Dublin 1, Part 3 – Charles St. Great, Summerhill & North Circular Road Areas
View D1 Part III – Summerhill, NCR & William St in a larger map
Sorry for the delay with getting this article posted folks, it has been a crazy few weeks and I had the great fortune of meeting and interviewing some lovely people in this area so I wanted to hold off until I had their input. Also apologies for the quality of the photography, it was a hot day and I cleverly carried my camera around in my pocket so the lens fogged up, live and learn! This article details the cottages remaining in the Great Charles Street, Summerhill and North Circular Road Areas.
Charles Street Great Area
In the Charles Street Great area, just off the North Circular Road, several cottages were built on the land of the Free Church sometime between 1837 and 1907. The church was originally known as Wesley Chapel and is now better known as Pavee Point. I will let Dublin City Libraries tell the story of the church:
The Free Church was built by the Methodists in 1800 and was initially known as ‘Wesley Chapel’. In 1816 a group called the Primitive Wesleyan Methodists split from the Methodist Church and the Wesley Church fell into their hands. However, the building was too large for their members who moved to a new location at Langrishe Place, Summerhill. The landlord Bennet Dugdale refused to allow it to be sold to Catholics and it was bought by the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin William Magee and reconsecrated in 1828. A ‘free church’ is one where no pew debts are paid and depends entirely on voluntary subscription. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Summerhill and its immediate environs was considered to be the best area of the city. The nineteenth century saw a gradual but constant migration of the upper classes from this area to the suburbs of Rathmines and Rathgar. By the 1900s the area was noted for its poverty. The last service was held at the ‘Free Church’ in 1988.
- History courtsy of Dublin City Libraries.
Charles Street Great
On the North side of Charles Street Great there is a terrace of 11 Georgian style cottages split by Emmet Street. They are single story over basement but as the road tends to slope down to the east the cottages begin to look more and more like houses with the basement area of the end of the terrace at road level. They feature a single large window to one side of the door and a semi-circular plain fanlight over the door with a cream/yellow brick accent in the details. Again on this street there is a blend of different styles with the first 5 cottages including decorative brickwork on the parapets and a twisted rope decorative plasterwork detail around the door (though this has been removed on some). The windows themselves are large sash style windows. On the other cottages there is less detail with uniform red coloured brick detailing around the windows and doors and a plain parapet.
From the c. 1867 map we can see that only about five of the cottages were built first yet it is strange that the five that were built do not seem to correspond with the five of a similar style on the street. Yet another little Dublin city cottage mystery!
Across the road are the traditional large three story over basement Georgian buildings but they do not seem to overshadow the terrace of cottages.
A similar terrace of cottages was built on Emmet Street with the same detailing around the windows and doors though there is a notable absense of parapets. The detailing under the guttering matches the Charles Street Great houses despite the roofs being flush with the outside wall. The front wall of first cottage has been altered with a mock stone effect render and the third has smooth render but the other cottages all retain their original facade. Perhaps the reason for the higher roof profile is that there is no basement in these cottages.
Again from the 1867 map we can see that five cottages were built first on the new Emmet Street that bisected the lands of the Methodist Church grounds to join up with the intersection of Fitzgibbon Street and the North Circular Road.
Hidden away between Fitzgibbon Place and Charles Street Great and just off Charles Lane is the charming little cul-de-sac of Tyrrell Place which overlooks the rear of the Methodist Church. Eight narrow two story cottages nestle on the Northern side of the street and have the appearance of being untouched by time or the outside world. Most of the cottages retain their original 12 panel Georgian sash windows and simple brick detailing over the windows and doors. There is one window to one side of the main door and a central window on the first floor. The guttering is unusually external with original cast iron pipes and connections.
Sherrard Street Lower Area
Williams Place Lower
These cottages have strangely narrower windows than usual with two to one side of the door. The first house also has an uncharacteristic hipped roof. They have a red decorative ridge detail with red tiles defining the edges of the hipped roof. In a style similar to those at Shamrock Cottages there is a line of redbrick running the length of the terrace at the top of the window level. While not entirely out of charachter with the typical Dublin City Cottages, the slightly differing details and their relative isolation from any other cottages makes them something of an anomolae so far. The 1907 map suggests that there was an entire terrace of these cottages running straight through to ‘Cottage Place’ but the site where the existing cottages are is empty on the 1837 map though the rest of the terrace remains complete. These cottages seem to have been built later which is most likely why they survived the cull of the mid 1900′s.
Summerhill & North Circular Road Areas
Thompsons Cottages would have been built some time between 1864 and 1907 and form a laneway joining Summerhill and Rutland Place North. They are less traditional in features with larger windows and most of them seem to be pebble dashed whether original or a fashion on the street. In honesty this street is just included because the name is Thompson’s cottages but in reality these appear to be houses that could have been built by any council in the past 50 years. Perhpas there is more to be told but I don’t have a lot of information about this street as yet.
This image really threw me off with the Richmond Cottages, from the image of the bombings the houses appear to be small two story cottages yet the houses that are there today are three bay houses. The mystery warrented another trip to Dublin 1 for some additional on the ground research and I was lucky enough to meet with the owner of one of the houses – Brian Tracy who was a mine of information about the area. The cottages as they stand – some three bay and some two bay – are 200 years old next year. His house was built in July 1813, the inhabitants of the street were originally mostly coach makers and dairy farmers. In fact – Eamon DeValera’s wife – Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin grew up in number 6 Richmond Cottages.
I also spoke with the lovely Fanny White whose family used to own a farm at the end of Richmond Street and ran a dairy in the area. Fanny used to deliver milk all along the North Circular road and after leaving the farm she ran the local shop around the corner on Richmond Cottages until her retirement some 20 years ago. Pat Kenny and Derek Davis were some of her regular patrons as schoolboys from the nearby O’Connell’s schools. When I quizzed her about the misleading name of ‘Richmond Cottage’s she told me that there was a movement some time ago to have the name changed as it was misleading and from what I gather – demeaning to the stature of the street, but that the petition fell through. According to Mr. Tracy – ‘well they are cottages by comparison to the houses on Richmond Place” (Now the North Circular Road).
The Richmond Cottages area is split into two perpendicular roads and the road linking Richmond Street and Summerhill Parade is much more traditional and haphazard in appearance – of course this makes me love it even more. The street is very reminicant of an older Ireland. The first building you come across is an ususual two story dwelling with the entrance on the south eastern gable – a simple half door and a window overhead both painted in charming bottle green. I would love to know what the original use for this building would have been, I would guess at some kind of store or dairy. Across the street is Fanny White’s shop which was also a shebeen prior her family owning it so its history is long and varied.
The Cottages themselves start as three bay two story cottages with one window on either side of the main doorway which has a plain semi-circular fanlight. They have a plain, unadorned parapet, are built in brown stone with typical Georgian detailing over the windows and doors. As you continue twards the end of the street some of the cottages become two bay cottages with the window to one side of the door. There are also some differences in the detailing over the upstairs windows which is most likely due to differing builders and renovations.
The end of the cottages leads on to Richmond Parade and Richmond Crescent. Richmond Crescent is a terrace of just 9 cottages with a stone (possibly granite ?!?) lintel detail over the door and single upstairs window. They have small plain rectangular fanlights over the door and share a central chimney breast with their neighbour. They are redbrick construction with slate roofs and a (terracotta) ridge tile effect. There is an additional dwelling squeezed into the opposite corner of the street – the dwelling is in a similar style but it would be interesting to know if it was built at the same time as the rest of the buildings on the Crescent or if it was a later addition in the same style. This crescent was the latest part of the area to be built – they were built some time after 1907.
Richmond Parade is newer than the original Richmond Cottages but predates the 1907 maps and consists of a bit of a hodgepodge of styles. Some of the buildings resemble those of the smaller Richmond Cottages two bay’s and some are similar to those on Richmond Crescent with the stone lintels over the door and a single centered second story window. It is hard to tell how this part of the street would have been formed with such a varied mix of styles. I love the effect of the mix of old and new on this street with Croke Park forming the backdrop like an otherworldly being overseeing all.
One single solitary cottages stands alone on Richmond street. A single story over basement cottage, it looks quite forlorn standing alone without a buddy to lean on and reinforced as it is with metal defensive grids over the windows, a roller shutter door and war-like barbed wire over the walls. My guess is that this is no longer a residential dwelling.
St. Joseph’s Villas
Though these are most certainly not cottages by any stretch of the imagination, I am including this little street with just two houses on it because the street is stunningly traditional and unchanged from how it would have looked in the 1800′s. The cobbles are all original and in great shape except for where the council have made terrible remedial works. Even the foothpath has the original kerbing around it. I am assuming that this street led to the fields beyond and perhaps was the access to a farm at one point, though today it is a back alley for small local commerce and two houses that are again highly fortified to deal with the raiders of the 21st century.
Dublin 1 – current cottages round-up
So that is it for the roundup of the Dublin 1 City Cottages. If you have not read the other two articles on Dublin 1 – see at the bottom of this article for the links to take you there and please feel free to comment or suggest any improvements. The next article will be documenting the streets of cottages that are no longer in existence. There is very little information on those streets so I am hoping that people will come forward with stories of them and the people who lived in them as the article is published.
Please feel free to comment on any aspect of the project, if there is incorrect information I would be delighted to hear the correct version and amend the article. My hope is to actively promote community participation so I can gather as much information as possible.