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”The Merrion is one of the most successful developments in Dublin of recent years.”
Hon. Desmond Guinness
Founder of the Irish Georgian Society.
The Merrion five star hotel has been created out of the restoration of four important Georgian townhouses in Dublin city centre.
During the restoration project, the historical importance of the houses and the substantial nature of the project meant that careful planning was required.
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 was given 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.
Séamus O'hEocha, a master stuccadore skilled in the art of hand-modelling lime-based plaster, undertook the restoration of the plasterwork. During 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.
Originally, blackthorn twigs had been used to create three-dimensional images and, where necessary, Seamus replaced missing twigs to join those that survived over the centuries. Damaged details such as birds, flowers and fruit were remodelled by hand using the same skills that would have been used two hundred years before.