. The earlier roof profile is apparent in the coloured image of the site and in the black & white sketch extracted from the map below.

Image of No. 38 Merrion Square c. 2005 indicating the rendered exterior concealing a brick exterior with a diminishing fenestration pattern of rare exposed window frames set almost flush with the external masonry leaf.