May 22, 2006 at 11:19 pm #708642AnonymousInactive
I am interested to find out what the public and perhaps state interest would be in a modern, well presented and properly funded transport museum somewhere in the Dublin city area.
The National Transport Museum has been in existence for many, many years, quietly going about it’s business, maintaining a large collection of vehicles of yesteryear, some in beautifully restored state, and some derelict, waiting for some mythical time in the future when circumstances will allow their restoration. While operating a small public museum in the grounds of Howth Castle with great dedication, and barely keeping itself afloat from year to year, they have been practically ignored by state and public, with just small handfuls of delighted families paying a visit on sunny Sunday afternoons, and the occasional open day, helping to balance the books.
The Covent Garden Transport Museum in London, a stunningly modern exhibition of the heritage of London Transport, of old buses and trams and tube trains, has been closed for the past year, while undergoing an Â£18 MILLION sterling refurbishment, a refurbishment of a museum which was a work of art as it stood! Similarly, the transport museum at Cultra in the north of Ireland, is a fine presentation of the history of road and rail, with steam locomotives, some exiled from the Republic, as well as buses, trams, cars, and even bicycles, in a modern, purpose built display hall which is an architectural masterpiece in it’s own right.
If our own neglected National Transport Museum could have just ONE million pounds of the Â£18 million that London are spending on their refurbishment, they would be able to make some vast improvements on the corrugated iron farm buildings that they have been banished to, hidden away in a dark corner of some obscure parkland, like some kind of embarrassment to the tourist industry here.
The vehicles and rolling stock are there. The National Transport Museum has over a hundred vehicles preserved and in working order, in various stages of restoration, including buses, fire engines, lorries, military vehicles and many other vehicles, some with marvellous stories to tell of the history of road transport in the Republic. Private preservationists, too, have their own collection of old vehicles, hidden away in barns and fields around the country, with no medium to exhibit them or operate them, apart from an occasional privately arranged road run somewhere.
With the development of new bus depots around the perimeter of the city, like Harristown, and soon, Grange Castle in Clondalkin, the fate of the inner city depots would seem to be sealed as sites for yet more apartment blocks, squandered to the building industry for short term gain. Yet buildings like Broadstone are architectural gems subject to preservation orders. The front of the Broadstone depot would make an ideal location for such a museum, with plenty of parking and exhibition space, the main building itself serving as a combined museum hall and historical archive, perhaps a library and exhibition area. The front of the museum has that wonderful wide plaza, which could be developed and landscaped in accordance, prioviding ample space for open days and exhibitions.
If Broadstone were not available, the front shed at Donnybrook Garage, itself a listed building, would make a fine, if slightly smaller, exhibition hall, to house twenty or thirty vehicles plus a fine museum exhibition.
It is mentioned elsewhere that the Natural History Museum is badly due for renovation. I agree. Perhaps if such a regeneration were undertaken, then consideration could next be given to supplying a suitable site for a worthy transport museum, as part of the National Museum collection, properly funded, and utilising the collections of restored vehicles, all of which have been lovingly restored by individuals at their own time and considerable expense, and at no cost to the state. Perhaps it is time for the state to recognise their hard work, and support them in the provision of a museum facility which would be in keeping with the importance of these fine collections, and able to stand on a par with similar fine museums in Cultra in the North, in Covent Garden in London, and elsewhere?
May 22, 2006 at 11:30 pm #777827Alek SmartParticipant
WEll Said Mr Busman….The Point Depot itself could even be a potential TM location perhaps with some of the exhibits being utilised as Hertiatge Shuttles bringing folks to and from O Connell Bridge.
Cos Tradition Demands that ALL publick transport in Dublin must cross O Connell Bridge OR travel along O Connell St..
A Jolly Good idea I should think…..Now all we need is somebody to take a decision……. 😮
May 23, 2006 at 2:31 pm #777828urbanistoParticipant
Yes i agree…though one could argue that for many yeara we had a living, breathing, fully functioning transport museum on the road in the form of our bus and rail system…still Transport 21 should sort that out….shouldn’t it?
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