O’Connell House is the historic home of Daniel O’Connell, known as ‘The Liberator’ for his services to Catholic Emancipation in Ireland. It is a beautiful Georgian building built in the 1790s, situated in the city centre on the south side of Merrion Square. O’Connell House was purchased by Notre Dame in 2002, with the generous assistance of Mr. Donald Keough and Mr. Martin Naughton. The renovations, which began in December 2003, were conducted under the auspices of Sheehan and Barry Architects and Merrion Contracting, and overseen by Notre Dame’s chief architect, Doug Marsh. They were completed in October 2004. The House was officially dedicated on October 16, 2004, by Mary McAleese, President of Ireland and Reverend Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., President of Notre Dame University.
The building is 7,670 square feet, with four storeys above the basement level. Two apartments in the basement cater to Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students. The House contains three teaching classrooms, two libraries, a reception room, coffee room, computer cluster, six offices, a display area for O’Connell memorabilia and a chapel, with a magnificent Harry Clarke designed stained glass window.
The building is home to the Keough-Naughton Notre Dame Centre, which looks after the Ireland International Study Program, in which 70 ND students participate annually. The students attend Trinity College and University College Dublin, with whom Notre Dame has an academic partnership. Some are year long students, some are semester students. There are normally between forty-five to fifty students in Dublin at any one time. Classes are taught at O’Connell House by the Director, by Keough-Naughton Institute faculty, and by adjunct faculty, principally in the fields of Irish history, theology, philosophy, film, and literature.