St.Teresa's Gardens Folklore Project
The St. Teresa’s Gardens Folklore project was set up to record, capture and archive the oral history of the flat complex known as St.Teresa’s Gardens which is located in the heart of the Liberties, Dublin 8. ( 53.3350687 – -6.285566483022462). It was designed by Dublin Corporation architect Herbert G. Simms in the 1930s. It was demolished between 2014 and 2023 to make way for new developments on the land there.
It was made up of 346 2- and 3-bedroom homes with an additional 10 terraced houses in two rows of five.
The foundations for the complex were first poured in 1942 but work on the site ceased due to material shortages caused by the Second World War. The complex opened in 1951. St. Teresa’s Gardens is a small tight-knit community. The complex has provided housing to hundreds of families over the past 70 years. However, it has long suffered from significant deprivation and anti-social behavior which led to its identification as a complete regeneration site in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, St Teresa’s Gardens, like many other complexes in the city, was included in the Public-Private Partnership regeneration program.
The process failed due to the economic crash in 2008. In 2010 Dublin City Council restated its plans to demolish and rebuild housing on the site. Since 2014 we followed the detenanting of the community to the four corners of Dublin and we watched the old flats being demolished one block at a time. We developed the folklore project with the aim of capturing and preserving the history and heritage of this 70-year-old community and also giving those residents who left the place a virtual community to stay connected to.
Our work really started to develop in 2018 onward although our Facebook page was set up in 2014 to capture the beginning of the demolition of the complex as part of a wider regeneration plan. Our work has allowed us to develop a virtual online community for all former residents who resided in the community for 70 years. As an extension to our archive work, we decided to work toward the publication of a book, and in 2021 we started the process of collating all the images stories, and audio recordings we had in our collection. The culmination of our work will see us deliver an oral and photographic history of the flats towards the end of 2023.
Farewell to the Gardens