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1860 – Turkish Baths, Lincoln Place, Dublin

Architect: Richard Barter

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Definitely one of the more bizarre buildings to have graced Dublin. The main frontage of the Lincoln Place Baths was about 186 feet in length. Separate facilities were provided for male and female bathers on either side of the central ticket-office. Very visible was the 50ft high dome above the old company board room, and the 85 ft high polychromic brick chimney shaft.

In 1868, eight years after the baths opened, a guide book to Dublin stated: “Turning towards the left from Merrion Street, our attention is attracted by the strange looking erection on the west side of Lincoln Place, which, upon inquiry, we shall be told is THE TURKISH BATHS This elevation presents a quaint, but pleasing, appearance, with its many narrow pilasters, half-moon apertures, fretwork, ornamental minarets, etc, though, we believe, not quite orthodox as regards architectural principles.”

The Dublin Builder surprisingly approved of the building: “Externally the building is a decided acquisition, and the site seems to have been judiciously selected. Its general character takes both strangers and citizens rather by surprise, and many an enquiring countenance is directed towards its minarets, elaborate fretwork, half-moon apertures, tall variegated brick shaft rising 85 feet in the background, &c, &c, which form a very novel and agreeable contrast to the ‘western’ style of architecture prevailing here. The front—with the exception of the base course, which is of granite—is entirely cemented in Portland, and its execution—the elaborate ornamentation especially, so novel to our workmen—is most creditable to the contractors for the plastering throughout, Messrs Hogan and Son, of Great Brunswick-street.

As a work of art, the building may be pronounced successful; and as its purpose has a philanthropic tendency, we trust that the speculation may prove equally so. Mr Barter, architect and sculptor, of Cork, designed and superintended it to completion, Mr Dwyer efficiently assisting as clerk of works, and Mr Barry overseeing the masonry and heating departments. Nearly all—if not all—the artificers, except in the plastering and cementing departments, employed are Corkonians, and the work redounds to their credit.”

Called ‘the mosque of the baths’ by Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses. As the baths had closed in 1900, some four years before Leopold Bloom’s odyssey, Leopold could not have availed of their facilities. Finally demolished in 1970, after being used for a variety of commercial purposes