In any Irish town much of the character of the place is contributed by the commercial architecture. Until the nineteenth century there was not much difference between the buildings which were put up for shops and those which served as houses. In many cases a shopkeeper lived above the premises,
and if he were a tradesman, like a tailor, shoemaker or cabinet maker, he made the products he sold in premises at the back of the building.
The growing industrialisation of production in the early nineteenth century changed the character of trade. Many finished goods were now imported from the factory towns of England (or from industrial Belfast) and, from about 1840, department stores and city markets developed which sold a
very wide range of goods.
From the early Victorian period competition for customers was intense. This is reflected in the increasing attention that the commercial companies paid to the appearance of their buildings. Generally the architecture became much more elaborate and ornate. Banks attempted to reassure depositors that their funds were lodged with a company whose finances were secure by building imposing head offices in a Classical style, while shops, hotels, and public houses all made use of enriched plasterwork and stucco detail on their facades to attract customers.
Central Bank of Ireland, Dublin
This is an illustration of The Bank of Ireland in Dublin by the artist James Malton. The National Bank of Ireland HQ on College Green, was formerly a Parliament house, one of the first purpose built parliament houses in the world. Three architects have contributed to the building of this structure. Edward Pearce, James Gandon & Francis Johnston. Pearse began the contruction in 1729, then in 1785 and 1797 Gandon constructed the east and west porticos. Later in 1803 when the building was being converted into a bank Johnston built the rounding walls. The building has been built in classical style with its porticos and pillars on the side walls.
Central Bank of Ireland, Dublin -
Birr Shopfront - Barber
Colour photograph of RJ Barber, Watchmaker and Jeweller. This business was established in 1890. There is a wealth of detail on this shopfront Note leaf detail over shafts , row of groves along the bottom of the cornice and decorated brackets.
Birr Shopfront - Barber -
Birr Public House Frontage - H.J .Haverty
Colour photograph of 19th Century Public House Frontage. Note inner porch
Birr Public House Frontage - H.J .Haverty -
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