BIRTH OF A NATION: The fascinating story behind 6 Harcourt Street – Dublin’s most historic building
Irish History

BIRTH OF A NATION: The fascinating story behind 6 Harcourt Street – Dublin’s most historic building

A NEW documentary reveals the fascinating story behind the most historic house in Dublin.

From its beginnings in Georgian Dublin, over the years the building at 6 Harcourt Street has been home to a Unionist MP, Irish revolutionaries and a Catholic Saint.

It saw action in the 1916 Easter Rising and played a key role during Ireland’s revolutionary period, including the decision to found Dáil Éireann.

It was also where Michael Collins had his office when he held the role of Minister for Finance.

Since 1966 it has been Conradh na Gaeilge’s headquarters, where it has played its part in rejuvenating the Irish language in the capital city and nationally.

In TG4’s Uimhir 6, which airs tomorrow night, the story of the building itself is explored at length.

Through interviews with renowned historians and experts in their fields, archive footage and reenactments, as well as eyewitness testimonies, the documentary provides eye-opening context to each changing era of the building itself, while offering a fascinating insight into how Dublin and Ireland have changed through the years.

“Its walls have witnessed monumental decisions that have had far-reaching consequences,” TG4 explains of the location, describing it as a “cradle of thought, debate and action that that helped mould life in Ireland”.


Harcourt Street was developed in the late 1700's at a time when Dublin was the 6th biggest city in Europe and bigger than New York or Boston.

Hans Blackwood, a son of Sir John Blackwood MP, built the house in the 1786.

Hans was married to Mehetable Temple, the daughter of a British Army Captain who fled America when the United States of America was established.

The building was let to the Catholic University in 1854 and its rector John Henry Newman lived in the house.

Pope Francis declared John Henry Newman as a saint in 2019.

In 1910, Alderman Tom Kelly bought the building for the Sinn Féin Bank.

Sinn Féin's 1918 general election campaign was planned from number 6, which was the first election that women were allowed to vote in.

On December 19, 1918, the decision was made in 6 Harcourt Street to establish Dáil Éireann.

The historic Dublin building has been an important location for Ireland

The documentary - which features contributions from the likes of author Dr Diarmuid Ó Gráda, Professor Finola O’Kane Crimmins, of UCD’s School of Architecture, and Cuan Ó Seireadáin, Curator of Conradh na Gaeilge – is directed by Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill.

“Uimhir 6 shows that in history the only thing that is guaranteed is change, and that often actions by small groups of people can lead to great change,” he explained.

“The walls of ‘Uimhir 6’ have witnessed era-defining events and decisions and seeing the changing history emerge through the house and its residents in the places where they happened brings the story to life.”

Developed by New Departures Media and supported by TG4 and the BAI, Uimhir 6, airs on TG4 at 9.30pm on Wednesday, April 14.