Paul Clerkin wrote:A feasibility study was commissioned to look at the graveyard as an accessible public amenity/ historical resource set in the context of the wider Liberties area.
Unfortunately, St. James' churchyard is a very secluded spot with very limited access and zero visibility from the street, that was the problem back in the '80s when all the good work done by FÃ¡s was ultimately undone because it was recognised that it would be reckless to allow public access to a space over which there was little or no passive supervision. One large apartment complex [Steevenâ€™s Gate] has grown up along part of the western boundary of the graveyard in the meantime, but otherwise the problems remain the same.
One of the good things in the recent Liberties LAP was the suggestion that the church and graveyard be incorporated into an expanded urban park as a key element of a major urban regeneration of the area adjacent to Heuston Station, taking in the outer edges of the Guinness holding on Victoria Quay and Steevens Lane.
a map from the Liberties Local Area Plan with St. James graveyard outlined in red
A terraced urban space like that could be a stunning addition to the fabric of this end of the city especially since there is the potential for a strong visual link across the river to the terraced forecourts at the National Museum complex at Collins Barracks. In fact, you could take that opportunity further than just a 'visual' link by creating an actual link in the form of a high level contemporary pedestrian/cycle viaduct [such as was suggested before to arch between Military Road and the Phoenix Park over the platforms at Heuston] generating some through-traffic and providing a new panoramic vantage point at this end of the quays [from which to observe the shopping trolleys half buried in the Liffey mud].
What I don't want to see is some half-assed Corpo landscaping proposal for the graveyard when what we need are the strong urban solutions of the LAP expanded on and developed into a plan with the power to one day shift the inertia that has left an over-rated brewing company sit on the equivalent of an entire urban quarter for close to a hundred and fifty years.
The development climate might have chilled further since the Liberties LAP was drafted, but these are the times when city planning is more necessary than ever and marking time with token gestures is a poor substitute for hammering out a urban vision.