Nestled between St. Stephen’s Green and St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the oldest planned thoroughfares in Dublin. To the causal passer-by Aungier Street holds all the appearances of a typical Dublin commercial street, lined with shop units and a mix of residential and institutional buildings. However, the simple brick and render façades conceal an extraordinary secret – namely an array of the oldest and formerly the grandest houses in Dublin constructed after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. This is the pioneering legacy of the developer Sir Francis Aungier, one of many influential men who redeveloped Dublin in the late 17th century.
Sandwiched in the middle of the eastern side of Aungier Street is Number 21 – a substantial early mansion dating to 1667 and the first of its kind in Dublin to be recognised for its architectural and historic significance. Completely derelict and virtually windowless by the early 1990s, the building was identified and saved from demolition by Dublin Civic Trust, and its complete transformation effected through complex structural stabilisation and reinstatement of interiors.
The removal of render from its late Georgian façade and the conservation of its important early structural framing and staircase vividly demonstrates what can be achieved where there is an understanding of the historic layers to a building and how traditional construction materials interact.
Number 21 was one of our most transformative building projects which, more recently, has encouraged the conservation and protection of Aungier Street’s wider historic urban landscape through public policy recognition. A number of the buildings on the street are now Registered Monuments, as well as Protected Structures, and an Architectural Conservation Area designation is currently being formulated for the street and its hinterland by Dublin City Council.