Thursday 23 November 2017

'Everything must go' - Entire contents of Central Bank building go under the hammer

SALE: The impressive contents of the Central Bank’s iconic Dame Street offices will be sold off at auction later this month
SALE: The impressive contents of the Central Bank’s iconic Dame Street offices will be sold off at auction later this month
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

When the staff of the Central Bank left their iconic offices in Dame Street, Dublin, for the last time one recent Friday, they walked out leaving behind over a thousand desks, computers, chairs and pieces of office furniture - and into a brand new fully-fitted office block on the quays.

"I'm dreaming of desks," says the well-known antiques dealer Niall Mullen, who bought the entire contents of the building, lock, stock and barrel, and now intends to sell them at a monster auction at the end of the month.

The Dame Street complex was handed over empty to its new owners, Hines, last Tuesday.

Sitting in his antiques shop in Francis Street, Mullen, who has previously bought and sold the entire contents of two Dublin hotels, The Morrison and Berkeley Court, reflects on the three weeks it took to clear the 'tower' of the Central Bank and the four other buildings it occupied. "The tender was that we had to clear everything - during the process I discovered a floor, Floor 7, that we didn't even know was there."

The car parks under the building are known as U1 and U2 - and on the last day of the clearance he was asked what he knew about U2. "I said I'd seen the band, but then I was shown a room down there that I didn't even know about."

On the massive task of emptying the building, he says: "The first week was fun, but after that it was a war of attrition." Having budgeted for getting the job done in two weeks, he ended up with a 24-day struggle to get to grips with the sheer volume of items.

He did take a short break to judge The Late Late Show antiques restoration project, but was so tired that after a quick visit to the RTE Green Room he went home.

Among the 5,000 items to be sold at auction are 20 to 30 art deco style chrome and oak pieces of furniture designed specifically for the building by architect Sam Stephenson when it was completed to a fanfare of controversy in 1975.

These "Eileen Gray style" pieces, as Mullen styles them, will be the highlight.

There is also an impressive boardroom table and chairs installed about a decade ago where the Governor of the Central Bank sat with delegations from the Troika as they grappled with Ireland's financial crisis.

The lot, which also includes a large number of "fantastic" pot plants, catering equipment and desks of oak, maple and cherry, goes on sale at an auction in a former bowling alley in the Heritage Golf Resort, Killenard, Co Laois at 10am on May 30.

And as the auctioneers say "everything must go".

Sunday Independent

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