New Plan announced for Parnell Square
"With the completion of O' Connell Street next year, we are turning our
attention to Parnell Square which has great potential to become a significant
and attractive cultural destination for Dubliners and tourists" said John
Fitzgerald, City Manager.
A Framework Plan for Parnell Square has been completed by Howley Harrington
Architects on behalf of Dublin City Council in association with the Office of
Public Works, the Rotunda Hospital, The Gate and Academy Theatres, The Dublin
Writers museum and the Abbey Presbyterian Church. The plan, which was
presented today to the Central Area Committee of Dublin City Council, aims to
transform a square which "is undervalued, underused and under performing" and
which also suffers from poor public perception.
Parnell Square will, during the lifetime of the plan, benefit from over â‚¬200
million of public and private investment. Dublin City Council has already
begun the â‚¬12 million extension to Dublin City Gallery- the Hugh Lane Gallery
which will open early next year. "This Framework plan is ambitious and
visionary - but most of all it is achievable" said John Fitzgerald.
The Plan recommends the following
Â· Upgrading the Public Domain on all sides of the Square- Footpaths, lighting,
trees and bus lay-bys to be upgraded to the same standards as those prevailing
in O'Connell Street and on-street parking and bus lay-bys to be re-organised.
Â· An Urban Pergola and Sculpture Promenade on Parnell Square East to stretch
from the Gate to the Abbey Presbyterian Church containing outdoor sculpture.
Â· Rejuvenating The Ambassador Theatre which could become a cabaret type
theatre with restaurant cafÃ© and bars.
Â· Making the Garden of Remembrance more welcoming and accessible with:
o The entrance to the Garden to be improved.
o A new gate from Parnell Square North
o Improved accessibility for all within the park
Â· Abbey Presbyterian Church (Findlaters') to be accentuated by extended
pavements and floodlighting
Â· National Museum of Literature: Improve and expand the existing Dublin
Writers Museum to become a National Museum of Literature
Â· New anchor use for the ColÃ¡iste Mhuire Site possibly a luxury hotel
Â· New City Childrens Garden and crÃ¨che on the Northwest Corner very
appropriately situated beside the Rotunda and Garden of Remembrance. There
will be a new contemporary "Cabbies" shelter built on the location of former
Rotunda: A new masterplan for the Rotunda hospital to facilitate the
consolidations, expansion and improvement of clinical facilities while
contributing positively to urban design. There was broad agreement with the
Rotunda on the following
o New four story buildings facing on the Parnell Square east and west with
increased car park facilities. The ground floors to have appropriate
commercial and public uses.
o A new public garden, recreating the original garden designed for the centre
of the Square. This garden would be linked to all surrounding streets and to
the Garden of Remembrance. This would create a possible new North South
pedestrian route from the Hugh Lane Gallery, across the Garden of Remembrance,
through the new Rotunda garden and through the historic hospital building onto
The Plan is to be implemented in three phases. Phase one, which will take
eighteen months, will include improvements to pavements, roads, parking as well
as installing decorative street lighting and planting trees. This phase also
includes the flood lighting of the Church and the commencement of the
improvements to the Garden of Remembrance entrance. This work will cost â‚¬25.6
million including the â‚¬12 million already being spent on the extension to the
Hugh Lane Gallery due to open next year. The second and third phases have
Michael Colgan, Director of the Gate Theatre said "Parnell Square was once an
epicentre of cultural life in Dublin because of the vision of one man, The
Rotunda Hospital founder, Dr. Bartholomew
Mosse. He developed the area from nothing to one of the most sophisticated
neighbourhoods in the city where nobility, gentry and ordinary people alike
came to enjoy some of the best music Europe had to
offer as well as a civic area devoted to the patronage of fine arts. Nearly
250 years later, we now have an opportunity for Parnell Square to be restored
to its former purpose and glory".
Master of the Rotunda , Dr Michael Geary said: "The building of new modern
clinical facilities around the perimeter of the Square will allow the
restoration of the Rotunda Pleasure Gardens in the centre of the Square. This
will enable the Rotunda Hospital to continue its proud tradition of excellent
maternity care throughout the 21st century and beyond and place it as the
central axis of an exciting and improved cultural quarter".
Klaus Unger, Assistant Principal Architect Office of Public Works said: " We
aim to make the Garden of Remembrance more welcoming and universally accessible."
Sean Harrington of Howley Harrington, author of the plan said "Parnell Square
is Dublin's lost Georgian square. At the end of the great axis running from St
Stephen's Green through the rejuvenated O'Connell Street northwards the square
has the potential to be the jewel of the north side of Dublin City