Dublin’s College Green is “tawdry” and should be pedestrianised to help it compete with the grandeur of other European city centres, a journalist has claimed.
Britain has Trafalgar Square, Romans have the Piazza Navona and New York’s Time Square is famous the world over. Could College Green have the same kind of international recognition?
Sunday Independent columnist Liam Collins thinks at the very least it is time the city centre was given a makeover:
“I just sat down for a coffee and as I was sitting there I just observed how down at heel, tawdry, how awful the place looks,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“And yet there’s thousands of visitors milling around, passing from Grafton Street down towards O’Connell Street.
“There’s Trinity, one of the oldest universities in the world and across the road the old Bank of Ireland which was the Parliament where the Act of Union came into force in 1801.
“It’s an appalling, I think, vista for tourists and our own visitors that that stretch is just left there, the buses and taxis jostling for space and there’s no effort to just clear it of all that clutter and make it a beautiful vista.”
In May, Capel Street in the north inner city was made car free and yesterday it was announced that South William Street would follow suit as well.
To Mr Collins, it is time to consider whether College Green should do likewise:
“I know car owners feel that they’re under pressure all over the place but this could be such a nice place,” he conceded, before adding:
“There are traffic management plans - I’m not an expert - but it can be done. It could be pedestrianised. Why do all the buses have to go through that particular junction?
“They could be diverted other ways and still leave it in walking distance for people who want to get buses.”
Bank of Ireland
College Green is also home to one of Ireland’s most historic buildings - the former Parliament House which served as Ireland’s legislature prior to the Act of Union.
When the nation joined the new United Kingdom in 1801 it was given over to the Bank of Ireland; however, Mr Collins believes that such an historic building cannot fulfil its full potential as a mere bank branch:
“One of, I think, tragedies of the city is the Bank of Ireland holding onto the old Parliament to use as a banking hall for very few customers,” he continued.
“The House of Lords is closed; they used to have this kind of half-hearted exhibitions with posters sellotaped to the wall explaining what it is… And I just think, we bailed out this bank, we have this great building, it’s completely underutilised for the city and it’s time somebody just said we need to take this back and we need to tell Bank of Ireland to go off and use their other branches.”
Bank of Ireland has been contacted for comment.
Main image: College Green, Dublin. Picture by: The Irish Image Collection/Design Pics via ZUMA Wire.