Office of Public Works Minister Patrick O’ Donovan last week announced that a series of contracts have been placed by the OPW that will allow work to proceed on the creation of a new 1916 Commemoration Centre at 14 – 17 Moore St, the site of the decision by the leadership of the 1916 Rising to surrender to avoid further loss of civilian lives.
The contracts establishing a professional Design Team will mean that detailed planning and design for the new 1916 Commemoration Centre can now proceed.
Welcoming the news, Minister O’Donovan said: “The OPW takes its responsibilities for managing many of Ireland’s most important historic sites and monuments very seriously and we are delighted to have been entrusted with this job by Government. Like everyone else involved, I feel sure that we can create a fitting tribute here to the men and women of 1916 and at the same time make a great contribution to the cultural and civic life of the inner city.”
A Design Team comprised of Conservation Architects, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Structural Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Fire Engineers and Archaeologists has now been appointed and will lead on the design and planning of the new Centre which will be provided in the four original buildings on the eastern side of Moore St., resuming work that was halted in 2016. Further specialist professionals as required will be appointed in due course.
Once complete, the site will be opened to the public and people will be able to view the place where the final decision to surrender was taken in 1916 and hear the stories of the individuals involved, both combatants and ordinary citizens.
A detailed project scope has been set out for the designers, which is based on the scheme agreed with key stakeholders though the Moore St Advisory Group, a collection of interested parties including groups representing families of some of the 1916 Volunteers and representatives of the local community in Dublin 1 which was set up by Government to resolve the issues around how the site would be treated.
A Project Steering Group has been set up comprised of officials from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Office of Public Works to supervise the project and to provide the assurance of proper governance.
Commenting on the announcement by the Office of Public Works of contracts for work on a 1916 Centre for 14-17 Moore Street, James Connolly Heron of the Moore Street Preservation Trust said:
“The start of work on a 1916 Centre in Numbers 14-17 Moore Street is welcome, if very long overdue. We await with interest the plans for the buildings.
“However, it must be stated that the history and heritage of these buildings will not be respected, and their historic context will be lost, if the grandiose plans of the multinational property company Hammerson are allowed to proceed.
“The entire terrace 10-25 Moore Street was occupied by the evacuated GPO garrison at the end of Easter Week 1916, yet Hammerson want to demolish much of the terrace. This includes Numbers 18 and 19 which are to be bulldozed to create a walkway from O’Connell St to link with the Ilac Centre on the west side of Moore Street which Hammerson also owns.
“Dublin City Councillors have voted to add the entire terrace 10-25 to the Record of Protected Structures. They were vindicated by the recent re-emergence of a 2011 report by leading conservation architect Gráinne Shaffrey that identifies the facade of 18 Moore Street as pre-1916.
“Now Shaffrey Architects is one of the firms awarded the OPW contract for 14-17 Moore Street, it follows that process to add Number 18 Moore Street, along with the entire terrace, to the Record of Protected Structures should proceed without delay.”
The project is being funded by the Exchequer and is expected to be complete in early 2026