A few facts to clarify:
Having spoken recently to some of the owners, I can throw some light on this.
Firstly, to answer jdivision, the council have taken ownership of two houses, numbers 3 and 14 by CPO, previously owned by the Underwoods. The Underwoods no longer own any property on this street. The house referred to as being for sale, number 7 is indeed in serious need of restoration and €1m+ would be the very minimum to get a good start underway; however at under €2m acquisition cost for more than 8,000 sq feet, I wouldn't consider this to be "silly money" - at 4 floors over basement, 4 bays wide, the building would make an excellent corporate HQ, and has an amazing double height hallway with a baroque ceiling. More details are at the bottom of this post.
Secondly regarding the points made by AJ and Johnglas, I thoroughly agree. The street has been left in a disgraceful condition, however I want to make a few further points here:
1) About 15 years ago Dublin City Council commissioned repaving of the street, setting in cobbles replacing tarmac; however they did this in the absence of professionally qualified advice, with the result that the load bearing of the new cobbles started collapsing the street into cellars. Dublin City Council's way to rectify such a problem, and restore the city's oldest street - well to fill in the cellars with concrete
Understandably a number of owners who had bought houses to prevent demolition in the 60s and 70s went nuts about this and were forced to take legal action to stop the council doing this to all of their properties on what is Dublin's oldest Georgian street.
DCC simply then sat back and left the street covered with roadworks bollards for over 10 years, during the boom, substantially devaluing all properties on the street. This has since been resolved 18 months ago with owners ultimately accepting reinstatement of the cellar forms in concrete, as they could no longer afford legal bills. In reinstating the public domain, DCC inserted brand new granite slabs rather than appropriate historic pavings, some of which I now see have subsequently been removed with tarmac once again featuring as pavement
No compensation or grants to do up the houses was given by DCC for the years of damage they presided over.
2) The monsterous block built at the end of the street was approved by Dublin City Council in 2003 - again the DCC planning department to blame, who should have stopped this.
3) Two years ago DCC produced a "conservation report", which one would think would indicate that they now were going to show some commitment to the street. 10s of 1000s was spent on commissioning the report - however, once again no money whatsoever was allocated to the actual buildings themselves, except in fairness the structural consolidation of numbers 3 and 14, the houses CPO'd from the Underwoods. Hence in effect, a report that tells everyone how important the street is which is already well documented, and effectively nothing else.
4) Last year an "ideas competition" was commissioned up by DCC to reinstate the missing half of number 15; although a noble idea in itsef - and an excellent winning design - the reality on the ground is that no physical change occurs.Are we beginning to notice a theme here? In my opinion it is very much at the door of DCC that the blame lies
Bought by conservationists in the 60s and 70s as the buildings were under serious immediate threat, a number of the houses have been let to artists since the 70s which at least kept some life - however such lettings I do not believe would bring in much money. Instead should an owner wish to restore one of these houses, they will be further penalised by DCC with a development levies bill somewhere in the order of 40 - 70 thousand euros per house - so a further disincentive.
Despite all of this, the nuns did an excellent restoration of numbers 8 - 10 ten years ago, the King's Inns have recently restored number 11, while numbers 5 and 6 have also had some works done in restoring the facades - as far as I am aware no grants money was made available by the state for these works. Furthermore I also note that number 13 is currently undergoing facade restoration.
Finally I fully agree that the street would make a tremendous amenity for tourism as an intact Georgian open air museum, particularly as it sits on top of what is now the ACA of Capel St - but it may be worth noting that there is absolutely no marketing of here or any other part of north Georgian Dublin. Instead just up the road two years ago DCC were happy to give the go-ahead to the demolition of the what they believed to be the birthplace of Richard Brinsley Sheridan at 12 Dorset Street. Subsequently refused on appeal to An BP, it then transpired the house wasn't actually Sheridan's as the street was renumbered - however despite this, the developer has since revised his scheme to reinstate that house and match it with a pastiche, and erect a plaque on the front noting BS's connection with the street. So an amusing and happy ending there - but no thanks to DCC
Hope this helps clarify a few points
Regarding number 7, the house for sale: http://www.daft.ie/searchsale.daft?search_type=sale&id=280077&map_lat=53.3537509049662&map_lng=-6.2529587399939&map_zoom=15&unique=7-2009.1-2.7839f27fdb159fc884b7df0eda1f2243&__utma=200121531.1343017351.1237777925.1237777925.1248873525.2&__utmz=200121531.1237777933.1.1.utmcsr%3Darchiseek.com|utmccn%3D(referral)|utmcmd%3Dreferral|utmcct%3D%2Fcontent%2Fshowthread.php&daftID=c52ecf8b278a46705d5fb771bc51ad2c&__utmb=200121522.214.171.1248873525&__utmc=200121531&fr=default&limit=10&offset=0