A miniature museum in the heart of the city

Flat 3B, Bull Alley Estate on Patrick Street is a cosy flat comprising a living room and two bedrooms. It was once home to the Molloy family and built by The Iveagh Trust.

In 1890, Edward Cecil Guinness, the First Earl of Iveagh and grandson of the original Arthur Guinness, provided houses and amenities for working-class people with low incomes in Dublin.

The Iveagh Building replaced some of the worst slum dwellings in Europe. And, at the time, these new flats were state of the art.

a bedroom with a metal bed frame, holy pictures and a washing basin

Flat 3B Bedroom – Image courtesy of Eugene Langan

Preserving Nellie’s Flat

Henry and Anne Jane Molloy obtained accommodation with the Trust, settling in 3B in 1915. At the time, their rent was five shillings and sixpence per week.

Nellie, their daughter, was one of six children. She lived here in this flat from 1915 right up until to 2002. Today, flat 3B is a museum and remains unchanged since the trust first built Bull Alley Estate.

a press at the iveagh trust museum flat filled with hanging cups, a bread bin, a tea box and other tins

Image courtesy of Eugene Langan

As the flats became vacant, some were modernised. However, Nellie didn’t want her home to change – and so flat 3B still remains the same to this day.

Walking into the flat is like entering a time capsule. Everything is preserved exactly how it was.

The living room-cum-kitchen area still has the original range for cooking and heating the flat. There was no running water or toilet either.

The old gas lamps remain in situ and even Nellie’s cups still hang in the press.

Outside, on the landing is a communal sink, bathroom and storage. When The Iveagh Trust offered to modernise the flat and provide internal bathroom facilities, Nellie always politely declined – deciding to keep it as her family had it.

Relics of Irish life in the 1900s

In Nellie’s flat, Ireland’s religious heritage is evident from the holy statues occupying the corners of each room.

Crosses and holy portraits adorn the walls. Flower-patterned wallpaper and dark wooden furniture fill the house with nostalgia too.

A standing piano in the living room, the heart of a musical family, was often used for sing-songs and dances in the flat. All six children slept in one bedroom, their parents in the second bedroom – an insight into Irish life in the 1900s.

The children went to school on Francis Street and went to the ‘Bayno’, a play centre, right in the heart of The Liberties. Its original name was The Iveagh Trust Play Centre and it was also opened by Edward Cecil Guinness.

bedroom of the iveagh trust museum flat

Flat 3B Bedroom – Image courtesy of Eugene Langan

The centre ran activities, including sewing, cooking and education classes. It was also a place for local children to get a cup of cocoa and a bun. After discovering her skills at the Bayno, Nellie worked as a weaver for Greenmount Linen Company in Harold’s Cross for over 27 years.

Since Nellie’s passing at 95 years old, flat 3B has been preserved. For a nostalgic peek into Ireland’s past, The Iveagh Trust Museum Flat is a must-see.

As this little piece of the Trust is part of a living residential building, tours are only facilitated on rare occasions, such as Open House Dublin. Visits of Nellie’s flat can also be arranged by appointment for small groups.

For further information, visit The Iveagh Trust’s website.

Genevieve is a sunset child from the west of Ireland, now living and working in Dublin as an advertising creative. She doodles, she dreams, she travels, she schemes.

You might also like...

14 Henrietta Street exterior.


Number 14 Henrietta Street

A different kind of museum experience No street in Dublin illuminates the history of the city quite like Henrietta Street. The vast houses on this cobblestone street have run the gamut from Georgian grandeur to tenement squalor within the 300 years of their existence. Now, Number 14 Henrietta Street has been restored as a museum. It tells the story of the house’s journey from being the grand residence of a family of four in the 1720s to becoming home to over 100 people by 1911. The research history and personal stories are also a huge part of the experience. All the big events of Irish history buffeted the residents here. The Ac


Supernatural Dublin – Marsh’s Library

This library has more than just books as residents… Marsh’s library is located behind Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s Ireland’s oldest public library. Inside, the library is, for the most part, untouched, remaining beautiful. Marsh’s Library is one of the very few 18th century buildings left in Dublin that is still being used for its original purpose. It’s made up of two long galleries, joined by a small reading room. Books are shelved in bays on either side of the gallery. The interior of the library has elegant dark oak bookcases filled with old books. Bookcases are complete with rolling ladders and walking through the gallery almost feels like a journey throu

old black and white photo of richmond barracks


Dublin Treasures – Richmond Barracks

‘Ah, if these walls could speak…’ The clichéd but always heart-felt phrase we’ll forever use to reference intriguing historical sites, with the underlying assumption being that we will never learn these forgotten tales. In the case of Richmond Barracks in Inchicore, however, the people who lived, worked and were schooled here over the last two centuries will be given a voice. From military accommodation to a prison, then social housing and a school, Richmond Barracks has had several incarnations, all of them played out to the backdrop of some of the nation’s most turbulent times.