O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby redeoin » Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:08 am

Just to clarify, is the entire street effectively to be narrowed to two lanes? Not just the plaza section...
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Postby StephenC » Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:24 am

Yes. The median will stay and the footpaths on either side will be widened.
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Postby Rory W » Wed Jul 09, 2003 9:12 am

I don't know wheter this is a coincidence or not, but two large infformation boards have gone up on the hordings in the middle of the street...
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Postby redeoin » Wed Jul 09, 2003 10:02 am

In that case I hereby officially apologise to the city council for accusing them of arrogance and not keeping us informed!
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Postby StephenC » Wed Jul 09, 2003 11:20 am

If the Metro is to stop at O'Connell St and D'Olier St does this mean that all that lovely (and expensive) granite will have to be torn up to faciltate construction of the stations... and horror of horrors a cut and cover tunnel! There'll be the newly planted trees to consider as well. I wonder if anyone has considered this...

Also, I notices a story in yesterdays Indo which seems to suggest that the upper end of the street's redevelopment (and this was in the contect of paving etc) was dependent on the Carlton site. No action there, no action on the street. Can this be true?
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Postby JJ » Wed Jul 09, 2003 1:52 pm

Good point Stephen,
Seems to me that if the timescale which MR Brennan has proposed to the RPA is to be achieved then the whole street will be dug up again just about when the new scheme has settled in. Thats the problem with the approach here, make it up as you go along !

Also what about the effects on the city of building cut and cover stations at D'olier Street, O'Connell Street and Stephens Green all at the same time !!!

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Postby GrahamH » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:43 am

Dear oh dear, do we know where the proposed station is going on the st?
Suppose it would make sense to have it beside the Luas line crossing the Abbey St axis, but in what format so as to be unobtrusive?

What was the wording of the Indo report Stephen - does the entire area's dev rely on Carlton?
Anne Graham appeared pretty sure the dev in this part of the st would take place in 1 years time as planned.
Does anyone know if the Carlton has been compulsorily purchased by the CC? If so there should be no delay. Something major happened with regard to this site a couple of months ago but I can't remember what.

I was always under the impression that the Georgian townhouse at the top end beside the RDHotel was the only 18th century building on the st, not so.
I was looking closely at Joseph Tudor's engraving of Sackville st from 1750, and there, on the corner of Henry St are exactly the same buildings that are there today, all be they now clad in Victorian frippery and nasty pink paint and a ghastly 80s shopfront.
This building must be fully refurbished, painted and the sashes restored. It would be wonderful to have a dignified wooden shopfront wrapping itself around the corner of the two streets, rather than the partially blank wall that currently greets visitors to Henry St.
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Postby GregF » Thu Jul 10, 2003 9:43 am

I agree regarding the refurbishment of those buildings on the corner of Henry St. and O'Connell St. They look in shite condition and would compliment the GPO if they were done up.
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Postby GrahamH » Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:30 pm

In a 1950s picture I have of them, one has a splendid wooden oriel window projecting from its facade, now in its place is a nasty vast expanse of 70s picture window crap.
I can't remember if the 'Come in and Visit' is still plastered across the same building -hopefully not.
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Postby StephenC » Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:07 pm

Here is the Indo article from 8 Jul:

THE erection of the Spire marks the beginning of the rejuvenation of O'Connell Street.

Work is already underway on the paving to provide a new civic space in front of the GPO.

The square tree-bordered plaza is to include grey, white and pink granite stones, imported from Spain and China.

The plaza is part of a radical initiative to attract more people, business and tourists to the city centre.

The reduction of traffic lanes on O'Connell Street, designed to give pedestrians priority over traffic, is also underway.

The timetable for rejuvenation is as follows:

* June 2004: All works south of the Spire as far as Prince's Street are expected to be completed by this time next year.

The plaza will include new lighting, the lime trees, which controversially replaced the older London Plane trees, and a number of retail kiosks.

* December 2004: The area from Prince's Street to O'Connell Bridge, including the Luas tram lines, will be completed during the second half of next year.

Again, the newly paved and wider central area will feature new street lighting, lines of trees and more retail outlets.

This phase sees the completion of the rejuvenation of O'Connell Street south of the Spire.

* 2005: The development of the area north of the Spire is scheduled for 2005 but is largely dependent on plans for the Carlton site, now under control of Dublin City Council. Detailed targets will not be set until after the future of that area is decided, a spokesperson said.
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Postby Zap » Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:59 pm

I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they have to tear up what they are putting down now due to the Metro - but that is of course if they ever build it (I wouldn't hold my breadth).

I don't like to be so negative but when you see the Spike fiasco, you couldn't realistically trust these people (piss-up and brewery spring to mind).

I remember clearly the extended pavement placed in front of the portico of the GPO last year only to be ripped up at most 2 months later for the initial work on the Spike.
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Postby Zap » Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:21 pm

On an upside though I must have a look at that building on the corner of Henry and O'Connell St.s - unfortately the 'Come And Visit Us' sign is alive and well but will probably go when they remove the other tacky neon signs from the street.

Any chance you can scan the old picture of this building.

I always find it regretable looking at the photos of the buildings on the street in the 1950's and comparing with now - you've got to ask yourself - was it progress?
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Postby StephenC » Fri Jul 11, 2003 10:04 am

It mostbdefinately was NOT progress and I guess that is what the IAP has admitted. O'Connell St in the 40s and 50s was a beautiful street and the centre of the city - day and night. You can see uniform shop fronts, canopys on most buildings, less traffic and a transport hub at the Pillar. The IAP is simply trying t recreate that.

On another front: last night saw the premiere of Veronica Guerin and I must say (at least from the BBC coverage) the stars looked far from celestial against their backdrop of hoardings, broken pavements and a rather shabby looking Savoy.
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Postby GregF » Fri Jul 11, 2003 10:30 am

I saw that too ......the premiere looked cheap alright because of the state of the street.......no red carpet, a tawdry Savoy etc...and a few people waiting at a crooked bus stop looking on.
Very bad image for the city.

That's true too about shop front canopies which can be a lovely decorative addition as well as being practical .....pity we don't see them any more.
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Postby Jack » Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:55 am

...from the bbc...here
...are you being totally honest with us lads!.......typically OTT from the resident Archeire drama queens!;)
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Postby GregF » Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:23 pm

was just saying what I saw - aka fact.
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Postby StephenC » Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:35 pm

I wasn't talking about the film.. just the premiere. And it looked crap. Noisy, dirty rundown O'Connell St.

Am I a drama queen.... :-)
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Postby AndrewP » Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:28 pm

Hey, the BBC journo hardly dreamed up the 'glitz' and 'red carpet'.
Unless he was drafted in from the new York Times....
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Postby Jack » Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:49 pm

was actually directed more toward GregF....you'll be glad to hear....response was....typical.....but if you want more evidence...i can show you pics of red carpet...and a report sayin there were hundreds of people there... :)
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Postby GregF » Fri Jul 11, 2003 3:08 pm

Ah I was only kidding. Actually O'Connell Street looked great with all the glitteratti, papparazzi and thousands of fanatical onlooking members of the public. The shining Spire in the backgound soaring into the clear blue sky. It was equal to a night at the Oscars or the Cannes film festival as Bono, Colin Farrell, Cate Blanchett and other major stars strolled down the red carpet from their stretch limosines into the luxurious foyer of the Savoy cinema. Definitely a night for the beautiful people. Champagne anyone!
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Postby Jack » Fri Jul 11, 2003 3:36 pm

the bbc doesn't lie;)
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Postby GrahamH » Fri Jul 11, 2003 7:23 pm

Tee hee, very topical.

I saw the premiere as well, all I could see was Fingal looming in the background, a wonderful open space - no hang on - the derilict site beside it, 200,000 tacky CFL bulbs adorning the flat 60s canopy of the Savoy, and a manky upper facade that badly needs a scrubbing.

(And I hope whoever rolled up the red carpet at the end was wearing rubber gloves, one can only imagine the joys of its underside after an evening sprawled across an O' Cll St pavement)

Ah yes, sarcasm the lowest form of wit, take the easy option & be cynical etc
I know, I know, I just can't resist it.

I'll try get the picture of Sackville Zap, (courtesy of the Sunday Times last week)

It is, to say the least, an highly idealised picture of the St, all of the parapets are as straight as an arrow, not a pitched roof in sight, and even though every house had 60 million fieplaces, each property in the picture has a single tiny Leinster House chimney perched atop.
Still, all of the buildings appear to be accurate, including the one on the Henry St corner.
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Postby GrahamH » Sat Jul 12, 2003 5:19 pm

I thought rather than just slapping up an image of Sackville Mall, I'd make up a little picture compilation of how the buildings have 'developed through the centuries' - as an estate agent would say.

So there are 5 pictures (don't worry, they're small)
1. The corner buildings in 1750, note how the first building is 5 windows wide before a jump in parapet level with the next building.

2. Same buildings in 1818, this time a more accurate image, where we can see the pitched roof.

3. In the 1950s, note the Victorian oriel window added.

4 & 5. 2003 and oh dear, Joe Walsh tours, pink window dressings & 'Come in & Visit' alive & well.
Still - note the same parapet levels as evident 250 years ago, and the same amount of windows.

Note how fantastic a decent carved wood shopfront would look here wrapping around the corner, & the building repainted etc.
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Postby Zap » Thu Jul 17, 2003 12:13 pm

The row certainly looked well in the 1950's - cheers for that Graham.
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Aug 04, 2003 8:11 pm

I was listening on the radio to a repeat of the fiasco surrounding the trees on O' Connell St, and various City Council officials were defending the decision etc - which is fair enough.
What really annoyed me though was the language used by the same officals about the upgrading of the street - saying things like "It was thought that O' Cll St had fallen into a delapidated condition" "It was widely accepted that the street was unacceptable as the city's primary thoroughfare" "We at the City Council decided to to something about it" and blah de blah blah blah

Now hang on just a second here, it was virtually exclusively, soley and entirely the fault of the Corporation that the street fell into this condition in the first place!
And whereas it would be entirely unfair to accuse officals today of the mess made, they have nothing short of a hell of a cheek to skirt around the issue of how the place fell into the woeful state it is today, ie Corporation Complacency.

It was they who allowed its paving fall into the barely concievable disgusting state it is today.

It was they who stipped the street of the dignity of lamposts by ripping out every single one in favour of floodlights as a more practical solution.

It was they who allowed road traffic to utterly dominate the street for the past 30 years, reaching intolerable levels by the late 90s.

It was they who granted full planning permission in 1982 for the demolition of the last Georgian townhouse on the street, despite it containing some of the finest plasterwork in Ireland, despite it being the last tangible landmark of how the street originally looked, and despite its accociations with Daniel O' Connell.

It was they who granted full permission for the Eircom office block, one of the ugliest buildings in the city.

It was they who allowed the demolition of Gilbeys, the demolition of the Metropole, and the gross intrusion of CIE and Burgerland buildings.

It was they who sliced the railings off O' Connell Monument, which would inevitably lead to it being soiled with every type of matter concievable.

It was they who did nothing to impove the vast expanses of dull asphalt and tarmac on it's carriageways.

It was they who allowed the prevelance of the most disgusting and offensive street furniture including 3rd World standard traffic lights and posts.

It was they who watched without so muchas a twitch as the street was devoured by fast-food joints and takeaways.

And as to whether they had resonsibilty for enacting the Derelict Sites Act upon the owners of the site beside the Carlton, admittedly I don't know, or resonsibility for whole trees who's lights were'nt working at Christmas, or whether they granted permission for so many other inappropriate schemes on the street.

It was they - above all however - that breached their policy of O' Connell Street being a conservation area, a place of 'major civic design importance'
They threw the street a bit of paving in 1988 as a consession from the scrapheap and left it at that.
As far as they were concerned it was on the Northside, Dublin 1, and the street was too large and too delapidated, and any investor who was willing to 'put some money into the area' was given pretty much a free hand to do as they wished.

Today, Dublin City Council should not be congratulated for commissioning an IAP, or 'having the vision' to execute major refurbishment works - it is, as would be described in the UK as merely 'the bleedin obvious'
The work they are carrying out is only part of wider objectives to rectify the mess made by the same public body in the past.
Never should present officals be allowed to gloat and boast about the virtues of their current project until they publicly acknowledge that it is largely their own mess they're cleaning up.
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