The council has lodged an application with An Bord Pleanála for the compulsory purchase of 30 North Frederick Street, a Georgian house that has been on the city’s Derelict Sites Register since 2011, but has been vacant and sliding into decline for decades.
In April 2015 the council had to undertake emergency works to stabilise the house after large sections of its back wall fell to the ground.
All the windows in the house had been broken and the roof was no longer watertight, and it is believed that water damage caused the partial collapse of the curved rear of the house.
The back of the house was wrapped in steel bands to stop further collapse, with similar supports lining the font. In addition, all the windows and doors were sealed with metal plates, and supports in the interior were fitted. However, the building close to Parnell Square has remained derelict since then. The council made attempts to engage with its owner before moving to acquire it using compulsory purchase powers.
Owner Patrick Walsh objected to the purchase through his legal representatives, Fagan Bergin Solicitors, with the result that the council has had to seek the consent of An Bord Pleanála for the acquisition.
“The Board’s consent was sought on 30th August, 2023 and their decision is awaited,” the council said. “No firm decision can be made at this stage as to the future use of the site but it has been council policy to retain derelict residential properties ... for social housing purposes where it is feasible to do so.”
The council’s intervention was “the best news for the north Georgian quarter”, chief executive of the Dublin Civic Trust Graham Hickey said.
“It is even more important given the shocking decline in the state of North Frederick Street in the past decade – a street that gives a critical first impression of Ireland to millions of visitors arriving from the airport,” he said.
“This elegant Georgian street was set out by the Wide Streets Commission, yet it has recently been scarred with rampant unauthorised development to Protected Structures, from plastic signage and PVC windows to countless Georgian houses converted to poor quality accommodation. It’s vital that the acquisition and restoration of Number 30 is followed through with proper management of the wider streetscape, one that serves as the entrance to the city and the historic backdrop to the Garden of Remembrance.”
The house, built around 1805, was bought in the late 19th century by Cathal McGarvey, who wrote the ballad Star of the County Down. He operated the building as a guest house and social club, An Stad, and it was a popular meeting place for the Irish nationalist and cultural movements, with James Joyce, Major John MacBride, Oliver St John Gogarty, GAA founder Michael Cusack and Michael Collins recorded among its visitors. The An Stad sign was later moved to another building.
Fagan Bergin Solicitors said its client had not authorised it to speak on the matter.