Secret Tunnels under Dublin

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn for Olivier Cornet Gallery

Did you know that there is a tunnel running under Parnell Square? Indeed, if the truth be told, there is probably a network of tunnels down there. How do I know?  Well, believe it or not, there’s an entrance to this tunnel under no.5 Cavendish Row, where Olivier Cornet has his art gallery. Now, it’s blocked up at the moment but we know that it runs diagonally across the square to where Vaughan’s Hotel used to be…

Michael Collins, one of the leaders in the Irish war of Independence, used this tunnel. He had a secret office at the top of the building and he used to come and go un-noticed through the tunnel. This building was owned by the TEEU, a union for electricians, and it was they who put electric light in the tunnel. Why am I telling you all this? Well, this year the Summer group show of the Olivier Cornet Gallery will be all about the building. It will be co-curated by Olivier and Arran Henderson, author, art historian and founder of Dublin Decoded.  See: –

The show will be opened by Arran on the 7th of June and it will run until the 30th of August.  And yes – that’s my painting up above, it’s 20 x 20cm, oil on canvas, but you might’ve seen it in a different form, on last week’s post.

oIt’s the building next to Cassidy’s Hotel with the TEEU signage  ( photo:

Now, of course there’s more to this building than its tunnel. To quote Olivier:  Through selected pieces, the Olivier Cornet Gallery aims to depict the vivid history of 5 Cavendish Row and its surrounding area. The artworks have their roots in the very beginning of the street’s history when Bartholomew Mosse built his famous Rotunda Hospital. They flit through the social graces of the Pleasure Gardens opposite and they liaise with political upheaval as Michael Collins takes up his residency in Number 5, utilising a secret tunnel under the doorsteps. From there, the artworks are swept up by the rebellious waves of a pirate radio station and they are thrown along through changes of hand until they settle contentedly into the gallery space here today. 

The show, entitled: “5 Cavendish Row” features works by gallery artists Mark Doherty, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Michelle Byrne, Adrienne Symes, Jordi Forniés, Hugh Cummins, Conrad Frankel, Kelly Ratchford and Jason Lowe. Also exhibited is work by invited artists Eve Parnell, Gerard Cox and Catherine Ryan.

Now, what do you think of that?  Do leave a comment, I haven’t heard from you for a while now  🙂



  1. What interesting projects you are involved in Eoin. I enjoy reading about them, they always expand my horizons a little bit. Being born in Dublin, I probably should have more affinity for Ireland, but that never kicked in really. But through what you’re sharing here, I come a little closer to feeling what Ireland might be like now, and how the arts play a part in the society there. Thanks. The painting above is evocative and just a tiny bit spooky 🙂 Sarah


    • Wow, I never knew you were born in Dublin, Sarah. I live just a couple of miles out from the city centre so I can cycle into town easily – but I don’t go into the city very often… I think I’d prefer to live on the West coast, by the Wild Atlantic (although the weather is so much wetter over there). I’m just back home from there, actually, my recent blog posts were pre-scheduled to come out every Tuesday. Thanks for your comments, eoin


  2. Reblogged this on Arran Q Henderson and commented:
    This great piece, from artist Eoin MacLochlainn covers a new exhibition, opening next Sunday 7th that I’ve the honour to co-curate alongside gallerist Olivier Cornet. The subject matter and inspiration for this show is in fact the venue for that exhibition itself: the historic premises opposite the Gate Theatre Dublin, Number 5 Cavendish Row, a place rich in historical resonance from the Georgian epoch, through to the 19th century, and the Irish Revolutionary Independence period.
    Read on, about Secret Tunnels under Dublin…


    • Thanks very much for reblogging Arran, that brought a lot more people to read my blog post! I look forward to seeing the exhibition myself, the artists have taken allsorts of different viewpoints – it was a great idea for a group show, eoin

      Liked by 1 person

      • absolute pleasure to be involved Eoin, an honour in fact. The original document I prepared was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it of course. And now we are nearly there, I can’t wait to see how the different artists have responded to the building, the area, the history and so on. Thrilled to be involved- Arran.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice post Eoin. I wish I’d learnt all this stuff before living in Dublin for 18 months 🙂 My first month there I walked daily past no.5 without a second glance. Excellent post.


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