Planning horror of 1960s could now be demolished


One notable shortcoming in Dublin Corporation’s otherwise all-encompassing integrated area plan for O’Connell Street was its failure to address what should happen to O’Connell Bridge House, apart from acknowledging that the coherence of D’Olier Street is “damaged” by its scale and character.

The creation of D’Olier and Westmoreland Streets between 1800 and 1810 was among the last major schemes carried out by the visionary Wide Streets Commissioners. Two grand end-pavilion buildings were built where these streets cornered on to the quays – and both of these were lost during more recent office booms.

At a time when regrettable demolitions were the order of the day, the Carlisle Building was demolished in 1962 to make way for O’Connell Bridge House and the old Ballast Office, which stood on the corner of Westmoreland Street and Aston Quay, was replaced in 1979 by a pastiche of itself concealing another office block.

O’Connell Bridge House was the earliest major property venture by John Byrne, the Kerry-born developer and close friend of Charles Haughey. He had bought the Carlisle Building in 1957 purely for its site value and enlisted architect Desmond FitzGerald, brother of former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, to design a high-rise office block.

The Irish Times