A Plucky Survivor


The entrance to the last remaining 18th century house on O’Connell Street, Dublin. Set in the red brick façade, No. 42’s limestone door case has a handsome carved tablet centred on a lion mask not unlike those one finds on Irish mahogany tables of the period; the lintel above has been damaged for as long as I can remember. On a site leased in 1752 to Robert Robinson, State Physician and Professor of Anatomy at Trinity College, the building appeared four years later on Roque’s map of the city. The first floor contains a fine room to the front with very pretty rococo decoration on its ceiling.
At the time of the house’s construction, O’Connell Street (then called Sackville Street) was the city’s finest residential thoroughfare and not the grubby strip of fast-food outlets and slot-machine arcades the local authority has of late encouraged it to become. Yet one wonders whether this building can survive when it has suffered such sore neglect for years. The site to the immediate north, for example, formerly occupied by the decidedly mediocre Royal Dublin Hotel is now an vacant plot with obvious consequences for this structure. Somehow it still stands but for how much longer…

8 comments on “A Plucky Survivor

  1. rjmackin says:

    It looks so forlorn. No doubt it will be a Spar, Starbucks or Burger King before long…

  2. Melissa says:

    Surely someone will see the the merit of restoring this beautiful historical house. Compared with the spike, I know which I would rather leave standing, what will be said about the spike in 250 year I wonder apart from what is it!

  3. Jardin says:

    I often pause to admire this lovely doorway. Heartbreaking to see what has become of O’Connell Street. One feels powerless against relentless push of the fast-food outlets…

  4. Joseph says:

    Bit late to be coming across this post but does anyone know who’s responsible for this building now? I believe it was part of the hotel before. Wish I had the money to buy and restore it!!! Hopefully somebody sees its value

    • The house and surrounding buildings are owned by Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land; since 2007 – when Mr O’Reilly’s company was nominated by Dublin City Council to handle to regeneration of Upper O’Connell Street – the house has been left to fall into dereliction. So much for ‘regeneration’ and the engagement of the city council with the street. Mr O’Reilly appeared yesterday before the banking enquiry.

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