Councillors vote to save O’Rahilly house in Ballsbridge

by Sylvia Pownall

The 1916 Relatives Alliance has commended city councillors who voted to save the family home of The O’Rahilly from the developer’s wrecking ball.

An Bord Pleanála had approved the demolition of 40 Herbert Park in Ballsbridge, the former home of The O’Rahilly – the only leader to have been killed fighting during the 1916 Rising.

But on Monday, city councillors threw a spanner in the works when they passed a motion to list the historic property on the Register of Protected Structures, pending reports.

In a decision which also holds significance for Moore Street – another historic location linked to the 1916 Rising – this means that the house cannot be demolished in the interim and the gardens will have to be reinstated.

James Connolly Heron of the 1916RA told Dublin Gazette: “Without their action this most historic of buildings would have been levelled and lost forever to future generations and a physical link to this heroic figure in our history lost.

“How ironic that would have been. The location of his death in Moore Street an entrance to a shopping mall – the location of his life in Herbert Park an entrance to an apartment complex.

“We believe that a corner has been turned with the adoption of this motion. All remaining 1916 buildings should now be added to the list. There are 31 locations in the city directly associated with The Rising – 19 have been demolished.

“Those that remain must have blanket protection in honour of that golden generation – the men and women of The Rising.

“We urge all elected representatives to support this call in the National and public interest.”

The appeals board approved the demolition of the house to make way for an apartment and hotel development up to 12 storeys in height on adjoining sites number 36, 38 and 40 Herbert Park.

The approval was given despite opposition from several residents’ associations and heritage organisations, city councillors, the Department of Culture and Heritage, and The O’Rahilly’s grandson, Proinsias Ó Rathaille.

Heritage watchdog An Taisce noted the Edwardian house’s historic association with Michael Joseph O’Rahilly who died in the 1916 Rising.

In its statutory submission to the board, Dublin City Council said it supported the development.

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