Decentralisation and the Customs House

Home Forums Ireland Decentralisation and the Customs House

Viewing 37 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #706678
      mturley
      Participant

      My colleague Deputy Eoin Ryan is wondering what should happen to the Customs House now that the Department of the Environment is moving to Wexford. Seeing as the Customs House is such a architecturally important monument perhaps it should host a permanent exposition of Dublin architecture (good and bad) and lost (i.e. destroyed) architecture of Dublin. If you have any ideas why not get in contact or post a comment and I will pursue these with Eoin.

      http://www.michaelturley.com/home/?postid=20
      [email=michael@michaelturley.com:2dlahnmj]Michael Turley[/email:2dlahnmj]

    • #738237
      stira
      Participant

      Decentralisation is not a good idea, i mean i heard that it would relieve Dublin of quite alot of pressure. Now 10,000 is the total number that can be moved, lets be optimistic and say 7500 actually do. That number will be replaced within three months at most with the speed Dublins pop. is growing at.

    • #738238
      Rory W
      Participant

      I see a visionof the Custom’s House Bar – an 18th century theme bar with C(r)apital Bars at the helm

      If there is a location for an architectural museum – what better place than Gandons masterpiece

    • #738239
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      the man wasnt asking if decentralisation was a good idea or not he is looking for any comments on the possibility of having an architecture gallery in the custom house. i for one think this is a great idea since a big attraction to this city for tourists is the old architecture, we could combine this with a gallery for contemporary architecture like the ones in most major european cities. it could involve exhibitions that usually happen in the opw, aai awards, riai awards, travelling exhibitions, student theses etc.etc. i have heard rumors of the aai looking at the possibilities of setting up an architecture museum in the city, the custom house would be a great site, near to the centre, an icon of the city, serviced by the luas etc etc.

    • #738240
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      The AAI is not looking to set up an Architecture Museum, but to organise an architecture centre to allow more exhibitions…

      also the architecture archive is moving to new premises next year with a permanent exhibition space (afaik)

    • #738241
      ro_G
      Participant

      would the AAI use an architecture centre to display current competitions? or do RIAI have the bag on that?

    • #738242
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      RIAI run competitions would be RIAI area.

    • #738243
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I have one suggestion for Eoin Ryan,

      Get elected to Europe you are an honest man that did good work as a junior minister.

    • #738244
      notjim
      Participant

      doesn’t the customs house have a fine edwardian interior? it’s hard to imagine that working well with a museum of architecture whiere a bigger blanker space would be needed. now, I haven’t ever been in the customs house, i could be wrong on this. it might work well as a home for various archives and the civic museum, looking cramped where it is now, and a tourist center and library, a combination of civic uses. maybe the Dublin office of the OPW could be there after they sell Stephen’s Green. the main thing would be to get people coming in and out again and through the riverside doors, its so sad looking the way it is now.

    • #738245
      sw101
      Participant

      can we not give it to tony reddy? give him a three digit number to aim for as a plot ratio and watch the fun

    • #738246
      GrahamH
      Participant

      The part behind the portico of the south front is the only surviving interior of the building, it’s a typical Gandon space – very architectural with vaulted ceilings and bold piers and niches carved from Bath stone. Some of it is still blackened from the fire.
      The carved detail in here is superb as it’s not often you get to see cut stone that hasn’t been weathered by the external elements.

      The rest of the building is typical 1920s – a hybrid of Edwardian sophistication and early 30s styling. It would work well as an exhibition space; It’s not as if it’s a cluttered Victorian interior – but rather a more streamlined ‘old-fashionedness’

      Please excuse my pathetic pettiness, but I always REALLY hate it when people call it the Customs House – especially in the media. It’s the Custom House. The only place you find the s is in the crappiest of American guide books and on TV3!

    • #738247
      Anonymous
      Participant

      There are three uses that should be incorporated into the Custom House.

      Firstly prior to it’s destruction in 1921 the Custom House was the centre of records for Ireland, it should revert to this role again. Thereby giving the Diaspora the best possible surroundings to find their anscestry.

      Secondly it should become the HQ of Tourism Ireland given the high dependency we have on Built Heritage tourism it is arguably Irelands finest period building.

      Thirdly as Michael pointed out it could become an Architectural Museum open to all, and possibly the management of it could be given over to the AAI to ensure that the content is of the highest possible standards

    • #738248
      ro_G
      Participant

      don’t forget there are other gov. depts staying in dublin – nothing to say they wont relocate or spill into this building

    • #738249
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Correct ro_G

      But no other Govt departments could extract a premium value from a special building to the same extent.

      Finance is best placed in the same building as the Dail

    • #738250
      ro_G
      Participant

      Govt Depts? Extracting Premium Value? Ehhh. I work for one of one of our auspicous government departments (under Finance) and they don’t even have premium tea-bags, never mind an abstract notion such as premium value from a building.

      I currently work in a pre-fab by the way. πŸ™‚

      For buildings McCreevy can sell, lease whatever, they will focus on them first. The ones they have sunk costs in, and can’t release such as Customs House wont be considered early as they cant generate short term cash.

    • #738251
      Anonymous
      Participant

      True how Niave of me,
      but to use one of his analogies Horses for courses

      Lets see if this Eoin can sort something

    • #738252
      ro_G
      Participant

      Ah don’t get me wrong I’d like to see it used for something good but I just can’t see it happening, and without specific public pressure to do something with it I would gamble on it becoming just more civil servant office space.

      Personally. I’d like to see it used a Now and Then exhibition of Docklands Devlopments.

    • #738253
      ro_G
      Participant

      I think a representation of Dublin’s trading past and present (from the trading in the dock from visiting and docked ships to the financial trading in the IFSC) would be a fitting and beneficial use of the Custom House. But alas, the cynic in me sees it being poached by a department if not kept in the public debate.

    • #738254
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I agree with ro_G,

      While Temple Bar successfully reversed Urban Blight it never delivered a qualitative tourist venue.

      Given the Relolution in trading acumen in this City over the last decade I think we deserve a monument to this extraordinary acheivement.

      only Singapore has done more

    • #738255
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Originally posted by Paul Clerkin
      also the architecture archive is moving to new premises next year with a permanent exhibition space (afaik)

      What does ‘afaik’ stand for? excuse my lack of cop on, but I cannot make it out! Do you know where the Architecture Archive is moving to?

    • #738256
      ro_G
      Participant

      afaik = as far as i know. it’s geek speak πŸ˜‰

    • #738257
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      The architecture archive is moving to a much bigger house on east Merrion Square.

    • #738258
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks for that.

    • #738259
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Maybe the building’s too big for such use, there’s literally acres of office space including the basement.
      Whereas the corridors and open spaces are very fine, as far as I know the offices themselves are of the suspended ceiling variety.
      Nonetheless they are high – but it would still require a lot of money and effort to convert the whole building successfully. Hopefully the current Visitors Centre in the 18th century part will act as an encouraging precedent.

      Its such a shame that the fire destroyed almost all the building, including the beautiful Long Room – what a fantastic place it could be today – a museum in itself.
      John Beresford’s private apartments to the left-rear of the building at time of completion in the 1790s were described as ‘vieing with oriental magnificence – the palaces of Kings and Princes’. And in 1789, 50 mahogany doors at a whopping 6 guineas each were ordered for the apartments.
      What a loss.

    • #738260
      notjim
      Participant

      So here is another variation on this theme, why not move the parish records and geneological service from kildare street and use it as a superior information centre with library services like computers, newpaper reading rooms and so on, a museum of the customs house itself, a tourist information centre and on top of this, an access point for the family history services and a centre for local history research, maybe with some rooms given over to the free university.

      sorry, i meant custom house, graham, i never took you for a pedent.

    • #738261
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I agree and I think that Tourism Ireland should get the space that would not be suitable for civic use.

      Where better to market Ireland in Ireland?

      Special Use premium value is a live issue here,

    • #738262
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Strangely, this is the closest dedicated thread there is to the Custom House…

      Anyway, just reading a brief interview with Christine Casey, author of ‘Dublin’, part of the ‘Buildings of Ireland’ series just published, she highlights apparently for the first time that the rebuilding of the drum of the Custom House in Ardbraccan limestone rather than Portland stone was as much down to political pressure as it was financial!
      Pressure was brought to bear in ensuring that a ‘native’ stone would be used in the rebuilding, especially in light of the significant quantities of Portland that had already been imported for other parts of the project.
      She notes that the reconstruction budget had already significantly overun by the time the application for funds for the drum rebuilding was made, so it was inevitable that an Irish stone would be used at that stage.

      In the book she comes across as slightly vague as to precisely which was the dominant catalyst: the money or the politics, but in the interview she says: “…there was much debate in the D

    • #738263
      Desmund
      Participant

      @mturley wrote:

      My colleague Deputy Eoin Ryan is wondering what should happen to the Customs House now that the Department of the Environment is moving to Wexford. Seeing as the Customs House is such a architecturally important monument perhaps it should host a permanent exposition of Dublin architecture (good and bad) and lost (i.e. destroyed) architecture of Dublin. If you have any ideas why not get in contact or post a comment and I will pursue these with Eoin.

      http://www.michaelturley.com/home/?postid=20
      [email=michael@michaelturley.com:2poxc57b]Michael Turley[/email:2poxc57b]

      My suggestions are as follows

      1) Knock the building down thus freeing up much needed space on which to build cheap housing
      2) Turn it into luxury appartments
      3) Knock it down and build the conference centre in it’s place. The vast amount of space it occupies could accomodate a sizeble indoor arena – I reckon the area freed up could accomodate a 10,000 seater arena
      4) Turn it into a theme park. I imaging this would be a first internationally? A massive theme park in the centre of a major city. What a boast!!

    • #738264
      Sue
      Participant

      Desmund old sport, irony never works in print

    • #738265
      fergalr
      Participant

      Graham, isn’t that the way things are in Ireland. We can never do things properly.

      I don’t suppose refurbishing it to its Gandonian original would be on the cards…alas.

      In my opinion, it’d be a better location for the National Library than the cramped one they’re using at the minute..but they won’t move.
      Personally, I think the building is too grand in appearance and in pedigree to be used as a tourist office. An architectural museum would be a fine thing for it.
      And given the size of the place, there would surely be space for a museum on the Irish diaspora too.

      On a related matter, will the Loop Line ever come down?
      There were plans in recent years to rebuild it, to make it more transparent.

    • #738266
      fergalr
      Participant

      Graham, isn’t that the way things are in Ireland. We can never do things properly.

      I don’t suppose refurbishing it to its Gandonian original would be on the cards…alas.

      In my opinion, it’d be a better location for the National Library than the cramped one they’re using at the minute..but they won’t move.
      Personally, I think the building is too grand in appearance and in pedigree to be used as a tourist office. An architectural museum would be a fine thing for it.
      And given the size of the place, there would surely be space for a museum on the Irish diaspora too.

      On a related matter, will the Loop Line ever come down?
      There were plans in recent years to rebuild it, to make it more transparent.

    • #738267
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      @Graham Hickey wrote:

      Anyway, just reading a brief interview with Christine Casey, author of ‘Dublin’, part of the ‘Buildings of Ireland’ series just published, she highlights apparently for the first time that the rebuilding of the drum of the Custom House in Ardbraccan limestone rather than Portland stone was as much down to political pressure as it was financial!

      Where did you see the interview? She also said as much in an interview with Ryan Tubridy on the radio a few days ago. (I’d usually prefer to cut off my foot than listen to him, but CC was my thesis supervisor a few years ago so I made an exception. Her reaction to his stated love of Farmleigh was priceless- a model of diplomacy that didn’t quite hide her shock. He sounded awfully wounded too and made noises about how great the gardens were, what a great place it is for kids, etc.)

      She’s the biz, and I’m delighted to see the book has finally appeared. It was in the pipeline since the late 1990s. Pity that it’s only Dublin within the canals though- it was originally meant to take in the whole city (and maybe county too?).

      @Graham Hickey wrote:

      Unusually shaped book too….

      The reason is that it derives from Pevsner’s Buildings of England series, which was designed to fit into the glove compartment of a car for those sunday drives.:) Very much meant as a manageable field guide, and organised accordingly.

    • #738268
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Thought as much – it’s similar to a 9 inch brick πŸ™‚

      Yes a wonderful book, packed to the rafters with information, as its Pevner colleagues are.
      Heheh – most people’s reactions to Farmleigh are on exactly the same lines, “but, but but why – it’s Victorian isn’t it?”
      The interview was only a brief piece, in the local paper of her home town πŸ˜‰

    • #738269
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      “…her home town…”?? Someone else’s (home?) town too, methinks.

      I think Santa might be putting one in my stocking this year- it will be a busy christmas around Dublin if so. I have a vision of archiseekers bumping into each other in the snow as we tramp our way around the back lanes of town (but avoiding each others’ gazes, obviously:) ).

    • #738270
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Interesting that Farmleigh and the Custom House be mentioned in the same thread. As I wondering if any one new why the idea of using a type of Portland cement made of crushed Portland stone could not be used on the existing drumof the Custom House in the same way that Farmleigh is rendered. It is rather a quick fix and perhaps it would clash with genuinne Portland stone. Its just that the 1991 conservation work was an ideal time to carry out such work. Can anyone shed any light on the idea?

    • #738271
      fergalr
      Participant

      Yes. I’d be very interested to hear too. The Abraccan stonework is nonsensically out of place.

      If the building is to be abandoned by the Dept, would it be possible to open up the whole of th esouth front’s arcades. At the moment the building is like a mute, sitting there with no contact with the outside world.

    • #738272
      GrahamH
      Participant

      True, and this would be nice, but unfortunately the place’d be destroyed. That’s the very reason the arcading is railed off and the doors sealed, though the doors may well even be dummies at this stage – surprising really they weren’t punched through for windows in the 20s reconstruction….

      And even as it is, the exposed parts of the ground floor suffers from the odd bit of vandalism.

      But certainly you’d wonder alright about plastering over the limestone with a Portland-based mortar, similar to what is apparently being done on the National Museum and Library as mentioned before. There they are using a mortar with a certain amount of ground sandstone in it to maintain the colour and texture of the existing Mountcharles sandstone dressings. It’s taking forever to do though, they’ve been at it for years…

    • #738273
      fergalr
      Participant

      Haven’t they?! I was up there last week and I couldn’t believe how long it’s taking, must be four years now?

      But the results are breathtaking, aren’t they?

      And I would wonder, while I take your points about vandalism, that if the building was used for a purpose that would give put it in demand for a large portion of the day, if the arcades etc would get that much done to them by ne’er-do-wells.
      Bank of Ireland is a good example of such a building, and there’s nothing saying they couldn’t just close the arcades at night, like the College Green forecourt.

Viewing 37 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Latest News