Decorative Exterior Plasterwork


Windows in O'Connell St

Decorative Exterior Plasterwork

In the 19th and early 20th centuries an inexpensive way to give a building architectural presence was the addition of decorative plaster mouldings.  Designs were made around windows and doors or pilasters and architraves to form a shopfront in a hard-wearing cement render.  Often, we have no details on the craftsmen who carried out this work.  One of the most notable Irish craftsmen who specialized in decorating the exterior of buildings was Pat McAuliffe of Listowel.  The only example of this style is the Dungarvan coat of arms on the upper façade of what is now James Mans Shop at 2 Main Street.  In Dungarvan craftsmen we know of include Butler, Markley and Riordan. Michael Markley is described in the 1911 census as aged 58 and living at 13 Nicholas Street and his profession is noted as ‘Slater & Plasterer’.  He may have been responsible for one of the most decorative plaster facades in Dungarvan - now Browne’s Townhouse in Mitchel Street.  The design incorporates a semi-circular arch with a honeysuckle design over the entrance door and bold shouldered architraves to the windows and pilasters with rusticated quoin stones to either side of the façade.

John Butler and family carried out internal decorative stucco work such as the ceiling and cornice in the Friary church in the 19th century and also the exterior work on the façade of the old Town Hall in St Augustine Street c.1910.

Elaborate decorative window surrounds can be seen on the upper floors of buildings in O’Connell Street.  Later plasterwork in a robust style can be seen on the façade of the house built at the corner of Main Street and Friary Street by the Moloney family in 1903.  The contractor was Dan Stokes. It is a tribute to the craftsmen that much of this decorative work still survives in good condition on buildings throughout the town.

Priory House

Drawing by W. Fraher of window details Priory House

Priory House Doorway

Drawing by W. Fraher of Brownes House, Mitchel St.

Plaster Consoles Mary St.