Richview Mapping

Mapping Sráid Thalbóid

by sarahbrowne90sarahbrowne90

A Study of Street

Research and Innovation
Sarah Browne

trams running at the intersection of talbot and  gardiner streets in 1937

trams running at the intersection of talbot and gardiner streets in 1937


The street is an important part of the landscape of everyday life. It is relied upon for travel, shopping, social interaction, a vital living element in any city. A street is not created as a series of objects and spaces between, it evolves as a natural flow of moments and encounters. Having read some of Jane Jacobs work and other theories on the life of the street I became interested in the idea of using their ideas as guides to assess an Irish streets quality. I chose Talbot Street in Dublin City Centre as a case study and investigated the quality of the street life to help my own understanding of the texts I had encountered.

I am attempting to define what the ingredients that give the street its liveliness, safety, convenience and interest are. To begin with, a study of the elemental make up of a street is necessary but not uniquely sufficient in describing the character of the street.

Jane Jacobs once remarked that

‘No single element in a city is in truth the kingpin or the key. The mixture itself is kingpin and its mutual support is the order… a citys very structure consists of a mixture of uses and we get closest to its structural secrets when we deal with the conditions that generate diversity’

and she is correct, a holistic view of the life of the street taking into account its scale, inhabitation and use is what is needed. Therefore I have chosen to map the built and social fabric of Talbot Street to paint a picture of its character.

context map showing surrounding streets

context map showing surrounding streets

Talbot Street

Talbot Street, also taking into account North Earl Street which closely links it to O’Connell street, is located on the Northside of the Liffey linking O’Connell Street to Connely Station, it is considered one of the main shopping streets in the city.

The street takes its name from the Third Earl of Talbot, Lord Lieutanant of Ireland. It is home to one or two significant establishments such as the offices for the Department of Education and Guineys department store. It seems to me that the streets use has diminished over the years. People used to come from all over to buy goods here. Now however it seems secondary to its neighbouring Henry Street in terms of investment by large stores and also people traffic. The difference in commercial success between Talbot and Henry streets is intriguing to me. Both streets run perpendicular to O’Connell Street off the busiest moment right at the base of the spire. And yet Talbot street, which ends at Connely Station and should enjoy a constant influx of people traffic is less commercially successful than Henry street.

map differentiating activities along talbot street overlaid with 25” historical map

map differentiating activities along talbot street overlaid with 25” historical map

The street has a rich, if unhappy, history. It was at one point the home to Lord Mayor of Dublin who owned and ran a public house here in 1912.

Lot number 94 was the location of the famous shooting of the republican Sean Treacy, which occurred in October 1920 outside the Republican Outfitters shop. There is a plaque of remembrance marking the spot and is the location of a memorial service that is attended by many Tipperary Hurling supporters when the Tipperary team are in the All-Ireland Final.

Another disastrous event occurred here on 17 May 1974, when one of three car bombs exploded outside a shoe shop killing thirteen women and one man. The event was part of the Dublin Monaghan bombings and was thought to be the work of the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). No one was ever charged for the attack that left its mark on the street opposite the Guineys store near the Lower Gardiner Street intersection.

Talbot street bombings3

Talbot street bombings3

Talbot street bombings 2

Talbot street bombings 2

Talbot street bombings 1

Talbot street bombings 1

Small attempts at invigorating Talbot street have been attempted and more are in planning stages. A renewal project was carried out at the east end of the street closest to the train station, repaving the sidewalks, introducing planting, benches and erecting memorials to those lost in the Monaghan and Dublin Bombings. A cycle route is being planned from Fairview to Talbot street for 2014 which would definitely add to the street which already houses a Dublin City Bike rank but does not include a cycle lane.

Certain institutions have relocated to Talbot street including the Offices of the Irish Independent newspaper, Bank of Ireland, Irish Life & Permanent Plc. These at the time, all helped to draw attention to the street but I feel did nothing to enhance the experience of the street as their inactive plot frontages merely create negative, blank spaces along the route. Even now some of these have vacated their premises and left behind grey, blank shells along the street facade.

points of interest, clockwise from top right  Connelly Station Memorial for the Victims of the 1974 bombing Sean Tracey commemorative plaque James Joyce statue The Spire Guineys Department Store

points of interest, clockwise from top right
Connelly Station
Memorial for the Victims of the 1974 bombing
Sean Tracey commemorative plaque
James Joyce statue
The Spire
Guineys Department Store


active and inactive

“Nobody enjoys sitting on a stoop or
looking out a window at an empty
street” – Jane Jacobs


I believe Talbot street has untapped potential that is not being exploited. It could be used to pull together the historical and cultural integrity of the area into a coherent promenade. Either end of Talbot street is enclosed by an impressive sight; on one side, the Spire stands proud marking the heart of the city, framed by the Georgian edifices of North Earl Street, to the east, the vista is closed by the impressive structure of Dublin Connolly Railway Station with its distinctive Italianate tower at its centre.

The street needs people traffic to survive and succeed and the influx of passengers from the train and from the luas on lower abbey street via the Irish Life Mall should sustain it. People are the main ingredient that bring life to any street. They bring trade, bring eyes to the street, entice people along the street to stop and observe.

Now all that is needed are the facilitators of people watching and street interaction; cafes, restaurants and stores that spill into the street. In vibrant South William Street these are ten a penny, talbot street has but a few.

An active frontage could be described as a front whose function is easily recognisable and interacts with and contributes to the street rather than conceals itself. An example of an active front would be a café or shop whilst an inactive front would be a bank or solicitors office which might have a large frosted glass panel facing the street and gives nothing to the vibrancy of an area. Vacant lots have the same issue and can deaden a streets vitality.

It can be seen from the study below that the inactive frontages correlate largely with the less vibrant and more troubled areas of the street. Vacant lots do much to reduce the flow and liveliness of the street experience. For example the Department of Education Building does little to enhance the liveliness of the street. It is imposing and grand and closed off for the most part to the public, unlike the grand presence of the Powerscourt shopping centre on South William Street which welcomes the pedestrian into its grand facade.

study of active and inactive frontages

study of active and inactive frontages



Talbot street is in my opinion monopolised by certain services and products; travel agents, hair salons, phone shops and Two Euro shops are abundant but do little to enhance the streets character. There is undoubtedly a good variety with some ethnic food stores and historic jewelry and cobbler stores dotted amongst the cheap phone repair shops, but this overriding tacky standard of outlet is I believe too prominent.

I think that Guineys, though it may be an institution, has an overbearing and dominant presences with three outlets strung along the length of the street. Variety is the spice of life and a diverse range of activities and stores, peopled with individuals of many ages and cultural backgrounds enrich a street. For Talbot street, the main issue is switching from tacky venders to more individual retailers and restaraunts like Talbot 101, and the longstanding Talbot Street Dance Centre.

Talbot Street has a mixture of frontages onto the street but the quality of these establishments is, as previously stated, varied. The multitude of Two Euro shops and fast food outlets lend to cluttered frontages rather than more appealing galleries, restaurants and cafes. These types of establishments animate spaces throughout the daytime and help to keep the street active and lively into the evenings rather than closing up once 6pm hits and the street becoming deserted.

The presence of small enterprises does much to enhance the street’s commercial and employment based capacity. Family run businesses such as the Tara Leather Store and the Talbot Street Dance Centre, with their long history, hand painted signs and quaint nature enrich the fabric and personality of the street so that it is not defaced and overrun by corporate chains.

Apart from a few sparse hotels and bed and breakfasts, the upper floors of the street are prodominantly residential. However, the standard and nature of these residential units is unclear. Some ground floor businesses venture as far as to spread to the first floor but most use the upper floors solely for ancillary storage.

study of current ground floor building use

study of current ground floor building use

coherency and narative

The frontage along the street is punctuated by reveals in the edge that are no more than dingy side alleys that lead to nothing, with the exception of Gardiner street which is much grander and leads to the Custom House. Sense of enclosure and edge on the street is meandering with variations in depth of facade, width, shelter. In comparisson with Henry Streets more constant width, it is much less strict, more natural and enjoyable.

“There is a quality even meaner than
outright ugliness or disorder, and this
meaner quality is the dishonest mask
of pretended order, achieved by ignoring
or suppressing the real order
that is struggling to exist and to be
served.” – Jane Jacobs

There is a lack of consistency in the style of the street fronts in terms of scale, proportion, set back, level, condition, and I think to a point this is agreeable. Unity may bring harmony but I believe that the higldey pigldey nature of the street elevation lends personality and liveliness to the street. Though the input of a greater number of small allotments along the street rather than larger corporations and stores would I believe make the street a safer, happier one. As it stands there are a great deal of individual self sustained shops but the likes of Tesco, Guineys and faceless 2 Euro shops are taking over.

It feels that the importance of the street is defined by the grander larger scale buildings at the O’Connell Street end of the route and the scale seems to taper to a lower point nearer to Connelly Station. It feels like it would have benefited from a slightly larger scale building on the Connelly end to create a ‘Book Ended’ effect and properly punctuate or announce the beginning and end of the street.


study mapping building heights along street

study mapping building heights along street

study of street narrative

study of street narrative


The relationship between pedestrians and vehicular traffic on the street is a varied one. The depth and quality of footpath changes often giving the pedestrian differing experiences as they walk along the route. The road is not wide enough to accommodate large volumes of traffic and a one way system maintains a singular motion for vehicles and low speed levels.

Footpaths are for the most part, a comfortable width, with trees and a minimal amount of seating dotted along the route. There are perhaps too many spaces allocated to on-street parking which take up space that could benefit from more external seating and which blocks a comfortable cross-view for people on opposite sides of the street. Some of these parking spaces could be removed or at least restricted to business supply delivery purposes only. These deliveries could be limited to before 11am so that for the majority of the day the street is clear of the clutter of on-street parking.

In terms of cyclists, there are several bike rails along the route and one Dublin City Bike rank in front of SuperValu. There is currently no cycle lane along the street but Dublin City Council have plans in the works for 2014 to create a Fairview to Talbot Street route and encourage cyclist use of the street.


transport study

transport study



As I walked the length of Talbot street taking photographs along the way an elderly woman stopped me to say thank you. Confused I asked her ‘why?’ and she replied ‘I’d completely forgotten to go to that shop until I saw you taking a picture of it!’ and hurried away across the street. There is more to a street than bricks and mortar and it is important that we are sensitive to the role they play as the prime location for the human interaction which is the soul of the city.

I believe Talbot Streets main issues stem from discontinuity. This is seen in its length, its facades, its roofline, its quality of retail units. The street is both severely disected by Gardiner Street and differentiated from North Earl St. by pedestrianisation. This should be one large promenade and though of course differing elements enrich a street, it should be overall unified somehow. Unity not monotony is wanted however and I think that the natural mismatched fabric of the street level encounter should not be diminished.

Simple things like having a high quality ground surface stretching the length of the street, restricting on street parking, encouraging more cafe’s bars and high quality one off retail outlets would help to infuse a welcoming atmosphere along the street whilst maintaining the existing haphazard, mismatched character it posesses.

Talbot Street has potential to be great but needs to exploit its assets more and address it’s problems, such as poor maintenance of street surfaces, overflow of tacky shops, lack of on-street interaction with shopfronts and an increasing number of vacant lots towards the east end of the street.



ie/exhibition/transport.html (December 2013)

Jane Jacobs – the life and death of great american citites – (1992) Vintage Editions

Cahill, Gerry – Back to the street – (1980) Dublin : Housing Research Unit, U.C.D. :
Cement-Roadstone Holdings Ltd

Dublin Corporation. – (1998) O’Connell Street integrated area plan / Dublin Corporation
(PDF) Dublin City Council. Archaeology/Heritage Department – History of monuments
: O’Connell Street area – 2003) – Dublin City Council

O’Brien, Paul – Lessons from the street / Paul O’Brien – (2007) Dublin : University
College Dublin

Brady J and Simms A. – Dublin through Space and Time – (2001) Dublin: Four
Courts Press Ltd

historical images


Mapping Kilcoole

by louisefinlayson1991

The main street is emblematic of villages and towns across the country and something to which we can all relate to. The main street plays a vital role in communities across Ireland.

But how well do you know your main street and the stories it holds?

I use my local main street of Kilcoole, Co.Wicklow daily but shamefully admit that I know little about it and its history. Kilcoole is bounded on the north by Greystones, and on the south by Wicklow town. Of recent years the town has become an important commuter settlement for those both working in Dublin and Wicklow/Wexford.  I hope that through studying this ‘ordinary’ street in closer detail I can begin to understand the allure of the main street. Through this essay I aim to develop a better understanding and insight into the form and use of the main street, thereby attempting to identify and clarify the role and importance of the main street in daily Irish life.

Jane Jacobs has carried out extensive research on street life and urban studies. She encourages us to

‘…look closely at real cities. While you are looking, you might as well also listen, linger and think about what you see.’ [Jacobs, 1961]

Throughout my research I have tried to adhere to Jacobs advice.

Kilcoole – ‘this is a miserable village o n the old line of road from Bray to Wicklow.’[James, 1838]

I have spent some time studying, drawing and observing the street and hope to dispel H. James description of the village. The main street, like many typical Irish towns, is a collage of shops with a thrift shop, a butcher, a greengrocer, a betting shop, pubs and cafes but it is also shared with established residents. Retail, ecclesiastical and residential buildings share the street frontage, with residential buildings making up 65 percent of the main street. This lends the street a unique character and sense of the place. The inhabitants have an honest sense of ownership over the street. Jacobs speaks of the importance of ‘eyes on a street’. There is no lack of this here, making the street a comfortable, safe and welcoming place to be.


Map of uses of Main Street
fig. 1

Towns have proved resilient over time, changing and adapting in response to cultural, political and economic shifts[Murphy, 2012] Kilcoole is no different. I was interested in following the history and build up of the town in an attempt to learn the story of the main street. The town fabric has developed slowly filling the town with a rich history. It is believed the first settlers came to the area around 6000 to 7000 years ago. A large rock formation stands at the heart of Kilcoole Village. Bray head and the Sugarloaf are of the same quartz rock. The Rock, as it has become affectionately known, would have provided shelter and refuge from the elements for these early settlers. The Rock would also have given protection against possible threats such as wild wolves and attacks from invading tribes. It then makes sense the town and main street evolved around The Rock. The Rock becoming a fulcrum point from which the town began to grow. For the millennium the parish compiled a book following the history of Kilcoole. An extract from an original poem for the book captures the longevity of The Rock.

‘The times may change, new people come,

New houses everywhere,

No matter when you take that drive,

The rock will still be there’[Jennings,1998]

The name Kilcoole is of ecclesiastical origin. The name translates as Cill Chomhghaill – Comhgalll’s Church. It is thought to have come from a church founded here by a disciple of St.Comgall from Bangor Co.Cork. Monks from Bangor founded churches along the east coast during the 7th century, including those at Shankill, Bray and Kilcoole. The earliest evidence of the Church of Kilcoole is from the year 1179 and it is in a letter from Pope Alexander to his Archbishop Lorcan O’Toole of the churches and possessions in his diocese. However Samuel Lewis describes the ancient church, over spread with ivy and surrounded by a cemetery’ in 1832 suggesting that the church had become disused and idle. [Jennings, 1998]

My family have been settled in the area since my Great Great Grandparents owned and ran the Public House in the neighbouring village of Newcastle. My Great Aunty born in 1922, now 91 grew up in the village and can remember travelling to Greystones for mass every Sunday.

‘Every Sunday without fail, my mother and father would take us to mass in Greystones. Newtown would have been closer but mother never liked Newtown. I’ll always remember going up the big hill on the main street [Kilcoole]’

Kilcoole didn’t get a church of its own until the 1950’s.

To track the town evolving I overlaid a map of the village from 1908 onto the current map of Kicoole. The main street follows almost an identical path. The striking difference is the number of buildings present. At this stage the majority of the town is clustered around the south end of the village, just beyond the Rock, at the cross roads between the main street and the sea road which lead to the train station. The railway line had been extended from Bray to Wicklow in 1855. The Holy Faith Convent held a prominent position at the north boundary of the village. They later donated part of their land for both the national school and the church to be built.

Overlay Map

Overlay of 1908 map onto current map
fig. 2

Opposite Malone’s Pub in the middle of the main street are twenty two semi detached cottages. They were originally funded from a legacy of a Mrs Tottenham of Woodstock who later became Lady Aberdeen. The first tenants paid one shilling a week in rent. They had no small garden entrances like we see today. They fronted straight out onto the road.

Before After House 2

Before and After View of ‘Goosebank Cottages’
fig. 3

This row of houses was affectionately known as the ‘Goosebank’. Given that name because of the number of geese that were penned and grazed in this area. It is believed that wild or wounded geese were captured when they migrated to the Kilcoole marshes and taken home for domestic use. Nowadays the small front gardens act as a threshold between the house and the street. Many of the home owners can be seen observing the quiet drama unfold on the main street from their gardens and chatting to each other over their neighbouring walls. Iain Borden talks about boundaries recognising them ‘as the edge of things, as the spatial and temporal limit between the here and there.’ The boundary can come in all forms – the wall, the facade, the gate, the fence, the window. What I found really interesting about the boundary conditions here on the main street was that there seemed to be little concern to shutting out the street. Although the houses face directly out onto the street there is no attempt to shield the facade from the action. Quite the opposite low walls and hedges are used which allow for interaction. The street becomes a stage to be viewed. The slight threshold of the wall to the street allows the occupier to make the decision whether to participate in the street life or take a step back and just observe ‘the passing moments of lyricism’ [Helen Levitt, 1943]. Their level of participation is down to the person themselves and it is not thrust upon them.


Study of threshold between garden and street edge
fig. 4

Jane Jacobs speaks of the importance of trust on a street. Noting that the ‘absence of trust on a street is a disaster.’ City streets are full of strangers bringing together people who do not know each other. On the other hand village streets are full of familiar faces. Walking the street is the best way to experience it. When walking up the main street you are greeted with nods from old school friends, beeps from friendly faces passing in cars. All of these casual encounters at this local level lead to a ‘web of public respect and trust.’ While I was researching for this essay I bumped into a mirage of familiar faces on the main street, but one in particular – a woman who I meet in the gym. After telling her about the research I was doing she insisted I talked to Betty – A lady living in the ‘Goosebank’ cottages, who has lived on the main street her entire life. The most striking thing which I took from our conversation was her love for the main street. ‘sure what would we do without it.’ She spoke of the good will and generosity of the people and of sticking together. It is this sense of belonging which differs the village street form a city street.

Axo Main Street 4

View of Main Street today. At the centre of the town and ‘Goosebank’ Cottages
fig. 5

A Tesco express opened in the village recently but surprisingly the local shops haven’t been affected – the fruit and vegetable shop and the butchers in particular. When talking to people about why they would use these shops over the convenience and possibly lower prices of Tesco their reaction was mainly that they were happy to support the members of the local community. The shop keepers enjoy excellent social status in the community. They are well known as individuals. Everyone knows Nickys fruit and vegetables are the best in Wicklow and Mitch always has the best meat. It had been family tradition to shop in these locally owned businesses. My family are no different with my mum a loyal advocate of the butchers. The Shops also become a place to meet people. Stories and helpful advice are exchanged. The customers aren’t anonymous. This is reminiscent of how Jane Jacobs speaks of the commercial owners as having a status in the community. They are well respected and liked. ‘Their advice..common sense and experience, is sought after and respected.’

Nickys 2

Collage of Nickys Fruit and Veg Shop
fig. 6

After carrying out the above research surrounding the Kilcoole Main Street I have gained a deeper understanding of the life and formation of the main street and the people who use it. I think the main street plays a very important role in Irish Life. It is at the heart of every town. The street is‘a place for stopping as much as moving, a place to pause, to meet friends, to post a letter. It is an amalgam of interior rooms and sub worlds off its edges in which forms of belonging are sustained through everyday conveniences.’ [Hall, 2012] I think good streets are not designed but grow over time and I hope I have demonstrated this here. A truly successful street like Kilcoole is a by product of the people and the place.

You Never Walk Alone2

This poster stands proudly at the roundabout at the south end of the village. I think it sums up the character of the Main Street and Kilcoole.

Before After Byrnes

Before and After of Byrnes Pub
fig. 8

Before After Thrief2

Before and After of now Thift Shop
fig. 9

Mapping Church Street

by grainnenicgearailt

Dublin’s inner city was once home to the affluent, but with the Act of Union in 1801 transferring the power to Westminster, Dublin was demoted to a regional capital. As a result of this, the capital’s aristocrats and other wealthy citizens moved to London or out to the leafy suburbs of Ranelagh, Rathmines and Ballsbridge, beyond the boundary line of Dublin Corporation, between the Royal Canal and Grand Canal. This caused a huge financial impact on the Corporation, as their projects and day to day expenses could only be funded by rates on property. Although there had always been poverty in the city centre, this migration made it more noticeable. (Prunty, 2001)

Figure 1 shows the boundary line of Dublin Corporation, the principal areas of poverty indicated. Source: OSI, 6 inch B&W

Figure 1 shows the boundary line of Dublin Corporation, the principal areas of poverty indicated. Source: OSI,
6 inch B&W

The principal areas of poverty in Dublin City can be seen in Figure 1. The Liberties, to the south of the River Liffey, and the Smithfield area to the north, were both overcrowded and disease ridden parts of the city. (Prunty, 1998) “Rack-renting” was the source of the tenement problem, where landlords or “house jobbers” charged exorbitant rent and families were forced to

share houses and in some cases, even share rooms. Tenements were described by the Housing Committee as “houses intended and originally used for occupation by one family but which, owing to change of cirumstances, have been let out room by room are now occupied by separate families, one in each room for the most part.” (Local Government Board, 1914) Labourers from around the country were attracted up to Dublin by ongoing works in the city and a higher wage. However once this work was completed, instead of returning home, the workers began to stay in Dublin and wait for more work to arise. With the ever-increasing rent prices, families began turning towards tenements as the only feasible option. (Dublin Corporation, 1918) Famine refugees seeking shelter and charity in the city only worsened this situation in 1847. (Prunty, 1998)
“Ireland is a country of wonderful charity and singularly little justice, and Dublin…. A city famous for its charitable institutions and its charitable citizens, should also be infamous for the perfectly hellish conditions under which its people are housed and under which its men, women and children labour for a living”
Jim Connolly, early 1913 (Neary, 1992)

Figure 2. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

Figure 2. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

According to North City Survey carried out in 1918, 41,148 people were living in 3,172 tenement houses on the north side of the city alone. This astonishing figure representing 12,290 families equates to over 25% of the population of North City. The Sanitary Staff of Dublin Corporation who carried out the survey classified 627 of these tenement houses as “First Class”.

“Houses which appear to be structurally sound; they may not be in good repair, but are capable of being put in good repair, called First Class;” (Dublin Corporation, 1918)

Nearly 20% of the tenement houses in the city were deemed safe, however the figures indicate that 12,509 people were living in 627 “First Class” houses. This equates to a figure of almost 20 people per house. Despite the fact that these houses were safe to live in, the problem of overcrowding was still a major issue. The Report goes on to name a number of streets where they were principally situated in the city. Since Church Street is my main focal point of interest in this essay and it wasn’t named, I will focus on the information for “Second Class” and “Third Class” homes, as this would appear to be more relevant.

Figure 3. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

Figure 3. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

The remaining 80% of the tenement population lived in 2,545 “Second Class” and “Third Class” tenements which the Coporation Staff describe as “Houses which are so decayed or so badly constructed as to be on, or fast approaching, the border line of being unfit for human habitation, called Second Class; Houses unfit for human habitation, and incapable of being rendered fit for human habitation, called Third Class”. (Dublin Corporation, 1918) According to this report, an alarming number of families, 5,506, occupied one-room tenements (see Figure 4). From studying the Census (1911) information, I learnt that there was a family of 12 occupying one room in a tenement on Church Street in 1911, where there were 6 other families ranging in size living in the same building. Figure 5 illustrates the number of families living in each tenement across the North City. With such a high density of people in a small area with such little fresh air and daylight, it’s hardly surprising that infectious diseases were so rampant.

Figure 4. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

Figure 4. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

Figure 5. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

Figure 5. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation, 1918

I have decided to study Church Street in 1911 and the effect that the built environment had on its occupants. According to Jacinta Prunty, the institutions based in the surrounding area of Dublin 7, had a serious social effect on Church Street (see Figure 6). The Royal Barracks were situated to the west, while the Hardwicke Fever Hospital was located to the north of King Street as was the House of Industry, which formed the North Dublin Union Workhouse. Meanwhile, further north again, was the Richmond Penitentiary, along with three Refuge Houses for released prisoners, a good number of lunatic asylums and three more hospitals; the Blue Coat, the Richmond and the Whitworth. Prunty also refers to the markets in the area, which were very important to the local economy, while they were “an obvious disincentive to better class residential development”. (Prunty, 1998) Examples in the Church Street area are highlighted on Figure 8.

Figure 6 shows area of Dublin 7, surrounding Church Street (outlined in red) with key buildings highlighted. Source: OSI, 6 inch B&W

Figure 6 shows area of Dublin 7, surrounding Church Street (outlined in red) with key buildings highlighted. Source: OSI, 6 inch B&W

In a survey initiated by the Hardwicke Fever Hospital in 1817/1818, Dr Cheyne focused on Barrack Street and Church Street area, where most of their fever patients had come from in the previous year. He described Church Street as densely crowded where “a few respectable shopkeepers excepted, the entire street is inhabited by persons of the lowest order”. (Cheyne, 1818) The population of Church Street was particularly vulnerable to the fever due to close contact sustained with the infected, which was nearly impossible to avoid in such close quarters. This was multiplied by the “neglect of cleanliness and the density of the population” (Cheyne, 1818), which could only be expected of a community whose primary source of running water was an intermittent supply from public fountains. (Prunty, 1998) Another unfortunate factor were the sick travelling up to the Hardwicke Fever Hospital who would stay in the Church Street area, the night before being admitted and would invariably come in contact with other occupants and spread the fever further. (Cheyne, 1818)

Figure 7. Aerial View of Church Street Source: Trinity Maps, 1846

Figure 7. Aerial View of Church Street Source: Trinity Maps, 1846

“Every criterion which might be employed in defining a place as a slum was found here to a notorious degree.”
(Prunty, 1998)

Figure 8. Plan of Church Street. Source: Dublin 5’ - 1 mile Sheet 13, 1847

Figure 8. Plan of Church Street. Source: Dublin 5’ – 1 mile Sheet 13, 1847

Church Street, named after the ancient church of St Michan, one of the oldest buildings in Dublin (1095), after Christ Church, is the oldest inhabited area of North Dublin city. It was once the principal thoroughfare on the north side and it was connected to the south side of the city by the only bridge crossing the Liffey up until the late 1600s. (Prunty, 1998)

Tenement Map, 1911 Source: Thom’s Street Directory, 1911

Tenement Map, 1911 Source: Thom’s Street Directory, 1911

Figure 10. Building Uses, 1911 Source: Thom’s Street Directory, 1911

Figure 10. Building Uses, 1911 Source: Thom’s Street Directory, 1911

According to the 1918 Housing Committee Report, it was primarily a business street in 1850 with 26 tenements located on the street, with 67 in 1875 and 73 in 1900. This can be compared to the 1911 tenement map (see Figure 9) of part of Church Street with 23 tenement houses on the stretch south of Kings Street alone. The building uses appear to have changed significantly since 1850, according to the Thoms Street Directory (see Figure 10), and were mostly residential and religious in 1911. (Thoms, 1911) According to Prunty (1998), one of the most significant and evident housing changes between 1850 and 1900, was the abandonment of the back alley housing. Instead, the tenements were faced onto the main streets of Dublin, in plain sight for everyone to see. This could only have aided the calls to rid the city of dilapidated and dangerous tenements.

Figure 11. Historical overlay of Church Street Area. Source: OSI 6 inch 1829-41, 1997

Figure 11. Historical overlay of Church Street Area. Source: OSI 6 inch 1829-41, 1997

Figure 12. Average Occupants per House. Source: Compiled from Census, 1911, Prunty 1998

Figure 12. Average Occupants per House. Source: Compiled from Census, 1911, Prunty 1998

Figure 13. The Slum Owner; 16 members of Dublin Corporation owned tenements. Source: Local Government Board, 1914.

Figure 13. The Slum Owner; 16 members of Dublin
Corporation owned tenements. Source: Local
Government Board, 1914.

Figure 14. Bar chart illustrates number of occupants per house on Church Street. Source: Census 1911

Figure 14. Bar chart illustrates number of occupants per house on Church Street. Source: Census 1911

Figure 15. Bar chart illustrates number of families occupying one room tenements per house on Church Street. Source: Census 1911

Figure 15. Bar chart illustrates number of families occupying one room tenements per house on Church Street. Source: Census 1911

I took information from the Census and mapped the number of occupants in each building on one side of Church Street (see Figure 14) and the results were quite astonishing as it illustrates the density of the tenements. Number 56 ranked highest with 36 occupants, number 68 had 33 occupants and number 54 had 31 occupants on the day of the Census. From these 32 houses, I calculated an average of 16.6 people per house, which according to Prunty, greatly outweighs even the worst, most congested slums of London, which only measured 10.94 people per house (see Figure 12). (Prunty 1998) I repeated the method of Figure 14, but using the amount of families renting one room tenements. Number 56 had 10 different families renting one room tenements under one roof, while number 54 had 9 different families, and both 64 and 67 had 7 different families living in one room each. (Census, 1911)

Figure 16, 17 & 18 Number 65 - 68 Church Street. Source: Census 1911

Figure 16, 17 & 18 Number 65 – 68 Church Street. Source: Census 1911

I decided to study the occupants and the site of numbers 65 – 68 Church Street quite closely, because when number 66 and 67 collapsed in September 1913, a number of photos were taken showing that end of the street, which I thought would be useful. The Census gave me a huge amount of information, which I have illustrated in Figures 14 – 24.

Figure 19. Source: Compiled from Census 1911

Figure 19. Source: Compiled from Census 1911

Figure 20. Weekly wages paid in shillings of occupants of 65 - 68 Church Street. Source: Compiled from Census 1911, Dublin Corporation 1918.

Figure 20. Weekly wages paid in shillings
of occupants of 65 – 68 Church Street.
Source: Compiled from Census 1911,
Dublin Corporation 1918.

Figure 22. Occupations of 65 - 68. Source: Compiled from Census 1911.

Figure 22. Occupations of 65 – 68. Source: Compiled from Census 1911.

Out of 124 occupants in these 4 tenements, 43 people were employed at the time of the census. Discounting children and teenagers, who were classed as “scholars”, this gives an unemployment rate of over 22% (see Figure 20). (Census, 1911) Surprisingly, this compares quite well to the Hardwicke Fever Hospital survey of 1817/1818, where “among the residents almost one third had no employment” in a sample of 71 houses on Church Street. I illustrated the jobs of the residents as given in the Census (1911) in Figure 20, according to their house and compared the average wage of their profession, which I sourced in the Housing Committee Report. Out of the 43 employed occupants, 15 were employed as different types labourers at that time. During the Lockout in 1913, up to 25,000 semi skilled and unskilled workers who were striking were laid off for a number of months, which must have been felt by the occupants of Church Street, most of whom were unskilled workers. In order to compare their wages to something, I graphed the average weekly rent at the time and found that the most common price for a one room tenement in North Dublin city was between 2 and 3 shillings. (Dublin Corporation, 1918)

Figure 21. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation 1918.

Figure 21. Source: Compiled from Dublin Corporation 1918.

According to the Census (1911), almost half of the occupants in 65 – 68 Church Street couldn’t read or write in 1911. What I found interesting about these literacy findings was that in most cases, it was entire families that could not read or write. Perhaps certain occupants may have placed a higher value on education, as there were entire families (with the exception of very young children) who were literate. Another sad statistic relates to infant mortality in these four tenements (see Figure 24). I was utterly shocked to see the amount of women who had lost children. Prunty (1998) describes the worse situation in the south of the city, where “62% of all children born had died within the first ten years of life”.

Figure 24. Source: Compiled from Census 1911.

Figure 24. Source: Compiled from Census 1911.

Figure 23. Source: Compiled from Census 1911.

Figure 23. Source: Compiled from Census 1911.

Turning Point

“I heard a cracking noise in the wall separating the two houses. I turned around and noticed the mantelpiece as if it were going to tumble out. Just then there was a swaying of the wall, and … I darted onto the street. Scarcely was I out the door when there was a terrible crash behind me.”
Edward Joyce, 2 September 1913 (Corlett, 2008)

Figure 25. Front page of Daily Sketch devoted to Church Street Disaster, Friday 5th September 1913 Source:

Figure 25. Front page of Daily Sketch devoted to
Church Street Disaster, Friday 5th September 1913

Figure 26. Church Street Disaster Source: Corlett 2008

Figure 26. Church Street Disaster Source: Corlett 2008

Figure 27. Church Street Disaster Source: Corlett 2008

Figure 27. Church Street Disaster Source: Corlett 2008

On Tuesday, 2nd September 1913, at around 9 o’clock at night, number 66 and 67 suddenly collapsed, killing seven people, trapping and injuring many more. According to Neary (1992), the two tenements were four storeys high and their front walls collapsed on to the street without warning. A number of photos taken that night show the utter devastation of the scene and were published in newspapers across Dublin over the following week. This publicized the massive extent of the housing crisis in Dublin and prompted the housing inquiry of 1913, which was subsequently publish in 1914.

“Suddenly, after the disaster on 2 September, the two previously separate issues of working and housing conditions became united and ignited.”
(Corlett 2008)

Figure 40. Junction Box, Church Street. Source: Hannah Scaife

Figure 40. Junction Box, Church Street. Source: Hannah Scaife

Figure 41. 1913 Lockout Tapestry. Source: Hannah Scaife

Figure 41. 1913 Lockout Tapestry. Source: Hannah Scaife

The Church Street Corporation housing scheme was one of the first and largest implemented following the 1914 Housing Report. By 1917, the site had been acquired, razed and 146 artisan’s dwellings were being built. They consisted of one and two storey houses, with wide but short roads separating the front doors. According to Prunty (1998), in 1900, there were 73 tenement houses on Church Street. By 1918, this number had reduced to 28 tenements on the entire street.

Figure 28. Church Street Housing Scheme. Source: Prunty, 1998

Figure 28. Church Street Housing Scheme. Source: Prunty, 1998

Figure 31. Residential Dwellings, 1911. Source: Thom’s 1911

Figure 31. Residential Dwellings, 1911. Source: Thom’s 1911

Figure 32. Residential Dwellings, 2012. Source: Thom’s 2012

Figure 32. Residential Dwellings, 2012. Source: Thom’s 2012

Figure 29. Aerial View of proposed Church Street Housing Scheme. Source: Prunty, 1998

Figure 29. Aerial View of proposed Church
Street Housing Scheme. Source: Prunty, 1998

Figure 30. Aerial View of Church Street Housing Scheme Today. Source: Bing Maps

Figure 30. Aerial View of Church Street Housing
Scheme Today. Source: Bing Maps

Figure 33 & 34 Figure 36 & 37 Figure 34 & 35Figure 38 & 39

Although some improvements had been made, the 1925 Civic Survey of Dublin still shows a great number of third class tenements all over Dublin city. The delay was most likely related to the Anglo Irish Treaty, which granted Ireland independence from England in 1922, followed by the Civil War in 1923.

Figure 42. 1925 Civic Survey Source: Richview Map Library

Figure 42. 1925 Civic Survey Source: Richview Map Library

Gráinne Nic Gearailt


Prunty, J. (2001) Improving the Urban Environment: Public Health and Housing in Nineteenth-Century Dublin. In: Brady J and Simms A. Dublin through Space and Time. Dublin: Four Courts Press Ltd

Prunty J. (1998) Dublin Slums, 1800-1925. A Study in Urban Geography. Dublin: Irish Academic Press

Local Government Board (1914) Report of the Departmental Committee appointed by the Local Government Board for Ireland to inquire into the Housing Conditions of the Working Classes in the City. Dublin: Alex Thom & Co., Limited

Dublin Corporation (1918) Report of the Housing Committee. Dublin: (Missing Information) Printinghouse

Neary, B. (1992) Dublin 7. A concise history of the Areas of Ashtown, Broadstone, Cabra, Cardiffsbridge, Church Street, Grangegorman, Oxmantown, Phibsborough, Royal Canal, Smithfield, Stoneybatter and the Quays. Dublin: Lenhar Publications

Ireland. (1911) Census. Available at (Accessed 13th December 2013)

Cheyne, J. (1818) Medical Report of the Hardwicke Fever Hospital for the year ending on the 31st March 1818 including a brief account of an epidemic fever in Dublin. Dublin: Hodges and McArthur

Thom’s Publication Ltd. (1911) Thom’s Dublin and County Street Directory. Dublin: Thom’s Publication Ltd

Thom’s Publication Ltd. (2012) Thom’s Dublin and County Street Directory. Dublin: Thom’s Publication Ltd

Corlett, C (2008) Darkest Dublin: The story of the Church Street disaster and a pictorial account of the slums of Dublin in 1913. Dublin: Wordwell

O’ Donnell, E. (1993) Father Browne’s Dublin, Photographs 1925-1950. Dublin: Wolfhound Press

National Library of Ireland (2013) National Library of Ireland. Available at: (Accessed 1st November 2013)

Ahlstrohm, D. (2013) Irish adults at or below average for literacy and numeracy. Irish Times, 8th October 2013. Available at: (Accessed 17th December 2013)


w a l k i n g . d r i v i n g . c y c l i n g

by oonaghfarrell1

a graphic essay about the city quays, dublin by oonagh farrell

“… Just a word of warning to tourists, on your visit to Dublin, don’t walk down the Liffey boardwalk and whatever you do don’t sit down on the benches provided… Over recent months i have seen a definite increase in anti social behaviour in and around this area and saw a tourist..confronted by a gang of around seven drug addicts. I don’t ever remember seeing an area as intimidating in a city centre on any of my travels, NY, Paris, Amsterdam, even Barcelona is safer at this stage….”
dublinlocal (2007)

aerial view of dublin 1846

aerial view of dublin 1846

This cautioning advice, which was posted on, is the first result in a google search on ‘the Liffey Boardwalk’. Although this comment was posted five years ago, it is still indicative of peoples assessment of the 650m south facing pedestrian route which runs along the River Liffey. This continuous promenade was conceived in 1997 to “reintroduce Dubliners to the Liffey and to provide relief from the traffic chaos of the north quays.” (Barrett, 2001) The boardwalk was imagined as both promenade and venue housing three coffee stalls and demountable stalls designed for occasional market activity and when opened in 2000, pedestrian use far exceed what was originally expected. (Barrett, 2001) However, very quickly the Liffey Boardwalk became synonymous with antisocial behaviour in particular drug abuse, and a known retreat for addicts or those referred to as “Undesirables of society” by Whyte in ‘The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces’ .( 1980)

“A well used street is apt to be a safe street. A deserted street is apt to be unsafe. But how does the work really? And what makes a city street well used or shunned.” (Jacobs, 1961)

The boardwalk’s architectural design is visually pleasing, light and tactile springing from the existing heavy granite wall of the quays. Even and continuous lighting mixes with a row of mature trees, sheltering the boardwalk from the relentless traffic on the quays.

On Sunday, the 15th of December 2013, a particular busy shopping day in the run up to Christmas, I observed and counted those (vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists) using the stretch of the quays, along Bachelor’s Walk, between the Ha’penny Bridge and O’Connell Bridge.

The two graphics represent the number of pedestrians, broken down between those who chose to walk towards and from O’Connell Bridge, on the boardwalk, the footpath next to the boardwalk or the footpath on the opposite side of the street, which passed by me in a fifteen minute timeslot from 12.50 to 13.05 and again in the evening on the same day from 20.20 to 20.35. The graphic’s also charts the number of vehicles, separated into cars, buses and cyclists between the time 13.05 to 13.20 and later at 20.35 to 20.50.


numbers passing by me in a fifteen minute time slot from 12.50 to 13.05 (pedestrians) and from 13.05- 13.20 (vechicle and cyclists)


numbers passing by me in a fifteen minute time slot from 20.20 to 20.35 (pedestrians) and from 20.35- 20.50 (vechicle and cyclists)

numbers passing by me in a fifteen minute time slot from 20.20 to 20.35 (pedestrians) and from 20.35- 20.50 (vechicle and cyclists)


As you can see at both times of the day, traffic is heavy and constant with a small decrease in buses in the evening. A significant number of cars in the evening were made up of taxis. Cyclists along this stretch are nominal, I imagine largely due to the fact that no separate cycle lane exists, and the level of fast traffic present on the quays, which makes it unsafe and uncomfortable to cycle alongside. The vast majority of people choose to walk on the footpath on the opposite side of the road to the boardwalk. There is little difference between the footfall on the boardwalk and the footpath next to the boardwalk. Why do people seem to not consider straying slightly off-course and away from the noise and fumes of traffic, “for a more enjoyable and memorable walk along water in the sun”, (Barrett, 2001) not worth doing?

observation point on 15 .12 .13 from 12.50 - 13.20

observation point on 15 .12 .13 from 12.50 – 13.20

observation point on 15 .12 .13 from 20.20 - 20.50

observation point on 15 .12 .13 from 20.20 – 20.50

Is it just the popular local conception of the quays which stops people? Tourists did appear to choose the boardwalk but not in any great numbers over apparent Dubliners.  It was amusing to observe on more than one occasion people faltering at the junction between taking the boardwalk or walking on the footpath alongside it. Some opted for the boardwalk, some didn’t, some appear to be visitors to Dublin, some didn’t. Surpisingly the numbers passing through the boardwalk seem similar in the lightness and the darkness perhaps due to the present of lights. Notably in the evening it seemed to be singular men taking the boardwalk more so, perhaps those not afraid to do so.


The sketch above denotes the amount of people on the bridge, sitting on the benches, admiring the view, using the boardwalk as a “venue”. (Barrett, 2001) There was a noticeable crowd about the coffee stall. This brings to mind Jane Jacob’s (1961) theory of the need for a substantial quantity of stores and other public spaces sprinkled along routes in order to give people “concrete reasons” to be in the streets. In the evening there are only two people on the boardwalk. The traffic is still speeding by on the road, but the coffee stall is closed, and whatever activity which existed mid-day has died.

Jacobs argues “On successful city streets, people must appear at different times” this is not the case with the boardwalk.

big plan scan

One conclusion i have made which is illustrated in the sketch above is that the doorway to the boardwalk is too narrow. This tight gap which just happens as you step off the Ha’penny Bridge has the benefit of moving and entering the walker into another world, a surprise world away from the pace of traffic and commuters. The walker doesn’t know what holds for him in this other world, perhaps a view of the shimmering Liffey, the Custom House to the east and the Four Courts to the west, perhaps threatening behaviour and a feeling of unease.  This is a benefit for those who choose it and feel safe choosing this way however maybe a wider opening in thestaunch stone wall would convince more pedestrians just off the bridge to leak more fluidly into the boardwalk.


Another observation is the feeling of being cut-off from the speeding traffic on the quays by the double row of trees and lights followed by the heavy granite wall. What is, in an obvious way ideal, in fact becomes a serious drawback. This feeling of being isolated, on the one hand from traffic, noise and fumes but on the other hand, if confronted with a threatening situation, you also feel far from passing people and eyes.  Perhaps one row of either trees and lights or the wall would be enough of a barrier while still seeming passable.  However the choice of either disposing of mature trees or an historic wall does not seem a rational solution.

“The importance to the citizen of walking routes through the city cannot be overemphasised but they must be logical that is to say really needed and in the right places. En route, the more landmarks to guide him and the greater the variety of experience the better, also the possibility of surprise as through a variation in the spaces through in which he moves and the way the spaces are connected.” (Wright and Browne, 1975)

Although the boardwalk was conceptually envisaged as a continuous promenade only interrupted by the existing bridge maybe it is too monotonous and boring now to Dubliners? Is there a need for it? Many people seem perfectly happy, happier even to walk on the footpath along the road.
“People using the street at different times must actually use the same streets. If their paths are separated from one another or buffered from one another there is no mixture in reality.” (Jacobs, 1961) Are the three options people have to walk one distance one to many?
Charles I, the Duke of Ormonde first conceived the idea of forming quays along the Liffey. Building on the north bank did not really get underway until the beginning of the eighteenth century. It began on the west side of what is known now as the Four Courts and moved eastwards, towards the sea becoming grander and more expansive as it did so. The parts of Dublin most visitors know were built principally in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. The landmarks in the south (Merrion Square and Stephens green has prospered.) And the ones in the north (Mountjoy Square and Parnell square haven’t. Wright and Browne in 1975 write that “The south is in constant danger of being pulled down by developers, the north is equally in danger of falling down of its own accord. Without question it is the quays which give topographical coherence to Dublin. They are the frontispiece to the city, and the nation.” They go on to describe them as “..grand, yet human in scale varied yet orderly, they present a picture of a satisfactory city community.”
“In Dublin, it is not so much the famous Georgian streets and squares,fine as they are that one remembers but the unifying presence of the river Liffey running due east through the city from the Phoenix park on the west.. This strong linear element gives a special quality to the place, a lifeline to which everything else related and an immense advantage to any city. Furthermore its importance is acknowledged in the townscape for where many a city turns its back on the river, Dublin stands facing the Liffey.” ( Wright and Browne, 1975)

I made a series of maps looking at how this “lifeline” to Dublin has developed and changed over time.


I started by looking at the John Speed Map of Dubline (1610). The outline of the Liffey is still somewhat recognisable but far from the orderly flow of the Liffey as we know it today.


In the John Rocque Map (1756) The building fabric is more denser made up of smaller lots. The modern day line of the Liffey is forming

Layout5In the Dublin 5” – 1 mile Map (1847) Existence of the tramways which lined the quays is evident. It would’ve been a different place, compared to the heavy traffic which they see today. The metal bridge (the Ha’penny Bridge) and the Carlisle Bridge (O’Connell Bridge) appear. The building lots along the quaysides appear more modern in size.


Map (1991) The footprint of the buildings along the quayside seem to have changed very little from 1847 along the internal layout’s evident from the voids appear have altered.



Map (2000) The New Millennium Bridge appears west of the Ha’penny Bridge.



Map (present day, 2013) There is little change in the fabric of buildings namely all the way from 1847. The boardwalk appears.

Layout3By layering the six maps on top each the changes over time appear and seem surprisingly minimal.


“What role can architects and planners play in remaking Dublin city? It must be recognised that architects and planners have made many mistakes in the past. They have participated in the destruction of historic centres, the disruption of settled communities and the construction of hated living communities. (O Siochru, 1985)

It is interesting to look at the numerous proposals made for the quays and Dublin over the years to see how the maps could have changed. A significant number of proposals deal with traffic and the movement of people.
“Should Dublin be re-shaped to suit the motor car? Or should our approach to transport be re-shaped to suit Dublin?” (Wright and Browne, 1975) was a question which seemed to preoccupy many over the years.
A significant part of blight was caused by road widening and by the treat of it. Wright and Browne believed that fundamental changes in the public transport system were needed at the time in 1975, “changes designed to make these deserts in effect the quarter mile strips on both sides of the Liffey – areas into which money will want to flow.”
In a ‘Future for Dublin” (Wright and Browne, 1975) propose new retail shopping as a whole should be “pedestrianised under- cover spaces. . new public spaces,” They proposed an arcade in the central back lands along the Liffey, sufficiently far from the quays in order to avoid overshadowing the quayside frontage silhouette.
Another proposition they made was ‘The Liffey Line’, an underground connecting to Heuston Station which would be “ all but invisible at ground level- bringing life and prosperity back to Liffey banks”

In the Central Dublin Traffic Plan, Travers Morgan and Partners (1973) proposed a high level crossing of the Liffey by a north/south motorway in the area where Christchurch and St. Patrick Cathedral stands. The high level bridge for through traffic would measure about 80 ft (24m) wide and would be raised 26ft (8m) above Quay level. Flanking the bridge would be two-lane slip roads joined by quay level bridges. The result would be a gap over 200 ft (60m) wide blasted through the terraces.




Wright and Brown object strongly to the proposal in ‘A Future for Dublin’ referring to the “Devastating effect the proposals would have on Dublin’s townscapes.” They made alternative images in opposition of the perspective sketch Travers Morgan drew of their high level bridge which was made to appear “quite innocuous”. Wright and Browne’s collages were created in order to convey some of “the environmental havoc which the traffic proposals would create.” (Wright and Browne, 1975)

Travers Morgan and Partners (1973)

Travers Morgan and Partners (1973)

perspective highway future2

Wright and Browne (1975)

Travers Morgan’s misleading sketch of the effect the 24m motorway would have crossing the Liffey brings to mind Le Corbusier’s drawings of his Plan Voisin de Paris (1925) and Radiant City. In reality the effect the highways would have would not be quite as pleasant as his sketch makes out. Jane Jacobs criticises Le Corbusier in ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’ arguing that

“He embroidered freeways and traffic on to his Radiant City in quantities that apparently satisfied his sense of design, but that bore no relationship to what so ever to the hugely greater quantities of automobiles amounts of roadways and extent of parking and servicing which would actually be necessary for his repetitive vertical concentrations of people… His vision of skyscrapers in park degenerates in real life into skyscrapers in parking lots.”

Boesiger W. and Stononow O. (1964)

Boesiger W. and Stononow O. (1964)

An Art Gallery was proposed in 1913 by Sir Edwin Lutyen and Sir Hugh Lane was to take the place of the Ha’penny Bridge spanning the Liffey.

Liffey Bridges Survey Team, (1987)

Liffey Bridges Survey Team, (1987)

Abercrombie’s plan for Dublin (1914) placed great emphasis on the view of Christ church from the river and suggested several major public buildings including a Cathedral and civic offices on island sites. The plan also suggested a completion of the crescent as a setting for the custom house and the removal of the Loopline Bridge by putting it underground.  His traffic map identifies where higher density of traffic is and hotspots. Notably, the quays are a major thoroughfare of traffic then as they are now.

Kelly S. and Kelly A., (1922)

Kelly S. and Kelly A., (1922)

Kelly S. and Kelly A., (1922)

Kelly S. and Kelly A., (1922)

What does the future hold for the City Quays? There are plans to devote extensive riverside space to pedestrians and cyclists along the quays form the Four Courts to the Custom House. ( Kelly, O 2013) A Cycle highway all along the river from The Phoenix Park to the Custom House would sound even more promising for the future. There are further plans for a fivefold increase in cycle routes and greenways in Dublin and its surrounding counties. The Netherlands and Denmark started rebuilding their bicycle networks in the 1970’s forming a new type of landscape. Thirty years later and the bicycle has made a comeback worldwide. Streets have come full circle and are beginning to no longer be seen as corridors for cars but as thriving, liveable human spaces.( Bendiks and Degros, 2013)

Will new typologies be introduced? Can cycle highway infrastructure influence its adjacent space just as the motorway did? Will they be ‘Arteries in the urban circulatory system’ just as Haussmann’s boulevards were, when they ‘blasted through the heart of the Paris medieval city.’ This urban innovation of the 19th century, created a new type of public space and stimulated a great expansion of local businesses and employment. However was this also the beginning of the carriage and later the car taking precedent over the pedestrian, casting them to the edge and imposing its tempo on everyone; transforming the whole modern environment into a ‘moving chaos.’ (Berman 1982)

In the 20th century Le Corbusier wished ‘to kill the streets’ celebrating ‘the new man in the car.’ The Las Vegas Strip embodied this where ‘Immediate proximity of related uses as on mainstreet where you walk from one store to another is not required along the Strip because interaction is by car and highway…The scales of movement and space of the highway relate to the distances between buildings, because they are far apart they can be comprehended at high speeds.’ (Venturi and Scott Brown, 1931)

Cyclists are not enclosed in a sealed singular body of a car. Eye contact, a nod of acknowledge, can be shared with fellow cyclists and passing pedestrians, people can stop and dismount at will. Can the new cycle highways be a 21st century answer to Jane Jacob’s ideal city ‘where streets are kept safe by people passing by.’ Her theory of activating the streets, by putting eyes on the street and making them alive and secure for pedestrian ties directly into other types of public life and the making of a good citizen. Can design be lead from people’s view of the world from bike and foot, as the car dictated design in the 20th century?


Liffey Bridges Survey Team, (1987)


  1. Bendiks, S. and Degros A., (2013) Fietsifrastructuur/ Cycle infrastructure, Artgineering,Rotterdam: nai010 publishers.
  2. Berman, M. (1982) All that is Solid Melt’s into Air, The experience of Modernity, New York: Penguin Books.
  3. Boesiger W. and Stononow O. (eds.) (1964) Le Corbusier 19190-1929, Complete Architectural Works Volume 1 1910-1929, London, U.K: Thames and Hudson
  4. Cahill, G. and Kealy, L. (eds.) (1985) Dublin City Quays, Projects by the School of Architecture, UCD, Republic of Ireland: Platecraft Ltd. Dublin. ‘The architect and the city’ O Siochru, E. (1985)
  5. Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of American Cities, The Failure of Town Planning. U.S.A: Random House
  6. Kelly S. and Kelly A., (eds.) (1922) Dublin of the future : the new town plan, being the scheme awarded first prize in the international competition / by Patrick Abercrombie, Liverpool, U.K.: University Press of Liverpool
  7. Liffey Bridges Survey Team, (1987), The Liffey Bridges, from IslandBridge to Eastlink Bridge: A Historical and Technical Report, Republic of Ireland
  8. Travers Morgan & Partners, (1973) Central Dublin Traffic Plan, London, United Kingdom: Oldcacres and Co.
  9. Ltd.Wright L. and Browne K. (1975) A Future for Dublin, England: The Architectural Press.
  10. Venturi, R. and Scott Brown, D. (1931) Learning From Las Vegas, Abingdon : RoutledgeWhyte, W., ( 1980)
  11. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, Washington, D.C : Conservation Foundation
  12. Barrett J. (2001) Liffey Boardwalk, Dublin, Irish Architect, Vol 167, May pp13-16
  13. McGarry Neánaigh Architects (2002), Liffey Boardwalk, New Irish Architecture, Vol 17, pp 60-65
  14., Accesed on 16. 12. 13 (
  15. Dublin_County_Dublin.html
  16. Kelly, O (2013), Accessed on 17.12.13 (

Milford: Mapping Origins and Morphology of a Rural Irish Town

by donalmcelwaine

county boundary

Above is a map of County Donegal with its boundary marked in white. Highlighted in pink is the rural area of the Fanad Peninsula, and in yellow the Rossguil Peninsula. Marked also are the towns of Milford, Rathmelton and Letterkenny.


Irish Land Division and Boundaries

The island of Ireland is divided into 32 counties. Each county is then divided into a series of baronies, each barony divided into civil parishes, and finally each parish is made up of townlands. Townlands are relatively small areas of land, ‘discrete parcels of land’ . Their boundaries follow natural features such as rivers, valleys, ridges, or human interventions; roads, field boundaries etc. In my presentation earlier this year I looked at some of the townlands on the peninsula of Fanad in county Donegal, and how the mapping and naming of these townlands may have lost meaning embedded in their Irish names, but nevertheless enforced a sense of place in a rural community. Parishes are a collection of Townlands, sharing common boundaries. The size of the parish (amount of townlands it covers) was based on the population density, or indeed the population of a specific religious following. Baronies are groupings of civil parishes, layed out for administrative reasons.

The idea of the townland seems to be more relevant now in rural areas rather than in urbanity, as they may be the only way of naming / identifying an area. In urban areas, the larger concentration of roads and blocks lend themselves to more specific and localized naming. Particularly in suburban areas now, territory is identified by the name of the housing or industrial estate. The significance of the townland is here lost.

 Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 18.21.39  Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 18.24.35

Following on from my study of the townlands of Fanad, I decided to look at the development of a rural Irish town. As the nearest town to Fanad I chose to look at Milford, at the bottom of the peninsula. Like any Irish town it can be difficult to identify or agree on its boundary. Since the townlands were mapped many of the towns have expanded, creeping into other townlands, with a focus moving away from the central main streets. Milford is a relatively typical small Irish town, but it is interesting to consider how it has changed very little over the past century. The town itself is largely within the townland of the same name. It is located in the barony of Kilmacrenan (in blue below), and the civil parish of Tullyfern (51).


parish boundary

Marked in red is the boundary of the Parish of Tullyfern. The townland of Milford is highlighted in yellow.


The parishes of Ireland were first officially mapped in 1655-56 by William Petty in a series of maps which became known as the Down Survey. Following a rebellion in 1641 by the native Irish in Ulster against years of religious discrimination, Oliver Cromwell was appointed to invade Ireland and suppress the rebellion. Following his victory the catholic of Ireland were displaced and sent to the infertile lands of Connaught. The newly acquired land was to be divided as payment for Cromwell’s soldiers. Petty then mapped the County, Barony and Parish boundaries of the whole country. The parishes he mapped were the Protestant parishes, but for the most part Roman Catholic Parishes follow the same boundaries, but often have different names. During the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland in the 1830’s led by Colonel Thomas Colby, the parish boundaries of the Down Survey were followed. It was at this point that the Townlands were first mapped and their boundaries defined. They did however derive from a much older land division system from Gaelic times. The naming of the Townlands while sometimes arbitrary, usually denoted a specific aspect or feature of the place, but more commonly were anglicisations of  local gaelic placenames. The Irish names would for the most part have givan an indication of the character or features of the place, however this is lost in the standardised English versions which were recorded on the OSI maps (example Arryheernabin on page 2). The Irish name for Milford is Baile na nGallóglach (Town of the Gallowglasses). Before it was assigned its name ‘Milford’ by the Ordnance surveyors, it was known in english as ‘Ballynagalloglagh’.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 11.09.31

The baronies of Donegal as mapped in the Down Survey 1655-56


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This map of the parishes of Kilmacrenan barony shows the town of Ramelton (in Aghnish Parish) with elevations of buildings to signify that it is a town. In Tully parish there is a similar symbol with the name ‘Tullybeg’. It is roughly in the location of current-day Milford. Similarly the map below names plot 15B as ‘The Quarter of Tullybeg’. 


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While Milford appears to have been called Tullybeg in the Down Survey (1655-56) I can only assume that it was assigned this name as it was the principal village of the Tully Parish. It is widely understood that Milford was given the name Baile na nGallóglach shortly after a battle between the Irish, who were helped by an elite group of mercenary warriors from Scotland called the ‘gallóglach’ (anglicised as gallowglasses), and the English took place on a hill in the townland sometime in the mid 15th century.

To this day Milford remains to be called Baile na nGallóglach in Irish (it is also officially defined as a town!).

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The name ‘Milford’ is first recorded in the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland (1833-’35). It was not uncommon during the mapping process for a new name altogether to be assigned to a townland, ‘Something is being eroded’. In his memoirs which accompanied the maps, Colonel Thomas Colby describes the corn mill in the village as ‘the finest I have yet seen, having an iron wheel of 18 feet diameter and 4 feet in breadth supplied by a chain of loughs to the east of the village. The mill has recently been rebuilt and the metal wheel put in motion this year’. It is clear that he was impressed by the mill and he confirms that it is from this mill that the place gets its name “This village stands 4 miles north west of Rathmelton, near the southern end of Mulroy bay. It consists of 1 street on the slope of a hill, at the southern foot of which stands a large mill from whence the place derives its name. It is an ancient village and has been much improved in late years. Several good substantial houses have been built on the churchland property.”

parish detailed townalnd indicated

Tullyfern Parish OSI 6” (1833-’35) Milford marked in white

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There is considerable change to the village bewteen the 1830’s and the 1890’s as indicated in the previous maps. There is an increase of buildings in the middle of the town, and some expansion to the south and west. Lough Napuckan which powers the mill is dramatically reduced in area by 1890 and the indication of ‘sluices’ suggests that the lake was managed and its rivers controlled. It is home to a number of important services Post Office, Town Hall, Constabulory Barracks, Dispensary, Presbyterian Church, and a School. In his memoirs Thomas Colby notes ‘It contains a barrack for the revenue police, a tannery, a timber and coalyard, a school on Erasmus Smith’s foundation”.  


In Thomas Colby’s memoirs the pupils in the Milford school are also recorded “61 Protestants, 24 Roman Catholics, 44 males, 41 females, total 85; supported by Erasmus Smith’s fund, from which teacher gets 20 pounds per annum, besides a yearly gratuity as above, and pay of some of the children;established 1814.”

The protestant population has since diminished, and the Church of Ireland parish of Tullyfern has since been amalgamated with surroundings parishs.

Milford Union

Speaking broadly about the parish Colby writes “Cottages of 2-storeys high are not uncommon, but the general appearance of most of them is far from clean or comfortable. The tenantry of Sir James Stewart appear to be highly respectable and far superior to the general run.”

In 1841 the Milford Poor Law Union was established. It covered a large portion of the Kilmacrenan Barony, a total of 113000 acres. This confirms Milford as an important administrative centre(presumably contributing to its growth in the 19th century), despite being termed a ‘village’ in Colby’s memoirs, with most of the memoirs describing the slightly larger town of Rathmelton 4 miles south of Milford. A survey conducted at the time (1841) recorded a population of 406 in the town of Milford. The Workhouse itself, designed by George Williamson, was built in 1845 one mile south of the town (in a townland called Glenkeen).


Milford Union Map

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 Milford Infirmary



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The workhouse ceased operation in the 1920’s, and was demolished mid 20th century. The site of the workhouse now hosts an agricultural market every Wednesday. Milford still has a large rural hinterland, and is the closest town to the Fanad and Rossguill peninsulas. Mulroy bay divides these peninsulas and Milford is strategically located at the southern end of Mulroy Bay at a node point where the roads from Fanad and Rossguill meet, and continue further south ro Rathmelton and on to Doengal’s largest town Letterkenny. An agricultural market was traditionally held at the northern end of the town’s main street (at the top of the hill) and I recall fondly stories from my grandfather of having walked cattle from our townland in Fanad to the Milford mart and potentially back again (13miles). It is a journey which I can now only imagine by car. Milford is also the location of the nearest secondary school for both of the peninsulas. While it is surrounded by Gaeltacht areas, Milford itslef is not in the gaeltacht, but Irish is commonly heard in the town. Because of the large surrounding area and number of national schools scattered around Fanad and Rossguill, Milford boasts two large secondary schools, only some hundred metres away from each other. The Loreto Community School was rebuilt in 2006 by Grafton Architects and won an OPUS Architecture and Construction Award. It replaced a large convent building which acted as a boarding secondary school since the 1950’s. The last Sister left the convent in 2004. St.Peters Roman Catholic Church at the south end of the main street was designed by architect Liam McCormick in the 1960’s.

town features

The central circle is the original village scope in 1830’s. The larger circle shows the expansion of the town by the 1890’s and the largest circle is what would now be considered Milford. Since the 1950’s and the increase in motorised vehicle travel services have moved to surrounding areas of the town, to catch traffic which may not be passing through the towns main street. This outer belt is mainly one off bungalow / dormer housing.

The bakery moved from its location at the bottom of the main street to a site on the banks of Mulroy Bay to the north of the town in the 1950’s. It made transportation by boat very easy and at its peak Milford Bakery was selling bread nationally and exporting to Scotland. It was a major employer for Milford and a large surrounding area. The bakery shut down early in the 1990’s due to a move away from boat transporation, and the poor quality of raods leading to Milford. It brought to an end a centuries long tradition in Milford. The bakery building on the banks of the bay still stands as a major eyesore in an otherwise scenic location. The original mill in the town no longer exists, and a healthcare clinic now occupies the site. The location of the Constabulory Barracks is still the Garda station and is one of Donegal’s 3 largest stations. ‘Fruit of the Loom’ also had a factory just outside of the town (to the west) which was a large employer to the area. It also closed in the 1990’s when the clothing manufacturer moved its business to Mexico. The closure of both of these large companys brought a major decline to the Milford economy and the Milford Hotel in the middle of the town also closed.

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milford-sam Milford  postcard

Node Point

Untill the 1990’s all traffic from both Fanad and Rossguil travelled through Milford before heading further south. A bypass road was then built to allow Fanad traffic to avoid going though the town. While the Rossguil traffic still had to go through the town, there was a decline in business. A number of businsess then located themselves on the bypass road, including Lidl in 2009, making it a car dependant town. However it could be said that Milford has always relied on people coming from a far and was never much concerned with pedestrian ease of access. In 2008 the Harry Blaney Bridge was opened at the northern end of Mulroy Bay, spanning 350 metres linking Fanad to Rossguil at a cost of 19million euro (as part of a much larger international project called the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, coastal tourist drive). It turned out to be shorter and more convenient for inhabitants of Fanad to go over the bridge to Rossguil and travel southwards through Milford (many people from Fanad and Rossguil work and have other business in Letterkenny). The reincrease of traffic in the town led the council to introduce a one way fraffic system through the main street with widened footpaths. Traffic now travels southwards only through the main street. The Celtic Tiger did not seem to bring any improvements to the town. In 2004 Donegal Council opened a Public Services centre in the town, and a public library. The public services centre is largely closed now.  The AIB branch in the town closed this year. The town’s main street currently has 3 pubs, 2 convenient stores, 2 take-aways, a butchers, the headquarters of a weekly local newspaper ‘The Tirconaill Tribune’  a hardware store, a chemist, Garda station, bookmakers and Chinese restaurant.

A number of small housing estates were built around Milford town in the past 15 years, and I am not aware of any vancant houses or ghost estates, but Milford certainly did not see a large expansion during the Celtic Tiger. And with the closure of two large employers, bringing an end to businessess which were in the town for centuries, the opposite can be said for the Celtic Tiger which did, or did not come to Milford. Its fabric has changed very little over the past 100 or more years, but nevertheless it remains an important town due to its location at the centre of a large rural barony. I think that it is all the better for having not changed much, and the local community can, for generations, feel a connection and emotion with its ever unchanging fabric.


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by walkingandmapping

“The body moves through space every day, and in architecture in cities that can be orchestrated. Not in a dictatorial fashion, but in a way of creating options, open-ended sort of personal itineraries within a building. And I see that as akin to cinematography or choreography, where episodic movement, episodic moments, occur in dance and film.” – Antoine Predock

Throughout the history of architecture, buildings have been designed to channel and influence the way people move and flow throughout a space.  When buildings start to have a dialogue with each other they take on even more power as a guiding system.  This phenomena of buildings as routes or paths, both within and outside their enclosure, are well represented by our modern day college campuses.  Trinity Dublin Campus is an exemplary example, guiding thousands of students, and tourists alike, each day through complex spaces within a large campus.  As a prime example within the city of Dublin, this project examines the campus of Trinity College and its buildings and spaces, and the movement that happens within it.  When evaluating college campuses, you often find two strong characterizations; the dense urban campus and the larger rustic ones. Enclosed from the city by a large black gate around the perimeter of the campus, Trinity College manages to synthesize the two, keeping the country feel even within the cities center. This is one of the amazing qualities that have made the campus a tourist staple for Dublin.  But even more important is the campus layout, focusing on inward facing large quadrangles.  That, combined with limited public entrances, gives the campus its quiet feel and tranquil atmosphere.  The main grounds are large being embedded within a dense city, totaling almost 47 acres.  The actual composition itself is made up of old and modern architecture alike; Nassau and Pearse Street border the entrance to the school.

For data collection and research, I visited the campus and observed people’s movements, tracking them through sketches and diagrams and pictures.  Using a hand-drawn map of Trinity College, I represented movement throughout the campus with the method of dots/stippling.  Through much observation and campus research, it can be seen that the campus layout encompasses the movement of its occupiers, causing the movement to flow like water, with its buildings serving as partial routes throughout the campus.



Drawing of floor plan of Regent House.

Drawing of floor plan of Regent House.

Exterior image of Regent House.

Exterior image of Regent House.

The Regent House, located on the west part of Trinity College along College Green, acts as the central entrance to the campus, regulating the flow of people between the enclosed college and the city.  This is where my visitation and observations of Trinity College began.  The ‘Front Gate’ (Regent House entrance) to the college grounds was built in the 1750s and is guarded by large statues on either side.  This is a large, stone, symmetrical building with columns that sits almost right along the street edge.  It feels very significant and imposing, very much like a high-guarded entrance that does not seem too welcoming to outsiders.  The tall black metal fence surrounding the campus parts where for the entrance were there is a large wooden door with a smaller, regular sized door carved into the middle, which makes it feel like the pedestrians are being funneled into the building.  It then opens up inside into a large, partially enclosed foyer with two smaller doors flanking the space on either side, which can access the north and south wings of the building, yet still appear unwelcoming with no one going near them.  Through the foyer, students and tourists pass through, like a tunnel, spreading out after being squeezed through the rather small opening in the large fortress-like building.  Looking forward and venturing further through the Regent House, it opens up even further onto a large open outdoor space, where people disperse even further.  The Regent House acts as an authoritative, funnel-shaped gateway from the busy city to the tranquil atmosphere, funneling a large amount of people from the busy street edge to the peaceful open campus.  Because the building serves as a central entrance, the Regent House as a route regulates large amounts of movement throughout the day.



Drawing of floor plan of Parliament Square

Drawing of floor plan of Parliament Square

photo of Parliament Square

photo of Parliament Square

“…mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of transient passage through varied ambiences.  Also used to designate a specific period of continuous deriving.” – Situationist International

The Regent House, or ‘Front Gate’, opens up onto the large, open space called Parliament Square.  This is where the Regent House funnels outward, people continuing walking and spreading out in different directions.  Parliament Square is the central court of the campus grounds, surrounded by the large wings of the Regent House, giving off the feel of being in a dense fortress, completely closed off from the busy streets of Dublin.  The enclosed square is made up of stone and contains green spaces, also closed off, discouraging people to walk on the grass.  These closed off green spaces near the Regent House appear to continue the funnel-function further, giving the movement three different directions before letting the flow go in any direction.  Once the flow of people get past the green spaces, they disperse in different directions, either along-side the buildings or cutting through the middle of the open space.  The movement through the open space is random, making the tracing of movement scattered and un-uniformed.  In the middle of the large, open court stands the tall Campanile, acting as sort of another, less-official, entrance to the eastern half of the large court, also containing two rectilinear, closed-off green spaces.  Since the flow of people walking around is scattered, the movement becomes less dense and busy as people head off on various paths, continuing the funnel from the street edge, towards the middle of the campus grounds.  The square also acts as an open, connecting space between the college buildings, where to movement of people continue.



drawing of floor plan of Old Library

drawing of floor plan of Old Library

interior image of Old Library - Long Room (

interior image of Old Library – Long Room (

The Old Library flanks the central court along the southern edge, acting as part of the enclosure to the open space.  This Trinity College library is the largest research library in Ireland and is home to the famous Book of Kells.  Star Wars also used the design of the old library as the Jedi Archive in the ‘Star Wars Episode II: Attach of the Clones’ movie.  The library, built in the early 1700s, is essentially composed of the 65-meter long main chamber, the ‘Long Room’, a large, vaulted open space running through the middle of the building and lined with massive bookshelves on both sides.  Movement through the space is mostly through the center, the sides often being restricted to stationary students, seated or otherwise.  Through observation, I noticed that people do not travel through the building as a continuous route across the campus and its outdoor spaces. Instead they move through just the building itself, mostly along the east-west axis. This space takes on a unique identity apart from the campus as a whole, not valued as a passage, but as a destination.  As such, the building’s effects as a route are separated between internal and external conditions, both operating on different people, and having entirely different effects.  This makes the building not as walking/route-friendly or permeable as other spaces in Trinity College.  However, through representation of movement, the library appears to contain its own flow of people within its interior.  An unexpected result, only realized through hands on observation and graphics analysis.



drawing of floor plan of Arts Building

drawing of floor plan of Arts Building

interior image of Arts Building

Through observation, The Arts Building of Trinity College is considered to be one of the most “buildings as routes” categories.

“Built as an Arts faculty building and containing lecture theatres and seminar rooms, libraries, an art gallery and administration and social facilities for both staff and students.  The building was originally constructed between in the 1970s.  The building has two distinct elevations – one to Fellows Square, which it forms with the Old Library and the Berkeley Library, and one to Nassau Street where it is set back from the street behind the high railings” (

 The building was created within the context of an expanding university structure, and also as another major connecting point between the city and the campus.  A lot of the movement on campus takes place in and around the Arts Building, making it a central structure.  Acting as another gateway like the Regent House, it regulates the flow of people between the quite campus and the busy streets of Dublin; the building also serves as a route between libraries as well, making the Arts Building a high-traffic space.  Therefore, the building serves as multiple routes from the city to campus, and from campus to different spaces and the libraries.  From observing the flow of people within the building, many are walking through, or also standing in groups conversing or seated against the walls reading, doing homework, etc.  As seen on the image, the flow of movement is scattered, in a sort of organized chaos, each person having their own intention and directionality of travel.  This makes the Arts Building one of the strongest buildings on campus in walking and permeability and as an overall route-driven designed building.



floor plans of Berkeley and Ussher Library

floor plans of Berkeley and Ussher Library

exterior image of Berkeley Library (

exterior image of Berkeley Library (

The Berkeley and Ussher Libraries connect on the west side of the Arts Building, continuing the route through the Arts Building and both libraries.

“The Berkeley Library building caused some issues at first when built inside Trinity’s grounds next to Burgh’s Library building.  The Library is set back from the existing building line created by Deane and Woodward’s Museum and the old Library, thus creating a new raised public space.  In addition, the side elevation closes off the new square created between the Long Library and the Arts Block along Nassau Street.”

“The Ussher Library is sited between the Berkeley Library and Nassau Street with the park and the Arts Block on either side. The new building is the result of a competition won by the collaborating project from McCullough Mulvin and KMD Architecture.  The interior of the Library is dominated by the atrium than spans the height of the building from the basement Journals Room through to the top – eight levels in all. Off this are the book stacks and the reading areas.  The top floor reading areas overlook the College Park with the majority of the book stacks on the Arts Block side of the building. Glass-fronted balconies open on to the atrium from every level, permitting both light and air to circulate freely through the entire space.”

Since these three buildings connect, they form a long route for people to travel through, either entering or exiting through the Berkeley Library main entrance.  Together, these three buildings create a long, multi-directional route through the southwest part of the campus grounds.



hand drawn campus map of Trinity College Dublin

hand drawn campus map of Trinity College Dublin

Some buildings, more obvious than others, have developed the concept of the human body moving through architecture even further and strive to integrate many aspects of human movement and relationships within space.  Through research and observation, and the methods used for this project, the campus of Trinity College holds to the “buildings as routes” statement.  Even though the large, spacious campus is embedded within a dense city center, it still maintains its own peaceful atmosphere.  It gives off the feel of venturing through a busy city but then stumbling abruptly to a large fortress-like gatehouse, going through a tunnel, and finding a large, open oasis amongst all the brick buildings that surround it.  One loses itself from the city of Dublin, as if Trinity College is its own world.  These buildings are all good examples of how architecture can be designed around the movement of people while encouraging socialization along with an overall influence on human interaction within a space.

 “Men can see nothing around them that is not their own image; everything speaks to them of themselves.  Their very landscape is alive.” – Karl Marx



“1968 – Arts Block, Trinity College Dublin – Architecture of Dublin City –” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. <;.

Ford, Simon. The Situationist International: A User’s Guide. London: Black Dog, 2005. Print.

Mitchell, Lynn, and Elizabeth Mayes. Trinity College Dublin: A Beautiful Place. Dublin: Trinity College Dublin, 2000. Print.

Mulligan, Fergus. Trinity College Dublin: A Walking Guide. Dublin: Trinity College Library, 2010. Print.

“Trinity College Dublin.” – The University of Dublin, Ireland. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. <;.

“Trinity College Dublin, Arts Faculty Building.” Abk Architects. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. <;.

Walking In Belfield

by daveomahony11

With over 30,000 students dotted across its campus, University College Dublin is a place full of life and movement.  One thing that all of these students experience in one form or another is this movement.  Whether it be from the Science Block to the James Joyce Library, or from Richview to the Stillorgan Road bus stop every student has experienced walking through the campus of UCD.  It was my daily quest into college that brought this subject of campus movement to my attention.  Each day the 145 bus from Kilmacanogue drops me to the Stillorgan Road entrance to UCD.  From there I am faced with a lengthy walk across the Belfield Campus to Richview which is located on the Clonskeagh side of UCD.  With no clear path running straight from A to B my route across campus takes me through car parks, buildings and fields.  Had I opted to avoid this “off-road” approach there are numerous paths and routes I could have chosen at the cost of time.  It is this notion of time and distance and the role they play in the life of a student that formed the base for this research project.

Actual Route to Richview

Actual Route to Richview

Prescribed Route to Richview

Prescribed Route to Richview

My research began with the history of the university itself.  UCD began as the Catholic University, founded in 1854 at which time its few buildings were spread across Dublin City.  In 1908 it was given university status and work began on its properties including Earlsfort Terrace in St. Stephens Greens.  In the book “UCD and it’s Building Plans”, the following was said on the topic of the universities facilities at the time, “In the matter of buildings, it would not be easy to name as ill provided as University College, Dublin, has been and is. The College is not an institution which has outgrown buildings that were at one time adequate, but one which, properly speaking, has never been built at all.” (Unknown Author, 1959) It was clear that the college was in need of a new location in order to accommodate the students of future generations.  In the years between 1949-59 the college, with the help of the state, acquired 6 properties near their own Belfield Estate on the Stillorgan Road and began the process of moving the college.

I decided that before delving into the layout of the campus itself it would be beneficial to understand the lay of the land of the Belfield site prior to its inhabitation by UCD to see if any patterns emerge from historic routes and those laid down with the development of the campus.  I came across this map of the Parish of Taney within which the site sits.

Taney Parish Map (Ordinance Survey, 1865)

Taney Parish Map (Ordinance Survey, 1865)

The map was drawn in 1865 and provides a lot of information with regards pathways and routes through the area.  It also shows the array of “pleasing villias …… commanding interesting views of the city and bay of Dublin and the adjacent country.” (Lewis, 1837).  These villas serve as a structure of sorts for the area.  In the overlay below we can see the key houses that populate the perimeter of the site and the paths that intertwine them.

Overlay of Taney Parish Map

Overlay of Taney Parish Map

As the campus became possible with the purchasing of these period houses it is understandable that they would play a part in its formation.  As I mentioned above the first house to be acquired by UCD was the Belfield house in 1933 (UCD University Relations, 2012). Before development started in 1959 the college had also bought Ardmore House, Merville House, Roebuck Grove and Belgrove House leaving them with the area indicated below with which to develop.

Land Acquired Prior to Development

Land Acquired Prior to Development

In 1955, in the process of convincing the government that Belfield was in fact the right site for the new campus, the Architectural Advisory Board of the College (AAB) prepared what they called the Belgrove Lay-out (Unknown Author, 1959).  In this early plan the Ardmore house, Roebuck Grove and Belgrove House were left out and building was to take place on their grounds.  The design consisted of diagrammatic blocks showing the size of the intended buildings on site in order to demonstrate that there is plenty of space to further develop the college.  It also shows the first conceptualized layout for UCD.

1955 Belgrove Lay-out (Unknown Author, 1959)

1955 Belgrove Lay-out (Unknown Author, 1959)

Having being given the go ahead by the government in 1959 the University held a competition to design a master plan for the campus.  It was won by a polish architect Ardrzei Wejchert and development began in 1964.  The judges report stated that “The keynote of this design is the Author’s idea of arranging the various buildings at either side of a pedestrian mall of interesting and irregular shape…” (1972 – Administration Building).

A & D Wejchert Master Plan 1964 (Murray O’L, 2005)

A & D Wejchert Master Plan 1964 (Murray O’L, 2005)

“The basic idea of the plan is a linear development of the Campus with building linked together by covered ways along the pedestrian mall which becomes the life line of the campus.  Building should be sited as close as reasonably possible to each other in order to maintain walking distance of approximately 500m (6 mins) between two ends of the pedestrian mall…” (A & D Wejchert 1998).  Here we can see time and distance becoming a part of the design of the college with the architects sole aim being limitation.  The ‘pedestrian mall’ was to become the spine for UCD and it would later determine all routes across the entire campus.  It is positioned towards the centre of the site, leaving the peripheral planting untouched along with many of the existing houses. Similar to the 1955 plan by the AAB, the roads running through the campus seem to be determined by the existing tree lined channels spanning between these houses.

Overlay of A & D Wejchert Master Plan 1964 on the Historic Routes

Overlay of A & D Wejchert Master Plan 1964 on the Historic Routes

The Campus developed over the next thirty years with buildings from A & D Wejchert Architects and Scott Tallon Walker Architects.  The University also purchased more land surrounding the campus including Roebuck Castle, Rosemount House and Richview House as well as a narrow pedestrian link to Roebuck Road (UCD University Relations, 2012).  With the campus evolving and expanding, in 1998 A & D Wejchert Architects were commissioned to examine the progress made within the framework of the initial development plan and to also make proposals as to how to further plan for the future expansion of the college.

Map showing the Progression of the Campus Grounds

Map showing the Progression of the Campus Grounds

With the grounds of the college spanning further afield from its initial center developed in 1964, there was a possibility that the campus could become scattered across the vast landscape and lose sight of Wejchert’s concept of a ‘well composed dense core set in a beautiful parkland’ (A & D Wejchert 1998).  This concentrated core allowed space for other necessary uses such as sports facilities, residences and research centers on the periphery of the site without losing the parkland ambiance.

Zoning Concept (A & D Wejchert, 1998)

Zoning Concept (A & D Wejchert, 1998)

In their report they describe the central pedestrian spine as “a vibrant street connecting all academic buildings” and insist that it “should not be allowed to become diluted. On the contrary – it should be reinforced.”.  In discussing this further they say it “encourages social interaction between staff and students, shared facilities. ensures a concentration of services, reduces land use, allows access to all buildings by foot and the surrounding development helps provide sheltered and pleasantly scaled outdoor areas.” (A & D Wejchert 1998).

As highlighted on the below, the covered pedestrian way was to be extended on both sides so as to reach the sports centre and the student centre.  It was also suggested that the canopy span out to meet the Stillorgan Road entrance.  Neither of these extensions were built.

Pedestrian Routes (A & D Wejchert, 1998)

Pedestrian Routes (A & D Wejchert, 1998)

The existing landscape and vegetation influenced the initial design of the campus and maintaining the woodland of hardwoods was a major design intent.  However the parkland suffered from the campus development and only a number of pockets of this woodland remained.  Thus the preservation and rejuvenation of the landscape became a priority for future campus development.

Landscaping Plan (A & D Wejchert, 1998)

Landscaping Plan (A & D Wejchert, 1998)

This preservation played a pivotal role in the most recent campus development plan which was prepared by Murray O’Laoire Architects in 2005. It was commissioned in response to the UCD president Hugh Brady’s vision for the future of the campus.  In the President’s Statement he said “The values that inform our current vision for the development of UCD’s Belfield Campus are those of openness, excellence in design and layout, expansiveness of landscaped areas and accelerated development of quality pedestrian walkways.” (Murray O’L, 2005)

During the Celtic Tiger years the campus expanded significantly, this meant that previous perceptions of the campus being remote and isolated were difficult to sustain.  In acknowledging this the architects referred to this phase as the “next generation” of development committing themselves to addressing issues that had been neglected in previous development plans.

Even in this “next generation” the pedestrian was a defining character in the evolution of the campus.  A & D Wejchert strived for a central core to the campus and Murray O’Laoire furthered this core by creating a central pedestrian zone.  Car parks were to be positioned around this zone in such a way that the all areas of the campus are within a 5 minute walking distance. (Murray O’L, 2005)

Map of Pedestrian Free Zone (Murray O’L, 2005)

Map of Pedestrian Free Zone (Murray O’L, 2005)

Progressing this idea of a pedestrian friendly campus is the introduction of more sheltered pedestrian routes.  Celtic Tiger campus development led to the construction of stand alone pavilion buildings which created some unfortunate pedestrian environments. The architects solution to this is to elaborate on the original 1964 concept of the central spine by adding more secondary spines along the east-west axis connected by numerous north-south malls.

Map of Malls + Walkways (Murray O’L, 2005)

Map of Malls + Walkways (Murray O’L, 2005)

I thought it would be a good exercise to take stock of the development of these pedestrian routes at this stage to better understand the key aspects that remain in the design of today’s campus.  Below is an overlay of the pedestrian routes at the three stages of this study, the Taney Parish Map, the 1998 A & D Wejchert Development Plan and the 2005 Murray O’Laoire Development Plan.  What is most interesting is the retention of the existing routes into the site at Meville, Roebuck Castle, Richview, Roebuck House and the narrow path from Roebuck Road.  As mentioned above this was more than likely down to the mature trees that lined these passages.

Map of Pedestrian Routes from 1865, 1998, and 2005

Map of Pedestrian Routes from 1865, 1998, and 2005

Another interesting progression to be noted is that which took place between the 1998 and 2005 development plans.  As you can see from the blue line (above), the pedestrian routes now spread to the peripheries of the site.  This was largely due to the UCD President Hugh Brady’s agenda to “see a more-than-tenfold increase in the boundary woodland” (Murray O’L, 2005).  The architects shared this passion for the woodland that once encased the historic estates and believed its preservation and enhancement to be crucial to maintaining the character of the site.  This peripheral woodland path was to become a feature in the future of the campus serving as a jogging, cycle and walking track.

Boundary Trail (Murray O’L, 2005)

Boundary Trail (Murray O’L, 2005)

These peripheral paths became known as the Woodland Walks.  A leaflet was prepared in 2013 outlining these walks. There are four individual routes that combine to create one Boundary Woodland Walk.  As these paths traverse the landscape of the historic estates it is only fitting that they are named after them. The total length of the perimeter walk is 6.2km and can be completed in 60-70 minutes.  As you can see both the Rosemount and Belfield walks have a direct overlap with the historic planting from 1865 while the Millennium and Glenomena walks retain most of the planting around the boundary of the area. (UCD University Relations, 2013)

Woodland Walks Map (UCD University Relations, 2013)

Woodland Walks Map (UCD University Relations, 2013)

Having gained a clear understanding of the history behind the site and how it influenced the design of the campus I decided to conduct a study of a series of routes within UCD. The aim of the study was to record and represent the distance and time of certain walks through the campus and compare them to a route that is unobstructed by the built environment and therefore the shortest and most direct.  This follows on from my original queries about whether the campus facilitates the movement of students or in fact hinders it with its overall design.

I took five major buildings within UCD (Richview, Newstead, Sports Centre, Engineering, Quinn School) and navigated 3 routes from each. One to the Stillorgan Road bus stop, one to the core of the campus previously determined by A & D Wejchert, and a final route to the narrow passage to Roebuck Road.  By calculating the time it takes to travel these routes and comparing the results to the time for the shortest distance we will be able to better understand the workings and failings of the designed pedestrian network on campus.

The results are shown below.

Richview Study Dave Final

As A & D Wejchert predicted, Richview lacks a clear pedestrian connection to the campus due to its separation from the central core.  This results in meandering unsheltered paths which add to the already lengthy walk.  However with the introduction of the Woodland Walks, Richview is becoming more connected to the Belfield side of campus.

Newstead Study Dave Final

Similar to Richview, as it was not part of the original 1964 development plan, Newstead has become an isolated entity.

Sports Centre Study Dave Final

The Sports Centre sits right on the edge of the campus core and so benefits from its pedestrian spine.  We begin to see the successes of this pedestrian network with journey times close to the optimum.

Engineering Study Dave Final

The pedestrian routes from both the Engineering Building and the Quinn School are extremely efficient highlighting once more the quality of the original campus core design.

Quinn School Study Dave Final

The study confirmed what was feared by A & D Architects in 1998.  The dense pedestrian network of the original campus has become diluted with the addition of new buildings to the perimeter of the site.  It is these buildings that suffer most from their disconnection to the central core but the campus design as a whole is also weakened.

What the research of the Belfield Campus uncovered was that the woodland of the historic estates had a major influence on the design of the pedestrian network.  Over time the campus became segregated with bursts of unplanned isolated development.  It is hoped that the development of the Woodland Walks can bring coherence to the ever expanding campus.


1972 – Administration Building, University College Dublin, Co. Dublin. Available from <; (15 December 2013)

 A & D Wejchert (1998). University College Dublin Belfield Campus Development Plan 1998. Dublin. University College Dublin.

 Lewis, Samuel (1837). A topographical Dictionary of Ireland. Volume 1. London: S. Lewis & Co.

 Murray O’L (2005), University College Dublin Campus Development Plan 2005-2010-2015. Dublin. University College Dublin.

 Ordinance Survey (1865). The Parish of Taney. Dublin Parish Maps. 25” to one statute mile. Dublin. Ordinance Survey Office.

 UCD University Relations (2012). Origins of the Belfield Campus and UCD’s Period Houses. Leaflet. Dublin. UCD University Relations

 UCD University Relations (2013). Campus Walks Map and Guide. Leaflet. Dublin. UCD University Relations

 Unknown Author (1959). UCD and its Building Plans. Dublin: Browne & Nolan Ltd.

By David O’Mahony

Mapping Routes And Patterns – Eamonn Costello

by walkingandmapping

WALKING IN KILKENNY CITY – Mapping Routes and Patterns

This is a study of how the built fabric shapes the path of the user of the city. Kilkenny is a Medieval City with a very particular layout, which has for hundreds of years been used in certain ways by different people.
To investigate how exactly one moves around Kilkenny I mapped routes I myself take through the city. Kilkenny is where I grew up, so after years of finding my way through the city by being immersed in it making a map was an interesting step back. Things I never thought about have an inherent logic and rhythm. Passages of “Spatial Practices” by De Certeau resonate strongly with my findings, he talks about how intertwined paths give their shape to spaces – in Kilkenny the atmosphere of different streets varies hugely depending on how people move through them. Some lanes like Chapel lane are mostly residential and sparsely dotted with shops and places to go, here people keep their head down and do not linger, these lanes are often eerily quiet. Others, like the Butterslip are packed with shops, restaurants, cafés and businesses – with inviting shop windows and secretive doorways. Here there are people rushing, people drifting from window to window, buskers and people having a chat.

“Real systems whose existence in fact make up a city”


The Book Centre
I uncovered some of my own systems while mapping these routes – there are patterns I repeatedly fall back into. The most notable pattern is my relationship with No.10 High Street, which is The Book Centre. This has been forming since I was old enough to be allowed walk the city by myself. I have always used it as somewhere to kill time, it is essentially a library to me. Its location and adjacent lanes mean I can get to most places in town very quickly, avoiding busy streets if necessary. Not only that but in a small town it’s a fantastic place to avoid people – right in the middle of town. It is my safe place, perfect for when I’m at a loose end, getting away from the hustle and bustle or one of those rare occasions when I actually want to buy a book.
Number 10 is a 3 storey 6 bay building, with oak beamed cellars, with a 19th century facade. It first appears on an 1816 map drawn by James Healy as “the White Hart Inn”, though it believed to be older due to the mouldings on the gable of number 11.It was subsequently the premises of W. J. Douglas, auctioneer and stationer in 1854. It was then an establishment called Boyle’s according to the 1954 Kilkenny Review, and then Fitzmaurice, a newsagent. It became the book centre in 1971.
The building steps back to line up with Pudding lane, the window of the children’s overlooks the end of the lane where it joins High Street, a cosy, withdrawn moment. This lane is especially convenient – I use it as a shortcut to my father’s place of work on Patrick Street and to my old school via New Street. It’s proximity to the multi-storey car park means many people use it entering and leaving High Street. From Pudding lane one can branch onto Pennyfeather Lane and use it as an alternative route to Friary Street, and the many lanes that open onto it. These are quieter alternatives to the main streets.

Mary's Lane + Pudding Lane

Planometric Study of Pudding Lane and St. Mary’s Lane

Maps of Kilkenny City

The city as we know it today is apparent in John Rocque’s 1757 map, one of the best existing of the city at the time. Many of the lanes I have discussed such as Pudding Lane, Pennyfeather Lane and the slips appear on this map, under the same names.

A map I find particularly interesting is John Bradley’s map of the growth of the city, based on the 1900 ordinance survey map of the city. What is clearly illustrated is the division between “Hightown” and “Irishtown”. High town was where the Anglo Normans dwelled when they occupied the city, Irishtown was where the indigenous people were moved. There is a noticeable difference even today between the two areas, Hightown still feels like the city centre and Irishtown is still somewhat peripheral. Irishtown contains buildings of great archaeological significance, and the oldest buildings in the city. Unfortunately it has also seen the worst destruction, much has been lost to new roads and developments.

1900 Base Map- Growth

John Bradly’s Growth Map of Kilkenny (Base Map 1900). (Irish Historic Towns Atlas/Kilkenny)


Walking Map of Kilkenny City

I divided the routes into three categories:
• My School days – The lunch run and the journey home (when I couldn’t get a lift)
• My Present use of the city – A Tourist “…wandering, walking, window shopping”
• A night out in Kilkenny – A rigid circuit

School Days –
1. The Tech Gate
2. Shortcut through the Clubhouse hotel
3. Shortcut through Pudding Lane
4. Shortcut through Garden Row
5. St. Mary’s Lane
6. St. Canice’s Steps
Present Day –
1. Shortcut through the Design Centre to Butler House
2. No. 10 High Street – The Book Centre
3. The Shee Alms House
4. Back Way into Kilkenny castle
5. Kytler’s Inn, The tea rooms
6. The River Walk
The Night Out –
1. Langton’s
2. Matt the Miller’s
3. Uncle Sam’s
4. Joe’s Takeaway


DSC_0346No.10 High Street – The Book Centre



1. St. Kieran’s College
The secondary school I attended, the quickest route to town was in fact through another school – Kilkenny vocational school, with whom St. Kieran’s shares grounds. The entrance from here opens onto new street, well known for the old city wall which still runs parallel to the street. This is the old boundary of the city.
2. Shortcut through the Clubhouse hotel
I often took a shortcut through this hotel when visiting my father at work, I knew the building from playing at music sessions there.
The Clubhouse Hotel opened in conjunction with the Kilkenny hunt club in 1797, to provide accommodation for hunt members too tired to return home after a hunt.
3. Shortcut through Pudding Lane
One of the most used shortcuts in the town.

DSC_0341Pudding Lane

4. Shortcut through Garden Row
Mostly residential, it is one of the quieter lanes. However, as it serves as a link to the market cross shopping centre it is usually bustling with students at lunch time.
5. St. Mary’s Lane and The Butterslip – (see planometric study)

When I was in transition year I did work experience in an Architecture office based on the Butterslip. The office backed onto Mary’s Lane, and while I was there I became very familiar with both lanes as well as the other slips connecting high street and Kieran’s street.
The entrance to The Butterslip is between 79 and 80 on High Street, it became a public passage in 1602 as part of a farm owned by a Nicholas Langton. At the time Kieran’s Street was called Low Lane. It conforms exactly to the measurements laid down by the agreement Nicholas Langton undertook with the municipal body when he acquired a grant. He built a large stone house there in 1609 which occupied either side of the slip. It was initially intended for horses and carriages, but when it was no longer suitable steps were laid down made from Kilkenny limestone. It got its name from a woman who sold butter in an alcove in the north wall of the slip.
Saint Mary’s lane surrounds Saint Mary’s Church and runs behind The Tholsel (The town hall) and Shee Alms House on Rose Inn Street. It opens onto High Street, Rose Inn Street and Kieran’s Street. St. Mary’s Church itself was the parish church of the medieval Hightown. It is currently much diminished, it has been reduced in size since the 18th century. It’s patronage and upkeep was a visible sign of pride and wealth of the burgesses, its tombs and bell towers were a sign of their status. The church and bell tower were used for corporation meetings, and in the 16th century it was one of the principal locations for the performance of the town plays.


DSC_0360  St. Mary’s Lane

St. Canice’s Steps

At the top of a flight of steep stone steps are two medieval houses, it was it one of these houses I used to get music lessons. As a result I got to know the Cathedral and its environs quite well, the lanes all around it have a particularly tranquil atmosphere. Worship on this site goes back to the sixth or seventh century, when the cult of Saint Canice was first introduced. Initially a Romanesque Cathedral was built on this site in the 12th century, to be replaced by the Gothic structure in the 13th century by Hugh de Rous, the first Anglo Norman bishop in the diocese. Canices tower, constructed around 1100, is Kilkenny’s oldest building. Built on an earlier graveyard, its foundations are only 600mm deep, seemingly inadequate for a 30m tall tower on graveyard clay. The door is 8 feet of the ground, not for defensible reasons but rather structural ones.
Common lane is a handy route back to Vicar Street. Vicar Street and Dame Street are part of Irishtown, where the natives dwelled when the Anglo – Normans occupied Kilkenny. Unfortunately much of the area has been lost to developments. The death knell for the medieval heritage of this street will come as part of the central access scheme, a council development which will demolish three well preserved, medieval houses.




    St. Canice’s Steps

Present Day –
1. The Parade, The Castle, The Design Centre and Butler House
From the Parade through to Butler house there is a lovely sequence of spaces that I sometimes walk through with my family when I’m in Kilkenny, you can get from the castle to Patrick Street.
The Parade has recently been redesigned by GKMP Architects, work was completed in 2009. It was originally created by the first Duke of Ormonde as a space for military parades and assemblies.
The Castle site has had a fortification since before 1173, the present stone structure was started by William Marshall, lord of Leinster, in 1207. The Castle would have been quite imposing with its large moat and narrow arrow slits, the moat was filled in in the 17th century as a part of the parade approach to the castle and the windows widened over the course of several renovations. The moat was excavated in the 1990s to reveal the original height of the walls, but in its original state it would have been twice as wide, making the medieval street much narrower than the present day.
The route goes through the design centre, through a little doorway into the back garden of Butler house. The design centre was originally stables built for the castle in 1780, and was renovated in 1965 to become the Design Centre, arches were opened up to become windows and large stone blocks marking the entrance are salvaged from Nelson’s Pillar.
Coming through the doorway at the back of the former stables one is greeted by a formal 18th century garden. Butler House was built around 1780 as a dower house for the countesses of Ormonde, where they retired after the death of a husband. A widow’s dower was her lifelong share of her husband’s estate.


DSC_0418 The Parade and Kilkenny Castle

photo 5 (3)

photo 1 (2)

photo 1

Route through the Design Centre to Butler House

Back Way into Kilkenny castle
Touched by the renovations designed by GKMP, an original set of stone steps bring the visitor up through the high wall and up a steep embankment to the castle park grounds.
5. Kytler’s Inn, The tea rooms
This end of Kieran’s street feels truly medieval, much of the rest has unfortunately been ruined by a large, ugly Dunnes Stores.
Kytler’s Inn is the most significant building here, this house is traditionally associated with Alice Kytler, tried for witchcraft and heresy in 1324. The earliest parts of the building may be of early 14th century origin. The vaulted undercroft dates to the sixteenth century and the superstructure, with its prominent door and tall windows are from the 18th century. At the back is St. Kieran’s well, mentioned in 1207.
Other buildings of note are the Marble City Bar and the tea rooms, which also open onto High street. The Market slip serves as a connection here, linking High Street to the Market Yard, the space beside Kytler’s that was traditionally a market.




      Kytler’s  Inn

Night Circuit –
Kilkenny has become an increasingly popular town for a night out – hens, stags, office parties and other forms of revelry sweep through the town every weekend. Most of this occurs on John’s street, where one will find Matt the Miller’s, Biddy Early’s and Langton’s. The circuit I have drawn is one I find myself on every time I go out for a night in Kilkenny, it encompasses pubs, nightclubs, fast food restaurants and ATMs.

photo 1 (3)

   Upper John’s Street

photo 3

   Matt the Millers, Lower John Street

What I hope to have illustrated with this graphic essay is how the city is used by its people and visitors, in its present state and in the past. Buildings built hundreds of years ago are still functioning, albeit most of them for different uses. The Tholsel still functions as the town hall (the word derives from old English words for “tax hall”), whereas the Shee Almshouse and no.10 High street have changed several times. People adapt to the city, and it slowly adapts to them. However the hints of the past are everywhere in Kilkenny City, and make it a unique place for walking in.

Bradley, John.(2000). Discover Kilkenny.
Bradley, John. (2000). Irish Historic Towns Atlas/Kilkenny.
DeCerteau, Michel. (1984) Spatial Practices.
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. (2006) An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Kilkenny.
Jacobs, Jane. (1993). Death and Life of Great American Cities.
Heritage Council, The. (2005). Kilkenny City Walls.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (1948). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (1950). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (1954). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (1965). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (1986). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (2001). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (2002). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society. (2004). Old Kilkenny Review.
Kilkenny Journal. (1961). Liber Primus Kilkenniensis (English Translation)
Lanigan, Katherine. (1977). Kilkenny: Its Architecture and History.
Solnit, R. (2001) Wanderlust: A History of Walking.



Mapping Memories

by alanahmdoyle


When the anthropologist asked the Kwakiutl
for a map of their coast, they told him
stories: Here? Salmon gather. Here?
Sea otter camps. Here seal sleep.
Here we say body covered with mouths.
How can a place have a name? A man,
a woman may have a name, but they die.
We are a story until we die.
Then our names are dangerous.
A place is a story happening many times

– Kim Stafford, “There Are No Names But Stories (Ryden, 1993)

‘The poem above, demonstrates the poets awareness of the inextricability of history, landscape and narrative.’ For the Kwakiutl people, a map and a sequence of stories are one and the same. Through this essay I plan to highlight how memory and story are missing from a physical map, but how they are embedded in the life of the place. (Ryden, 1993)

“A place is not a named dot on a map; it is grounded history, experience fused to terrain, events constantly recurring and always present, their recurrence and presence guaranteed by the stories whose words renew and confirm them each time those words are spoken”(Ryden, 1993)

Tim Robinson, artist turned cartographer turned writer, exemplifies this ‘melding of map and word’ throughout his extensive work, in particular in through the essay of place. Robinson left the London art scene in 1972. He and his wife settled in the Aran Islands, after falling in love with the place following numerous summer trips to the Island. Without income and with encouragement from the locals, Robinson began to make maps of the Island’s “for which endless summers-full of visitors would thank me and pay me”. During this period of research, Robinson became engrossed in the life of the place, searching for ‘an understanding of Aran’s cultural depth as well as its physical complexity, that sort of understanding which is best gained by walking’.

“ I have walked the islands…with the custodians of local lore whom I sought out in every village, and have tried to see Aran through variously informed eyes- and then alone again, I have gone hunting for those rare places and times, the nodes at which the layers of experience touch and may be fused together”. (Ryden, 1993)

Robinson, through this practice of walking and listening, came to the realisation that maps alone, could not embody the heart of the place. (Ryden, 1993) Through this discovery, Robinson began to write extensively about the islands. He attempts to use this writing to fill in the gaps that are left blank in his maps, stating that the marks, lines and dot represent the walker moving across the landscape, while the white spaces are our ‘ignorance’.

Like Robinson, writer C.W Gusewelle has also embraced the connection between mapmaking and writing. Gusewelle believes that writing about place, is just as powerful at describing a place as ‘capturing its forms on map. (Ryden, 1993)

Studying the work of Tim Robinson
The Distressed map of the Aran Islands
Tim Robinson

The Distressed map of the Aran Islands was a piece of work that came about following Robinson’s participation in the Vinyl Project. The project was organised by artist and curator Simon Cutts, in Cork while it was European City of Culture. Cutts invited artist to present their work on vinyl for the exhibition, and suggested that Robinson blow up his map of the Aran Islands and put it on a wall in the exhibition. In the end its was decided that the map would be presented on the floor so that people could walk on it. The map was blown up and printed on a sheet about 22ft long by 15ft wide, which was a big enough scale for people to identify houses, bays and clearly read place names.

So they invited people to walk on it, dance on it, write on, treat it as they saw fit. And they did, kids skated on it and some people wrote some reminiscent notes on it about their time on the islands, like “here I kissed Jenny for the first time”. When the map was returned to Robinson it was crumpled, dirty but un torn and so became the Distressed map of the Aran Islands. The map has continued to be exhibited; in particular it was part of Hans Ulrich Obrists ‘map marathon’ at the Serpentine Gallery. (Smith, 2013)
The Distressed map was the inspiration for the map we pinned up in Richview. The map was a copy of an OSI map of Dublin city centre with all street names removed so that people would have to orientate themselves within the map. We asked the school to add to the map in whatever way they wanted, and like in Robinson’s Distressed map it had graffiti, notes and even some drawings. In some cases people mapped a whole day of activities while other added in landmarks and places of interest. The final map became a jumble of different stories, some which were cryptic and hard to decipher but which had a meaning to the author.

This map became the starting point of this research essay. Having collected all these stories from such a vast area in Dublin, I decided to zone in to one particular street. I chose Dame Street, which was a street that had featured heavily on the map. The drawing made, attempts to document and locate the story in the street. Statements and places are expressed in larger font to express the location or subject of the story. The street is then removed and the writing becomes the indication of place. This method is used throughout to highlight how language can make place.

Richview Map

James Joyce‘s Dame street
James Joyce’s Dublin – Ian Gunn and Clive Hart
Exploring the link between writing and mapping

The book, James Joyce’s Dublin, tracks the movement of the characters in Ulysses as the move through Dublin, visiting the various shops and cafes mention in the novel. In the book, each map is meticulously made and is centred on a certain time period. The maps show how the stories overlap two dimensionally. The maps created in the book are a great example of how a story can be mapped in order to enhance the experience and understanding of the novel. (Hart, 1975)

I created my own version of these maps, using the same method used in the previous map. The drawing maps the characters in the Dame Street area, between 2.55pm and 4.00pm, while also marking specific locations mentioned in the novel. Throughout the novel place is a common thread and the stories and lives of the people move around these spaces.

Joyce Map
The three locations in and around Dame street are listed here:
Location 1: The Dublin Bakery Co.’s tearooms, 33 Dame Street
Location 2: From the Castle to Kavanagh’s bar, 27 Parliament Street, via Cork Hill and Parliament Street
Location 3: From Crampton Court to Grattan bridge, via Dame Street.

Making this drawing highlighted the difficulty in trying to physically map a story successfully. It was difficult to show how these where three different stories that overlapped rather than being a continuous stream of movement from an individual. Although I made a version of this map, I don’t believe it was successful in capturing the sense of place.

Dame Street
Sráid an Dáma

Story Map
For the final part of the essay, I collected five stories from individuals. The stories each relate to a memory of Dame Street, old or recent. The drawing maps the place mentioned in the text on its physical location. Then the street is removed so that the story is the description of the street. To further explain the story, I made sketches of the shops and events mentioned in the text. In some cases additional research was required to confirm the location of these buildings. Searching the Thom’s Directory (Alex. Thom & Co. Limited, 1931) (Hely Thom Limited, 1962-1963)allowed me to situate shops that no longer exist, in the correct place. Each of the drawings is of a real place, but some of the details are imagined for lack of photographic evidence. The final drawing is a representation of how words and stories can create an image in the mind of the reader, writing is faded out and the image becomes the focal point.


“Every year, without fail, my sister and I would go to the pantomime in the Olympia with my grandparents. I always remember queuing down the side alley under the brogans bar sign to get in the back entrance.”


“There was an old leather shop called O’Callaghan’s on Dame Street, think it was opposite the Olympia, it was the place to go for horse riding gear, t’was very popular with jockeys.”


“I remember when that bar ‘Sweeney’s’ was a just a Spar, I used to grab my lunch there when I worked up the road. Its nice to see things go the opposite way and not become a Spar!”


“I used to meet my girlfriend, now my wife, in the bankers pub just off Dame Street most Fridays after work. I’d leave the car in the central bank car park and walk over. There’d be a good crowd of us who would meet there regularly. I think they even have a photo of our old football team, back in the day, hanging up still.”


The Easter Parade was an annual event. They used to start a Dublin castle march down Dame Street, all the way to the GPO.

I then took these sketches to Dame Street and photographed them within their context. There is a continual layering of writing, image and place. The photo describes how a story told can manifest into a memory or image of a place.

Janet Cardiff
Her long black hair

While researching this essay I began to look at the work of artist Janet Cardiff, in particular her collaborative work with George Bures Miller on Her Long Black Hair. This piece of work the walker retraces the imagined footsteps of a woman along New York’s Central Park. The walker is armed with headphones which play a pre recorded sound map, which inter mingles with the everyday noises on the street, and a set of photographs which are dated from 1965, in which the woman with ‘long black hair’ is featured. The sound map is a montage of clips intermingling street noise with poetry, music, narrative and other sounds. (Derkson, 2012) These clips become a memory trace for the spectator and part of the script. At various intervals the spectator pauses, takes out a photo and locates themselves within the story or memory of the place. The photograph, the audio tape and the noises act as a memory thread which brings the story to life. (Ohlin, 2004)

A walk through Dame Street
Walking is the best way to understand and read a place. The final element of the project is a constructed walk through Dame Street. The walker threads the path previously taken by the authors of the stories. Equipped with the drawn images, the walker moves from story to story, pausing to take out the image, read the text and imagine the moment and place themselves in the story.


The life of the street user is always absent from a map. Stories allow us to visualise the street and through this we begin to appreciate the impact a place can have on a person. We find ourselves in the map and not just looking at it.

Alex. Thom & Co. Limited. (1931). Thom’s Directory Dublin 1931. Dublin: Alex. Thom & Co. Limited.
Derkson, C. (2012). Walking the edge of the stage in theory; or, Janet Cardiff’s sensorium for intermedial bodies. Canada: Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, Theatre Research in Canada.
Hart, I. G. (1975). James Joyce’s Dublin. London: Thames and Hudson.
Hely Thom Limited. (1962-1963). Thom’s Directory of Ireland 1962-1963. Dublin: Hely Thom Limited.
Ohlin, A. (2004, January/February). Something to be desired: Janet Cardiff and the pull of film noir. Art Pap , pp. 35-39.
Ryden, K. C. (1993). Mapping the Invisible Landscape. Iowa City 52242: University of Iowa Prss.
Smith, J. (2013). A Step Towards the Earth: Interview with Tim Robinson. University of Exeter, United Kingdom.