Shocking destruction of the National Theatre and also the Fianna in Dublin's Camden Street – site needs a Compulsory Purchase Order

8th May 2012
Press Release

The loss by fire of 34 Camden Street in Dublin has massively damaged a site that was the birthplace of both the Abbey Theatre and the Fianna - a terraced early Georgian house with all the criteria befitting a National Monument.

The destruction of such a historic and culturally significant place resents a serious threat to Dublin's continued status as a UNESCO City of Literature - a status shared by only 3 other cities, and monitored continually. Heritage tourism is of increasingly essential importance to Ireland's economy.

The building was well documented for Abbey productions at the time of the National Theatres founding, including W.B. Yeat's "A Pot of Broth" (1902 as referenced on the Abbeys website), and plays involving Maud Gonne, Lady Gregory, and the Fay brothers.

In August 1909, the Fianna was founded here by Countess Markievicz, Bulmer Hobson, and others - with the building being used as a key training base before Easter 1916 by Con Colbert, who was subsequently executed - and after whom roads and the Limerick railway station is named.

Given both major historical connections, the site must be understood as a National Monument, and is of comparable importance to 16 Moore Street, Dublin 1.

It is noted Dublin City Council recently refused an application for major alterations to the building so that it could become a slot machine arcade, as an extension of an existing adjacent business.

This site qualifies as a National Monument under several criteria, and is of far too great significance to be left demolished - where the only vision for the birthplace of the nation's cultural renaissance is of a slot machine hall.

An Taisce is now seeking to persuade the State to buy the site under a compulsory purchase order, declare it a National Monument, reinstate the building, and list adjacent Georgian buildings on the Record of Protected Structures.

We call on interested members of the public and groups to come forward and join the campaign at CamdenStreetAlliance@gmail.com so that a successful campaign can be achieved.

ENDS

For further information, please call Ruadhán MacEoin at 086 8146077

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications, 087 2411995