Dawn demolition for historic home of 1916 leader O’Rahilly
Conor Feehan 6 hrs ago
The grandson of the 1916 leader known as The O’Rahilly has reacted with fury to the demolition of his former home in Ballsbridge yesterday morning.
The bulldozers moved in on the historic property at 40 Herbert Park before dawn, and within hours it was reduced to rubble to make way for a block of luxury apartments and a hotel development.
Dublin City councillors had recently voted to start the process of having the building included on its list of protected structures, but An Bord Pleanála (ABP) had already approved an application by the developer, Derryroe Ltd, to raze the building – in the face of opposition from heritage groups and some local residents, as well as descendants of The O’Rahilly.
Although the planning board had given the go-ahead for the demolition, Proinsias Ó Rathaille, the grandson of The O’Rahilly, said it is his view that a commencement order for the work, which in effect rubber-stamps the decision of ABP, had not yet been issued by Dublin City Council (DCC).
In response to a query by the Irish Independent, DCC said it was investigating the circumstances surrounding the demolition. “Once the city council has ascertained the facts, it will take any appropriate action,” a spokeswoman said.
The conservation section of the council wrote twice – the first letter was in April – to try and gain access to the property, so an inspector could decide if it was suitable to be added to the protected structures list. However, no access was granted.
The issue of the commencement order will form part of the council’s investigation.
Mr Ó Rathaille also said the claims that the house had no historic relevance were not true, and that all the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation had been at meetings in the house, and the address had been written on a letter by The O’Rahilly as he lay dying just off Moore Street, having been shot while leaving the GPO.
“That house should be a national monument. A process was under way to have it listed but An Bord Pleanála had its decision made before we could put it in place,” Mr Ó Rathaille said.
“They went in around 6am yesterday and knocked it. They did it at dawn, just like the leaders of the Rising were executed at dawn.”
He also said that a revolver belonging to Michael Collins was found hidden in the kitchen of the house during renovations in the 1970s, and that three Irish presidents – Eamon de Valera, Seán T Ó Ceallaigh, and Douglas Hyde – had also visited it.
“My heart sank when I saw the pictures of the house after it was knocked down,” he said.
Peter Dooley @PeterDooleyDUB · 2h I am disgusted that The O’Rahilly’s, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, House in Ballsbridge was demolished this morning by a ruthless developer, my understanding is that there was a vote passed @DubCityCouncil to protect his house. This is a disgraceful attack on our history