17th -18th Centuries Architecture

The 18th century was the age of the Grand Tour when wealthy gentlemen made a tour across Europe, focusing on the art and architecture of the 'Great Masters'. The classical architecture of Rome became the prominent style in Ireland at this time because it was seen to create a sense of wisdom and wealth.



The movement towards a more classical style in architecture in the 17th century evolved into the Palladian style in the early 18th century. The Parliament House (Bank of Ireland, College Green) was the first large scale Palladian building in Ireland. It was designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce.


Sir William Chambers, an English architect, introduced the neo-classical style to Ireland. He never actually came to Ireland but had his designs carried out by Irish architects. A town house in Rutland Square, now the Sir Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, and the Casino at Marino are two examples in Dublin of Chambers neo-classical designs.

Georgian Town Houses

In the 18th century, town planning and development began in Dublin City, undertaken from the ideas of wealthy dwellers.  They started by widening the streets and making the River Liffey a prominent feature.  The style of houses built at this time became uniform in order to make for a pleasing aesthetic. Georgian street houses have red brick fronts with wrought iron balconies and doors with pillars and fanlights.

Dublin’s five Georgian squares include: Rutland Square (Parnell Square) and Mountjoy Square on the north side, and Merrion Square, St Stephen’s Green, and Fitzwilliam Square on the south side.

Planned Georgian streets were built in other cities in Ireland also, such as The Mall in Cork and Newtown Pery in Limerick.  


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