Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby tommyt » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:45 am

GrahamH wrote:Nit-picky perhaps, but I was just passing watching the tourists scrambling about vieing for space with passing hoards of pedestrians, and observed firstly how utterly ridiculous these yokes look, secondly how ugly they are, thirdly how insensitively positioned they are in a tourist hotspot, and fourthly the obstacle they presented right in the middle of the busiest footpath in the city. Just no thought.

Going back to the title of the thread, having recently heard a speech (though more of a passionate rant) on Irish limestone from one of the two producers left in Kilkenny, the extraordinary fact emerged that at least 50% of their output goes straight onto boats to the Netherlands. They cannot get enough of Irish limestone, and are willing to pay for it in spite of their own native resource - albeit somewhat inferior. Irish limestone is proving particularly popular for sea defences, but also for paving and quite highly engineered interlocking municipal paving systems that are expensive to produce. They spend significant sums on paving in the Netherlands, deeming it to be an improving, cost-eflective, long term investment.

And yet we don't even use the stuff here! Indeed in Kilkenny there's a row brewing over proposals to use Chinese granite from the other side of the world to repave the city centre, rather than native limestone from the outskirts of the town. It was noted that too often municpal authorities in Ireland just see figures on a sheet and the bottom line, and nothing of the wider costs - social, economic and environmental - of trucking the alternative half way across the planet from potentially dubious sources. Once these factors are considered, our own little narrow world of penny-pinching dissolves into insignificance.

Apparently there's also a reluctance to use limestone for paving: it often being deemed to be too slippery and not abrasive enough, whereas it is generally more than adequate in its natural state and especially so if a machine-punched finished is given.

It'd be great to see more native limestone paving the capital's streets. You see the odd freak blue limestone kerb that stands out beautifully even against concrete, but that's about the height of it. We really need to take both the longer term and wider view on this issue.


I may have mentioned it here before but I was flabbergasted to hear the same anecdote from a Tobermore sales rep a few years ago. He also stated that chineses granite is cheaper than ANY locally produced paving material. Prompts the obvious speculation about the lack of labour costs in chinese quarries... I know it is easier to cut as it is such a uniform material but if tonne for tonne it's cheaper than even the crappest suburban driveway material it is going to appeal to the pple who control the purse strings in local authorities,
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby GrahamH » Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:30 am

12/7/2008

And so the trowel merchants strike again, this time on the most prestigious antique granite pavement in the city - outside City Hall.

Over the past year/18 months the subject area on the footpath just outside the west portico has been variously dug up and cordoned off, dug up and filled with tarmac, and even on one occasion about to be filled with concrete slabs until clearly someone higher up the chain decided that perhaps plugging a hole outside City Hall and Dublin Castle with concrete just may not be appropriate - but rather leaving it for yet another six months filled with more tarmac would be. And so it was.

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Over a year since digging this hole first ensued, the city has now been left with this masterpiece of masonry work.

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Given the surrounding joints are already too large as seen at the top, this image gives some idea as to the thickness of the 'pointing' employed.

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In places there's actually more mortar than granite substrate.

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While ridiculous scrappy little pieces of stone have been chopped up to fill a gap, which makes about as much sense in the wider expanse of paving as employing a patch of mosaic in a tiled floor.

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I absolutely dispair at what is happening to the supposedly protected pavements in this city. A major report on the city's street paving including inventory, recommendations for protection and conservation, and international best practice has just been comissioned by DCC - the only scrap of hope out there at the moment. Whether there will be anything left by the time it comes to be published and implemented is another matter...


Also the ravishing state of affairs to the Dame Street side of City Hall. The junction further up is particularly poor.

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Also there is an obsession with maintenance staff for power-hosing the side steps, as well as the balustrading fronting Parliament Street. Not only does it look awful and completely ridiculous, it's causing irreparable damage to the soft Portland stone in the case of the latter. They never stop cleaning around here, and it's completely unsustainable.

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Do they've nothing better to be doing, such as painting the windows of City Hall that haven't been touched since the restoration eight years ago and are peeling like a troup of Brits on a sun holiday to Marbella.

Priorities, priorities...
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby goneill » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:02 am

Does anyone know what exactly is the material used to pave the area outside the Lord Edward on Christ Church Place? Looks like granie setts, I'm told.

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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Devin » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:56 pm

Image

There's already a history with that job at the side of City Hall. First, the services door they were installing was laid crooked.




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Following a complaint, it was straightened.




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And now, the final insult: poor finishing.


I'm just reading a report at the moment by the firm Caroe & Partners in connection with ongoing conservation works at St. Patrick's Cathedral. It says:

[INDENT]2.2 PROTECTION IN ANCIENT BUILDINGS

2.2.1 The building is of historic and architectural importance and it is essential that this building be handed down intact to future generations. This means that preservation is the main object of the work; every effort must be made to preserve the original fabric, and only in circumstances where this is impossible will new work be allowed. Any new work has to be in character with the old, and this eliminates many modern methods of construction. The work will differ from the normal run of things in that it will have to last for centuries to come, to bear the criticism of future generations and to stand side by side with the loving craftsmanship of the existing building.

2.2.2 In repairing an ancient building, the skill of the workmen is of the utmost importance. The men employed should have a true instinct for the right treatment of materials and it is important that they should be told of the need for preservation whenever possible.[/INDENT]

You wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:41 pm

Looks like a cut & paste from Bernard Feilden.

So far fetched, it could only ever be aspirational.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Devin » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:20 pm

As was mentioned earlier, DCC have finally commissioned a 'Best Practice' guide for the listed granite pavements. Tender info here - http://www.etenders.gov.ie/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=FEB097108 - and I hear it will shortly be ready. However the Council workers are still doing the cement ridge pointing where they can get away with it. Two examples:



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Ormond Market is a laneway off Upper Ormond Quay, so called because it led to an old market (visible on Rocque's 1756 map, above, with the existing lane marked in red) where Ormond Square now stands. The lane is still paved end-to-end in old granite, presumably left in place because of the historic connection.




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Some time ago, a section of paving in the lane was taken up and tarmaced over ... for whatever reason ... and left like that for about a year. No sign that it would ever be but back. But it was eventually put back recently ....




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..... taking care to finish to a high standard and match existing pointing in the laneway.



[align=center]-o-o-o-o-[/align]



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There was a nice environmental improvement job done at the bottom of North Great George's Street last year, possibly under DCC Architect's Division (?). Tree planting, pavement widening, a shared surface, and integrating the historic granite paving sucessfully, with appropriate pointing in a sand-lime mix (akin to the work done on Capel Street). Not quite David Norris's gates idea, but some civic improvement anyhow.




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DCC's Roads Maintenance Division decided to do some repair work of their own to North Great George's Street's pavements at the same time, consisting of little outbursts of ridge cement pointing in about ten different locations along the street. (Insert sarky comment about DCC inter-department coordination.)
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Morlan » Fri May 06, 2011 2:21 pm

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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Cathal Dunne » Wed May 11, 2011 2:18 pm

Devin wrote:


Image

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There was a nice environmental improvement job done at the bottom of North Great George's Street last year, possibly under DCC Architect's Division (?). Tree planting, pavement widening, a shared surface, and integrating the historic granite paving sucessfully, with appropriate pointing in a sand-lime mix (akin to the work done on Capel Street). Not quite David Norris's gates idea, but some civic improvement anyhow.


That's a good paving job by the council which adds to the area. I never thought I'd be saying that about paving done in Town. The trees are a nice touch and the paving is well-executed. It just shows what a difference proper paving and street furniture make to the urban fabric. If this little example could be replicated across the city Dublin would be a far more attractive place to live in. Hopefully a re-paving job like this will be part of the government's jobs initiative announced yesterday.

btw, is that an actually used pole in the foreground or another useless bit of clutter?
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Wed May 11, 2011 9:31 pm



A frankly bizarre high concept scheme for this space which really only requires a well executed scheme that shows traditional city paving and setts to its best effect. The scheme which intended to suggest the flow of the River Poddle using limestone with modern granite and finishes completing the scheme to match the nearby Barnados Square. The small amount of Wicklow granite paving that remains is to be preserved in situ like some relic of the rare aul times. The effect, as ever, will be an incoherent mismatch of about 5 or 6 different paving styles and materials when the adjoining sections are considered.

4 pleached limes have been included to hide the bland and dead frontage of the Robocop building. A stone bench completes the picture. The scheme also extends across Dame Street at an angle into Sycamore Street.

All in all a pretty disappointing response for those interested in preserving our traditional granite paving in a meaningful way.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Wed May 11, 2011 9:52 pm

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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:47 pm

Fade Street is the next little space in the city up for a "revamp". This time its a cheap and cheerful temporary surface, prototyping these types of materials for other streets in what is now the Grafton Quarter. The works are the first for the new Public Realm team.

As with the Palace Street proposals above, I reckon simple is all thats required here. Some well laid and generously wide pavements. Keep the kerbs and features. Add some lice lamps area trees and smoothen out the road surface. Or even pedestrianise? Is that possible?

I havent any snaps yet but its looks worrying so far. The older granite kerbing which lines the street is now to be encased more or less with tarmac on one side and cheap gutter bricks on the other. The new kerb is a cheap pour concrete that looks awful at the moment. I bet the surface will be just plain old tarmac....might look okay if its covered but have to see. Shame about the kerbstones though.

Works being executed by Sierra, those champions of the public realm.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Morlan » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:53 pm

Here's a recent addition to Stephen's Green. Need I say more?

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http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthre ... 2056468894
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:01 pm

I saw those!...how curious. I bet they result from OPW (which owns the pavement) refusing to let Dublin Bus (which thinks it can put its stops wherever it wishes and who's to tell them otherwise) place stops on the Green. The fitting in the pavement holds the new stop signs. Very odd.

Draft Public Realm Strategy is out boys and girls.... Submissions by 25th Jan. Your City: Your Space is the title....yeah right.

Also an Outdoor Advertisement Strategy

And also a workshop on Mon 5th Dec with DCC Roads on a best practice manual/policy etc for Dublin's historic street surfaces.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby GrahamH » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:51 am

Lol - I saw that bus stop last week looking out the window of the Little Museum of Dublin across the road. I thought I was seeing things. Then all the taxis, racing traffic and signage clutter in the forground reminded me I was in Dublin, the continental illusion of a gracious mansion overlooking a great European square was shattered, and a bendy yellow pole made perfect sense.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Punchbowl » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:41 pm

Can anyone tell me why some patches of historic paving have been left in place (particularly outside pubs - Whelans of Wexford St for example) on otherwise modernised footpaths?
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:58 pm

Because cellars are in use below ground? Meaning street has never been excavated. Also the granite is more hardwearing with kegs slamming into it than the humble concrete slab.

On the otherhand...it could also be due to an appreciation of heritage on the part of pub owners. In the same way that they manage to maintain their historic frontages and fixtures (for the most part)
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:12 pm

Another repaving horror show on Earlsfort Terrace to the front of the National Concert Hall. Old granite paving relaid in the most awful fashion with cement grouting as wide as your arm. I will post some images shortly.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:10 pm

It seems any criticism of Dublin City Council's corporate attitude to the maintenance of historic (or any) paving in the city is (as usual) entirely misplaced.

From the City Council's website in response to recent An Taisce comments:

Media Release Tuesday 13th August 2013: Use of Granite in the Maintenance and Repair of Footpaths

I reference to the article in today’s Irish Times “Dublin’s historic footpaths being destroyed by cheap granite” and would like to mention that this particular item was discussed at a recent Dublin City Council Strategic Policy Meeting.

Dublin City Council Roads and Traffic Department are committed, to the reuse of antique paving, and where possible to the use of Leinster Granite for the maintenance of areas of antique granite. Granite that has been returned to Dublin City Council is reused if in good condition but approximately 10% is lost through lifting and relaying and general wear and tear. When sourcing granite for paving maintenance and repair, Dublin City Council must adhere to the Department of Finance Procurement guidelines, and it is only recently that Leinster granite became available and at competitive prices.

Every effort is made to fuse the existing and new paving thereby avoiding a conspicuous disruption to the continuity of Dublin footpaths. However, because of a shortage of indigenous stone, repairs have been carried out using other materials or stone. The entire practice in relation maintenance and repair of antique granite pavements is being assessed in the context of the Public Realm Strategy. A mapping exercise showing the areas ofantique paving to be maintained has been done by the Heritage Office. When both of these exercises are complete a policy manual will be brought before the City Council for adoption. That policy will then apply going forward and a decision will also be made on how to deal with the existing situation. I hope this brings clarity to the situation regarding the use granite on our footpaths.

ENDS


Approx 10% is lost "through lifting and relaying and general wear and tear" ...so how long before we lose it all then?
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Morlan » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:30 am

Oh goody! Another policy manual to stick on the shelf and gather dust with all the other AAPs, LAPs, Public Realm Strategies, City Development Plans, etc, etc.

It's the Department of Finance's fault that Dublin's historic paving is in absolute shambles, nothing to do with DCC at all, no. :thumbup:
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby aj » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:06 pm

DCC.... you are just priceless!
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