On the way down Ellen Street, I looked up and noted that we were being observed. This head forms part of the façade, keeping watch on the pedestrians of Ellen Street.
Other that the Half Moon Street development, I cannot recall any recent development in Cork where an artistic or unusual feature was incorporated into the elevation. The current style appears to be glass, stone or plaster of uniform featureless style – I have read of it being called ‘clean’. There is no engraved stonework or render; there are no artistic features such as here, here or here.
To me, this current trend is unfortunate.
I appreciate the unique; the touch of the unusual; anything that stands out from the rest. I would be delighted if every local development plan or planning legislation insisted on some unique artwork in every new building – mosaic, metalwork, stonework, stained glass – there are so many options.
I cannot see that dream being fulfilled.
On the basis that such buildings were symmetrical, it looks like the entire limestone front was one building with the head in the centre. Who built such a large building of cut limestone?
Who is represented by the head? – I do not know but would love to find out. The Buildings of Ireland website educates that it was a bonded store but can only say that the carved mask is of uncertain origin.
Who erected the head, and why?
I suspect that these questions may go unanswered forever.