Coastal Plan
Booterstown to Sandycove

LETTER | CONTENTS | INTRODUCTION | AREAS | HERITAGE FACILITIES
BRANDING & IDENTITY | TOURISM, MARKETING & SUPERVISION
DEVELOPMENT COMPANY | PHASE TWO | CONCLUSION | APPENDIX

3 AREAS
    The area of the coastal zone between Booterstown Marsh and the Forty Foot in Sandycove is bounded inland by the Rock Rood, Monkstown Road, George’s Street Lower and Upper, Glasthule Road to the junction of Sandycove Avenue.

    However, in order to examine the various possibilities for the formulation and implementation of a Coastal Plan the area has been divided into two distinct zones (1) Maritime and (2) Streetscape.

3.1 MARITIME AREAS
3.1.1 MARITIME WALKWAYS & CYCLEPATHS
Description: The present network of walkways and cyclepaths on the seaward side of the DART Line is very limited, sporadic and incomplete with a mixture of well laid-out scenic routes and very short less accessible stretches. The cyclepath network has much to do with the Dublin Transport Initiative and little to do with leisure cycling along the coastline. Cyclists, including children, wishing to follow the coastline must negotiate many areas of dangerous and congested traffic conditions. Walkers too have no complete access to marine walkways because of the disjointed nature of the present system.

Proposal:

3.1.2 BOOTERSTOWN TO BLACKROCK

Description: This area extends from the County Boundary to Blackrock Station and includes the Booterstown Marsh & Nature Reserve, three sections of parkland, a linear pond, ornamental pond and two estuaries. The area is bounded seaward by the DART Line and inland by Rock Road.

The area also contains three structures of heritage value considered by this proposal (1) Station House Boostersown, (2) Williamstown Martello Tower and (3) the Shelter in Blackrock Park.

Proposal:
  • The area must be viewed as a linear parkland from the County Boundary to the town and station of Blackrock. However, to protect the northern boundary of this parkland the County Council should acquire, by compulsory purchase, the parcel of land stretching from the culvert of the St. Helen’s Stream north to the County boundary with Dublin Corporation.
  • The existence of this stream should be sign-posted as "St. Helen’s Stream" as to the casual visitor to the County little or none of our waterways with the exception of the Shanganagh River at Loughlinstown, is marked by signage.
  • The planting of a tree-line border between the culvert and the County Boundary would provide a clear delineation for the northern boundary of the linear parkland and the County.
  • The management of the Booterstown Marsh is vested in An Taisce, however, there is a need to up-grade facilities for ornithology, habitat, flora and fauna research and observation by providing an Observation & Research Facility. This facility could possibly, be linked to University College Dublin, and include a viewing platform and visitor information area at the site of the Station Master’s House, formerly the Sluice Gate Keeper’s House, in Booterstown.
  • The Martello Tower at Williamstown (No. 15) should be restored to its original condition and fitted out accordingly. This tower could become a Martello Tower Visitor Centre, and in conjunction with the Military History Society of Ireland and the Local History Societies, provide an interpretation of its intended use and life inside these fortifications. It should be noted that in 2004 these towers will be 200 years old.
  • That, the present occupiers of the Martello Tower at Williamstown be afforded all possible assistance by the County Council to obtain a more suitable premises for their purpose, possibly, a purpose built dressing room with showers etc., before any restoration works on the Tower should commence.
  • The shelter in Blackrock Park should be restored and non-intrusively protected from vandalism and unsightly graffiti.
  • The existence of the Blackrock Stream and Glaslower (Leopardstown Stream) should be sign-posted as, like the St. Helen’s Stream above, to the casual visitor to the County little or none of our waterways with the exception of the Shanganagh River at Loughlinstown, is marked by signage.
  • That, the mock Greco-Roman vignette and the area of coast line at Lord Cloncurry’s bridge be conserved and protected and that no extension of the causeway should be considered to include this section of the coastline.
  • The section at Lord Cloncurry’s bridge, as it contains areas of the original coastline, should remain untouched and protected.
  • See section on Walkways and Cycle Paths above.
  • 3.1.3 BLACKROCK BATHS

    Description: These Baths were built in the nineteenth century and much used until late in the last century have become somewhat of an eyesore on the DART Line with dilapidation and graffiti. There is uncertainty surrounding the safety of bathing in sea water baths filled from the Irish Sea, as distinct from swimming in the open sea itself, due to the continued operation of Sellafield in Great Britain. This must be a compelling reason for the County Council to cease its involvement in the provision of such enclosed salt water bathing facilities for the public, permitting the County Council to seek alternative uses for these premises.

    Proposal:

  • That, these premises be vested in a new Development Company as envisaged by this proposal.
  • That, a competition be established for suggestions for the conversion of Blackrock Baths into a commercial leisure and recreational facility integrated with the DART Station at Blackrock to include, possibly a restaurant, bar and retail outlets.
  • That, the plans should include the provision of a public wharf-type recreational area accessible by the proposed causeway from Sandymount and the existing walkways in Blackrock.
  • In the event of a failure to secure a commercial use for part of the site, consideration must be afforded to the possibility of residential development in order to realise for the County Council the maximum financial return on the development.
  • The position of Dublin Bay as a Special Area of Conservation – conservation of flora, fauna and habitats of European importance, should be fully observed in any development.
  • That, all proceeds from the sale or development of this site be transferred to the County Heritage Fund as per this proposal.
  • 3.1.4 SEAPOINT TO WEST PIER

    Description: The maritime section of the Coastal Zone continues southward from Brighton Terrace after a break due to housing in the Idrone and Maretimo areas of Blackrock. This area is a popular bathing place, however, traffic and parking restrictions prevent most from enjoying this northern end of the Seapoint/Salthill/Monkstown linear marine parkland. Improved parking facilities at the Dart Station at Salthill has permitted many more people to avail of these walking, cycling and bathing facilities. However, the area on the seaward side is unkempt with the shelter attached to the Martello Tower at Seapoint (No. 14) frequently festooned with graffiti. The landscaping of the roadside of the DART Line will greatly enhance the appearance of this area and increase its popularity with our citizens and visitors alike.

    a) MARTELLO TOWER, Seapoint

    Description: A Martello Tower unused and need for considerable interior repair and weather proofing to permit use. The tower at Seapoint, dating from 1804, officially called Martello Tower No. 14, is entered by a recently added outside stone stairway to the first floor with a ground floor accessed by a stone stairwell in the very thick walls. Originally, troops entered by way of iron, timber or rope ladders - such mode of ingress was intended to improve the defensive quality of these towers. Access to each floor is by a stone-cut spiral staircase in the interior of its thick walls. This spiral staircase leads also to the roof which is of cut stone (Dalkey granite). Indeed, should the Sandycove Tower (Joyce Tower) be an object lesson in the admirable re-use of an important example of our architectural heritage, then this Martello Tower at Seapoint, which is in good repair, will certainly prove to be so too.

    Proposal: That, the Martello Tower be restored and refurbished by the Genealogical Society of Ireland in conjunction with the County Council to house the Archive of the Society. Also, that to protect the Tower that the concrete shelter attached to it be removed and/or re-sited.

    b) LINEAR PARKLAND

    Description: Presently under redevelopment by the County Council to both landscape the Longford Gardens area and provide for public access and use.

    Proposal: That, in addition to the County Council’s plans for the linear parkland from Seapoint to the West Pier, that consideration be afforded to the following:-

  • The provision of viewing decks on an upper walkway from the entrance at the bridge at Brighton Vale through the parkland to the car park at Salthill DART Station.
  • Also, that pedestrian lights be installed at the Dún Laoghaire side of the bridge across to the entrance of the laneway to Belgrave Square.
  • The planting of only native species of plants and trees in the parkland.
  • c) WEST PIER

    Description: Though much improved over the years with the building of the Sewage Depot and the landscaping around same, the area has an unfinished and somewhat, forgotten appearance. Many marine related sport use the area as their base and this, of itself, provides a welcome resort vista for persons entering Dún Laoghaire by DART.

    Proposal:

  • That, the marine activities on and behind the West Pier be provided with adequate facilities for dressing, showers and storage of equipment in order to permit the growth of this sector in the County. Also, that the County Council should undertake a feasibility study in to the development of this sector in partnership with the voluntary bodies involved.
  • Right of access by the public and the traditional users of the harbour to the Coal Harbour and the jetties should be rigorously protected in any development.
  • Increased public lighting would make this area more appealing to the public and make it safer for their use.
  • The County Council undertake to complete the King Laoghaire Memorial placed at the entrance to the Coal Harbour in 1988 by commissioning a statute of the Ard Rí to mount the base already in place.
  • The existence of the historically important "Mickey Brien’s Stream" should be sign-posted as the stream that afforded the foundation of the monastery at Carrickbrennan (and later Monkstown). The County Council should initiate a study into this history of this important stream and its name. Remember, to the casual visitor to the County little or none of our waterways with the exception of the Shanganagh River at Loughlinstown, is marked by signage.
  • 3.1.5 FIRE STATION & KELLY’S AVENUE COMPLEX

    Description: The old Fire Station, its outbuildings and the Wash House on Kelly’s Avenue are variously used for storage and short-term business start-up units. The area is generally unknown outside the residents of the town of Dún Laoghaire and, in many ways, these buildings are amongst the County’s hidden treasures.

    The present use of the Fire Station, however, reflects a time of economic stagnation and high unemployment in the town where such incubator business units were required. This initiative was a valuable and welcome addition to the building of the local economy in a time of recession and all concerned with its foundation deserve praise and the sincere gratitude of the County.

    However, the continued utilisation of this valuable resource in such a manner is unjustified and unsustainable in the present economic climate.

    Proposal:-

  • These important buildings must be brought into a more appropriate use to provide the County with a Municipal Museum & Art Gallery as befits a modern European Town of the size of Dún Laoghaire – the County’s Capital.
  • That, the County Council establish a heritage partnership with the Local Historical Societies, the Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Dún Laoghaire Arts Centre to operate the facility for the benefit of the public.
  • That, the particular contribution played by the members of the Dún Laoghaire Borough Historical Society to the campaign for the establishment of a local museum be acknowledged by a special Heritage Partnership with the proposed Municipal Museum to cover the acquisition of the Society’s collection of artefacts by the County.
  • That, in the event of other more suitable uses being found for both the Martello Tower at Seapoint and Moran Park House, that the Archive of the Genealogical Society of Ireland and the records of the Heritage Project in Moran Park be transferred to the Municipal Museum & Art Gallery complex.
  • That, the archives of the County Council be transferred to this facility for safe keeping, cataloguing and accessibility to the general public.
  • That, the Art Gallery will enable touring exhibitions to come to the County, however, a structured programme for the commissioning and acquisition of art from the County’s own arts community is required and special attention be afforded to the establishment of a Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Collection.
  • A County photographic collection and archive could be established in this facility to record the history, life and times of the County and its people.
  • That, the position of County Librarian be enhanced to embrace the overall management of the County’s Museum, Libraries and Art Gallery, possibly, as Director of the County Museums, Library & Gallery Services.
  • That, if (h) above, is agreed, that the Headquarters of the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Public Library Service be relocated to the Municipal Museum & Art Gallery, thus providing a saving on Duncairn House in Blackrock and an administrative staff for the facility.
  • That, this facility be the main beneficiary of the County Heritage Fund – see proposal.
  • That, the start-up units holding leases from County Enterprise Board in the Fire Station should be permitted, as far as practicable, to enjoy the remainder of the terms of their leases without hindrance. However, consideration may be afforded to the possibility of including any arts related activities presently located at the Fire Station in a new Arts Workshop facility to be attached to the proposed Art Gallery.
  • 3.1.6 CARLISLE PIER

    Description: Following the introduction of the new classes of vessel on the Holyhead – Dún Laoghaire route, the mid nineteenth century structure known as the Carlisle Pier in Dún Laoghaire Harbour has become obsolete and has remained unused and in various stages of disrepair. This facility, currently under the management of the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Board, is unquestionably the single greatest leisure and recreational development asset in the County. However, various plans for the development of non-commercial and, in some cases, social and charitable, operations on this site must be disregarded as squandering the possibility of creating and realising a revenue earning potential afforded by the commercial development of the site.

    Proposal:

  • That, this Dún Laoghaire Harbour Board facility be transferred to a Development Company as mentioned in 2. Above, in partnership with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.
  • That, the Harbour Board and County Council undertake a feasibility study of the development of a multifaceted leisure, recreational and entertainment complex on the site to include, restaurants, bars, shops, night club venues and live entertainment on the site as the "Harbour Pavilion" to complement the Pavilion Complex.
  • That, the possibility of inviting an overseas investor to design and develop the "Harbour Pavilion" on the line of the Church Street Station in Orlando, Florida, however, with a "maritime" emphasis, would have many advantages for both the Harbour Board and the County Council. See appendix on the Church Street Station.
  • That, in the absence of an artists’ impression of a possible development, it could envisage the Carlisle Pier being modelled on the lines of a multi-decked (exterior & interior), ornate and reasonably authentic Mississippi River Boat docked in the harbour. Possibly entered on two levels, ground and via a pedestrian walkway from the viewing platform at the King George IV memorial. If desired, to link with the past this mock vessel could be named the "Hibernia" to honour the shipping heritage of the Harbour. This proposed ornate style would be reminiscent of the Old Pavilion and provide stunning daytime and nightly fully illuminated vistas right across the entirety of Dublin Bay. Certainly, it would become Dublin’s premier nightly entertainment venue and a spectacular visitor attraction.
  • The choice of an "inland" example like Church Street Station rather than a "Pier or Wharf" like those in New York, San Francisco, Jacksonville etc. was to concentrate on the variety of entertainment options as distinct from the mainly "restaurant" based options afforded by the Piers and Wharves. The greater mix of entertainment, bars and restaurants is more suitable for an Irish development due to lifestyle and customary factors.
  • That, the possibility of a share option for the public in this venture should not be overlooked.
  • That, the creation of a profitable unique and popular attraction such as the proposed "Harbour Pavilion" should permit a greater investment by the County Council in the County’s heritage through the transfer of its share of the profits to the County Heritage Fund as proposed.
  • That, the introduction of a "Heritage Levy" on all entrance charges be considered as an on-going funding resource for the Municipal Museum & Art Gallery, as proposed.
  • That, the cost of the decontamination of the site, should the presence of asbestos be confirmed, should be recoverable from central government or the European Union.
  • 3.1.7 QUEEN’S ROAD & NEWTOWNSMITH TO SANDYCOVE

    Description: The Marine Gardens to the south of the East Pier have been in a state of deterioration for a number of years. The area is a no-go area due mostly to cider drinking gangs and the fear of attack or theft. Leaving this area to such elements has resulted in an increase in litter, rubbish and graffiti making the Marine Gardens unsightly and uninviting to visitors.

    The state of the Marine Gardens, along with the Baths and the disused Public Toilets, gives an overall impression of dilapidation to an area of much potential for public amenities and sensitive development options.

    The Newtownsmith parkland and marine walkways are extremely popular, however, the abrupt ending of the marine walkway and greenery at Glasthule gives the area an unfinished appearance and without a constant boundary, it appears to be a land-fill site. Children are particularly at risk from traffic when exiting the end of the parkland section on to Marine Parade.

    The original Victorian plan for the seafront as an area of beautiful gardens, walks and seascapes has been replaced by neglect over many years, however, we are fortunate that, in this area much can be retrieved, restored and in some cases, much improved for access by the general public.

    Proposal:

  • The Marine Gardens must be reclaimed from vandals and deterioration by the laying of new viewing terraces and the provision of a more spacious access from Queen’s Road.
  • That, the removal of a section of fencing and the laying of new wide stepped terraces at the Bath’s end of the Marine Gardens will encourage greater use by the public as the hidden and "seedy" appearance of this end of the Gardens would be incorporated in new terraces.
  • The wall at the Baths be removed, following the development of that site, see 3.1.8 below, to permit a seaward access to Newtownsmith.
  • That, the provision of information stands on the marine life in the rock pools may attract parents with children to explore this area.
  • The provision of lighting throughout the Marine Gardens is very necessary.
  • The repair of the walkways in the Marine Gardens and the inclusion of this area into to Maritime Walkways & Cycle Paths as in 3.1.1. above would greatly enhance its appeal as a place to visit and relax.
  • The repair of the steps, walls and marine walkways at Newtownsmith, including a regular inspection of the water front for rubbish would greatly improve the appearance of this area.
  • As in 3.1.1. above, the parkland and walkways at Newtownsmith should be continued to Sandycove Park along Marine Parade and Otranto Parade.
  • That, in the event of the covering over of the DART Line along Queen’s Road to create an upper Promenade, besides greatly enhancing the area and integrating the Pavilion with the new development on the Carlisle Pier, it would provide an excellent public space to be enjoyed.
  • That, following the development of the seafront as envisaged herein, that consideration be afforded to changing the name of Queen’s Road to, for example, "Pavilion Parade" or "Pavilion Promenade" etc.
  • The opportunity to include street sculpture and art throughout this area must be availed of with a degree of sensitivity i.e. too little – it’s hardly noticed and too much and too varied – may appear tacky.
  • 3.1.8 DÚN LAOGHAIRE BATHS

    Description: These Baths, like those in Blackrock, were built in the nineteenth century and much used until late in the last century have become somewhat of an eyesore on the seafront with dilapidation, especially following a fire, and graffiti.

    Much debate amongst conservationists has resulted in a number of prevailing views as to the future of this once great public amenity in Dún Laoghaire, indeed, much sentiment attaches to the Baths surrounding childhood memories of happy days spent there many years ago.

    Though, the option of resurrecting a public baths amenity here has not been abandoned by some in our community. There is, however, uncertainty surrounding the safety of bathing in sea water baths filled from the Irish Sea, as distinct from swimming in the open sea itself, due to the continued operation of Sellafield in Great Britain.

    This must be a compelling reason for the County Council to cease its involvement in the provision of such facilities for the public, permitting the County Council to seek alternative uses for these premises.

    Proposal:

  • That, these premises be vested in a new Development Company as envisaged by this proposal.
  • That, a competition be established for suggestions for the conversion of Dún Laoghaire Baths into a commercial leisure and recreational facility to include, possibly a restaurant, bar and retail outlets.
  • That, the plans should include the provision of a public wharf-type recreational area accessible by the proposed walkway from East Pier and the existing walkways in the parkland at Newtownsmith.
  • In the event of a failure to secure a commercial use for part of the site, consideration must be afforded to the possibility of residential development in order to realise for the County Council the maximum financial return on the development.
  • That, walls separating the property from the East Pier side and the Newtownsmith side be removed to provide, as proposed below, a continuous walk and cycle way from the East Pier to Sandycove.
  • That, as part of a public walk and recreational area, the larger pool be filled in with the possibility, of retaining the other pool as a much shallower water feature be considered.
  • That, the exact position of the Napoleonic battery walls on the site of the Dún Laoghaire Baths be determined and any original walls retained following an archaeological examination of the site.
  • That, all proceeds from the sale or development of this site be transferred to the County Heritage Fund as per this proposal.
  • 3.1.9 MORAN PARK HOUSE

    Description: The present use of this building as a Marconi Museum and Café and to house the Heritage Project, is manifestly unsustainable and therefore, any benefit to the County Council by this situation is minimal or non-existent.

    The provision, in the early 1990s, of Ir£50,000 from the European Union Structural Funds for the provision of a "genealogical research centre" has not been invested wisely. The Heritage Centre is practically dormant, however, this has much to do with factors outside the control of the County Council, and the numbers visiting the Marconi Museum and Café cannot be encouraging for its promoters.

    The use of the surrounding parkland by cider drinkers and homeless youths has made it a virtual no-go area for many in Dún Laoghaire. Therefore, there is an onus on the County Council to realise the commercial potential of Moran Park House for the benefit of the community.

    Proposal:

  • That, this building be vested in a Development Company as envisaged by this proposal.
  • That, following the restoration of the Martello Tower at Seapoint the records and operation of the Heritage Project be transferred to the care of the Genealogical Society of Ireland.
  • That, the promoters of the Marconi Museum & Café be invited to tender for the full commercial lease or purchase of the property for development as part of the overall leisure, entertainment and recreational zone involving the Pavilion and the Carlisle Pier.
  • That, in the event of (c) being agreed, that the house be named "Marconi House" and advertised as "Marconi House in Moran Park, Dún Laoghaire" thus, keeping the name of Paddy Moran, a local barman who was executed on March 14th 1921 during the War of Independence, for the parkland.
  • That, should the promoters of the Marconi Museum & Café not wish to tender for the development of the site, a full public tendering process be initiated.
  • Proceeds from the lease or sale of the site should be transferred to the County Heritage Fund.
  • 3.1.10 SANDYCOVE

    Description: This popular bathing and recreational area is well preserved and usually neat and tidy with the notable exception of the old Sandycove Baths area. Fly dumping has been a problem and also, cider drinking and the associated litter in the Baths area. The Baths are utilised by a Scuba Diving Team and their activities are a significant contribution to the attraction of visitors to this side of Sandycove. The overgrown nature of part of Sandycove Park renders it uninviting to many and, in view of its location and vistas, this is a sad commentary on an otherwise charming piece of parkland.

    Proposal:

  • That, the County Council encourage co-operation amongst those involved in marine sports in the "Coastal Zone" in order that a structured planning process to enable the growth in popularity of these sports and the development of suitable facilities and premises to cater for same.
  • That, the parkland at Sandycove be opened out to the public view by the thinning of the shrubbery and the widening of the pathways through the parkland.
  • That, the walls around Sandycove Baths which shield them from a roadside view be lowered or replaced by railings to permit a greater view across the area and make this section more inviting and safer for public use.
  • Summertime restrictions on vehicular access to Sandycove Harbour should be considered in the interest of safety.
  • The "localisation" of signage would greatly enhance the visitor identification with the area i.e. "Welcome to Sandycove" etc.
  • The area should be greatly enhance by the extension of the Newtownsmith walk ways and cycle paths. See 3.1.1. above.
  • 3.2 STREETSCAPE AREAS
    3.2.1 ROCK ROAD

    Description: The roadway is a busy thoroughfare, however, it is very well maintained and its greenery and tree lined aspect is a very valuable asset for the County as it is the entrance to the "Coastal Zone" from the City by road.

    Proposal: That, the County Council utilise the opportunity afforded by this wide and beautiful entrance to the County to create a distinct identity for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown as an "Urban Architectural & Maritime Heritage Area" by:

  • The erection of distinctive and quality signage.
  • The use of a seasonal "ribbon of colour" floral displays.
  • Street sculptures, possibly in conjunction with the two colleges on the Rock Road.
  • "Localisation" signage i.e. Booterstown, Williamstown and Blackrock.
  • 3.2.2 BLACKROCK TOWN

    Description: Possibly, the most attractive of the towns or villages in the "Coastal Zone" under consideration. It’s newly found wealth and prestige has restored to Blackrock the identity and independence it lost in 1930. The town is neat and tidy and is ideally placed as the "hub" of the northern sector of the "Coastal Zone".

    Proposal:

  • Blackrock’s identity must be strengthened by "localisation" and by its promotion as a bustling and lively entertainment centre.
  • That, the redevelopment of Town Hall, Library and associated buildings be to the highest standard and with the emphasis on cultural, community and educational activities.
  • The proposal to establish the County’s Archive in Blackrock is both welcome and worthy of very serious consideration by the County Council.
  • That, as many offices and corporate headquarters in Blackrock attract a a young and affluent workforce from outside the County, the positioning of permanent information points in the Town Centre to advertise the entire "Coastal Zone" should be considered.
  • That, Blackrock Town and district must be fully integrated into the new brand image of the "Coastal Zone".
  • That, Blackrock House and surrounding gardens be guarded against any insensitive or inappropriate development.
  • 3.2.3 MONKSTOWN & OLD DUNLEARY

    Description: With new developments on the seaward side of the coast road and in and around the former Top Hat and Coal Yard sites, this area has witnessed a great influx of new residents over the past few years, however, little by way of a community has developed. This heavy urbanisation without the normal social mixture of which a community is normally composed leads to a rather sanitised streetscape. Little by way of architectural change can now address this problem, however, the maintenance of an identity for "Old Dunleary" is important.

    Monkstown, on the other hand, has developed an identity worthy of the investment of the small enterprises that line the Crescent and the village itself. Its charm and the range of restaurants, bistros etc. has provided a streetscape worthy of the magnificence of its twin ecclesiastic architectural gems.

    Proposal: That, every effort to provide support to the traders in Monkstown and Old Dunleary to capitalise on their proximity to the "Coastal Zone" should be considered, through, signage and the "localisation" of same i.e. "Welcome to Monkstown founded 12th Century AD" and "Welcome to Old Dunleary" etc.

    3.2.4 DÚN LAOGHAIRE TOWN

    Description: Dún Laoghaire's population has grown many fold since the Town was laid out in the earlier part of the 19th century. However, the absence of any vision for the development of a "people friendly" environment in the past has left the town choked with traffic and, despite there being many car parks, its streets are crammed with vehicles, many of which, are parked illegally and sometimes in a dangerous manner. The County Council’s plan for the centre of the town and traffic management is welcomed, however, much over due and minimalist, it is a long way from the pedestrianisation required.

    Though, many changes have occurred over recent years, these developments have left Dún Laoghaire with no central civic space to provide a focal point for the people and communities of the Town. "Civic Spaces" provide our towns and cities with a heart - a place to congregate, to enjoy, to rest and play. Dún Laoghaire's planners lost the original site to developers when visionary ideas of people first in planning were still in their infancy in Ireland.

    Proposal No.1: The new Millennium provides an unique opportunity to both celebrate the Town, its people now and in its past. The development of a Civic Space on the corner of George's Street and Marine Road on the site in front of St. Michael's RC Church offers the people of the Town a "Millennium Heart".

    The site could be landscaped to include a statue of Ard Rí Laoghaire (founder of Dún Laoghaire) to highlight the very early origins of the Town in Pagan Celtic Ireland. However, to reflect the true meaning of the Millennium, the square could be named for Bartholomew Canon Sheridan P.P. of St. Michael's. Fr. Sheridan was Parish Priest of St. Michael's from 1829 to his death in 1863 and in his time, brought education to all sections of the Catholic community by inviting orders of nuns, priests and brothers to his Parish to set up schools, convents and colleges from Blackrock to Dalkey. He built and enlarged most of the older churches in and around, what is now, Dún Laoghaire, and provided for the sick and orphaned with a hospital and an orphanage. A man of true social commitment and a contributor to the independence and prosperity we enjoy today through the education of generations of our young.

    The site would also contain a marble "Civic Roll of Honour" in order that the many sons and daughters, of all creeds, from the Town who made their mark at home and abroad can be remembered, in their home town, for generations through the next Millennium.

  • The Civic Space Project could be a heritage partnership between the Dún Laoghaire Business Association, St. Michael's Church and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.
  • It is proposed that the County Council acquire the site for the Town and for the site to be maintained by the County Council.
  • The County Council would, as part of its acquisition of this space, officially designate the area as "Sheridan Plaza".
  • A competition could be organised for the design of "Sheridan Plaza" and the "Civic Roll of Honour".
  • It is envisaged that a locally constituted Board of Management would organise the erection of the "Civic Roll of Honour" and to research the lives of those meritorious persons to be inscribed thereon.
  • Proposal No.2: As the gateway to the Town of Dún Laoghaire, Lower George’s Street, Cumberland Street, Clarence Street and lower York Road require special attention. The area appears to be dull and with most buildings lacking colour, very uninteresting. Therefore, it is proposed:-
  • That, the area be treated as the "Village" end of Dún Laoghaire with a distinctive approach to the streetscape.
  • That, a pro-active equalisation programme be formulated, in conjunction with the local businesses and the community, to fully integrate this part of the town with the more prosperous central and upper George’s Street areas.
  • That, the owners of houses and/or business premises should be encouraged, possibly by small grants from the County Council, to paint the exteriors of the buildings in bright colours – not unlike towns in rural Ireland.
  • That, the Parks Department should consider the introduction of continental style roadside troughs for shrubs and flowers in the area.
  • That, signage would encourage visitors to this end of Dún Laoghaire – the "Village" end with its pubs and restaurants etc.
  • Proposal No. 3: That, the areas off George’s Street i.e. Convent Road, Patrick Street, Cross Avenue, Wolfe Tone Avenue, Desmond Avenue, Library Road and Dominick Street be included in a plan to introduce more greenery into the area by the employment of continental roadside plant troughs in the area. This will also assist in the reduction of available parking places forcing most parking in these areas, other than residents, to avail of the existing car parks.

    Proposal No. 4: That, the laneways from Bloomfields to Northumberland Avenue be integrated fully into the commercial life of the Town by restoration and re-naming. The lane from Bloomsfields to Convent Road has been restored, however, the name chosen is inappropriate and should be changed to provide a commercial/retail and continental style emphasis i.e. "French Market" in order that these lanes could develop along the lines of those in Brighton, England.

    Such an initiative by the County Council, including the retention of the original cobblestones, would encourage commercial investment and reorientation by existing businesses adjoining these lanes.

    Proposal No. 5: That, in order to preserve the position of George’s Street as the main shopping and commercial street of the town of Dún Laoghaire, especially, in view of the proposed increase in the leisure, recreational and entertainment facilities on the seafront, that, consideration be afforded to changing the name of George’s Street to Main Street, Dún Laoghaire.

    Proposal No. 6: That, the Pavilion Theatre be central to the promotion of the performing arts in the County. Also, that the management consider ways in which to bring theatre out amongst the public by imaginatively utilising the new public spaces proposed herein and especially, by creating opportunities for children, young adults and our senior citizens to participate in theatre.

    The creation of the new wharf spaces at Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire Baths, as proposed, provides new outdoor performance spaces.

    3.2.5 GLASTHULE TO SANDYCOVE

    Description: The area of Glasthule Village to Sandycove is essentially well kept and, in many ways, preserves the village and community atmosphere through, in part, the absence of new taller developments.

    Proposal: Like Monkstown and Old Dunleary, this area too would benefit from its proximity to the "Coastal Zone" and the introduction of "localisation" through signage i.e. "Welcome to Glasthule – Tuathal’s Stream" etc.

    The fostering of local festivals i.e. Oyster Festival or Local Flower Show with assistance from the County Council would attract more visitors off the "Coastal Zone" to visit this area.