”The Merrion is one of the most successful developments in Dublin of recent years.”
Hon. Desmond Guinness
Founder of the Irish Georgian Society.
During the restoration project, the historical importance of the houses and the substantial nature of the project meant that careful planning was needed to ensure its stature as one of the leading 5 star hotels in Ireland. The Architects, Burke Kennedy Doyle, dealt with all relevant parties, including An Taisce (the Irish National Trust), and Planning Permission was granted after two years. Before the main contractor received possession of the site detailed recording and investigation work had to be carried out. All walls, ceilings, fixtures and fittings were detailed, recorded and catalogued where necessary.
The restoration of the plasterwork was undertaken by Séamus O'hEocha, a master stuccadore skilled in the art of hand modelling lime based plaster. In the first stage of restoration he and his apprentices removed the layers of paint to reveal the plaster underneath. Missing cornice details were then pre-cast and fixed in place. Blackthorn twigs had been used originally to create three dimensional images and, where necessary, Seamus replaced the blackthorn twigs to join those which had survived over the centuries. Damaged, intricate details such as birds, flowers, fruit etc. were remodelled by hand again using the same skills that would have been used 200 years ago.