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Sean O'Casey's last home set to be used as homeless accommodation

The playwright wrote his renowned Dublin trilogy in the house in the 1920s.

422 North Circular Road
422 North Circular Road
Image: Google Maps

THE HOUSE WHERE playwright Sean O’Casey wrote some of his best known works is being bought by Dublin City Council, which plans to use it to accommodate homeless people.

The four-storey building at 422 North Circular Road was built-in 1810 and still retains many of its Georgian features. It was initially used as a family home before being converted into tenements. 

O’Casey, a staunch socialist who focused on the life of Dublin’s working classes, wrote his celebrated Dublin trilogy (The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, and The Plough and the Stars) when he lived there in the 1920s. It was the playwright’s last home in the city of his birth.

The council’s head of housing, Brendan Kenny, told TheJournal.ie that it is currently in negotiations with the building’s owner and “it may be a while” before the deal is finalised.

Lord Mayor Nial Ring said that it is his understanding that O’Casey wrote the trilogy in a particular room in the house and the room is largely unchanged since that time. 

He contacted the council proposing that the room be preserved as a tribute to the renowned dramatist.

If the sale goes through Kenny estimates the building will likely house up to eight single people. He said the council will need to maximise the use of the entire building so preserving one room would likely not be possible.

In response to Ring the council said: “We would of course consider the installation of a suitable plaque etc. to commemorate the fact that Sean Ó’Casey did reside in the property at one stage.”

Several councillors said they welcomed the acquisition of the house for use as homeless accommodation once O’Casey’s connection to the building was acknowledged in a fitting manner.

Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe added that “the most suitable tribute to Sean O’Casey is to provide more public housing”.

‘Not good enough’

Councillor Mannix Flynn slammed the council’s “ad hoc approach” to tackling the homeless crisis as “not good enough”.

He said the 200-year-old building is not appropriate for emergency accommodation.

It’s outrageous that Dublin City Council and the State itself haven’t built a purpose-built emergency accommodation building.

Kenny added that the house, which is a listed building, is currently in poor condition.

As well as providing much-needed homeless accommodation he said the council acquiring it would have the added benefit of the property being “looked after in the right way”.

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Ceimin Burke

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