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'Utterly shocking' - residents take action over O'Rahilly house


The O’Rahilly’s house in Dublin 4 was demolished

The O’Rahilly’s house in Dublin 4 was demolished

The O’Rahilly’s house in Dublin 4 was demolished

An application to seek a judicial review of the planning forms for the site where 1916 leader The O'Rahilly's house was demolished has been approved by the High Court.

The Pembroke Road Association said it is confident of raising the estimated €50,000 now required to have the review heard because it is getting donations from all over the country on a daily basis.

The Ballsbridge residents' association said it wants the review of An Bord Pleanála's granting of permission to Derryroe Ltd to develop a 12-storey apartment building and hotel on the site on Herbert Park.

The bulldozers moved in on the historic O'Rahilly House at 40 Herbert Park before dawn on September 29.

Within hours it was reduced to rubble to make way for a block of luxury apartments and a hotel development.

Dublin City Councillors had previously voted to start the process of having the building included on its list of protected structures.

However, An Bord Pleanála had already approved an application by the developer to raze the building, in the face of opposition from heritage groups and some local residents, as well as descendants of The O'Rahilly.

After the demolition Dublin City Council ordered work to stop on the site pending an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the demolition.

"Once the City Council has ascertained the facts it will take any appropriate action," a spokeswoman said.

The chair of the Pembroke Road Association Siobhán Cuffe confirmed that papers seeking the judicial review had now been lodged by their solicitor, Fred Logue.

"The destruction of the house in the early morning of September 29, is utterly shocking. The city councillors had voted that it would be listed and preserved," said Ms Cuffe.

"The proposed 12-storey block is three times the maximum height permitted in the area.

"It is substantially outside the framework of the Dublin City Development Plan.

"No account was taken of the Strategic Environmental Assessment required under the Dublin City Plan, and the effect on the Ringsend Waste Water Treatment and Dublin Bay.

"We would like to see the O'Rahilly House being rebuilt, or the site being turned into a park for children that could be named after O'Rahilly and commemorate 1916."

Fianna Fáil Councillor Deirdre Conroy lodged an emergency motion to Dublin City Council on October 5 seeking the historic Edwardian villa be rebuilt and restored as a Historic Republican Museum.

"It was indiscriminately excluded from the record of protected structures, which includes far less significant heritage in Dublin," she said.

Proinsias Ó Rathaille, the grandson of The O'Rahilly, said claims that the house had no historic relevance were not true.

He said all the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation had been in 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.

He also said that a revolver belonging to Michael Collins had been found hidden in the kitchen of the house during renovations in the 1970s, and that three Irish Presidents - Éamon de Valera, Seán T Ó Ceallaigh and Douglas Hyde - had also been in the house.


"My grandfather used to assemble Lee Enfield rifles in a shed in the garden, and it stayed in the family until 2015. Even after my grandfather's death there were important historical figures in it," he explained.

"My father Niall had his surgery there in the 1940s, and in 1943 he treated actor Laurence Olivier there after he had fallen from a horse during filming at Ardmore Studios.

"He had him back on the horse in two days," said Mr Ó Rathaille.

"My heart sank when I saw the pictures of the house after it was knocked down. I turned to a photograph of my grandmother and I said 'I'm sorry, I did my best'."