Smithfield, Dublin

Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby GrahamH » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:01 pm

I would tend to side with johnglas's argument that Smithfield is a work in progress, the only problem being that the 'work' halted some years ago and is unlikely to pick up again for the foreseeable future. The loss of the original fabric of this, one of the most ancient planned quarters of the city, is deeply regrettable (Franc Myles' storytelling regarding the contents of its former inhabitants' cesspits being particularly illuminating), but we must not let that drag down what we currently have (whatever that may be), while also allowing this history to inform the future use of the square.

Two issues stand out for me, other than the many mentioned above which I'd broadly concur with. Firstly, the new Markets, when/if/ever they open, will act as the critical link between the city core and Smithfield. Frankly, the long-term health of Smithfield is almost entirely dependent on this project; in the interim, I agree an open air market is the way to go to get bodies over there. An urban quarter, however attractive, cannot sustain itself in isolation from its regional setting within a city. If Smithfield presented the most beautiful and vibrant urban scene in Dublin, it would still require connectivity with the centre to achieve its maximum potential. The Markets is the critical link between Capel Street and Smithfield to revitalise the area, while also acting as a draw in itself with knock-on effects for Smithfield. (And agreed Stephen the results of the recent restoration of the main building are sadly fading already).

The other, related, problem as I see it is that Smithfield is completely disconnected from the south side of the Liffey - constituting at least a third of its catchment area. All focus is always placed on the east-west movement dilemma, but north-south connectivity from the commercial and residential zone of Dame Street, Christchurch, Cornmarket and the wider Liberties is an absolute disaster. I won't go near Smithfield, in spite of it being a cobblestone's throw across the water, because it is a nightmare to get to. The traffic management of the quays, coupled with the headwrecker that is the environs of the Four Courts, makes this a no-go area for southsiders. A number of the quay junctions don't even have pedestrian crossings, never mind the chemical lung-filling, minute-plus waits at every set of lights one encounters. It couldn't be made less attractive if it was tried. Even for myself, as an ardent battler against the tides of the 'public' realm in this city (and with plenty of visual stimulation en route), I just refuse to go over there from the south side. It's just not worth the stress of it all. Thus, for most people I can only imagine that it's northside access only, and Luas or nothing.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby ac1976 » Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:33 am

Hi Graham, I thought you were a northsider!

But anyway, you make very good and interesting points but I am wondering...
you describe the ridiculous unpleasantness of travelling to and around Smithfield (on foot) and its a great point, however, why would you want to travel there in the first place?
To buy some bananas?.... I think not.
I mean even if it was pedestrian friendly and well connected what reason would anyone have to travel there? There is no draw..unless you are seeking drug or alcohol dependance treatment, a drivers license, a fight or a day in court.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby GrahamH » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:31 pm

Well this is only too true. Aside from The Lighthouse, there really is no draw for the average citizen. But this is because Smithfield is a work in progress; as things stand it's a residential area, which by definition is somewhere an outsider has no reason to frequent. The odd bewildered tourist has greater cause to attend than locals, and if shown what they were in for from the outset, they wouldn't bother either. For citizens there are no cultural draws. There is no retail of note. There are no services. There are few commercial/office uses. Therefore there are no people. But this can change if the square and its hinterlands can be resolved in the longer term (though how the suburban housing on the eastern side can be 'managed' is beyond me - it should never have been permitted).

In the interim, a market is definitely the way to go. It could be an especially vibrant spot on designated summer nights, with a special evening market with a festival-like atmosphere, the cinema, al fresco eating and drinking - a real night out in a neat package. It can't be that difficult to cobble together with a bit of guidance from the planning authority.

ac1976 wrote:I thought you were a northsider!


I'm neither! I'm omnipresent :)
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Yixian » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:19 am

hutton wrote:ie no emigration museum, no legal museum, no craft centre, or sculpture centre - all of which were scheduled but never happened :(


emigration museum? legal museum? sculpture centre...

*drooool*
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby urbanisto » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:58 pm

Droool?...sounds like the most bnoring load of old tripe. Who on earth would visit a Legal Museum?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby ac1976 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:13 pm

StephenC wrote:Droool?...sounds like the most bnoring load of old tripe. Who on earth would visit a Legal Museum?


Exactly, I believe the current plan is to locate the Legal Museum in Kilmainham Courthouse which is adjacent to Kilmainham Jail.
It closed last year and I guess the OPW need something to use it for, the interior is largely original (although in disrepair). The only reason people would visit it would be as part of another attraction and to see a restored Victorian Courthouse, I'm sure it would add something to the experience there, but as an attraction by itself would be very limited.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0803/kilmainham.html

I guess we might xpect this to open in 2016 as part of the centinary of the 1916 Rising, no rush for the moment.

Does anyone know what they plan on doing with the Special Criminal Court Building after it moves to the new Courts Complex at Parkgate Street?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Yixian » Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:33 pm

With the right exhibits a law museum could be a big draw. You could stretch from the tribal law of Celtic Ireland to modern Irish law with landmark artifacts or documents on display.

Could easily be the most boring museum in the world too of course.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby foremanjoe » Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:45 pm

How about an 'Outlaw' museum?

How big would that have to be?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby GregF » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:50 pm

How about bringing back public hanging?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby foremanjoe » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:32 pm

Hang the bankers! Hang em high!

Maybe just have public stocks in Smithfield, put a few developers or Taoisigh in them.
It might generate the economic boost that the fruit markets need to survive?
It would draw massive crowds to Smithfield.
It would give the public a sense of satisfaction with the justice system.

A narrow plank could also be put across the Liffey at the bottom of Smithfield and criminals could be made to walk it; a solution to the North/South divide in that area with crowds on both sides of the river shaking the plank!

Would that solve most of Smithfields problems?!?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Yixian » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:55 pm

Perhaps when the Heuston plan is complete and those developments planned for around Collins Barracks are finished the crowds will be pulled west enough for Smithfield to see some interest.

.. Please nobody tell me the Collins Barracks area developments have been cancelled..
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby urbanisto » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:16 pm

Of course! whatever it was. Everything's been cancelled...didn't you get the memo?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby urbanisto » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:13 am

From today's Irish Times....

DUBLIN CITY Council is to undertake a multimillion euro project to finally complete Smithfield Plaza, 10 years after it was originally constructed.

However, it said there are no funds for the planned relocation of Smithfield horse fair.
The large open plaza was built in 1999 at a cost of £3.5 million as the centre piece of the regeneration of the run-down northwest inner city area. However, the southern end of the plaza, through which the Luas line now runs, was never finished and remains a jumble of concrete, tarmac and cobblestones. The plaza has been vastly under-utilised, and is probably best known for its annual ice-skating rink and the monthly horse market, which has been condemned by the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA).

The council is seeking about €2 million in EU funding, which will be matched by council funds, for the project which it hopes to complete by December 2010. It will be completed at a later date if EU funding is not forthcoming.

In addition to finishing the plaza it intends to provide water, drainage and power facilities on the existing space to support events and markets. It also plans to plant trees and other greenery and to provide children’s amenities on the space.

The Smithfield horse market drew attention last Sunday after an injured horse was sold to an 11-year-old boy for €8. The DSPCA has said the sale of neglected and sick animals at the market is endemic and the organisation has campaigned for the closure of the market for several years.

The council has also long sought the removal of the fair, but has been blocked by an ancient market right of horse traders to hold their sales on the land. The council did temporarily ban the fair in 2002 after a horse bolted and ran on to the quays, where it crashed into a car occupied by a woman and a child. However, the traders returned to the plaza, citing their market right.

The council has received legal advice that it could only close the fair, and extinguish the market right, if it provided a suitable alternative site. It had identified a site in the Ballymun/Finglas area, which it had begun assessing early last year. It now emerges that the council has to abandon plans for this site because of a lack of funds.

“We would have required capital funding to acquire the site, to construct the facilities, and to build things like running areas and car parking, and we would have needed funding to run the site, and in the current climate it couldn’t be done,” Charlie Lowe, manager of the central area of the city, said.

The council was still determined to remove the fair from Smithfield and was now seeking an “alternative legal remedy” for extinguishing the market right.

“The whole thing is a complete mess, but it was the local authority that allowed the market right all those years ago and it behoves the local authority to come up with a remedy... It’s on our desk and we have to deal with it.”

In the meantime, the council intends to press ahead with the completion of the plaza between Haymarket and Aran Street West and the improvement of the current facilities of the plaza.


Two words...... AT LAST!
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby urbanisto » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:15 am

Also what about this horsemarket lark....cant they pass a Byelaw to prohibit the market. Or request an Act of the Oireachtas. There must be some way to extingush the market right.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Smithfield Resi » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:58 pm

StephenC wrote:Also what about this horsemarket lark....cant they pass a Byelaw to prohibit the market. Or request an Act of the Oireachtas. There must be some way to extingush the market right.


Sure what's 1000 years of history....:rolleyes: Have you any idea how many tourists come and see this, it needs promoting (and true, policing) - it's just a shame tourists have no reason to remain in Smithfield after the horse fair..

“The whole thing is a complete mess, but it was the local authority that allowed the market right all those years ago and it behoves the local authority to come up with a remedy... It’s on our desk and we have to deal with it.”


Not sure if they mean the Horse Market or Smithfield is a mess?

I really welcome them sorting out Smithfield, but what the hell is going to cost €4m to provide "water, drainage and power facilities on the existing space" and plant a few trees??

Presumably there is already water available through the mains, power runs to the lights, and last time I checked the drains sort of worked.

My fear will be that this will be an excuse to dig up the cobble setts again, remove them on the pretext of 'drainage' and create another crap 'urban plaza' like the one on Dame Street, full of concrete 'planters'.

What's really needed is to take the land off Jameson or whoever currently being used as a cut rate surface car park and turn that into Smithfield's Garden Square - there's passive overlooking and CCTV at the Luas stop if they open up the railings, plenty of mature trees there already to get the thing rolling. (and get the rest of the cars off the square for good - there's a massive underground public carpark that is half empty under Smithfield Market)

Opposite, they should never have given Danniger permission to knock the ESB substation and give that over to an Arts organisation as was originally promised. Then sort out "The Hole", and the strip of land that was CPO'd as part of the Luas works and is now a litter trap and a source of revenue for Pat Egan's crappy IPA posters.

I hope to God there's a consultation/planning process before they make it worse...
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Smithfield Resi » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:07 pm

Just a further thought about the Horse Fair, if they have to move it - why not to the Liberties? - Newmarket would be appropriate I would think...and give Bord Failté a call...
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Adolf Luas » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:21 pm

Speaking of Smithfield, 'Bow St', a film showing at The Joinery on Arbour Hill at the moment is well worth seeing.
http://someblindalleys.com/index.php/tag/the-joinery/
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby tommyt » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:36 am

Smithfield Resi wrote:Just a further thought about the Horse Fair, if they have to move it - why not to the Liberties? - Newmarket would be appropriate I would think...and give Bord Failté a call...



The horse market is an extremely depressing, cruel affair not suited to any central Dubln location and should be closed down on animal welfare groounds alone.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby Smithfield Resi » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:03 am

The animal welfare issues can be dealt with by adequate supervision of the fair. Isn't it better to have a central location to do this and check on the welfare of the animals in the process rather than scouting the country to find abuses?
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby tommyt » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:25 am

Smithfield Resi wrote:The animal welfare issues can be dealt with by adequate supervision of the fair. Isn't it better to have a central location to do this and check on the welfare of the animals in the process rather than scouting the country to find abuses?


I personally feel the vast majority of people attending the fair have no business owning a horse. If it was motor vehicles people were trading in a similar manner or condition the whole thing would have been closed down years ago.
I see your point about controlling the process but I think it's a 'tradition' worth letting go of. It's a pitiful sight not worthy of any touristy dressing up. That's my urban, wooly liberal take on it.

Back on topic though- the city is lacking a decent equestrian themed piece of public art and Smithfield is the ideal spot for such a potentially gargantuanly scaled folly. let's keep the real ponies where they can be properly cared for by capable owners.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby urbanisto » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:51 am

I agree with tommyt, Smithfield Resi...the horse fair is a sham. Its a disgrace to allow it to continue because of some legal nicety. 1,000 years of history or not. If its necessary to continue a horsefair then it should be at a proper modern facility, just like a mart. And why on earth is it needed in the centre of a city! I cant imagine any tourists being interested in seeing 11 y/o boys being sold malnourised, poorly treated horses.

On the issue of the plans to finsih the square... I totally agree that €4m is a big budget. I would be interesrted to see the plans as well and I imagine a public consultation will take place. Another big site not to be forgotten is the triangular site bounded by Church Street and the Square. What is the story with this site?

Recently granted permission to demolish the derelict structures on the site and contineu seemingly endless archaeological excavations.
link here
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby fergalr » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:47 am

Moving the Children's Court would be one means of removing knackers from the area. It's one of the most menacing parts of Dublin at any time of the day or night. Not in the same Looney Tunes/Night of the Living Dead sense as Eden Quay... but still bad.

There's precisely four reasons to visit Smithfield at present.

1 - If you're a minor being arraigned on a criminal charge.

2 - If you're a tourist doing the Jameson tour.

3 - If you're a cinephile going to the Lighthouse.

Or

4 - If you're going to the lovely Fresh supermarket.

One side of the square is luxury apartments. One side is derelict. One side has three storey Corporation(?) houses - and is mostly derelict - and one side is cut off from the rest by a road and Luas line and is mostly officey stuff in any case.

There are cars strewn about the square. There's no seating worth mentioning. There's no attractions particularly worth listing. The only attractions for a local are the moderately pricey supermarket and an up market cinema.

Abject failure for any urban space.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby ac1976 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:57 am

The family law courts are there too, so throw in

5. Marital breakdown
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby ac1976 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:16 pm

Oh just though of another, the Motor office where u go to get your Driving license.

6. Drivers license applications.
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Re: Smithfield Wasteland

Postby lostexpectation » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:44 pm

so your saying it needs a good cleanse
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