Dundalk

Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:56 pm

Lots of those gems about :rolleyes:

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For those who don't know the town well, the Courthouse is behind the camera, while the main street of the town, Clanbrassil St leads off to the right.
The Ulster Bank frames the entrance to this street and the right hand side of the square also:

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...while the 70s? Arts Office/Tourist Information fills the side to the left in the above image - and not very well at that.
It was on this site that it was/is proposed to rebuild a substantial 19th century building from scratch - I'd say it's dead in the water at this stage though.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:11 pm

Only a matter of time before those properties get bought out and demolished.


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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:23 pm

Most certainly - they 'make sense' in their current context, but when that building goes up the whole atmosphere of the square will change from that of a market town to a city-to-be.

It is extraordinary that a town that is calling for city status has two-storey and single-storey buildings framing its central square (the single storeys on the proposed building's site), and has a sprawling two-storey 1940s residential estate across the road! (in the background of above pic).

Il'l have to take a closer look at the highlighted buildings before making any judgement on them...
It's important to acknowledge the strong Georgian and Victorian character behind the camera in the above pic:

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...even if much is destroyed with PVC.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:25 pm

"bookies row"?
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:26 pm

Sigh - we know, we know...
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jul 22, 2005 7:04 pm

Having a good look at the terrace the other day, the highlighted buildings aren't nearly as 'out of context' as the above image would lead you to believe - they actually fit in very well with the grain of the town (ghastly, and I mean really ghastly, shopfront aside).

But whatever about these tall Georgians (ish), I'd have great difficulty in losing the little red brick. I forgot what it was looking at the dodgy image above, but being reminded in real life instantly confirmed things.
It is officially the most charming, cutest (apologies for the term), delightful little Victorian building on the face of the planet :)
It's a little world of its own, with original two-over-two sashes, and a if not original, then certainly early 20th century shopfront, an original slate roof, and tiny likkle chimneys that just cap it all off :)
A very rare little survivor of purpose-built 19th century retail buildings, and ought not be touched with a 12ft pole.
Hope to get a pic soon.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby dave123 » Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:45 pm

Wow , Dundalk is getting city status , its about time,
It is far by one of the largest towns in the country for a long time ,
But what will happen when Drogheda and Navan pass out Dundalk??? will it stil get city statu

I have to say Dundalk has really picked up a lot since the New motorway has brought it closer to Dublin.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Boyler » Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:29 pm

What other towns are getting or looking for city status?
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:55 pm

Dundalk is looking Dave, not getting :)

Good point about Drogheda & Navan though, both ever-expanding towns, with Drogheda already on a par with Dundalk if not already passed it out if one includes the burgeoning housing estates of its perimeter. Both have around 35,000.

Don't know what other towns are looking though Boyler, though no matter who they are, by European standards they fall well short population-wise of what is generally considered a city. Indeed even our large existing cities are borderline at their c100,000 mark.

Dundalk has certainly moved up in the world, and architecturally is easily one of the most beautiful towns in Ireland, despite its reputation in the social stakes. It has an extraordinary amount of 19th century vernacular, especially early from the early 19th century when the town first took off - as well as a handful of buildings (including contemporary) of national and international importance.

Hope to get some pictures soon.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby PVC King » Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:33 pm

It is worth noting that Dundalk was the principal rail junction for the southern border region including places like Cavan, Monaghan and was quite an important regional centre as a result. Dundalk unlike a lot of other similarly sized regional centres has the feel of a planned town unlike say medieval Drogheda or Navan which has got no more than a market town style lay-out as a foundation upon which to plan. Not that Navan or Drogheda can't be got right but Dundalk it appears does have a better layout from which to start if they stopped building so much retail and started to develop high end employment.
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Postby lexington » Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:27 pm

Thomond Park wrote:It is worth noting that Dundalk was the principal rail junction for the southern border region including places like Cavan, Monaghan and was quite an important regional centre as a result.


I have a strong affinity for Dundalk - perhaps because I spent so much time as a whipper-snapper up there. Days and nights were spent overlooking the old rail-yard/junction not far from the old Louth Hospital (another beautiful red-brick and limestone structure). It was sad watching over the years from the 3rd floor port-hole window how the rail-yard seemed to become quieter and quieter over the years. It went from major freight and passenger hub to near desolated vacancy and overgrown rail-tracks. Rail use to be such an important factor in Dundalk's economy. I think people forget how strategic a hub the town was once. Many an exploration was spent sneaking on-board abandoned Great Northern Railway carriages and climbing in windows of the old Louth Hospital - does anyone have any images of it recently? It's been years since I've been up there to see it.

What I loved about Dundalk was the grandosity of many of its homes - the extensive use of old red brick, limestone carvings, hidden laneways and long sculpted backgardens. I don't think anywhere else in Ireland has the unique feeling Dundalk had - or once had, has it fallen into the horrible realms of feeling like 'any other town in Ireland?' That would be a shame - it has so much character.

It's nice to see some positive development hit the town too however - I actually quite like the new development across the way from the Courthouse and the old cinema (Adelphi/Delphi?). The new shopping centre proposed also seems like a positive contribution. And I heard there were plans to demolish Dundalk's own tallest building(!) which is actually good news, I remember even as a juvenile deliquent looking up at the hotel and gasping - especially at that horrid orange sign that adorned the southern facade. Even so, so much history and character is found on the town's streets, esepcially in many of its old industrial sites, homes and churches. I encourage the town's renewal but I would hope not at the expense of its unique, defining qualities.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:55 pm

Tis a grand place all right :)

Ah the Imperial - alas it is being anything but demolished, rather it has been completely refurbished and is due to reopen in about two weeks! Has a very fine contemporary interior now, but nothing, and I mean nothing has been done with the main exterior elevation save a new ground floor shopfront which didn't need doing.

You should see the fawning tributes in the local paper regarding the refurbishment, yet typically not a word about the ghastly exterior, or the plant room on top, that now has a fine array of telecoms transmitters and boosters to add insult to injury. A letter is making its way to the editor...

Yes the beautiful 1834 Louth Hospital is in fine condition now you'll be glad to hear Lexington - in the ownerhip of the adjoining Grammar School following a sale about five years ago. Some all-singing white Victoriana railings were erected around its perimeter however :mad:
Pictures soon.

Sounds like you had a great lark with the railway Lex - wouldn't mind doing all of the things you got up to now :)
The GNR works are in a sorry state now alright, as is the original 1840s station - both badly in need of repair.
There's a fascinating collection of railway houses surrounding the whole area - from tiny early Victorian terraces, to later more elaborate machine-brick houses, to detached gothic-style piles - fantastic!

The town does have a more planned feel to it that neighbouring towns - very simply because it was planned :)
Well, on existing routes as with most urban centres, but still it was devised very well.

Not so sure about the new retail developement to the edge of the town - very concerned it's going to suck the lifeblood out of the centre. At least it's easy to get to by foot, and is reasonably well linked to the centre, but it is still by and large going to be car dependent.
And as for the architecture :eek:

Yes Dundalk is very retail-dependent for its size - and the various traditional manufacturing industries are dwindling by the day. High-end services need to be attracted to the town, not least to give it a purpose other than aborbing the over-spill of Dublin commuters from Drogheda.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby lexington » Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:38 pm

Thanks Graham,

I really really have to make it my business to go up and visit the place again soon. The surrounds of the town are worth noting too - I used to love trips up to Carlingford and the adventure of crossing the border for cheaper petrol! :)

The last time I was up there, Aldi's were still building their first store in the town out by the graveyard. Hmmm.

I really appreciate the updates! ;)
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:50 pm

I see a pp for another 'discount supermarket' on the Avenue Road on the site of the interesting 1940sish terrace of buildings there :rolleyes:

Much more significant are plans to demolish :eek: the original and best Dundalk Shopping Centre, and replace it with a sprawling Tesco superstore/filling station etc etc, as well as the vast derelict site beside it.
There's a heck of a lot of rumours going round, but either way, whatever happens is going to be huge - with a potentially regional impact.

The Centre is half empty at this stage now with leases being bought out across the board - it's in a sorry state now compared to its 70s and 80s heyday - remember the red gridded ceiling of the central area and the glossy bronze-stripped ceilings underneath the first floor with 'feature' bare light-bulbs? :)

Things looked up after the early 90s refurb but went downhill with the Long Walk :(
Now it is going to be in trouble with this new place opening - already Penneys are moving out again towards the brightest light in the town, just as they did from the 'Old' Shopping Centre in 1993.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:58 pm

Was the railway line beside that shopping centre removed? Greenore line wasn't it?
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Re: Dundalk

Postby lexington » Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:02 am

There was something brutish about the original Dundalk S.C. - and when Long Walk opened, that was a family day out!!!

For any redevelopment opportunity, it's location affords it astonishing potential - but will it be used to effect? The spate of recent retail development in this region as a whole - by extension, including Drogheda (i.e. Scotch Hall) - seems to be a little overwhelming. Now I understand the issues of Dublin's catchment proximity and commuter values - but is it sustainable? I can't remember the name of the new planned S.C. for Dundalk, but it seems pretty extensive. Is viability a truth when other S.C.'s in the town end up closing in part response? Sure timelines dictate the alternating pattern of S.C. sustainaibility - but was Dundalk S.C. and LongWalk's time nigh or simply speed up by these impending developments?

S.C. in any community provide interesting socio-economic instruments and their development is usually a reflection of a society/community's development (e.g. economic boom in Cork = Mahon Point S.C., Academy Street, Cornmarket Street, Ballincollig S.C. and a number of other big ones under plan) - but with Dundalk it seems the creation of one, at the expense of another???

What are planners actually thinking?
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That's actually interesting Paul, it would seem the old way of Irish planning/thinking was to rip up the rail-line and put down a road - in retrospect, the rail-line could provide a valuable asset (plus some adjustments) to the S.C. as a development site given the disaster that is Irish traffic. As a site, the railway line could play an important turnaround for the area and utilise Dundalk's history and existing railway infastructure to breathe new life into the old system and town. Does anyone have the foresight? Either way, I'll always remember that line as the one that brought those poor pigs to their finally squealing place (by the way, is that still there???) ;)
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:37 am

Don't think so - ah the olden days when rashers came from pigs, thank goodness they come from supermarkets these days - done away with all that nastiness :D

Yes Paul the Greenore line was taken up recently. Calls were made for it to be used as an amenity area/natural walkway though the town, but naturally the road option proved way too attractive. An inner relief road or somesuch is going in I believe, in combination with the evential demolition of the notorius Hill St bridge and the probable installation of a large roundabout.

The scale of this whole site is truly vast - if the sports pitch to the rear of the centre is also aquired the whole place is large enough for a new community, slap bang next to the town centre. The potential for a sustainable high density residential community here is huge - it would inject so much life into the town. The site a few metres away on the other side of the bridge is also vast, running way out to the railway station.
The potential here to redefine Dundalk cannot be underestimated - how this space is developed will in no small way determine the future of the town way into the future.

What you say about the retail chasing about the town is just what i've been thinking for quite a while Lexington - personally I see little need for this huge new centre in the Ramparts considering the centres the town already has. Without a doubt the Long Walk is going to be transformed into a backwater space, and maybe even return to the wasteland it was in 1990.

The new centre in the Ramparts is called 'The Marshes', and the flagship Penneys in the LW are moving out to it, and Dunnes Stores new national flagship is also going to be located there - so perhaps their Park St store will close also.
The Penneys move is going to hit the LW very significantly - only Heatons are moving in to take its place I believe.
To the extent it may well have to redevelop to accommodate larger stores. The idea even five years ago of the Long Walk having to redevelop, if not maybe even close in the long term, would have seemed unbelieveable.

There is a certain logic in developing the Marshes in that all unit sizes in both existing centres are minute, catering for local retailers - whereas the Marshes is attracting Easons, Boots, A Wear and all the rest of them - all of which simply cannot be catered for at present. It's a great shame the town's traditional streets aren't absorbing these retailers - they're capable of doing it.
I think there is a genuine need for larger units to accomodate British mulitples, but there's no doubt that the anchor tenants are moving about like pieces on a chess board for purely economic reasons. It has to stop with The Marshes.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:34 pm

Well I was innocently taking a few pics of the Cathedral the other day, only to notice something in the corner of my eye.
Looks like St Patrick's has a new competitor on the Dundalk skyline :eek:

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The new 'The Marshes' shopping centre to the rear on Ramparts Road :rolleyes:


Castle Howard comes to Dundalk.

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...only this is no Vanbrughian theatrical fantasy, but rather that of a large developer consortium - as evidenced by the arrival of the porticos the other day:

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(apologies for the poor images - the usual am-I-going-to-be-on-the-news brigade were somewhat off-putting)

...and the insertion of the imitation Pompeian remains:

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Can't wait to see the finished article in November!
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Dundalk

Postby lexington » Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:01 am

Interesting...

...it seems to be taking something of a mildly different approach to the average 'warehouse' modern Irish shopping centre. A little more mosque-ish. Will wait to see the finished detail - a positive addition to Dundalk's skyline???
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:18 am

I'd say no for some reason....


...though it maybe postmodern ironic or somesuch in which case we have a masterpiece in the making.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:51 am

Also some pics of the Imperial Hotel in all it's 'refurbished' splendour - the grand total of nothing was done to its exterior above ground floor level - despite a whopping €14 million being spent on the scheme.

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It still dominates the town as ever with the plant room on top, as well as Park Street itself:

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Indeed such was the superficial level of renewal, the 70s aluminums weren't even replaced in the upper two floors!
(PVC was put in a few years ago on the lower ones)

And instead of the impact of the plant room being negated by the local authority, it was made even worse by the addition of an astonishing array of phone antannae in recent times. This is what constitutes planning in Ireland in 2005; a disgraceful state of affairs.

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What's always made me laugh about the Imperial is that unlike in Dublin or other 'civilised' places ;), when the Imperial was planned for the very heart of Dundalk's historic centre, the building's set-back was put at the front of the building rather than the rear!

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It towers to six storeys above the muddling little 19th century buildings on Park St, yet falls away to four storeys to the back - what should be at the front!
Challenging convention seems to be something of a pastime up north :)
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Re: Dundalk

Postby PVC King » Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:54 am

Graham,

just out of interest when was the hotel painted?
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:02 am

Ah the colour of the Imperial - a long-held fascination with the people of Dundalk, a North-Eastern version of the Eiffel Tower or Fourth Bridge colouring debates :D

As far back as I remember when first coming in contact with the hotel, it was a dirty green colour in the late 80s, then I think it was orange and/or pink at a later stage, followed by a distinguished cream which was by far the best recently, only for the current Celtic Tiger obligatory sunny yellow to appear about 2 years ago perhaps (when the PVCs went in).
The side elevation has got a lick of paint in the refurbishment - the front may have too.
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Re: Dundalk

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:42 pm

Some new info on Dundalk
http://www.irish-architecture.com/buildings_ireland/louth/dundalk/index.html

Will be finished this evening....
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Re: Dundalk

Postby GrahamH » Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:47 pm

Hmmm - which is which :)

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Isn't Carroll's just a fabulous building? (it's never going to be known under any other name :))

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It's something you'd never in a million years expect in the far flung reaches of Ireland, and a building most people are probably completely unaware of even existing - it is reminiscent of a structure in a US suburban business park: a sprawling low-rise pile of glass and steel surrounded by perfectly manicured lawns.

Imagine coming from the UK or other more developed countries in 1969, and suddenly hitting upon this striking piece of architecture in the middle of nowhere in north-eastern Ireland!
Especially considering DKIT next door didn't even exist, none of the industrial estate to the rear had been developed, and the miles of ribbon housing that now flank it on both sides hadn't even started. - it was out there on its own, a magnificent introduction to the town from the south.

It has aged exceptionally well, as has the surrounding landscape which is as important as the building itself. It has some spectacular tree specimens, and the lawns are as neat as they were nearly 40 years ago. The only thing is the shrubbery lining the Dublin Road has been allowed get out of hand and is now obscuring views of the building.

It's an under-rated building in the town, though appreciation for it is gradually growing I think. Saying that, there has always been a liking for the fabulous sculpture to the front:

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...which stands in a glass-like pool of water.


The two 'control towers' :) on top make for very striking pieces of architecture when viewed from certain angles - they settle neatly beside each other in some views, beautifully composing the building with the lower storey splaying out in different directions underneath in an almost comforting fashion, like the towers are standing guard over the complex below.
And the main views from the N1 are equally well served by them - they line up strikingly with the the storey below, as well as add interest to the skyline.

Miesian corners are of course beautifully featured (this is Ronnie Tallon afterall :))

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...and the uppermost course of glazing is continued the whole way round the building - not just the office section but the factory too, over its lovely beige brickwork, tieing the whole scheme together into a whole - an inspired move when one considers how disjointed the complex could have been with the factory element seperate from administration as is so often the case.

And the reflections of the early morning and late evening sun in its acres of glazing are just to die for - not to mention a very rare mist that shrouds the lower storey on magical winter mornings if you're lucky enough to catch it - happens only on the morning of a full blue moon :)
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