Community calls on FCC to purchase historic Clonsilla building

by Rose Barrett
0 comment

The Old Schoolhouse in Clonsilla has once again become a hot topic among the community as the site has been flagged for sale by Osh Ventures Ltd. 

The company applied last year via a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) to build 198 build-to-rent apartments up to 8 storeys high. However, the application was rejected by An Bórd Pleanála (ABP) on environmental grounds. 

“All sectors of the community and every political party opposed the SHD application,” said resident Elena Brunton. “ABP’s rejection was firmly welcomed across the board and we are calling on Fingal County Council (FCC) to purchase the site and building for community usage.” 

Elena, who lives in The Village housing estate, Porterstown right beside the Old Schoolhouse notes the school is a protected structure and a distinctive building with a quirky history. 

“Built in the 1850s, it is a beautiful old building, three to four storeys in height. In the 1850s, a local priest approached Lord Annaly owner of Luttrellstown Castle and asked for the site to be donated for a school. The priest was told to go to hell, and in response, the cleric built it as high as it is – so the Lord would be able to see the school from every angle! 

“It has a triangular-type roof, one door on each side and is certainly unusually shaped.” 

Elena who is Chair of The Village Estate Residents Association noted the land around the school building is a linear plot about 200 metres in length, but not very wide. 

“It fully overlooks the canal, mature trees and shrubbery on the plot, and is a haven for foxes, badgers, birds and bats.” 

The land and building she said resolutely should be utilised for community purposes, and for advancement of tourism in the area. 

An artist’s rendering for The Old Schoolhouse as proposed in a 2021 SHD application by Osh Development

“This is supported by councillors across all parties. The Old Schoolhouse should be redeveloped as a café, maybe a museum or a business hub, or craft centre, etc. There are so many purposes it could be used for, but is should be community based and therefore, we are calling on Fingal County Council to purchase it.” 

A legal notice has been posted on the site citing October 8 as the closing date for bids. 

Deputy Paul Donnelly (SF) stated this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for FCC “to purchase and protect a significant piece of Clonsilla and Dublin 15 history.” 

“This land and schoolhouse have been the subject of many motions and council debates from all sides. The school has been badly damaged by anti-social elements, however, enough of the outer structure and roof remains to make it a viable, vibrant part of the community,” he said. 

In a rush to provide much needed housing, he added, many historic buildings were lost – the thatched cottage in The Village, Lohunda and Clonsilla House, the protection of the Royal Canal and the enhancement of it as a major recreational facility. 

“The purchase of The Old Schoolhouse lands and the new Royal Canal Greenway could be a game changer in terms of a tourism for D15. This could be a major stop off point for those either heading into the city or going the other way towards the Shannon and the many stop off points along the way,” he said. 

Citing the development plans and heavy spend for Swords Castle and the Cultural Quarter, he urged FCC and the Chief Executive “to seize the moment and enter into negotiations to purchase the land in Clonsilla.” 

FCC responded it “does not comment on any current or prospective property transactions.”

Related Articles