Cobbles in Trinity

Cobbles in Trinity

Postby phil » Tue Mar 09, 2004 4:56 pm

Does anyone know if any of the cobbles in Trinity College are original, or were they all put down in recent years? What was there, for example, during the 1960s? Are the cobbles an outcome of our tourist industry or were they there anyway?

Any thoughts?

Thanks

Phil
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Postby notjim » Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:31 pm

i can't really answer your question of the top of my head, but, i do remember that about three years ago representative of the disabled students wanted to criss-cross the area with smooth pathways for wheelchair users and the college refused on the grounds that the pebbles were historic and an integral part of the look of the college.
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Postby phil » Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:35 pm

Thanks for that Notjim. That is interesting in and of itself. That makes it more of an issue, because if the cobbles are reproduction, it seems particularly harsh not to alter them somewhat to make their use more practical.
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Postby GrahamH » Thu Mar 11, 2004 12:37 pm

Phil you're in luck - of all the most bizarre coincidences, there was an old programme on RTE 1 last night from the archives, focusing on amongst other things, the laying of the cobbles in Trinity!

Admittedly, I thought they were late 19th centurytoo, dating from the installation of the cast iron furniture of Parliament Square.
It turns out they date from around 1977/78, when the programme was made!
They were laid in the traditional painstaking manner, each one individually placed onto a deep bed of sand, and then tapped a bit here, another bit there, checking to see if the stone was flush with the others, then adjusting and checking levels again and so on on for each stone.

The more regular setts, also laid at the same time, such as those infront of the Campanile, were nicked from Smithfield of all places, from the fruit market. How extraordinary, that part of Smithfield's history and heritage was lost, to benefit another historic area. Also interesting is that exactly the same simple material is used in two hugely contrasting areas/institutions in the city.
It was unclear however if cobbles were there before, although I think it was said that 'these cobbles are being relaid'.

Also featured was the first major restoration in the city, that of the Bank of Ireland across the road, which was going on at the same time.
Interestingly, much of the work was carried out not by 30-somethings in fluoresent jackets with degrees coming out their ears, but rather by men in their 50s and 60s who had been in the trade for decades. Their skill and ease working with such an historic building was so impressive.
I think everyone knows this already - but all of the huge blocks of rustication surrrounding the ground floor were replaced at this time, which is why they're in such perfect condition today.
And it was extraordinary to see the building in all its different parts during the restoration, as when the original granite blocks were removed, reality hit in, as the building, like so many Georgians is simply a big pile of rubble shrouded in a theatre set of cut stone.
There's about a foot or two of a gap behind the curving cut stone screen walls of the building, and then the 'real' structure begins, built of a load of rough stone and slapdash mortar.

The camera also got right up to cornice height
on the scaffolding, and the detail and depth of carving on the column capitals was just extraordinary to see up close.

And about now, the capitals of the House of Lords badly need cleaning, they are by far the most elaborate in the city and should be seen in all their glory. Unfortunately this corinthian design is a very bad dirt collector, as is evident on the Four Courts too. City Hall is a great example of how fantastic they can look.
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Postby phil » Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:11 pm

Thanks for that Graham. I am disappointed that I missed that. It sounds like it was really interesting

Thanks again

Phil
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Postby d_d_dallas » Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:40 pm

I saw that show too! I felt really stupid after seeing all the new stone blocks going in infront of the rubble... I used to wonder how that particular wall always looked so pristine - duh!
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Postby GrahamH » Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:58 pm

:D

Interesting that all of this stone was replaced then, surely it wasn't in that bad condition?
One of these curving walls dates from the same decade as the Custom House, and one from later again.

The stone wouldn't have been replaced today if the restoration was happening now. I was deeply suspicious of it for years, but used to just stroll along happily thinking 'Ah good old tough Wicklow granite, there's nothing like it!' - until the bombshell hit a few years ago!

What a beautifully shot and edited programme it was too, there's so many of these little gems from the 70s that are popped in whilst Coronation St is on - well worth seeing.

Did you see that shot d d dallas of Trinity from somewhere over the Ulster Bank across the road? There was a statue in the foreground of the shot, do you know if it was on Jurys?
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Postby d_d_dallas » Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:40 pm

On Jurys??? Em sorry Monday morning fuzzyiness.

What got me was how grimey everything looked. Goes to show how quickly we forget. Once upon a time - Dublin... land of the surface car parks and blackened building stock.

Was walking through Trinners on Saturday... was distinctly unimpressed by those cobbles all of a sudden!
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Postby Griffin » Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:42 pm

That Program was one of a series made my Eamon McThomais (SP?) They repeat them every couple of years, I think my dad may have them on VHS from the original airing in the late 70s. I know he has a lot of these type of programmes on 20 year old tape that I'll be trying to archive into digital media over the summer.

I can remember being approx9/10 & being totally captivated by these programs. They really are excellent & should be released for the current generations (if they can be bothered).
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Mar 15, 2004 3:43 pm

There was a series called 'Hands' recently aired after being digitally remastered, which was similar and equally excellent in its simplicity.

I was talking about the old Jurys d d dallas, on the site of the oh so nasty Ulster Bank across the road.
Admitedly I've never seen a pic of it, but from descriptions, always assumed it to be a big frilly Victorian pile. There was a shot in the programme looking over College Green, with a very classical looking statue perched on a rooftop framing one side of the shot.

I was wondering what building it was on, because it certainly ain't there now!

The city was manky at the time, it's interesting that it was the private Bank of Ireland who were the first to clean one of the city's classical buildings. Indeed it took another 9/10 years before the Custom House was even touched by the State, and it took Trinity until 1993/4 to start cleaning the West Front, which was the dirtiest in Dublin by a long shot.

The BOI even cleaned their building again in the early 90s after the intial cleaning and restoration in the 70s.
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Postby d_d_dallas » Mon Mar 15, 2004 6:02 pm

Yeah - and compare the speed at which the private sector projects get finished.

I get ya now on the statue! I do remember seeing that shot, but assumed it was on the ulster bank (I should really pay more attention!)
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Mar 15, 2004 11:03 pm

I know what it is now!

It looked like a standard classical figure in the prog, like those that adorn every major 18th century building, but it turns out it's a big lump of carving, in the middle of the building next to the old Ulster Bank, which includes a figure sitting down, as well as other stuff like shields or coats of arms and spears etc.
Never noticed it before.
So it certainly is there now!
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Postby StephenC » Tue Mar 16, 2004 12:53 pm

Is it the stautue of Hibernia on the old Bank of Ireland premises you're talking about
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:56 pm

Yep - I think there's another similar one of her - possibly in plaster - out at the RDS.
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Postby StephenC » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:36 pm

On the subject of Trinity... has anybody seen inside the newly acquired Gas building in D'Olier St. Its being refurbished at the moment and I though the interior looked nteresting. Is it Art Deco?
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Postby Zap » Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:00 pm

I actually liked the blackened facade of Trinity College.

Very gothic, I always thought - and very distinctive.

I once watched a comedy film from the early 1940's about a guy who used to stand on the Steps of the bank of Ireland there, across the road from Trinity, waiting for a traffic accident to happen, hoping he could play the hero to a rich damsel in distress. The facade was black then too.
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:58 pm

It did have that quality to it all right, as does the facade of the accommodation block facing onto College/Pearse St - this shouldn't be touched - it's so urban, gritty and sinister.
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