I disagree about the Irish Life Centre: it's not a bad piece of design, just the crude concrete base doesn't sit well with the dressed brick upper facades, and the tinted glazing is too dark and faintly sleazy for today's chic tastes. And the copper roofing has aged to a pukey yellowish green that'd remind you of disconcerting stains on an old sofa, rather than a more typical, even green patina. Perhaps it needs more time.
There is no way that a taller tower will be permitted on the Liberty Hall site next to the Custom House, save perhaps an extra 2-3 storeys. Its impact would simply be too great. The slenderness ratio will also have to be retained, so there's little scope for lateral expansion either - in fact this aspect is even more important than height given the level of impact of additional bulk or volume. So both additional height and
width would be necessary in a rebuild, and simply would not be acceptable on such a sensitive site.
One option perhaps could be to sink the theatre underground (part of the complex is already below ground level), and make use of the space it currently occupies, with the potential for a minor setback from the quay parapet. It is a tiny site though.
Ken Finlay Collection
I think it's largely acknowledged at this stage that the only reason Liberty Hall is acceptable today on that site (and on an already smaller scale then anything proposed) is because of its heritage value. It and the Custom House have become odd bedfellows in a by-now familiar vista that would otherwise be entirely inappropriate on an objective basis. Even to visitors it is clearly an icon of its age and of interest in that respect - for good or bad as they may perceive it. As the state's first 'skyscaper' it has so much heritage value attached, and also because of its association with Ireland's first post-independence boom.
To knock it down and replace it with a more arrogant tower you not only increase the impact on the neighbouring Custom House and surrounding area, you also lose something of heritage value, and indeed thirdly even the option to restore the quayline and primacy of the Custom House as a next best solution. You lose on all fronts.
Good point jimg on the icon front
The old Liberty Hall that got a few sticking plasters after 1916 - it survived up until the tower was built.