Ballinvirick House

Description of the Ballinvirick House

Site Description
Ballinvirick is a townland near Askeaton in County Limerick. Ballinvirick House is situated on one side of the road in its own substantial grounds. The main entrance gates are limestone, the plan form is convex inward curve of solid limestone ashlar, there are cast iron entrance gates flanked by piers and wicket gates on either side. The piers have articulated quoins and a cornice. The wicket gate are limestone post and beam.

The road into the property cuts through a planted wood of mainly deciduous trees. There is a large stone walled enclosure to the west of the house, on the right as you approach the house. This enclosure appears to have been an enclosed orchard on the 1840 OS map. There is a formal garden to the east of the house. The house is orientated roughly north south, there is a parkland view to the south, which has been cleared of trees (visible on the 1840 OS) and there is a stable building immediately behind the house which creates a courtyard to the rear. There are further stables to the north of the house approximately 300 metres from the courtyard. These buildings do not appear on the 1840 OS but do appear to be nineteenth century. They have recently been converted into dwellings.

Description of Ballinvirick House
Ballinvirick House is an early nineteenth century detached house. It is a five-bay, two-storey with a substantial return building. There is also a single storey chamfered bay window to the east side of the house overlooking the formal garden. The house as has been discussed was probably an addition to an earlier eighteenth century farmhouse which now forms the return building.

The plan form of the main house is tripartite, with two chimney-stacks placed internally on the dividing walls. There is a large entrance hall, which accesses principal rooms on either side and a stairs to the rear. On first floor there is no significant landing and the room immediately over the ground floor entrance hall has been subdivided into ensuite bathroom and bedroom. It is very likely that originally there was a large open landing lit to the front by the two centrally placed windows on first floor. The overall plan of the house forms a T shape with the nineteenth century building at right angles to that of the older farmhouse which forms a return building to the main house. (see building phases). The original stairs is located to the rear of the plan and two storey flat roofed extension has been added to the rear of the stairs.

The roof is hipped with natural slate finish. building. There are cast iron gutters and down-pipes. The chimneys are centrally placed and are brick. There are square mouldings to both chimneys. There is some evidence that the roof has been either raised or that the top of the walls have been rebuilt. There is a clear line of construction at the head level of the first floor windows. It is conceivable that the roof was raised and that the return building to the rear (which is eighteenth century) also had its roof raised at this time.

The walls are formed of limestone rubble. The house has been rendered with a modern cementitous render.

Ground Floor - Nine over six timber sash windows with cut limestone cills are not original and there is anecdoctal evidence that these were replaced during a nineteen eighties restoration project. The windows are operated by springs on nylon parting beads and weights and ropes are missing. There are intact timber panelled shutters to all sash windows which are original. Externally, there are no projecting plaster reveals to the windows, Architraves and window indents extend to floor level but have been infilled with radiators and cover panels First Floor - Six over six timber sash windows with cut limestone cills as on ground floor these are replicas. There are intact timber panelled shutters to all sash windows, which are original. Architraves and window indents extend to floor level.

The is a two storey return building connecting to one side (the north west) of the house. The return building has a hipped roof with natural slates. The ridge and eaves level of the return roof is the same as that of the main house. This building was probably the earliest building on the site and was most likely a farmhouse facing east west. The chimney breast is almost 1.5 metres thick which is massive compared to the chimney breast of the main building (500mm to 600mm). The return as it stands at present has certainly had its roof raised to match that of the main house (note the heads of windows on first floor is much lower than the eaves). A servant stairs has also been added.

Internal doors are painted timber six panelled doors with intact frames and architraves. Most of the original ironmongery has been replaced. The doors between the two main reception rooms and hall on ground floor level have double central styles and appear as double doors. The door to the stairs at the rear of the entrance hall has a round headed fanlight.

The original staircase in the main (nineteenth century) building is intact from ground to first floor. It is a painted timber open string staircase with painted square timber balusters and a mahogany handrail.

There are simple run in-situ cornices in the principal rooms on ground and first floor. Most of the ceilings also appear to be original. The entrance hall on ground floor has a decorated ceiling as well as a more significant cornice. The ceiing is decorated with a large moulded oval of vine leaves surrounding a central rosette. The leaves appear to have been moulded in-situ and are not simply plant on embellishments. The cornice is moulded and run in –situ, there are oak leaf and acorn motifs at higher level on the ceiling and a hanging garland motif on the walls. Detail on the cornice appears to be embellishment directly applied to the in-situ plaster.

Fireplaces in some rooms have been replaced probably in the nineteen sixies with painted brick fireplaces. The fireplace in one room is a small classical late Georgian fireplace in dark coloured limestone and is original.

Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment
Conor Hourigan B Arch Sc MUBC