The Iveagh Trust Buildings were built by Sir Edward Guinness. He saw that many Dubliners lived in cold and damp rooms without a fire or running water. To help these people he set up the Iveagh Trust in 1890. He also built the Iveagh Baths on Bride Street and the Iveagh Markets on Francis Street.
This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.
The Iveagh Trust Buildings
Near St Patrick’s Cathedral, between Bull Alley and Bride Road, one can see blocks of very striking five-storey red-brick buildings. These buildings are called the Iveagh Trust buildings.
They were built by Sir Edward Guinness, a member of the famous brewing family who made Guinness. The Guinnesses were among the richest people in Ireland, but Sir Edward knew that many Dubliners lived in cold and damp rooms without a fire or running water. Many children died and most people did not live to be old.
To help these people, Sir Edward Cecil Guinness set up the Iveagh Trust in 1890 (Sir Edward had been given the title ‘Earl of Iveagh’ and that is where the trust and the buildings got their name from). He donated a large sum of money which, in today’s terms, would be worth almost twenty million euro. With this money he wanted to build houses for the poorest people in Dublin. He also asked other rich people to help and advise him. These people were called trustees and they made sure that the money that was given to the trust was not used for something else.
Sir Edward and the trustees bought land near St Patrick’s Cathedral and the area was cleared of the old houses. Building started in 1901 and all houses were finished within the next few years. The buildings were very modern and much healthier to live in than the old houses. Some of the blocks had shops on the ground floor while the people lived upstairs.
Sir Edward also built the Iveagh Baths on Bride Road, and the Iveagh Market on Francis Street, where you could buy vegetables, fish and secondhand clothes. He also designed St Patrick’s Park beside the cathedral.
The rents for the flats were cheap and many more people could afford to live in them. The Iveagh Trust used the rents to do repairs and build more homes. By 1950 almost 3,000 Dubliners lived in dwellings built by the Iveagh Trust. Today the Iveagh Trust buildings are still managed by the trust.