Works commence at historic No. 11 Parnell Square Dublin

13 Jun , 2024  

The Irish Heritage Trust and Poetry Ireland celebrated the commencement of conservation works at No. 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin. This significant conservation-led project marks the beginning of a new chapter for the iconic Georgian building, which will become an inclusive cultural centre dedicated to celebrating and sharing Irish poetry, heritage and culture with the public.

Expected to complete in summer 2025, the refurbishment is led by conservation architects McCullough Mulvin and managed by the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent, non-profit organisation, in partnership with Poetry Ireland, the national poetry organisation and a registered charity. A comprehensive programme of works will make this building universally accessible for all for the first time. This includes conservation in the unique council chamber on the first floor known from James Joyce’s short story “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” in his collection Dubliners (1914). 

Originally serving civic and local authority functions, including Dublin County Council and later Fingal County Council, on completion of the works No. 11 Parnell Square will be a key contributor to the cultural renaissance of Dublin’s North Inner City, alongside other cultural landmarks such as the Hugh Lane Gallery, the Irish Writers Centre, James Joyce Centre, the Gate Theatre and the proposed new Dublin City Library. Passionate about poetry and built heritage, Poetry Ireland and the Irish Heritage Trust are dedicated to sharing and opening up No. 11 Parnell Square, their conserved Georgian period home, and establishing it as a permanent home for those who love and are interested in poetry, heritage, and Dublin’s civic history.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan T.D. was today at No.11 Parnell Square to mark this milestone in the €5.2 million project, funded through the Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) and generous philanthropic support secured by the Irish Heritage Trust and Poetry Ireland, saying:  “I am delighted to mark the commencement of works at 11 Parnell Square, a protected structure with a remarkable history. I am very much looking forward to seeing the building used for public benefit again with support from my Department’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund. Following the works, I am certain that the building will be a beautiful feature in the streetscape and a good home for Poetry Ireland and the Irish Heritage Trust for many years to come. I would like to commend both Poetry Ireland and the Irish Heritage Trust on their fantastic work on the public’s behalf, and wish both organisations every success in future.”

Anne O’Donoghue, CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust, expressed her gratitude to all involved in the project: “We would like to thank Fingal County Council for entrusting the care of this wonderful Georgian building to the Irish Heritage Trust.  In addition, we are grateful for the generous philanthropic support that both the Irish Heritage Trust and Poetry Ireland have received, and for the Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).  A number of great organisations are involved in bringing No.11 Parnell Square back to life, from our partners in the building, Poetry Ireland, to our design team, McCullough Mulvin Architects, and Bourke Builders who bring their expertise to No.11 to develop our home to the highest possible conservation standards. We look forward to breathing new life into this wonderful building and by protecting and sharing it, we hope to offer public benefits while enhancing this vibrant cultural quarter centred on historic Parnell Square.”

Director of Poetry Ireland Liz Kelly, said, “We are thrilled that work has commenced at No.11 Parnell Squarewhich will be home to Poetry Ireland and our partners Irish Heritage Trust.  At its core will be The Seamus Heaney Poetry Library encompassing the late Laureate’s private library, bequeathed by his family to Poetry Ireland. The poetry library will also include the Austin Clarke collection and a fine contemporary poetry library amassed over the past 40 years creating a centre similar to those in major cities including New York, Berlin and Paris. Elegant performance/reading spaces and a workshop area for all ages will enable the public to enjoy Ireland’s national art form in a building of national historical significance and unique architectural merit. It will greatly enhance Ireland’s global reputation in the arts, and most especially in poetry”.