The Iveagh Buildings

I’ve always been fascinated with the Iveagh buildings. Maybe not always, but at least since I was very little. Back when Tom Baker was Doctor Who. I watched that episode with the pod things that opened and got people with the viney things that grew out of them while I was at the Iveagh buildings visiting Mr. Kennedy with my Grandma.

Today I got to walk back into them after all those years. https://openhousedublin.com featured as part of it’s extensive and generous list of buildings flat 3 in Building B on Patrick St. I don’t remember what building or flat Mr. Kennedy lived in. Building E perhaps. If I had realised then how obsessed I would remain with the place I would maybe have made a better attempt to memorise each and every detail.

The last tenant of 3B was Nellie Molloy, who lived there all of her life until her death in 2002. The flat has been untouched since her departure. Every knick knack, picture frame and bottle of perfume left standing, or hanging, reportedly exactly where they were at the time of her death.

Her father Henry and mother Anne Jane moved into apartment 4B in 1907, before graduating to successively larger apartments 5B then finally 3B as their family grew in size. One of six siblings, Nellie was born on the 4th of October, 1907.

The Iveagh trust was founded in 1890 by the 1st Lord Iveagh, Edward Cecil Guinness. The original buildings were built entirely from the pockets of the Guinness family in order to give back to the city and the people of Dublin, alleviating what was then considered the worst conditions of poverty in Europe at the time. As well as providing affordable housing throughout Dublin and London, the Iveagh trust provided Dublin’s first creche in the building that came to be affectionately known as the Bayno, where children would learn skills such as embroidery, needlework, metalwork and woodwork as well as being provided with a mug of cocoa and a bun. For many that may have been the only sustenance those children saw at the time.

Imagine if, in 2018, with so many giants of capitalism headquartered in Dublin, they would follow suit and give back to their employees and customers, alleviating the current housing crisis. Imagine if other giants of capitalism followed in their footsteps alleviating the world’s woes rather than putting cars into space. If the Guinness family didn’t go bankrupt alleviating the misery of the working class it’s very unlikely that today’s 1% will either.

We tried to go see 9/9a Aungier St. too, where a house built in 1664 survives intact behind an unassuming 20th century facade, but many more people than expected showed up and we couldn’t get in. Next year perhaps.

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