Tuath housing
CEO of Tuath Housing, Sean O’Connor, speaking at the official opening of Ellis Court

Ellis Court, one of Ireland’s first social housing schemes built in the 1880’s, has been brought back to its original use and now provides 22 homes in Dublin City Centre.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien was today joined by Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy, for the official opening of 22 new social homes at Ellis Court on Benburb Street, a development which saw the refurbishment of one of the earliest social housing schemes constructed on the Island. Originally designed in 1885 by Daniel J. Freeman on behalf of, what was then known as Dublin Corporation, the building would remain in use for social housing purposes up until 2005, when severe fire damage meant it had to be vacated. The building has now been restored to its former use as part of a collaborative project between Tuath Housing, Dublin City Council and the Department of Housing. 

The 22 new Ellis Court homes have now been allocated, by Tuath Housing, to people from the Dublin City Council housing waiting list. The project saw the building undergo major  restoration works that have retained most of the structure’s historical integrity, while successfully converting it to modern residential accommodation. The approved plans for the refurbishment included the building of a new extension, with the overall development now consisting of 19x apartments (6x one-beds and 13x two-beds) and 3x townhouses (2 x two-beds and 1x three-bed homes). The delivery of the new A-rated energy efficient homes is the result of a Public Works Contract , which has been 100% funded by the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage.

Tuath delivered its first homes in partnership with Dublin City Council in 2006 and has continued working with the local authority since then to deliver over 2,600 homes. Having delivered a further 1,900 homes throughout 2022, Tuath has now delivered over 10,100 homes nationwide, housing some 26,000 people.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy said “It is a privilege to officially open the newly restored Ellis Court building on Benburb Street. I would like to congratulate my fellow councillors, who approved the transfer of this historic building to Tuath Housing, and congratulate council staff for their collaboration with the approved housing body. It is truly heart-warming to see a piece of Dublin’s history restored, while also providing sorely needed homes in the City Centre. I would like to congratulate the new tenants and hope they will be very happy in them.”

Minister Darragh O’Brien commentedConserving the historical and cultural landscape of our cities is a key action under Housing for All. By restoring and retaining the rich character of our historical buildings, we can also reinvigorate the areas in which they reside. Ellis Court has a storied history as one of Ireland’s first social housing schemes, built in the 1880’s, so it is fitting that it will remain as such. I commend Dublin City Council, Tuath Housing, and those within my own Department for their collaborative efforts that have resulted in this beautiful restoration, providing 22 new homes in the heart of Dublin.”

Councillor Dermot Lacey, the Chairperson of the Housing SPC stated “This is a wonderful example of what can happen when the different partners in housing cooperate with imagination and good will. We need a lot more of this. It is also a superb example of marrying the old with the new in the physical sense of restoring these beautiful buildings. Again we need more of this. I wish all the new residents every happiness in their new homes”. 

Sean O’Connor, CEO of Tuath Housing noted “At Tuath, we look forward to working on many more projects like this one and are delighted to note that we are currently working on four similar refurbishment projects in counties Westmeath, Mayo and Cork. Our aim is to create sustainable communities in places where people want to live, such as here at Ellis Court, where we will soon see the new residents enjoying their new homes in the heart of Dublin’s City Centre.”