Smithfield, Dublin

Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby GrahamH » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:58 pm

pippin101 wrote:- Close to pleasant Stoneybatter area


i.e. close to somewhere else!
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby adhoc » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:23 pm

Seeing the positive, the New York Times' take on Smithfield (April 26th 2009)

http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/travel/26surfacing.html?ref=travel
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby GregF » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:12 am

Folk should'nt get too sentimental for the old market or horse fair. The thing is, that there is an architectural backdrop there now, and it's just a matter of filling it with people. Getting a bit of human life into the place is the priority now like down the docks.

I suppose folks living there in the new appartments are crippled with mortgages or rent and are only going from bed to work. I dunno how the Council and local business folk cant initiate something to attract folk out of their appartments/cells. The Ice Skating and Chinese New Year festival are the sort of thing to give the place a lift. How about live open air music, jigs and reels etc... in conjunction with the Cobblestone could be a weekly feature....bring back the market but make it like the one in Temple Bar, with an international flavour as well. Hang up flags and buntings. A Horse Fair too but get the Irish Equistrian crowd and the moneybags Horse Racing crowd and a few toffs involved to share their knowledge. Make it weekly or montly etc....Get the Gardai involved as well to keep an eye on the druggies, skangers and half wits. It seems to be a main feature of Irish society today, as there are hundreds of such unfortunate people, homeless teenagers and children abandoned by their parents throughout the city centre, and very prominent along from Wood Quay to Aston Quay.

Regarding the tree planting to soften the place, but I'd be on for that, but with the trees planted in containers so that they could be moved about or removed when required. A few flower containers as well to liven the grey concrete. Jaypers, it's not too big a deal really.

Moore Street is the exact opposite, a bustling market street full of folk from around the world but with an awful architectural backdrop of dereliction and squalor.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby ac1976 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:35 am

GregF wrote: I suppose folks living there in the new appartments are crippled with mortgages or rent and are only going from bed to work.


This is definitely not the case, these apartments were all Section 23, and only suitable for developers. All the occupants are tennants. Perhaps more owner occupied designed units would benefit the area in future.
The main reson people rent here is bacause the area is beside the city center, and so they dont go from work to bed to work. They spend more time in the city centre as a result.


GregF wrote: I dunno how the Council and local business folk cant initiate something to attract folk out of their appartments/cells. The Ice Skating and Chinese New Year festival are the sort of thing to give the place a lift. How about live open air music, jigs and reels etc... in conjunction with the Cobblestone could be a weekly feature....bring back the market but make it like the one in Temple Bar, with an international flavour as well. Hang up flags and buntings.


All of these things have been tried and happen all the time, including the buntings. Perhaps you didn't know because nobody attents the events?
There are food markets and international markets on here all the time, but only ppl that live in Smithfield or pass through are aware of this.
A marketing campaign may be needed similar to the way the Docklands Authority markets that area.


The whole area needs to be rebranded and marketed properly. The council should be empowered to do this like the DDDA.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Maud » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:13 am

I used to work in Stoneybatter and when I first started working around there it was so drab and depressing. Even so, I used to like the fruit and vegetable market in Smithfield and there was a man selling plants outside it everyday - plenty of people browsing all the time (but not pretentious yuppy types obviously). I agree that the new apartment development was gentrification in it's purest form and the cafes and the supermarket Fresh were clearly aimed at well-healed types. As someone working locally, though, I really appreciated the new seating area beside the supermarket as there was nowhere clean to sit and eat lunch before. I also agree that the events hosted there now are not being properly promoted - I used to just stumble across these things on my way to and from work, I wouldn't have realised anything was happening there otherwise and it's so handy to get to, as a venue, from the city centre.
I wish they would restore those old (18th century?) buildings too. Can't believe we had the whole celtic tiger thing and they are still derelict. What a shame.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby ac1976 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:06 pm

From DCC website:
Dublin City Council are delighted to announce a new and exciting selection of outdoor markets in city centre locations the first of which is the Friday market at Smithfield.
Located in an attractive tree lined area close to the Luas line the market offers a fine selection of foods with an international flavour as well as jewellery and beauty products. There is also a seated picnic area.

Hours of business: Friday 11.00am-6.00pm


there is also another indoor market on Sundays:
http://www.irishfarmersmarkets.ie/smithfield.html
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby gunter » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:56 pm

ac1976 wrote:. . . . the Friday market at Smithfield, located in an attractive tree lined area . . . offers a fine selection of foods with an international flavour . . . there is also a seated picnic area.

Hours of business: Friday 11.00am-6.00pm


So you're suggesting that if a person were to go down there tomorrow, say for example, they would find Smithfield thronged with the sounds and smells of a lively market in full swing!

That sounds like a challenge!

. . . will bring camera and a fiver, and report back in due course.:)
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby jesus_o_murchu » Sat May 02, 2009 11:31 pm

That market, so far, is an absolute joke. For the past three Fridays I have passed by the sum total of two stalls that sell expensive bread and pastries. Passing by after work at around 5:30 have I already missed the 'rush hour'? Anyway at that time they look very lonely indeed. They dont even trade on the square - instead they're somewhat hidden under the group of trees next to the luas stop, presumably as this is the only space that might offer any potential to drum up some trade from the luas stop. What genius thought of the Friday afternoon slot anyway? People with jobs dont have the free time and people without jobs dont have the money.

DCC and DoEHLG: Take note of what the British Government are doing at the moment to inject life into their rapidly deteriorating high streets - ie relaxing change of use planning laws and providing micro-finance initiatives for the development of temporary community facilities in vacant retail units. Alas, this sort of proactive planning is alien to our culture but it is exactly whats required to save Smithfield. Could even become a highly innovative form of planned de-gentrification in Ireland! Im sure the arty types up in Stoneybatter and would be delighted to take on the programming of all the empty units. A handful of art studios/workshop/performance spaces would enliven the place no end. The presence of new social groupings on the square might even encourage the working class kids and the yuppy residents to interact a bit more and reduce some of the latent tension that exists when they cross paths.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby wearnicehats » Sun May 03, 2009 11:11 am

ac1976 wrote:From DCC website:
Dublin City Council are delighted to announce a new and exciting selection of outdoor markets in city centre locations the first of which is the Friday market at Smithfield.
Located in an attractive tree lined area close to the Luas line the market offers a fine selection of foods with an international flavour as well as jewellery and beauty products. There is also a seated picnic area.

Hours of business: Friday 11.00am-6.00pm


there is also another indoor market on Sundays:
http://www.irishfarmersmarkets.ie/smithfield.html


I know a lot of people are unemployed these days but I don't really understand the economic sense of putting on a market between 11am and 6pm on a Friday

with regard to the "irish farmers market" on the sunday, stalls include

Soul Bakery Bread
Cabbage Patch Vegitables (sic)
Speciality Cakes & Breads
Olives & Organic Cheeses,
Nuts and Sweets
Crafts, Paintings, Photographs
Jewellery
Multicultural Foods

farming's certainly diversified these days
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby GrahamH » Sun May 03, 2009 12:31 pm

Oh, the grow your own bungalow stall must have pulled out at short notice.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby youth-decay » Mon May 04, 2009 10:26 am

I just moved away from the Smithfield area recently, having lived there for over two years and walking around there a few weeks ago, I really felt that the area is dying, - with the closure of the two Spars and Thomas Reids, and the huge amount of empty buildings, it has a really desolate air about it lately

Dublin City Council needs to actually clean the area regularly, it's a kip, especially at the weekends. It's also full of knackers, and given the fact that there actually isn't any reason for people to go down there (except maybe for the Lighthouse but they need to promote themselves more I think), it's no surprise that's its struggling.

The Friday market would be a good idea if it was on at the weekend, and if it was actually value for money - pastries for 5 euro? No thanks!
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby lostexpectation » Mon May 04, 2009 2:22 pm

so what the eta for the other market area?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby kefu » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:12 pm

Am doing an article for this week's Tribune about Smithfield: its success or failures. If anybody has any thoughts in particular they want aired, you can pm me or post here.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby StephenC » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:59 pm

You should at least mention the dreadful public domain at the bottom of the square. It was never even attempted to make an effort down there. Pretty disgraceful when you consider that the main public transport connection to the square is at this end.
in fact thats surely a key failure of the area, the lack of permeability of public transport
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby ac1976 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:36 am

kefu wrote:Am doing an article for this week's Tribune about Smithfield: its success or failures. If anybody has any thoughts in particular they want aired, you can pm me or post here.


I will look forward to reading your article.
I think it will be interesting to know what people think sucess to be!

Clearly the Developers and the Council had some vision of sucess, but even if they had achieved what they wanted (the developers mostly have) is that really sucess?

I actually think that the whole problem with Smithfield is that the visions (and there are more than one) for the development of the area are flawed. Not just because the Council and Developers have diverging interests, but because the plans never really contained anything in them that would achieve what residents and dubliners would concider sucess.

As a Dubliner I think Smithfield is a wasteland, I don't want to live there, and the only reason I ever go there is to go to the Lighthouse Cinema, and secretly I am hoping that the Cinema either moves or a rival opens up in either a village in the city or the city center itself.

I would like to see Smithfield as a sucessful urban village but to achieve that you need an authority similar to the DDDA with a clear focus, they have achieved great things in the docklands even if the vision is a bit sterile.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby johnglas » Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:08 am

I think some of the posts about Smithfield are far too negative; it's not perfect, but needs to be seen as 'work in progress' rather than as a fully-functioning urban village (a complex phenomenon in any case). To describe it as a wasteland seems especially bizarre given the amount of recent intervention . OK, it's a big empty open space framed by architecture of varying scale and quality; it has had an attempted commercial input which has not all flourished (and we are in the middle of a recession); and some people seem wedded to a vision of this area that imbues the previous range of uses - fruit/horse market particularly - with a ridiculous veneer of nostalgia.
The glass is actually half (or three-quarters) full. Build it and they will come - eventually. It's a great urban space waiting to happen, and happen it will. But it won't happen if people are determined not to go there just to prove a point.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby StephenC » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:02 pm

Thats a fair point johnglas but you cant deny that the energy with which the area was originally developed has long gone.

There is some nice feature architecture there (the zinc stacks of the Distillery building for example, and Smithfield Market is a very well put together scheme) but the private investment in the area wont continue unless concerted public efforts area made and for me that means tackling the public domain, tackling its conectivity and relevance to the wider city, and targetiing the remaining vacant sites (including the very large one between Church Street and the square. I note a planning application here for new hoardings and further archaeological digs so it seems this gap will remain for a while yet.

The trend towards anti social behaviour in the area is also quite pronouced with groups of druggies etc regularly congregating. God only knows what the toruists in the Maldron and Park hotels think of it all. Its really not very pleasant. I think the location of the Chidren's Court here was also a big mistake in hindsight. The open space in front of it makes it much more likely for people to linger about before and after. I think the Court should be moved (apologies to all those kids who commit crimes).

The wider context also needs to be considered. The Markets, which never even got off the drawing board, must surely rate as a priority for regeneration. Even the markets building whcih was restored a few years back is falling into disrepair again. Likewise streets such as Church Street and Blackhall Place/ Manor Street and the stretch of Luas.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby hutton » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:21 pm

Hi Kefu,

  • StephenC has a good point about lack of permeability by public transport - in particular the unreformed Dublin Bus routes via Stoneybatter still adhere to tramway routes from the 1930s, by going from the city centre up the quays and across a bridge onto Blackhall Place. To my mind it seems logical that with the redevelopment of Smithfield, some of these should have been rerouted by North King and Church Streets and via Fr. Matthew Bridge - hence delivering services to SF, rather than bypassing.
  • Separately from what I understand, the developers rented out a massive "step-down" space out to the HSE for addicts, in the block adjoining the motor tax offices. I suspect they rented out in desperation for some kind of revenue, however my understanding is that the facility is far larger than purely that for local needs. Smithfield was already providing home to the children's court and also the probation service - yet the cumulative effect of all of these in the one place, in the absence of living commercial space, has really made it a no-go area.
  • Finally the tower, now closed for over two years, and the tall lamps unused, are really the final straw in terms of sending out all the wrong signals of dereliction and closure. These gave a sense of vibrancy that could be attractive to parents and their children, and while there may be issues about burning gas, there must be some inexpensive way to rehabilitate. Instead, idle and empty, these past attractions seem to compliment the stained and tatty awnings for the closed Park Hotel and convenience stores.


On the upside, in my opinion the Dice Bar and the Cobblestone pub continue to be successful, and imo Dice Bar has done more for regeneration of that area than the Luas - which imo has been counter-productive thru having been over-engineered and anti-pedestrian and anti-cyclist - please note the "no pedestrian" signs and barriers erected by Luas on pavements at Benburb and Church Streets - madness!
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby kefu » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:50 pm

Thanks for all the responses. Not sure how much I will be able to fit in as have spoken to quite a few of the businesses in the area as well. Hopefully, it will give a fair picture otherwise.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby gunter » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:41 pm

johnglas wrote:I think some of the posts about Smithfield are far too negative . . . . and some people seem wedded to a vision of this area that imbues the previous range of uses - fruit/horse market particularly - with a ridiculous veneer of nostalgia.


I'm not letting you away with that johnglas, this is not about nostalgia. Smithfield was laid out and built as a market space and despite all the dereliction and decay it still retained vestiges of this market use until the planning authorities chose, in the late 1990s, to allow the total demolition and redevelopment of the west side. This killed off any connection with the 17th century origins of the urban space and erased all the subsequent layers. Continuity of use and fabric was thrown away. The place is not 'Smithfield' any more, now it's just 'Sandyford with cobblestones', (as was stated on one of these threads before).

You'd be familiar with the Grass Market in Edinburgh! Similar size, shape, and origins to Smithfield. For sure it has more that it's fair share of dodgy late 20th century apartment and hotel developments, but imagine if it was cleansed of any remaining structures from it's original phase of construction, would it's essential character survive?

I don't think it would.

johnglas wrote:The glass is actually half (or three-quarters) full. Build it and they will come - eventually. It's a great urban space waiting to happen, and happen it will. But it won't happen if people are determined not to go there just to prove a point.


It's not about letting time take it's course and eventually it'll all sort itself out, Smithfield as a legible 17th & 18th century development is gone and it's soutside contemporary, Newmarket (in the Liberties) will follow it, if we don't attempt to learn the lessons.

StephenC wrote:
I think the location of the Chidren's Court here was also a big mistake in hindsight. The open space in front of it makes it much more likely for people to linger about before and after. I think the Court should be moved (apologies to all those kids who commit crimes).


I understand the reasons for saying that, but it really would be an indictment of planning failure and civic decline if a minor judicial function like a children's court couldn't be located on the edge of a significant civic space because the attendants were impairing other uses of the space!

Whatever about the Post-Modern tendancies in the architecture of the Children's Court, if only the philosophy of 'urban repair' had prevailed, Smithfield could have been a showcase for urban regeneration!

On the subject of dodgy planning; what was the idea of letting the new Church St. office block barge into the the vista of St Michan's tower from Smithfield?

Image

Image
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby johnglas » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:24 pm

gunter: my point about the fruit market (in particular) was not about its existence, but where it operated from - I remember thrown-together warehouses, but perhaps I'm wrong - and the fact it was largely wholesale (and hence van- and lorry-dependant), with only a secondary retail element. I have no problem at all with that vast space being devoted to market use, but it should be a continental-style market rather than just cobbled together. (And the Markets are perfect for a proper indoor market along the lines of the English Market in Cork.) The horse market is more problematical, but it can sink or swim according to popular appeal.
You know well that I'm not for 'just letting it happen'; there needs to be active promotion, management and design (do. for Newmarket), but any progress needs to build on what's there not on some 'might have been', with additional investment as appropriate (agreed the Church St block is a howler). Everything is so S(not)NAFU at the moment that we're looking at everything from the bottom of an empty glass at the end of a very long binge. That's not normal.

PS The Grassmarket is famous for drugs, hoors and booze and it's largely taken up with carparking; I love it!
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Rory W » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:04 pm

I think one of the biggest issues is that the redevelopment of the plaza area is unfinished - the liffey end of the plaza was left untouched until the luas line was completed and then... nothing. The whole thing is a lopsided mess and the derelict space left over after the luas was put through makes the whole thing a failure.

Of course the main question must be (outside of the Lighthouse, Cobblestone or Dice Bar) why would I want to leave the CBD? Where's the draw elements etc
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby RCousins » Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:29 pm

They were never quite sure what to do with Dublin's Smithfield. Markets, concerts, ice rink and so on. In the end its just a wide open space that does not work. Was there on a Saturday evening at 5.30 when City centre 10 minutes away was packed. You would think there would some life in the area. Not at all. All that were around were a few drunks and a couple of people crossing the square on route to town.

But the new Lighthouse Cinema is great.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby gunter » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:47 pm

There's a current planning application (Reg. no. 3045/09) in for the old Tully's Tiles premises, 56 - 58 Smithfield and 1 - 6 Haymarket.

Image
pic of model in the planning lobby.

Looks like Smithfield will be getting an uncomplicated, seven storey, square, office block, that'll really liven things up!

Until Tully's Tiles extended their corner premises in the early 1980s, with a blank concrete warehouse, this was the site of three splendid former 'Dutch Billys', including one of the tallest in Dublin, no. 4 Haymarket :mad:

Image
a 1950s aerial view from the south with the rear of 4,5 & 6 Haymarket outlined in red.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Service charge » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:25 pm

Smithfield is a complete failure. I lived there in 2001. Even then most of the commerical space was empty. In fact the space opposite the chimney has been empty since it was built, despite the fact that it faces onto the sq.

What happened to using the space as a concert venue, there's a control box at the south end of the sq built especially for concerts.

The area will continue to decline when the criminal courts move to parkgate street dragging much of the day trade away. The siting of the new courts was a huge mistake and should never have been allowed. It should have been kept in the 'legal quarter'. The site of the new offices, the Kings building, or the brown field site beside it should have been used.
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