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Thank you, Susan for your offer of information regarding Portmarnock brick. Could you advise me of your contact details at Dublin City Council Architects’ Department? Also would you have any information on the Red Stables in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny such as when they were built and if the Portmarnock brick has any structural purpose in this building? I look forward to hearing from you.
This CIÃ‰ logo was called the “broken wheel”. It is still in use today, though mostly superceded by the IarnrÃ³d Eireann, Dublin Bus and Bus Ã‰ireann logos.
There is one aspect of the design of this bridge which I find to be good for traffic using it. This bridge facilitates cyclists, wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs. I will say that it can be such a pain-in-the-arse lugging a bike up a flight of steps and I’m sure parents will say the same about pushchairs. However the spiral “sliproad” approaches also act as a traffic calming measure by preventing children from charging across it and knocking down any pedestrians. It also makes good use of land on either side of the line. My only qualm is that it should be wide enough to have two lanes, one for pedestrian traffic and another for cyclists, the latter surfaced with a red material. It can be said that the beauty of this bridge is its simplicity. It is far superior to the crap that preceded it.
There is one detail about Dundalk Clark which I find to be of interest. Immediately south of the Carrickmacross Road bridge on the Down side there is a limestone retaining wall with a line of two courses of the GNR(I)’s famous trademark yellow brick. This wall has coping stones and is a typical railway structure. There is the same detail on the former Hill of Howth tramline next to Howth railway station. These yellow bricks follow an imaginary line which would be the same as the level of a bridge deck. This type of feature occurs a lot on railway structures, especially those built in the Victorian era. Could anyone enlighten me on this?
One item of street furniture which fascinates me is concrete lampposts. Though now quite rare this type of street furniture was quite common until ten years ago. There a few varieties of concrete lamppost. The first type could be found on the following streets in Dublin and in counties Antrim and Down.
-Grattan Row, outside Inchicore railway works
-various roads in Finglas
-Seafield Road Clontarf
-James Larkin Road
-Old Finglas Road
A few examples can still be seen on Sandwith Street, near Pearse Station and on Wexford Street.
There were single- and double-arm versions of these, the latter intended for dual carriageways. These were located on:
-Baggot Street, outside Bank of Ireland headquaters
-Patrick Doyle Road, adjacent to the Nine Arches, Milltown
I recall once watching a documentary, “The Seven Ages of the Irish Free State”. One item featured was the inauguration of electric street lighting in the 1930s on the Dublin-DÃºn Laoghaire road (Rock Road in Booterstown). An “Irish Independant” article was shown with with what were clearly lampposts of this type. In the 1960s LEGO produced Matchbox sized versions of these.
There were two variations of the above lamppost, one on which the arm was the same as the above but without the curl from which the light was hung. This version was on Market Street, Portadown in the 1950s. This is apparent in the street scenes on http://www.portadownphotos.freehome. With the second variation the arm extended out horizontally. This type of lamppost could be seen on:
-Naas Road, from beginning of dual carriageway to Kylemore Road crossroads
-At Superquinn, Finglas
-At Cork Street/ Dolphin’s Barn, near the Coombe Hospital there was a double arm version.
There was also a scaled down or “baby” version of the above lamppost which was mainly used on residential roads and housing estates such as Edenmore and Fairview Avenue on the northside of Dublin. There are two examples of these in Oldcastle, Co. Meath. A feature of this lamppost was a bar above the capital on which a ladder could rest. In former years these lampposts invariably had a cone shaped mercury light hung from them.
It is interesting that there was a definite of design with these lampposts, with well-proportioned base and capital. It could be argued that these lampposts have an “Art Deco” style to them.
The second type of lampost, of much plainer design but still quite aesthetic can still be seen on Townsend Street; Brookwood Avenue; Greencastle Road, Coolock; Jervis Street (a few examples); and Dartry Road. These lampposts were formerly on the following streets:
-Oscar Traynor Road
-North Circular Road (west of Phibsboro’)
A rather chunky double arm lamppost was on O’Connell Street, Westmoreland Street, D’Olier Street and College Green. One or two examples can still be seen. There were also a couple of miscellaneous varieties of lamppost. One type, a double arm version was found on Beresford Place with a single example outside the King Sitric Restaurant in Howth. Another type was to found in the grounds of the Bon Secours Hospital in Glasnevin.
I understand that Moracrete produced most of these lampposts in Crumlin, Dublin. What is ironic is that for an item that could be regarded as rather British, the production of these lampposts was a result of De Valera encouraging import substition during the 1930s. Tariffs were put on British imports which resulted in the establishment of Irish industries to produce these products.
While spalling on these lampposts has resulted on them being decapitated or removed, they were nevertheless an aesthetic item of street furniture compared with junk that graces the Howth Road between Killester and Blackbanks or in Santry Village or the tacky rubbish now found on Abbey Street and the Quays.
It is interesting to note that this bridge which I referred to in the “Dundalk Railway Station” thread has space for a quadruple track. How would the approaches to this bridge be described? They are like sliproads at a motorway junction (like the junction at the north of Naas on the N7, not the “Mad Cow” futher north with with the LUAS bridge).
Regarding Grange Road station it will be an integrated transport terminal. It will be possible to change onto bus (but not tram) and it will have a taxi rank.
Regarding bridges on this line the pedestrian overbridge at Killbarrack with the spiralling “sliproad like” approaches featured in some 2000 edition of the “Irish Architect”. It is also worth noting that this bridge can accommoate quadruple track, like Collins Avenue and Brookwood Avenue overbridges.
What about the Millennium Clock in the Liffey, “The Chime in the Slime”?
The new station north of Howth Junction is provisionally referred to as Grange Road which will be at milepost 5 3/4. It will have four platforms and have a track layout similar to Belfast Central (an architectural disaster of the 1970s). I understand that Bayside on the Howth branch, long a haunt for local guerriers will be rebuilt under the DASH plan.
Regarding the Tayto factory in Coolock it could be said that apart from manufacturing an Irish cultural institution (Tayto crisps) this factory is an interesting example of Brutalism, mass in-situ concrete architecture of the 1970s.
What about naming roads after politicians such as Oscar Traynor Road in Coolock or Tom Bellew Road in Dundalk? Could anyone tell me who Oscar Traynor was? I gather that he was a minister.
For those curious about railways in the Clontarf area I will fill them in this.
I will start with the bridge over East Wall Road which has been constructed with an extra third (depot approach) track, as well as the running lines and headshunt. When the Dublin and Drogheda Railway was constructed in the 1840s, a stone arch bridge was built over East Wall Road. It was blown up in 1923 during the Civil War. The replacement lattice girder bridge was washed away in a flood in 1954. A reinforced concrete bridge replaced this and was widened with advent of DART. Immediately north of this is the Dublin Port Tunnel. There is a middle single arch bridge approximately where the platforms used by DART drivers are. It is difficult to locate this bridge as the area around it has been filled in. Just north of Clontarf Road station is the Skew Bridge, a famous local landmark. It is also quite a remarkable piece of engineering. Early in the twentieth century the sea went under the arch nearest Clontarf Road station, the other arch accommoding the road with a tramline. I imagine that the Middle Arch and East Wall Road bridges were carbon copies of the Skew Bridge. The next underbridge after this is Howth Road. Immediately north of this bridge, where there are signals on either side of the line was Clontarf [GNR(I)] station. As I have metioned before, the gate piers for access to this station are still there at road level, with the GNR(I) polychrome brick dwelling on the Up side.
At Killester there was a typical GNR(I) signal cabin, just south of Collins Avenue overbridge.
Other buildings of railway/tram interest in this suburb is Clontarf Bus Garage, formerly the tramsheds. The tramsheds are still there though converted for bus use. These originally had a redbrick facade with typical decorative Victorian brickwork. I understand that CIÃ‰ covered over this with a 1970s brick facade. At the back of the tramsheds are cottages built for tram workers with typical Victorian “railway” architecture. The tramline opened in 1898 and closed in 1941.
I note from an RPSI e-mail that it is proposed to reopen Dunleer and open a new station at Newfoundwell/ Drogheda. It mentions nothing about Castlebellingham.
Graham, I that the above will be of interest.
I agree with you about tacky PVC at Donabate. It is a similar story with Howth signal cabin. Has anyone seen the interior of the footbridge at Dunalk station? It would make one vomit. It has been painted with the colours used in the new “COMMUTER” livery as applied to the railcars. It a repeat of the nonsense of the 1980’s when CIÃ‰ painted the platform 5 facade in Connolly in DART green.
Regarding the “modern” portion of the Dublin Bus building in O’Connell Street could anybody fill me in on the history of this building such as when it was built and who designed it? It appears that this building is 1960’s architecture and was built as an extension to the original Dublin United Tramways Company (DUTC) building. Although it may not be as grand as the neighbouring Victorian buildings, it still an interesting piece of 1960’s architecture.
Regarding what Clontarf station (the GNR(I) halt once accessed from the Howth Road), may I suggest a book which has photos of other GNR(I) halts which were carbon copies of Clontarf. “Along UTA Lines- Ulster’s rail network in the network in the 1960’s” by Ian McLarnon Sinclair, published by Colourpoint http://www.colourpoint.co.uk has some photos of interest. Study the photos of Adelaide, Dunmurry and Derriaghy, especially Derriaghy. The common features of these stations (platforms, picket fencing, waiting shelters and lamp standards with cast iron nameplates were what existed at Clontarf. I am sure of this as having shown these photos to my father, he confirmed that Clontarf was similar to, if not the same as these stations. Another source of interest is in the J.P.O’Dea Collection in the National Photo Archive in the Temple Bar. In this collection’s catalogue there are two photos the Dublin section. These are listed as “Howth Road”. In the absence of actual photos of Clontarf station which I know of I hope that this will be of help.
Clontarf station, which closed in 1956 was on the same side of the Howth Road underbridge as the red brick station master’s residence. Again the gate piers for access to the station are still in-situ beside the footpath. There are are signals, one on either side of the tracks which are on the site of the platforms. If you look closely on the Down side there are a couple of concrete stumps on the site of the platform.
Regarding ugly buildings the one building which I would nominate is the Mother of Divine Grace Catholic Church in Raheny, near Raheny crossroads. It is totally out of scale with the neighbouring buildings, not that I have anything against tall buildings. It is more suited to being a hangar for a stealth bomber aircraft than as a place of prayer and reflection. The triangular mish-mash at the front of this monolithic mess is very demanding on the eye. To me this building is a good metaphor for how the Catholic Church was all powerful in the 1960’s. It reflects how dictatorial Archbishop John Charles McQuaide was to his flock and society in general, not to mention his egotism. The interior of this church resembles more a warehouse than the House of God. Forklift trucks and wooden pallets would look more at home here than church furniture. I feel that this building is a good candidate for demolition.
What Howth Junction and Clontarf stations looked like before DART are based on what I have read and seen in railway books and photos and what I have learned from talking with other people.
The layout of Howth Junction was the same pre-DART as today. However on the Dublin bound Howth branch platform there was a standard GNR(I) waiting shelter as can be seen at Laytown and Malahide. There was a signal cabin just where the tracks diverge, the same as was at East Wall Junction and Knockmore Junction. The latter junction is where Antrim line branches off and until the 1950’s the Banbridge line branched off the Belfast line. The signal cabin was not the standard GNR(I) design but of brown brick with courses of Staffordshire blue brick. This was demolished after a female “squatter” was using the cabin to entertain her “guests” following its closure in 1982 or 83. There were also two cottages in the “V” between the Howth and Belfast lines.
Clontarf station (and not Clontarf Road, the station that opened on 01. September 1997) was a halt with two platforms constructed from timber sleepers. I imagine that there may have been a standard waiting shelter here. In a photo dated 1898 there is a signal cabin on the Up (Dublin bound) side of the line, just north of the Howth Road overbridge. It was located a few hundred metres north of the present Clontarf Road station, next to the polychrome brick station master’s residence. Based on what I have heard from my father and late grandfather facilities were very basic. The 1898 photo is from the SeÃ¡n Kennedy collection. It might be worth contacting the Irish Railway Record Society to get a copy of this photo. I will add that from East Wall Road bridge to Clontarf Road “Skew Bridge” was once a causeway, like across the Broadmeadow Estuary, north of Malahide.
It is difficult to describe in a few words what things were like. It might be worth checking out some railway books such as the IRRS journals and books by the author Michael H. C. Baker.
I have some information about the GNR(I) main line which may be of interest to you.
In the 1950’s the GNR(I)/ GNR(B) had made provision for quadrupling between East Wall Junction and Howth Junction. This is apparent from two bridges built at this time, Collins Avenue and Brookwood Avenue bridges which are south of Killester and Harmonstown stations respectively. I have a copy of a Dublin Corporation drainage drawing which includes Collins Avenue overbridge. In this drawing there are two “ghost” tracks on either side of the double track which are marked “space for future track”. It will be noted that Brookwood Avenue bridge is not filled on on either side of the track; the cutting continues under the bridge.
North of Clontarf Road station there is a GNR(I)polychrome building on the Up side of the line. This is adjacent to Clontarf station which closed on 09. September 1956. I understand that this station had platforms built of sleepers, along the lines of Adelaide station near Belfast. This building was the residence of the station master for Amiens Street/ Connolly Station. The gate piers for this station can still be spotted on either side of the line. I understand that Clontarf station opened in 1895. It appears that GNR(I) polychrome brick buildings were built between 1880 and 1905. Buildings associated with the Hill of Howth tramline were also of this style. There is a photograph in the Fry Model Railway Museum in Malahide of the overbridge which used to cross the road outside Howth railway station. This photo credits W.H.Mills as being the engineer of the bridge.
It’s great to discuss railway architecture. I find that many railway enthusiasts get hung up on nuts and bolts issues about trains (Haynes manual talk) or the intricacies of timetables rather appreciating railway architecture and civil engineering.
Having viewed the proposed alteration to platform 5 at Dublin Connolly, it is possible to made a statement or objection to this development. A fee of â‚¬20 must be paid with this to the planning authority.
As a matter of interest do you know much about GNR(I) architecture, such as W. H. Mills’ polychrome brick? It was used on stations as geographically far flung as Bundoran and Howth, Belfast Great Victoria Street trainshed and Carrickmacross. At the moment I have opted to do a project in university on Irish railway architecture (and tram/bus architecture). I would welcome any new information that you may have on this.