Council ‘failed miserably’ to protect Stephen’s Green mews

‘Hiving off’ Georgian mews to sell separately to main buildings a ‘crime for the city’

Two mews just off Dawson St and St Stephens Green in Dublin city centre are up for sale. Although in disrepair the structures have remained untouched for almost a hundred years. Video Enda O'Dowd

 

The last two remaining Georgian mews buildings on St Stephen’s Green are being offered for sale by Dublin City Council despite calls from Dublin Civic Trust not to separate them from their associated houses.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan acknowledged that the council had “failed miserably” to protect the listed buildings, which had been in the city’s ownership for decades and had fallen into dereliction.

The buildings are at the rear of 14 and 15 St Stephen’s Green and back on to the Little Museum of Dublin. They have separate access through an archway on Dawson Street, built to allow carriages to reach them.

The adjoining buildings, which comprise stables and a coach house, retain a number of period features. It is likely the upper floor was originally split between a hayloft and coachman’s quarters.

The two mews buildings were constructed between 1778 and 1779 and were used as a coach house into the 20th century.

Selling the buildings separately from their “mother” buildings would be a “crime for the city”, Dublin Civic Trust chief executive Geraldine Walsh said.

Unique

“These are the only remaining buildings of their kind on St Stephen’s Green. They are a unique part of the city’s heritage and are integral to their mother buildings. Hiving them off for sale would destroy the purity of the buildings.”

Mr Keegan said the decision to market the buildings was because the council had no use for them and because it had failed to protect them.

“These are protected structures in very poor condition and I have to say it reflects very badly on the city council as they’ve been in our ownership for decades . . . the city council has failed miserably,” he said.

The council was “just testing the market” to see if a proposal would come forward to ensure their conservation and “preferably give access to the refurbished buildings to members of the public”, he said.

Restoration

Simon O’Connor, curator of the Little Museum of Dublin, said it would be eager to fund the restoration of the mews to expand the museum.

“The Little Museum started small, but we’re quickly outgrowing our original home. When they’re renovated, these remarkable buildings could enable us to give Dublin the full-scale city museum it deserves, just like Cork, Galway and Waterford. We can’t afford to buy the buildings at their market value. However, we hope Dublin City Council, which had the vision to open this museum in the middle of a recession, will do the right thing.”

Independent city councillor Mannix Flynn urged Mr Keegan not to sell the buildings. “I would ask the city manager to withdraw these two properties from sale because of their significance and importance. I don’t think it’s wise for the city council to be selling off their heritage like this.”

Mr Keegan said any decision to sell would ultimately have to be ratified by the councillors.