Down with trees.
July 11, 2005 at 7:01 pm #707968
Wandering around the centre of Dublin the other day, it struck me that if I were to hire a chainsaw and a nina costume and in the dead of the night cut down every “street” tree in the city centre, I’d be doing the town a favour.
First on my list would be the the clump on College Green which obscures the front of Trinity from it’s natural vantage point on Dame St. and the ones on Westmoreland Street where they’re dotted at random intervals along just ONE side of the street creating a lopsided effect. After that, I’d take out the last few clumps of London Plane on O’Connell Street. The only ones which would make me pause would be the ones in the section of Baggot Street past Merion Row. Like kittens, “street” trees can be quite cute when young. The ones on Parliament St. seemed like a nice addition initially but already (in 10 years or so?) they’re starting to f*ck up the symmetry and vista on the street. I’d chop them too.
Trees should be kept behind bars where they belong – in parks and other green areas. While they can work in some urban stret settings, I’m coming around to the opinion that they should be the absolute exception rather than the rule. The low rise nature of Dublin means that trees quickly dominate nearby buildings. Paris has some examples of tree lined streets which work but you can tell that such schemes were VERY carefully planned and designed. Such schemes can only work if the street is wide enough and the buildings are tall enough to survive competition with the trees.
July 11, 2005 at 8:33 pm #759740
All the same there are surprisingly few trees on Dublin city centre streets, but agreed that what few there are are for the most part inappropriate. Often wondered as to to the logic or mindset of those who planted the Westmoreland St or Lower O’Cll St trees – they’re quite literally just plonked there because ‘there’s a bit of pavement free’ to stick em in!
Obviously they were planted as small young plants, but they were just left to their own devices thereafter, completely forgotton about.
Agreed about Baggot Street – a very special place. This is a area people can bring their kids in 20 years time and say ‘this is what O’Connell Street used to be like’ :). Always reminds me of a mini version of the street.
They’re wonderfully architectural and define the space quite unlike any other street in the city.
Another place trees work well for the most part is along the quays – bizarrely even in front of the Four Courts! You’d never in a million years plonk them outside the Custom House, but they suit the FCs down to the ground I think.
One of Dublin’s eternal anomalies…
The key is to plan well, but also to follow through on the other side of things too, i.e. maintain them in the fashion intended.
July 12, 2005 at 10:15 am #759741AnonymousInactive
I would add further that the trees on Foster Place despite obsuring the buildings, work to great effect. Even though they seem almost to large and out of scale it just adds further to the oldy worldy atmoshere of this special cul de sac.
In fact, I’m always amazed at Foster Place, it hardly feels like Dublin at all. The only unfortunate intervention is the building which will house the new Star Bucks. I think this building is on the site of what was once part of the Hell Fire Club/ Daly’s Club (I’m open to correction as I don’t know off the top of my head which of the two or if either is correct)
July 12, 2005 at 1:08 pm #759742
I know what you mean about Foster’s Place – it always struck me as not belonging in Dublin. I used to fancy it reminded me of some part of London but I can’t remember where – certainly not the City or the West End, maybe further west – the area near Chelsea or Kensington.
July 12, 2005 at 8:36 pm #759743AnonymousParticipant
Fosters Place is one of the few places in Dublin that should never change one iota
I do agree with much of what you say in relation to trees there was a tendency during the 1970’s to visualise trees using watercolour drawings displaying trees at about a 25 year stage of maturity, unfortunatley trees don’t stay at that scale forever.
July 12, 2005 at 10:19 pm #759744
The ludicrous state of affairs on Westmoreland Street in high summer.
And College Green today:
Fully agreed about Foster Place – funny how everyone has an affection for this place. It ought not to be touched with a bargepole.
July 12, 2005 at 10:42 pm #759745AnonymousInactive
Ive just gone by the top of O’Connell St And all but one of the trees are chopped down. Its just simply shameful. 🙁 and for what, Kiosks and Square trees? Shameful.
July 12, 2005 at 11:30 pm #759746Alek SmartParticipant
And more to the point Hammy……..One of the VERY rare occassions in this project (Or any other DCC inspired one) where the work continued AFTER 16.30.
We are just leaving one of the finest and most construction-friendly weather windows that a builder could wish for yet last weekend the O Connell St Project was work-free from early Friday afternoon until Monday morning.
Once more it`s time to remember the redoubtable Spanish Senor Melis of Madrid Metro along with his simple advice……..Agree on a simple plan,start the job,WORK 24/7/365 UNTIL ITS FINISHED,break out the Rioja and declare the project officially fininhed. !
In a country such as ours,with its highly individuialistic weather patterns we constantly refuse point-blank to cater for them.
Hence every suburban housing development over the last 25 years HAD to have a big dollop of “Public Open Space” or “Amenity Area”.
This description usually translated into a large area of parkland,usually well tended,which is largely unusable for 4 to 6 months of the year due to weather conditions.
Anybody who doubts this need only keep a weather eye on the Evening Heralds Parks Football Fixtures lists where quite soon now we will be treated to the “Pitch Closed due to waterlogging” or similar.
Instead of this incredible pre-occupation with POS`s why could the planners not have standardized on REAL public amenities such as a PUBLICLY operated and affordable Aquatic Centre in EACH area of high density housing along with all-weather or indoor playing pitches.
At least this might have reduced the chances of our bored and under resourced yoof taking to the undergrowth to seek shelter whilst guzzling their trays of Dutch Gold or torching yet another Ford Fiesta.
Why the hell did our ONLY aquatic centre have to be allowed to degenerate into the farce it has become with nobody apparently responsible for ANY aspect of it ?
Unless and until our entire methodology of Urban Public Administration is thoroughly shaken up and many of it`s long term residents given the boot we shall probably end up having to seek the aid of the likes of Bono and Sir Bob Geldof to drum up a campaign to rid us of meglomaniac Civic Office dwellers. 😮
July 13, 2005 at 5:08 pm #759747
Ive just gone by the top of O’Connell St And all but one of the trees are chopped down.
That’s a disgrace alright. What kind of eejits are they for forgetting to finish off a job like that?
Seriously ‘though; I think it’s an improvement. You either have some sort of regular pattern of trees for a symmetric street like O’Connell St. or else you get rid of them altogether. Look at the state of Westmoreland St. and College Green where you have arbitrary clumps of trees.
July 13, 2005 at 5:33 pm #759748kefuParticipant
This is more great work by Dublin City Council.
Get them out of there before Joe Duffy gets a sniff of it.
Ciaran Cuffe and the Green Party will have to flog off their handcuffs.
For sale: one set of high-minded handcuffs, never used.
July 13, 2005 at 7:20 pm #759749
July 13, 2005 at 7:39 pm #759750Paul ClerkinKeymaster
I love Foster Place – should be the first stop for a Metro….
July 13, 2005 at 8:10 pm #759751
How many times has that image been dragged up? 🙂
Yes the taxis must go, but that is all. Interesting how everyone likes in here – the only place in the city centre with absolutely no service or retail attractions whatever, bar the Arts Centre – may be something implied in that…
The fact that people always say they like it and that it doesn’t feel like Dublin in the same sentence is also intriguing 😉
Some seating in here would be lovely. Noted the other day in the sun how the bone white sheen is really beginning to wear off the Foster Place screen wall of the BoI now, a lot if it seemingly being dirt thrown up by the constant traffic going by.
July 13, 2005 at 9:05 pm #759752
The 64,000 dollar question:
When Starbucks opens in the Riada building, will you give them your custom in order to avail of their outdoor seating on Foster Place? I’m still agonising over it. :confused:
I’ve never been to Starbucks, even when I lived in New York, [insert ‘smug’ smiley here] but this could be the one to make me turn… or not… or maybe…
July 13, 2005 at 9:55 pm #759753asdasdParticipant
starbucks makes fine coffee. They are somewhat disliked in America for supposedly destroying older independents – which in fact didnt happen as the desire for cofee increased in per capita terms – Dublin could do with proper cafes like Starbucks, and less native cafes selling instant, and hang sambos.
So I will definitely.
July 14, 2005 at 3:22 am #759754DevinParticipant
What about this? – Wonderful Georgian house at No 9 Merchant’s Quay – restored with much effort and care a few years back and looks great, but ehhh………..
July 14, 2005 at 3:35 am #759755dowlingmParticipant
Wow – if you guys don’t like those trees you’d REALLY hate Toronto – although since the City Council here will actually permit buildings that are taller than your average tree I suppose it does make a difference!
July 14, 2005 at 10:16 am #759756
“starbucks makes fine coffee”?? I guess it’s a matter of personal taste. I remember the first time I had Starbucks coffee (before the chain had crossed the Atlantic) six or seven years ago and being disgusted with the taste after hearing so much about the new gourmet coffee chain. A couple of years later I tried it again because I’d heard some people express a liking for it; this time, to properly evaluate it, I had a plain espresso and, again, I thought it was foul. I just don’t get it.
That’s a great example, Devin. I actually really like trees. But one London plane looks pretty much like any other while the front gates of Trinity College are unique in the world and it’s odd to think that anyone would think that they’d look better obscured by trees. Looking towards the front gates of Trinity from Dame St., it struck me that it would be strange to be a tourist, unable to take a photo of the front gates of Trinity home with me but instead had to settle with one of a clump of trees. The odd thing about the pattern of trees in the centre is that they’ve mostly been planted near or around buildings which are reasonably attractive obscuring them while brutally ugly buildings are left unadorned. A small forest of trees around Hawkin’s House would have done wonders for the Poolbeg St area.
July 14, 2005 at 10:53 am #759757Andrew DuffyParticipant
starbucks makes fine coffee
Starbucks sells calorie-laden coffee- and syrup-flavoured milk. The espresso sitting at the bottom of a half litre of warm milk is foul, and made by a trained chimp pressing a button on a super-automatic machine – Starbucks stopped training its baristas to use real espresso machines years ago.
If you want good coffee in Dublin, the best you can hope for is one of the Dunne & Crescenzo owned chains – Bar Italia or La Corte. Even then, it’s pretty mucky.
July 14, 2005 at 11:33 am #759758
They are somewhat disliked in America for supposedly destroying older independents
Without rehearsing the old arguments in detail, I think it’s an acknowledged fact that Starbucks has an agressive marketing policy whereby they blitz a new area with multiple outlets that ultimately end up competing with each other, and running smaller independents out of town. That is not to say that members of the general public aren’t complicit in this- some of the more ‘socially aware’ (for want of a better term) people I know gravitate towards Starbucks when abroad for the same reasons as (I believe) Americans gravitate towards McDonald’s- you know what you’re getting in an unfamiliar context.
I think I’ll get a take out from Bar Italia, or better still bring a flask of my famous home brew (has to be tasted to be believed 🙂 ), and sit on the steps of the BoI Arts Centre- best of both worlds.
To get back to the thread-
Most posters seem to be viewing this question from the aesthetic point of view. While this is indeed important, it should not be forgotten that greenery in a city plays an important role for wildlife – habitat for birds, migration of insects, etc – and in cleaning our air. If trees are to be removed from the city, something has to be put in their place. Roof gardens would be a good place to start, but crucially the green corridors must be joined up- there’s no point in having occasional roof gardens too far apart to be of benefit to insects.
Also, for my money the main front of Trinity is not great architecture- provincial classicism charming for its idiosyncracies, but no more than that. I’d get rid of the loop line bridge before I chop down the Dame Street trees.
July 14, 2005 at 12:02 pm #759759AnonymousInactive
Another highly improper group of trees block the Gandon portico of the former House of Lords which faces on to College Street. That area in general is a mess, despite having fine buildings around it. The “Meeting of the Waters” as its called, describes the fact that two underground disused toilets also cluter the area.
I wonder if it were possible to do way with the island and substancially widen the paths either side and find a new home for Thomas Moore. Afterall hardly any one knows he’s there, given the canopy of trees. Thus a new vista would be created as you enter College Green form Pearse Street.
July 14, 2005 at 12:43 pm #759760redabbeyreduxParticipant
I was thinking about this thread while doing Pana earlier, and it struck me that Beth Gali definitely got the trees right here. They are a really attractive green thread running through the middle of the street, without competing in any way with the existing gorgeous views of buildings such as Brown Thomas. 😀
July 14, 2005 at 1:59 pm #759761antoParticipant
The lights on pana are a bit iffy though, although I haven’t seen them at night.
July 14, 2005 at 8:19 pm #759762
Ah those infamous lights 🙂
Well at least not all big trees are bad, look at what the trusty old quay planes are conspiring to do, heheheh…
Oy ctesiphon, leave Trinity alone! Those chimneys are a design classic 🙂
Agreed about the architecture, but this is what makes it so charming, unlike its pretentious colleagues who shall remain nameless…
You can’t remotely appreciate the whole West Front anywhere except from outside the HoL portico and then only barely, as a result of those trees. Even when you’re on College Green itself you barely even realise this is a large urban space because the trees just cloak everything – just a cluttered mess to wade your way through as safely as possible (though that is another issue).
Certainly trees have a strong role to play in urban environments, esp in negating carbon damage, and sometimes large clumps are just nice for their shady comforting properties rather than just having marching architectural sticks everywhere, like the Moore trees – still in two minds about these cause I like them for the shady leafy reason (and their Christmas lights :)), but hate them for what they do to the BoI.
July 15, 2005 at 10:22 am #759763urbanistoParticipant
I agree a proper strategy for planting trees in the city is required. When you think about it this city is realy devoid of trees, apart from those mentioned so far and those along the quays. I think that Westmoreland St would be fantasic as a uniformly laid boulevard with trees kept under control. The existing trees are a little straggly.
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