Thursday 13 December 2018

Georgian-era convent gets emergency protection order

The Gardiner Street building
The Gardiner Street building

Dublin city councillors have passed an emergency motion to save an architectural gem in Dublin's inner city from being sold and possibly torn down.

The motion before the council's Central Area Committee was unanimously passed yesterday. It sets the wheels in motion to put an immediate protection order on the Georgian-era Sisters of Charity Convent and School on Gardiner Street Upper.

The 200-year-old structure - with an adjoining Victorian chapel - is currently up for sale and includes a wealth of original features.

But due to an oversight, the building was never listed in the council's Record of Protected Structures (RPS).

Consequently, a buyer could tear it apart without regard to its historic or architectural significance if it's not listed as a protected building.

Local councillor Nial Ring, who introduced the motion, feared the remarkably intact building at 76 Gardiner Street Upper, could be sold and developed with no regard to its many amenities and character.

It is zoned for housing as well as a hostel, bed and breakfast, hotel and could allow 40pc of the site to be used as office space.


Although the protection order wouldn't change the zoning, Graham Hickey - Conservation Director with Dublin Civic Trust - said both the interior and exterior of the building could have been ripped out and changed to any new owner's specifications.

"Our primary concern is to protect it," he told the Herald. "It's a beautiful building. The rooms have soaring high ceilings and it's lovely, bright and airy," he said.

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