The development of Georgian Dublin, and the Fitzwilliam lands in the south of the city, radically changed the character and scale of old medieval Dublin to a university city, with two cathedrals, the home of the Irish parliament, possessed of noble public and private buildings. Eighteenth century Dublin was one of the great cities of Europe.
While Merrion Square was the most popular residential area in Dublin when it was first built, following the Act of Union 1800 and the political decline of Dublin, the character of the area began to change. The predominantly Protestant population was gradually replaced by Catholics. By the 20th century, the wealthier class began to move out of the city centre to the quieter suburbs, and with the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922 with its administration in Leinster House, many of the buildings on Merrion Square and the adjacent streets were turned into business offices and flats. National organisations, cultural and educational bodies now became the common occupiers of the buildings that had once been a symbol of social success for the wealthiest Georgians. This of course includes nos. 53 and 54 Upper Mount Street which were occupied by the ACL in various stages from 1932 until its dissolution on 31st October 2012.
While the transition of grand Georgian houses from status symbols to offices gradually took place, the striking features of the Georgian era of classical door columns, fanlights, large proportioned windows and ironwork railings remain the central characteristics of Dublin City.
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