Projects / Hidden Rooms

The Philanthropic City

New ways of giving to the city

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The Hidden Room venue was 12 Henrietta Street, Dublin 1. Henrietta Street, erected by Luke Gardiner, is among the earliest extant terraced houses in Dublin and dates from 1730-1733. The decline of the Irish economy in the 19th century led to the homes being largely converted to tenements; Dublin slums.

The guest speaker was Seamus Mulconry, the discussion was chaired by George Boyle, and the DCC client was Rose Kenny. A full list of participants is below.

The group explored the following issue:

‘What is Philanthropy? Philanthropy is a particular kind of charitable giving. It is focused on the root causes of problems and making a sustainable improvement, as distinct from contributing to immediate relief. Philanthropy is not the exclusive preserve of very wealthy people. What distinguishes philanthropic giving from more spontaneous once off charitable donations is that the money is given with a degree of reflection and a clear purpose.’

Dublin has a rich history of philanthropy which has played an important role in the social, economic and cultural development of the city. How can Dublin tap into the generosity of citizens today so that future generations will reap the benefits of philanthropy tomorrow?



Dublin’s philanthropic legacy was undertaken by a variety of people and organisations over time including Chester BeattyAndrew CarnegieHugh Lane and the Guinness family. Philanthropic acts were often associated with arts, culture and amenity areas but also included endowments to educational institutions, hospitals and charities. Philanthropy in Dublin today is strong but perhaps most successfully harnessed by universities and charities, which may also benefit from corporate social responsibility, alumni networks and dedicated fund-raising departments. The new Dublin City Library proposed for Parnell Square will be part funded by philanthropy. Crowd-funding mechanisms have recently been trialled by IMMA (Irish Museum of modern Art) to fund the purchase of artworks for their collection.

What model can be developed to encourage and facilitate future philanthropy in the city that would be acceptable to Dublin City Council, citizens and philanthropists? Could it be incentivised? Could portfolios of public projects be developed? How would it work and what environment is required for this to happen? What initiative could be piloted in 2015?


Devise a 2015 pilot project that motivates and facilitates future philanthropy in Dublin and would be acceptable to Dublin City Council, citizens and philanthropists.

Please see the group’s key slide plenary session presentation below.


Avril Corroon

Barbara Dawson

Brendan Teeling

Elaine Lammas

George Boyle - Chair

Ian Lumley

Jette Virdi

John Mahon

Kebin M Cunningham

Killian Fallon - Visualiser

Luke Fitzgerald

Margarita Cappock

Nathalie Weadick

Rose Kenny - DCC Client

Seamus Mulconry - Guest Speaker

Stephanie Dickenson

Taja Naidoo

Terence O’Keeffe


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