It’s hard to stop noticing coal hole covers once you see them. Made of cast iron, they cover the opening to basement-level coal bunkers and could be opened from the inside, which allowed coal to be delivered without needing to pass through the house. This set is from Ely Place, but there are hundreds of them around the centre of Dublin, and some in the earlier, inner suburbs.
The designs are beautiful and often quite ornate, with the patterns now worn down by many decades of footfall. Some have details of the foundries where they were produced incorporated into the design. With some likely individual and others repeated a few times along a street, they are a little bit like the colours of front doors, in that they would have allowed for a household to express its identity externally and distinguish itself from (possibly quite similar) neighbours. It’s lovely that they’re part of the street surface too, hinting at the properties extending beyond the street-level railings and adding a decorative element to the pavement.