The school has been a landmark on Charleville’s Main Street since 1866.

De Valera's former school reopens as social housing

A school attended by Éamon de Valera has taken on a new lease of life in Cork county.

Being launched today by An Tánaiste Micheál Martin, the Peter McVerry Trust project saw the charity deliver 9 new social housing apartments at a former Christian Brothers School on Main Street, Charleville.

An Tánaiste Micheál Martin said: “It is greatly encouraging to see a derelict building brought back into use for social homes, particularly one of such historic importance.

“Peter McVerry Trust is a valued partner in the Government’s efforts to tackle homelessness, and I’ve always been impressed by their ambition and expertise in transforming vacant properties right across the country. The delivery of more 1 bedroom homes are a crucial part of successfully delivering programmes such as Housing First and reducing the number of people impacted by homelessness in Ireland.”

The project is the latest in a growing list of innovative social housing projects delivered by Peter McVerry Trust that specialises in reusing derelict and empty buildings to create new homes.

The school has been a landmark on Charleville’s Main Street since 1866 and was attended by President Éamon de Valera for three years between 1896 and 1898, with the teenage schoolboy walking seven miles each day from Bruree, Co. Limerick.

Remodelled in the 1920s and eventually closed in 1972, the building was delisted in 2014, and used by various community groups until it fell into a state of disrepair in more recent years.

Peter McVerry Trust secured the project with the support of Cork County Council under the Department for Housing’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS). The first tenants have already moved into their new homes and Centenary House, as the new scheme will now be known, will soon be fully occupied.

The property comprises of 7 1 bedroom apartments as well as a 3 bedroom and a 2 bedroom apartment for families, along with communal garden facilities developed for the enjoyment of tenants.

The old building had a BER rating of G, but all apartments have been upgraded to a high BER rating, B1 or A3, above the minimum standard for social housing units in Cork County. The new homes range from 44m2 to 90m2 in size.

In 2022, the charity worked with over 12,000 people across Ireland, including 125 people in Cork.

Peter McVerry Trust delivered 48 homes for people in Cork experiencing homelessness last year and is ramping up its delivery of homes for individuals and families in the city and county in 2023. The charity currently supports 77 tenancies across Cork city and county.

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, said: “We are delighted to be delivering this important project for Charleville alongside Cork County Council and under the Government’s Housing for All plan.

“The 9 homes that the Tánaiste has officially opened today are very much in keeping with our expertise as a housing provider; that is the redevelopment of derelict buildings as social housing. This building is particularly special given its historic landmark status in the heart of the town.”

He added: “All Peter McVerry Trust tenants who will make this their new home will receive ongoing supports from our local Housing with Supports team and will come from the local authority housing list. Peter McVerry Trust is active in 11 towns across Cork and delivered 48 homes for people impacted by homelessness in the county since January of last year. In 2023 the charity will deliver another 45 homes in the county with 30 in Cork city as part of its ambitious national housing programme."