A new use for an old embassy

A fine venue for a museum

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – I read with particular attention Frank McDonald’s well researched and well written article “Dublin’s iconic US embassy building is turning 60. Here’s why Washington should donate it to Ireland” (The Ticket, May 18th) on the US Embassy in Ballsbridge, which is scheduled to become vacant, as my father Michael Scott was the Irish executive architect assisting the talented American architect John Johansen completing the construction phase of the project.

The article justifiably extols the high quality of the architectural design and the innovation and quality of the construction both which achieved international acclaim on completion.

I fully support Frank McDonald’s ‘s suggestion that the building should have a cultural use rather than a commercial use – an ideal use, in my view, would be a museum dedicated to celebrating and recording the unique and extraordinary close American-Irish relationship across politics, arts, education, research, music, theatre, sport, and so on, that has existed from the beginning of the Irish State. The first tour abroad in 1928 of the Abbey Theatre was to America.

American lobbying and support enabled Ireland gain independence in 1920 and also helped secure the Belfast Agreement bringing peace to this island in 1998.


For our part, the 40 million Irish diaspora many who claim affection and allegiance to Ireland have made significant contributions to America.

It is not too fanciful a proposition for the Irish Government to suggest to the US government that they donate the building and site for a peppercorn rent to a joint American/Irish company who would compile the brief, select consultants, oversee the design and completion of the renovations, compile content and devise a programme of changing events to deliver a world-class museum in this most elegant building.

In the (hopefully) unlikely event that the venture is not a success, the US would still own the site and the asset.

This American/Irish company, with directors from both countries, backed by approval from their respective governments, would seek to raise the funds required from the numerous American companies successfully operating in Ireland and the numerous Irish companies successfully operating in America.

This funding would offer a strong prospect of being successful so that the expenditure involved would be cost-neutral to the State.

This proposal would provide a long-overdue museum to record and display the unique and close relationship that exists between America and Ireland.

It would, I am sure, be a hugely popular, worthy and fitting neighbour to the proposed adjacent new US embassy. – Yours, etc,



Co Kerry.