Rare paving stones which once lined Dublin’s streets have been uncovered at the site of The Quill pub, on Arran Quay in Dublin.
Dublin Civic Trust, a charitable organisation that works to preserve and create awareness about Dublin’s architectural heritage, described it as “a fascinating discovery”.
The paving was used as part of a Roman-style cement cornice and was found by Magee Conservation during renovations at 1 Arran Quay.
Historic commercial buildings typically have a cornice at the top, shielding the rooftop from view.
Dublin Civic Trust said the artefact was most likely “added to the building circa 1886 and was built using sandstone paving drainage channels, almost certainly salvaged from the nearby Ormond Market”.
“These channels lined the lanes leading to the now demolished market, formerly on the site of Ormond Square,” they said.
“In turn, the sandstone may well have been salvaged from the medieval buildings of St Mary’s Abbey, such as its abbot’s lodgings – a stone commonly used until the mid-1700s.
“These stones still survive on the granite paved Ormond Market lane, a precious enclave of historic street surfaces on Ormond Quay Upper – one of the last tangible links to the original market, built in the 1690s.”
The Ormond market building was built by Sir Humphrey Jervis, the first property developer in Dublin whose name is added to the present-day shopping centre. The market, which consisted of an open central dome with 70 stalls, was demolished in 1890.
Graham Hickey, of Dublin Civic Trust, said the find “demonstrates how building technology really didn’t change right up until the early twentieth century”.
“It was make do and mend with whatever materials were available. It shows the constant surprises where older fabric is buried in street buildings.
“It looks like a fascinating decoration, but was in fact taken up from the street below. The contractor at the time would have seen this wonderful material was going begging.
“Even for people like us, you think you know something, then you see how these buildings were put together.
“It’s a good message for us all in the modern day, as the circular economy was clearly strong with recycling,” he added.
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