Harcourt Street railway station opened in 1859, serving as the terminus for the Dublin and South Eastern Railway line which served Dublin as far as county Wexford. The beautiful exterior with its colonnades of columns is deceiving, as the interior of the station was more compact than the exterior proportions would suggest. This facade was designed by architect George Wilkinson. The platforms were actually at first floor level as the railway line was built on an embankment, with vaults under the building being used as a bonded spirit store.
Historically, the station was witness to events of the 1916 Easter Rising, as it was occupied by Frank Robbins' section of the ICA early on Easter Monday. It's probably best known though for the infamous train crash which happened there in 1909. The Bray train failed to stop in time and simply ploughed through the station's end wall. The poor locomotive was left dangling somewhat preposterously in mid-air over Hatch Street. Unbelievable as it may seem, nobody was killed in the accident, with only the driver seriously injured and losing an arm.
The station ceased operating in 1953 and eventually closed in 1959. The new Luas light rail system took advantage of the station's alignment and a stop is now located on the street outside the building. The building has been used in recent years as an entertainment venue, but it is officially designated as being of significant architectural interest and as such free tours are offered by the current occupiers at 5pm every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.