Dublin's College Green set for major facelift

The plan to introduce a new 7,300 square metre "pedestrian priority" space was launched this afternoon

Dublin's College Green set for major facelift

Plan for Dublin's College Green. Image: Dublin City Council

A new plan to create a pedestrian friendly space right in the heart of Dublin has been officially launched this morning.

The new “pedestrian priority” space will see a 7,300 square metre area around College Green closed off to traffic – with two-way traffic routes for taxis, buses and the new Luas Cross City running across the front of Trinity College.

The civic space has been designed to facilitate major public gatherings and events and has the capacity to host up to 15,000 people.

There will be a defined cycle route to allow cyclists traverse the space and connect with cycle lanes to the east and west of College Green.

A new turning circle for buses will be introduced at the western approach to the space and the taxi ranks that are currently within the area will be relocated to adjacent streets.

The plans include the restoration of the Henry Grattan and Thomas Davis monuments and the planting of 22 new trees.

The existing trees are to be removed, “in order to enhance the views of the historic buildings and optimise the space.”

Dublin City Council has described a new open water sculpture – with 32 individual water jets – as an “innovative and playful element” of the new space.

Green Party Councillor Ciarán Cuffe said the plan ensures that people of all ages and abilities will be able to comfortably enjoy the plaza and it surroundings.

“For too long motorised traffic has dominated the city centre,” he said. “This design is all about giving College Green back to the citizens of Dublin, as well as attracting visitors from home and abroad.”

“I have no doubt that it will become a place for celebrations and protest, and will become once more a civic heart for the city.”

Paul Keogh, the lead architect on the project said the plan aims to create “Dublin’s living room – a place that is safe, adaptable and friendly for people of all ages, both for everyday social interaction and for major public events, comparable with world-class spaces of similar scale internationally."

The plan is to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála later this month and DCC hope to begin construction in January 2018 – subject to planning permission.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Simon Wall, Westport town architect said the plan will make College Green “a real asset” – describing it as a “wonderful new living room for the city for us to express ourselves culturally.”

“I think the proposal is a bold one; it is very considered; it works with and will enhance the vibrancy and the dynamic of the city on many different levels,” he said.

“As we know in the absence of cars, College Green becomes a natural public outdoor theatre for the city with the recess or the colonnade of the Bank of Ireland building [...] acting as a stage and the green itself acting as an auditorium.

“I think it sends out a positive signal to other European capitals that we are making a really important cultural statement as a city within the European context.

You can listen beck to Mr Wall’s full conversation with Shane Coleman on Newstalk Breakfast here: