Limerick ‘Round The Houses’ Grand Prix 1935 – 1938 In 1935 the streets echoed to the roar of some of Europe’s finest racing cars …
Following the turbulent years of the 17th century, prosperity began to return to Limerick in the 18th century. As the main port city on the western side of Ireland, its merchants and landowners prospered from trade with Britain and America. The development of what is now known as the Georgian Quarter of Limerick can be atributed to the work of Edmund Sexton Pery, 1st Viscount Limerick.
Edmund Pery owned land on the southern side of the river Shannon away from the older medieval part of the city. In 1765 he commissioned the engineer and architect Davis Dukart to design a town plan for the area in the new Georgian architectural style of the time incorporating basic covered sewers and a grid style street layout in the fashion of Georgian Dublin. This area would later be known as Newtown Pery which occupies much of the present day city centre. Over the following 80 years, Georgian Limerick expanded along broad streets lined with red brick terraces in the Georgian style (Read More…)
As part of the original town plan commissioned by Pery, a large square was to be constructed and surrounded by fine Georgian town houses. But the plan was never fully realised. On the north side of what is now known as Pery square is an impressive development of town houses known as the Tontine Building. In the centre of the square, a freestanding limestone column in the Greek Doric style with a sculpture of Thomas Spring Rice was erected in 1829. Monuments of this style were popular at the time and added to the rising prestige of this fashionable part of the city. Thomas Spring Rice (1791-1866) was a successful landowner and MP for the city. His supporters were involved in the building of the Georgian Newtown Pery area of the city. The Barrington family were deeply involved in a number of building projects in the city including Barrington’s hospital and a number of houses on Barrington street. They went on to commission Henry Aaron Baker to design the pillar and had a statue of Spring Rice carved by Thomas Kirk.
Although the buildings surrounding the square were never fully completed, the parkland at its centre was further developed and opened to the public in 1877. The People’s Park was dedicated to the prominent local businessman Richard Russell. Within the beautifully landscaped park you can still see the ornate cast iron drinking fountain donated to the park by the employees of Russell Flour Mills.
This terrace of six houses is one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in Ireland. Built in 1838, the terrace has some beautiful features including fine carved limestone entrances and ground floor facades. At each end of the terrace are matching gable entrance porches with fine carved limestone pillars.
The original developers included such local businessmen as Mat and Dan Barrington, E.S. Pery, Wm. Piercy, Edward Homan, Henry Owens and James Pain. They used a clever financial device used at the time called a Tontine. Shares were sold in the development. The agreement essentially allowed each investor to receive dividends from the rental of these prestige houses but prevented them from passing on their shares to their successors after death. The shares were instead divided among the surviving shareholders. Each of the last six living shareholders would own outright one of the six houses. Today the No.1 Pery Square Hotel occupies one of these beautifully preserved buildings. Next door is the Georgian House & Garden museum.