Saturday, 26 April 2008 & The Tearing Of The Green...

Ariel View of Dublin's Stephens Green:

Story from www. - Saturday, 26th April, 2008:

"Plans for the Metro North line entail excavating a large section of St Stephen's Green at huge cost. But some are questioning the wisdom of using the Green as a transport hub, and worry that the work will forever alter the character of the park. Frank McDonald Environment Editor reports.
On November 1st, 2005, at the Government's fanfare launch of its €34 billion Transport 21 investment programme, then minister for transport Martin Cullen announced that St Stephen's Green would become the capital's key transport hub. "It will be to Dublin what Grand Central is to New York," he said.

A discreet veil was drawn over the environmental impact of this radical proposal, particularly on the much-loved park that was given to the people of Dublin in 1880 by Sir Arthur Edward Guinness, Lord Ardilaun, under an Act of Parliament entrusting its long-term care to the Commissioners of Public Works. drawings seen by The Irish Times clearly show that at least a quarter of the park would be devastated by the scheme. It would, in effect, be turned into a vast construction site, requiring the removal of the landmark Fusiliers' Arch at its northwestern corner, dozens of mature trees and a large part of the lake.

In order to create the underground concourse and platforms for the proposed "Grand Central" station, a huge hole more than 20 metres deep and 160 metres long would be excavated at this location, extending beyond the railings from a point opposite the Fitzwilliam Hotel to a point opposite the St Stephen's Green Club.

This "cut-and-cover" project would take at least three years to complete, requiring some traffic diversions in the area. Excavated material would be removed by trucks using an access point on the north side of the Green and running down Dawson Street. Operation of the Sandyford Luas line would be unaffected.

To facilitate the movement of Metro North trains at their terminus station, the twin tracks would be burrowed under the middle of the park towards its southeastern corner and there would also be a large turnback loop, which is apparently to be tunnelled using the same "drill and blast" technique common in coal mining.

The St Stephen's Green station on CIÉ's planned rail interconnector, or "Dart Underground", linking Heuston Station with Spencer Dock, would also have a negative impact at ground level. A 200-metre stretch along the northern side of the Green would be turned into a construction site, with the loss of more trees.

Its station would be constructed on a transverse axis, partly beneath the Metro North station, using more "drill and blast" excavation underground, requiring the removal of some 8,000 truckloads of material. However, it is unclear at this stage whether these two projects by rival agencies will proceed in tandem.

Even after the park is restored with replacement trees and the Fusiliers' Arch and lake are reinstated, the character of St Stephen's Green would be permanently altered by visible - and discordant - elements of the two stations above-ground, including ventilation ducts, emergency escape stairs and other accoutrements.

For example, the drawings prepared by the RPA and consultant engineers Jacobs International show a cluster of air vents on the island in the park's lake which is a refuge for ducks and waterhens.

No wonder the Office of Public Works (OPW) was "aghast" when it was first shown the plans, according to a source.

When the Sandyford Luas line and its current terminus on the west side of St Stephen's Green was under construction, the OPW was so protective of the park and its curtilage that it wouldn't even permit any encroachment on the footpath outside. Now, it is faced with the prospect of much of the Green becoming a building site.

"It beggars belief that four decades after the battle to save Hume Street they're now planning to demolish St Stephen's Green," said one engineer who examined the detailed drawings. "But it's clear that the Green was selected [ for construction of the station] because it's a wonderful works site, a big open space."

IN 2006, THE Green was shortlisted for the Academy of Urbanism's Great Place award. The academy's poet in residence, Ian McMillan, wrote that "every city needs a green like this/To pause for a moment in the city's throng/This green is a smile and this green is a kiss/ And Dublin is the city where St Stephen's Green belongs"

...John Costigan, managing director of the Gaiety Theatre, has also expressed concern that one of the twin-bore metro tunnels would come perilously close to its fly-tower, which was rebuilt in recent years on steel piles with a depth of 10 or 11 metres, and that the theatre could be affected by vibrations from the metro...

...THE COST OF the 17km metro line was estimated at €4.58 billion in 2004, though this was never publicly admitted by the RPA. With construction cost inflation since then, plus the addition of a new station at Parnell Square and agreement to put the line underground in Ballymun, the figure could now be as high as €6 billion. That would work out at €353 million per kilometre for a single line which, the RPA admits, would carry elongated Luas-type trams rather than heavy rail metro trains. This contrasts with €60 million per kilometre for the extension of the Tallaght Luas line in Docklands - the most expensive Luas project to date.

...The RPA is in the process of selecting a "preferred bidder" for the Metro North project from a shortlist of four consortiums and preparing an environmental impact statement, with a view to making a formal application for a railway order in August. By then, the design of the project will be set, sealing the fate of St Stephen's Green."
Never mind "The Tearing Of The Green" - it's more like "Construction Destruction." - It's totally crazy to see one of Dublin's favourite landmarks under threat.
Could only happen in Ireland.


Thursday, 24 April 2008

Temple Bar Dublin - Irish Property Prices 2008 - Sign Of The Times...

I read in the Irish Independent today that in Dublin's Temple Bar, once a property hotspot, that..."prices are beginning to drop: a spacious second floor, period-style one-bed, renovated 15 years ago on Parliament Street, with views of the Liffey and the evening sun, has been on the market for two months and the price is down from €365,000 to €345,000.

At the Friary, off the cobblestones on Fownes Street, a one-bedroom west-facing apartment over Luigi Malone's restaurant is €410,000, but expected to drop.

In Temple Bar Square, the quarter's heartbeat, a two-bedroom apartment, with access to a precious roof terrace and views of the city's skyline has been on the market a year and is available for €450,000.

In the tenant zone, plans are in the early stages to refurbish and upgrade some of derelict Crampton Court apartments with its little garden, car-parking spacess and views overlooking the Liffey.

And to rent?
Despite so few properties being available, bites are slow, with a one-bedroom apartment, typical of what is on offer, at Pudding Row on Essex Street West, on the market for 20-odd days and down from €1,350 to €1,250.

Although still no real bargains yet!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Architecture in Dublin Ireland - Dublin's Liffey Quays in 2032...

I like this:

'Dublin's Liffey Quays' in 2032 is part of IMAGEN Architects winning entry to a competition run by Architecture Ireland / Plan Expo.

IMAGEN's proposal for the Liffey Quays 2032 was to consider the River Liffey as a green urban spine to the expanding city. The Quays would become vehicle free, except for carbon-free public transport systems, which would reinvent the Quays as a series of major public spaces, pocket parks and 'green bridges'. Hueston Station and Croppy's Acre would become the Quay's western gateway.

Dublin's 'little Venice' allows the city to step down to the water's edge. O'Connell Bridge would now become a new public space connecting the city as an urban plaza and meeting place.

The Docklands reinvents itself as a new international transportation hub. This would facilitate future high speed rail connections to Belfast and possibly the UK, alongside an expanding business district.

The Docks would become a 'city in a park'. New wildlife corridors and wetlands would act as north-south links connecting North bull and Sandymount with cycle routes, parks and pedestrian bridges. The new neighbourhoods would be places to live, work and play, re-animating the coastline with people focused spaces and activities.

An excellent concept!

Watch the video:

Tuesday, 8 April 2008 & The Irish Property Crash - 2008... - Quarter 1 2008 Irish property figures are out - and according to today's Irish Independent Newspaper, we are in the middle of major Property price crash!

There has been widespread price drops across the country and the trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future...

"ASKING prices for houses in some of the country's most affluent areas have plummeted by a massive 7pc in the space of just three months, according to a new survey published today.

The report reveals property prices in the leafy suburbs of south county Dublin tumbled by an average of €40,000, or 6pc, in the first quarter of 2008.

In Co Wicklow, prices also took a dramatic nose dive of more than €35,000 (7pc).

The average price for a house in south county Dublin now stands at €649,383. Asking prices in Co Wicklow dropped to €445,681, the new survey by has found.

Nationwide, the property slump caused asking prices to fall by 1.2pc.

The drop is in sharp contrast to late 2007, when asking prices remained static and many sellers accepted offers below the advertised price.

Sellers are now finding they have to reduce the asking price in order to attract interest.

The number of properties for sale continued to rise during the first three months of 2008, with stock levels 51pc ahead of last year.

Although prices tumbled dramatically in the most expensive areas of the capital, asking prices in the city centre increased by 3.1pc.

West county Dublin was not so fortunate, with a drop of 2.8pc causing the average asking price to plummet to €336,966.

North county Dublin experienced a drop of 1.1pc, while north Dublin city saw prices tumble by 2.6pc and South Dublin city experienced a 1.3pc drop. The total number of properties in Dublin fell to below 6,000.

In the rest of Leinster, prices in Wexford, Kilkenny and Carlow fell by 3pc in the first quarter of 2008. In Kildare, prices fell 0.6pc to an average asking price of €363,222.

A rush of properties onto the market in early 2008 pushed the total number of properties for sale in Leinster up to over 16,000.


In Munster, Cork city prices fell by €20,000 on average in the first three months, with the average asking price plummeting to €355,002. Stock of property for sale fell below 18,000, with one-in-three properties coming onto the market since January 2007 still there.

In Galway city, prices stabilised in early 2008, with a slight rise of 1.2pc in Galway city.

Dermot O'Leary, Chief Economist said the number of properties for sale would be a key indicator of the property market over the coming months.

"Figures indicate that the total number of properties for sale stands over 50pc ahead of last year's levels," he said.

"Prices won't begin to stabilise again until the stock for sale begins to fall.
" "
- Irish Independent Newspaper Report.

Monday, 7 April 2008

The Best Dublin Ireland Live Webcam

This is another favourite site of mine...

The Best Dublin Ireland Live Webcam

...This is really excellent!

See Ireland via live streaming video....

The Webcam features top Dublin sights, like the Ha'Penny Bridge, The Customs House, River Liffey, O'Connell Bridge as well as IFSC (Irish Financial Service Centre) and the new boardwalk on Bachelors Walk & a lot more.

You gotta love it!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The Property Pin - - Irish Property Market

One of my favourite sites about what's happening with the Irish Property scene is The Property Pin -

"... was established to discuss the existence of a damaging speculative price bubble in the Irish housing market"...

The Property Pin is "not here to cheerlead the crash but rather to illuminate, to provide balanced discussion and to help prevent another property bubble from occurring in the future."

A great forum - well worth a visit!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Dublin Homes For Sale - Free Car Thrown In!

Bubble, bubble, toil & trouble...

With the major slow down in house sales, in Ireland, sellers are starting to get a bit creative:

I see that houses in the Alderwood development at Hollystown, in Dublin 15, come with a free Volvo C30 Car!

The houses, priced from a mere €480,000, are being promoted by McPeake Auctioneers who say:

..."we are delighted to announce that purchasers will receive a brand new stylish C30 Volvo car with their new home. The Volvo C30 is a flexi-fuel luxury car and is the smarter choice for the environment making it the perfect inclusion in a new life style choice..."

Makes you wonder what's being promoted - the houses or the car?

So what if everyone in the development has the same type of car, might look a bit odd alright, but would anyone buy a house in the first place just because they were getting a free car thrown in???!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Bye Bye Bertie Ahern - Irish Taoiseach Resigns

Bertie Ahern has announced his decision to resign as leader of the country.

"Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern earned his nickname the "Teflon Taoiseach" for his uncanny ability to survive personal and political scandals, scandals which would have toppled a less gifted politician...

One of his mentors was the disgraced former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, who took millions of pounds from businessmen. He called Mr Ahern "the most cunning, the most ruthless, the most devious of them all"...

As Taoiseach, Mr Ahern presided over an economic boom - the so-called "Celtic Tiger" - which has seen Ireland transformed from a largely poor, rural, agricultural country into a prosperous nation, with job opportunities attracting immigrants from all over the world.

But the economy, largely based on an unprecedented property boom, has shown signs of flagging for the past year or two, while Ahern has been at the centre of a long-running probe into payments which he allegedly received from a property developer between 1989 and 1992."
(Sky News Report)

A short "Bye Bye Bertie" Video:

Bye Bye Bertie - I only hope the next Taoiseach is as entertaining!!!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

€3m Price Cut - Hotel with Viewing Tower in Smithfield - Dublin

Bargain time again...

This time it's in Smithfield, Dublin City Centre, where Chief O'Neill's is up for sale at €18 million - that's a whopping €3m price reduction from the previous price tag of €21 million in 2007!

The modern 77-room hotel is well situated overlooking Smithfield Square, (or Plaza as it's now know,) in the heart of Dublin City.

The Jameson Distillery tower is included in the sale. It was originally used to distill Ireland’s famous Jameson Whiskey (from 1895), the chimney, with its 360°panoramic views is now a popular tourist attraction. It has some spectacular views over Dublin city, port and surrounding Dublin & Wicklow Mountains.

A nice buy!