Old harbor houses are to be brought back to life as social housing
Four vacant 19th century granite coastguard houses in Dún Laoghaire harbor are to be restored and used for council housing. The local council says its redevelopment project should be completed by the end of the year.
Who wouldn’t yearn for a waterfront apartment, especially one with a footprint in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, overlooking Dublin Bay?
Now applicants for social and affordable housing may have the opportunity to live in a series of Coastguard Cottages being restored by the DLR Co Council.
The two storey buildings are part of a series of eight cottages built in 1845 and attached to the former Coast Guard at Dún Laoghaire coal port. The remaining four cottages are occupied.
The stone used to build the houses was transported via ‘The Metals’ – the railway line from Dalkey Quarry, which also brought the stone used to build the east and west piers of the harbour.
The harbor was designed to provide a safe haven for ships plagued by inclement weather, treacherous sandbars and difficult tides en route to Dublin Harbour.
A public outcry after the loss of 400 lives at the hands of two ships transporting troops from Dublin to the Napoleonic Wars in November 1807 prompted a public campaign for the port, led by Norwegian-born, Dalkey-based Captain Richard Toutcher.
The cottages later passed into British Army control. After independence they were in turn used by the Defense Forces, the FCA and the Naval Service Reserve.
They were then acquired by the Dún Laoghaire Harbor Company, who commissioned the restoration of their doors and windows in 2014.
The houses were earmarked for potential restoration in the 2011 Dún Laoghaire Harbor Heritage Management Plan.
The plan highlighted the fine craftsmanship of much of the port structure, but also reported an “atmosphere of neglect” at the coal port.
Activities in the port — including the local rowing club, fish sales, boat trading, sail training, residential use, defense forces and Coast Guard — have “resulted in a more chaotic and disorganized character than elsewhere,” according to Shaffrey Associates Architects’ heritage management plan Noticed.
The architects praised the “fine architecture” and “very high level of craftsmanship” as well as the fine stone carving found in the “Snecked Stone boundary walls and also in the fabric of the Coast Guard Building”.
They described the internal layouts and spaces as “robust” and accommodate “a range of uses without compromising their architectural integrity”.
They classified the buildings as part of an “important historical and architecturally beautiful complex” within Dún Laoghaire’s unique cultural heritage.
They noted that “the skills that led to this build quality are now almost lost, making the harbor structure all the more valuable as it could never be replaced”.
Independent Senator and resident Victor Boyhan welcomed the conversion of the port properties into social and affordable housing.
“This is in line with government policy of making wise use of the port’s real estate and bringing a new living heart to the Port of Dún Laoghaire,” he said.
“This will also provide some level of passive surveillance in the area. Current tenants will remain in the buildings and new apartments will become available, reflecting the new management’s approach at the port.”
The Department for Housing confirmed it had recently issued a “Level 4 permit” allowing the DLR Co Council to construct four council housing units in the Coastguard Cottages.
“The cost of these four units will be repaid by the department to the council through the public housing investment program,” the department said.
The program includes 100 percent grant funding for social housing.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/old-harbour-cottages-to-be-given-a-new-lease-of-life-as-social-housing-41650655.html Old harbor houses are to be brought back to life as social housing