3 Mountjoy Square is not only the home of the DALC community, but a beautiful building with a fascinating history.

The square, built between 1787 and 1812, was developed by Luke Gardiner the Second, Lord Mountjoy, from whom it gets its name. It is the only perfect Georgian square in Dublin at 140 metres in length on all sides.

The first owner and resident of 3 Mountjoy Square was Joseph Goff, a wealthy flour merchant. The house was built for Joseph by Frederick Darley whose work includes the King’s Inns and Áras an Uachtaráin.

The house was then purchased by another flour merchant and subsequently was the home to a number of members of the legal profession.

history-1In 1909, the house was bought by its last and most renowned, private individual owner, Walter Cole.

Walter was a remarkable man with a great interest in Irish culture, language and politics. He was a friend of the politician Arthur Griffith and helped him and others set up Sinn Féin. Although he took no part in the 1916 Rising, he was interned for a month from mid June 1916 in Frongoch.

During the War of Independence he gave refuge in 3 Mountjoy Square to Sinn Féin leaders on the run and The Dáil met here on three occasions after its suppression on 10 September 1919. Michael Collins attended meetings at the house and his fiancee Kitty Kiernan and her sisters also visited.

Walter was a good amateur artist and collector of antique furniture. He was married twice and had five children. His daughter Pamela visited the house in 2013, some 60 years after she left it and kindly paid for a new fanlight for the front door. His other daughter Dorothy Walker became an art critic and his granddaughter Sarah Walker is an artist, who has produced a book of paintings based on the rooms in the house.

history-3Walter died in 1943. The house, along with 1 and 2 Mountjoy Square and 69 Gardiner street which adjoins 1 Mountjoy Square were sold to the Sisters of Charity. These houses in turn were sold to the Dublin Diocese which opened the Dublin Institute of Adult Education, including the Dublin Literacy Scheme, located in number 3. DALC purchased the building at number 3 in 1998 with the help of the Diocese and the Inner City Trust.

Unlike other buildings in the square, number 3 never fell into disrepair. It has maintained its grace and beauty. From its exclusive beginnings, it has become a place of inclusion for the diverse communities of the North Inner City.