2004:0573 - 51-53 PATRICK STREET, DUBLIN, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: 51-53 PATRICK STREET, DUBLIN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 18:20 Licence number: 04E1110

Author: Emer Dennehy, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Site type: 18th-century masonry

ITM: E 715057m, N 733482m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.339052, -6.272292

The proposed development site located at 51-53 Patrick Street involves the redevelopment of three protected structures for both retail and residential use. The buildings present on site were three-storeyover-basement red-brick structures constructed in the early 19th century after the widening of Patrick Street by the Wide Streets Commission. Prior to this the street frontage was slightly more westerly than in the present day and was occupied by a row of terraced houses known as 'Cross Poddle'. The rear of these houses, which is now occupied by 51-53 Patrick Street, is illustrated on Rocque's map of 1756 as being undeveloped garden plots.

The development works proposed for the site involve the renovation of existing structural remains and the lowering of the associated basements by an average of 1m. Due to the confines of space the reduction of the basement level was completed by hand. The following stratigraphy was observed at No. 51 Patrick Street: floor slab, 0m-0.05m, over dark- black/brown moderately compact silty clay incorporating quantities of bone, shell, slate and tree roots to 0.55m. Below this, from 0.55-0.75m, was a dark-black stony deposit. From 0.75-1.05m was a dark-black/brown moderately compact silty clay incorporating quantities of bone, shell, slate and tree roots and this was over a dark organic peat layer.

In No. 52 Patrick Street was a slate floor to 0.04m, over a mortar footing to 0.10m. Below this, from 0.1-0.2m, was peat (confined to the extreme northwest corner). From 0.2-0.7m was a moderately compact dark-brown silt clay with inclusions of mortar, slate, brick, animal bone, shell and cattle horn cores.

In No. 53 Patrick Street was a slate floor to 0.04m, below which was a footing layer to support the floor incorporating mortar and crushed brick/dark-brown silt clay incorporating animal bone, shell and slate, to 0.22m. From 0.22-0.8/1m was a moderately compact dark-brown silt clay with inclusions of mortar slate, brick animal bone, shell and cattle horn cores.

The soil removed during this activity was predominantly composed of a dark-black/brown silty clay with inclusions of brick, slate and animal bone. No pottery or other datable material was identified. However, it appears probable, given the occupation of this area and the nature of the inclusions, that the soil is a backfill layer which was probably derived from the silting of the Poddle combined with the levelling of the 'Cross Poddle' houses and the widening of Patrick Street in the early part of the 19th century.

The reduction of the basement level identified the remains of a mortared arch beneath the northern wall of No. 53 Patrick Street, which could have been a structural feature constructed to support the weight of the house. However, as the three houses (Nos 51-53) were constructed simultaneously, it is doubtful that a different type of foundation would have been used in this area of the development. It is more probable that this arch is an architectural fragment belonging to an earlier rear building, namely the 18th-century buildings of Cross Poddle illustrated on Rocque's map of 1756.