Conservation of ‘Ireland’s Alamo’ seen as first step


The announcement of a conservation order around the buildings where the last stand of the 1916 Easter Rising took place has been followed by appeals for the entire battlefield site to be preserved.

Numbers 14-17 Moore Street, often described as Ireland’s version of the ‘Alamo’, is the subject of an order which approves the creation of a commemorative centre at the site, involving the full repair and conservation of these buildings.

On Tuesday, the 26 County Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan signed an order of consent for works at the Moore Street National Monument.

The order approves the creation of a commemorative centre at the site, involving the full repair and conservation of these buildings.

The minister’s decision also means an underground car park, proposed by a developer, cannot take place.

Mr Deenihan’s order covers the four houses, back yards and facades backing on to Moore Lane at the site where the 1916 leaders fell back to after evacuating the GPO.

The final headquarters of the leaders of the Rising before they surrendered was at No 16 Moore Street, following their retreat from the GPO [General Post Office] on nearby O’Connell Street.

The minister did allow for certain development to happen, including the creation of a commemorative centre. But it rules out any demolition of the 1916 structure or works underneath the national monument.

The decision brings some clarity to the status of the buildings and what development can take place at the site, which has fallen into serious disrepair.

Although the site was declared a national monument five years ago, planning permission was granted in 2010 for a shopping centre between the site and O’Connell Street.

The developer behind the shopping centre is ‘Chartered Land’, which built Dundrum Shopping Centre. Two years ago, an application for consent was made to the minister for a range of works at the monument, including the creation of a commemorative centre and facilities for visitors, along with the demolition of the Moore Lane facades at Nos. 15 and 16.

Under the consent signed by Minister Deenihan today, the following works will be allowed:

* the creation of a commemorative centre at the national monument at Nos. 14-17 Moore Street;

* the full repair and conservation of the buildings at Nos. 14-17 Moore Street;

* the demolition of non-original, post 1916, additions and partitions in Nos. 14-17 Moore Street;

* the demolition of Nos. 13, 18 and 19 Moore Street, which contain no pre-1916 elements.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD called on the Minister to incorporate the laneways of history into a comprehensive plan for the entire battlefield site that covers that part of Dublin.

Mr Adams, who recently visited the site, said he was “shocked” by the state of the “iconic” buildings in Moore Street.

“They stand in a state of considerable decay. No other state in the world would allow such an iconic national monument, directly connected to the proclamation of its independence, to deteriorate into such a shameful condition.

“The decision by the minister in respect of 14-17 Moore Street changes important aspects of the plan by Chartered Lands for this part of the battlefield site and is good news but it is a mistake to ignore the laneways of history which are an integral part of the story of 1916 and will see most of Moore Street demolished.”

Mr Adams said he was also concerned at the lack of consultation by the minister with the relatives of the 1916 leaders or with the Oireachtas group.

“In his remarks the Minister emphasised that his responsibility was the national monument at 14-17 Moore Street but I believe that this is an abdication of his wider essential role in helping to preserve the battlefield site which includes the location of the death of [well-known Irish republican soldier] ‘the O’Rahilly’; the surrender and the lanes and houses through which the retreating republican leaders exited the GPO.”

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