On Monday on Moore Street, the shutter over the front of number 10 was pulled most of the way down.

The building, which is being refurbished, was home until recently to a fruit and vegetable shop, a phone shop and a kebab shop, according to the signs above it.

During the 1916 rising, when the volunteers left the General Post Office (GPO), they fled down the laneways of Henry Place under heavy aerial bombardment and broke into this building through a door at the side, says James Connolly Heron, a spokesperson for the Moore Street Preservation Trust.

Later, the volunteers tunnelled through the walls of the houses, taking over the entire terrace. “Number 10 was the first house occupied on the terrace,” says Connolly Heron.

He thinks it is among the most historically significant houses in Ireland, he says. “The leaders spent their last night of freedom there.”

But in recent weeks, Dublin City Council has issued an enforcement notice to the owners of 10 Moore Street, a kind of notice that is issued when someone carries out unauthorised works, those that for example breach planning law or rules around the conservation of certain buildings.

A council spokesperson wouldn’t say why exactly it had. “Yes, we have issued an enforcement notice,” they said last week. “No further comment at this time.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Micheál Mac Donncha says that he has asked council officials for a report to find out what unauthorised works have taken place.

The owner of the building, the developer Hammerson – which has plans to redevelop a huge block backing onto Moore Street and fronting O’Connell Street – hasn’t yet responded to queries sent Friday.

Breaking into Number 10

A few doors up numbers 14 to 17 Moore Street are designated with the highest protection status possible for buildings, a national monument, meaning it is a criminal offence to damage them.

Number 10 Moore Street isn’t currently protected.

But councillors have been pushing for several years for this building, and a number of others on Moore Street and Henry Place, to be added to the record of protected structures. In July 2022, after a vetting process, council officials recommended that happen.

While there is some debate about where other historical events may have unfolded, in particular exactly which of the houses on the street was the last headquarters of the provisional government, the volunteers’ entry point to the terrace is undisputed.

They fled from the GPO through Henry Place under heavy shelling, and broke in through a door of number 10, which is on the corner of Henry Place and Moore Street.

Starting from 10 Moore Street, the volunteers tunnelled through the houses and took over the terrace, says Connolly Heron. Eventually, the entire group that had occupied the GPO – or whoever was still alive – ended up there.

Also, 10 Moore Street is significant for what happened inside, he says. The leadership were together, he says. “The Pearse brothers slept upstairs.”

(Pádraig Pearse was one of the leaders of 1916 rising and his younger brother William Pearse was also a founding member of the Irish Volunteer Force and was executed for his role in the rebellion.)

Connolly Heron says that on the first night in 10 Moore Street, his great-grandfather, James Connolly, who was badly wounded, was so impressed by a young volunteer, Sean McLoughlin, that he handed over the command to him.

McLoughlin then played a significant part in the surrender, insisting they would surrender to the British army as soldiers, says Connolly Heron. “It was he who decided that they should keep their arms as they marched back around through the laneways to the Gresham to surrender.”

Connolly Heron would like to see a walking route established, linking the GPO to the laneways and to Moore Street, as part of a cultural quarter, he says. As he sees it, 10 Moore Street is a vital part of that route and so the house needs to be protected.

“The state should purchase the terrace and get on with developing it as a proper cultural quarter,” he says. “To honour what happened there.”

There is a lack of vision around telling the story of 1916 rising and the potential for a major cultural attraction to contribute to the rejuvenation of the O’Connell Street area, he says.

“If it was done properly you would queue to get down those laneways,” says Connolly Heron. “Where the revolution happened, the very laneways where it took place, sure it’s unique.”

Towards Protecting Moore Street

Councillors have been trying to get number 10 Moore Street added to the record of protected structures for at least seven years.

At a council meeting in December 2017 councillors asked why 10 Moore Street and several other buildings on Moore Street and Henry Place had not yet been added to the record of protected structures, following a vote two years earlier.

City Planner John O’Hara said the council had taken some steps towards that but had also faced challenges accessing some buildings, as the owners hadn’t let them in.

“There has to be an internal inspection of each building carried out,” he said, under the statutory process for adding buildings to the list of protected structures.

The developer Hammerson has lodged plans to redevelop the Moore Street Terrace, which sits within the massive area that it owns** **between Moore Street and O’Connell Street, and also bounded by Henry Street and Parnell Street, over the next 15 years or so.

Designs so far show a hotel and a new public plaza, restaurants, shops, offices, a cultural space and 94 apartments. The buildings run up to nine storeys, with some originals kept, including those being added to and on the record of protected structures.

Hammerson intends to retain the building at 10 Moore Street, according to a council presentation.

Mac Donncha, the Sinn Féin Councillor, says the Hammerson plans include retaining the facades on some of the houses, while some other buildings would be fully retained.

In June 2021, Councillors voted in favour of adding the whole of Moore Street, from 10 to 25 Moore Street, to the record of protected structures.

Mac Donncha says the buildings should all have been protected from that point on, awaiting the final assessment.

In July 2022, council officials recommendedadding, 10, 12, 13, 20 and 21 Moore Street to the record of protected structures, as well as 4 to 8 Henry Place and 17 and 18 Henry Place.

Once a building has been assessed and is formally proposed as a protected structure it should be treated as one, says the council spokesperson.

“It is only on the date of the statutory initiation process (the date of the written notifications and newspaper notice) that the building/structure becomes a ‘proposed protected structure’,” says a council spokesperson.

“Essentially to protect it during the public consultation process until such time as the elected members make their decision,” they said.

Laoise Neylon is a reporter for Dublin Inquirer. You can reach her at lneylon@dublininquirer.com.

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