When was granite introduced?

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While Rutty dates the introduction of granite for construction work in Dublin to the early 1740s, evidence suggests that it was used at least 40 years earlier for some purposes. Clues to its earlier use lie in Rutty’s reference to the use of granite for paving and to its being ‘vulgarly called firestone’. Firestone remained the common name for granite until the late eighteenth century and derived not from its origin as an igneous rock, which was at that time unknown, but from its first use in Dublin for building fire-grates and chimney-pieces, owing to its resistance to heat.
The Muniments (accounts and receipt books) of Trinity College for 1701 and 1702 contain a number of receipts similar to the following example:

Octob. 18th 1701
Received from Mr Claud Gilbert, Bursar, ye summe of five pounds one shill & three pence on account of pavers work at New Court_________
William Reyli

William Reilly’s name also appears as Wil Reili and sometimes as Reily, and in 1707 he submitted invoices for paving the ‘bogg house’, which were presumably the toilets, and the stable of the college bursar, Mr Gilbert, as follows:

The Pavors Bill
To 8 labourers 3 days each filling rubbish to pave ye bottom of the bogg house
To 2 labourers 2 days
To 30 yards of pavement in ye bogg house
To 25 yards of pavement in Mr Gilberts Stable
19s 11/2d

April 9th 1707
William Reily

These invoices indicate very early use of granite because of its resistance to abrasion and acid.


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