The evolution of Dublin throughout centuries

On the morning of the 31st, we met up with Paul Tierney at Trinity College. He is a solid Dubliner who was born, has lived and worked in town his whole life. He has therefore seen the changes and the development of the town during the passed years. He kindly shared some of his knowledge on the city.

Dublin was founded during the 9th century thanks the Viking’s commercial influence on the Liffey (841). Ireland was already at that time very catholic, Saint Patrick had set foot on the island during the 4th-5th century ad. The Celts were also very present on the island, who were then called Gaels. The 9th century and after was beginning of the Viking evasion. The two populations used to fight against each other, but also created alliances, which also failed them off. This explained why Saint Patricks Cathedral sanctuary was already occupied by a church (890), which also proved how strategic and important the counter was. The Battle of Clontarf (North-East of Dublin), in 1014was the final battle lead by a Gael, called Brian Boru, where the Gaels slaughtered the Vikings and drove them out to sea. Brian Boru then became king of the island and managed to create a short lived peace. Shortly after Christchurch was formed (1030). The Medieval City was deeply implanted around the now Nicholas Street and the Liffey.

Christ Church and Nicholas Street sign

Then in 1155, the English Pope Adrian IV gave Ireland (catholic sanctuary) to England, which will led to the Anglo-Normand’s evasion. Dublin became the siege of the English power. The Tudor conquest (1536), the Stuart colonisation (17th century), the Battle of Boyne (1690) and the continuous religious wars and the envy of freedom ruins Dublin until the 18th century.

During the Georgian and Victorian era, the protestants loyal to the Westminster transformed significantly Dublin. The Ascendancy created squares and fashionable parks, e.g.: Merrion Square, St Stephen’s Green Park, Phoenix Park; new urbanisation, e.g.: Dame street, the Main street of Dublin linking Trinity College to ChristChurch going along Temple Bar, Henrietta Street, where you can still find the oldest Georgian houses of Dublin and the King’s Inn, Kildare street with the Leinster House (1748) and the construction of the National Museum of Ireland (1890), the opening of Grafton Street (1708) and Dawson Street (1723) were the commercial streets who conveyed the Dubliners to Saint Stephen’s Green Park. The high ground’s of Dublin were been redone, the whole city was opening up to the world and getting richer. These massive changes have created the center of Dublin with the major axes as we know them nowadays.

Harcout, O’Connell, Merrion and Leinster Street

Ireland rebelled for the umpteenth time against the British army in 1916. Civil war exploded, barracks were created within Dublin (the General Post Office, the Four Courts, etc.) which changed Dublin’s urbanisation use from city to war zone. With the advantage of surprise, the Rising was able the free State of Ireland to be proclaimed in 1922, Dublin was the capital of this newly formed state. The Republic of Ireland had been signed in 1949, which results to the Eire we now still know. This war had devastated most of central Dublin. For example O’Connell street was destroyed and was left with the Central Post Office of Dublin (1818) were the Republic of Ireland was proclaimed (1916). Dublin had to rise from its ashes. Little by little the city gained in economical growth, Prime Minister Seàn Lemass (60’s) opened the frontier, promoted tourism and audiovisual development. In 1973, Eire entered the EEC, investors were flooding the island and migration numbers were rising. The Celtic Tiger became an economic model to every country. This explains the uprise of construction, and the architectural research that we can see in some of the projects. For example: 1967 the Berkeley Library of Trinity College by Ahrends Burton Koralek, a library that is made all of concrete, 1980 Central Bank of Ireland with Stephenson Gibney & Associates, 1994 Dublin City Council on Wood Quay designed by Same Stephenson and Scott Tallon Walker was a controversial building with the Vikings history (cf. Oliver’s interview), Ussher Library in Trinity College 2002 (were Emilie and Marc got lost), 2005 The Daintree Building on Camden Street of Solearth Architecture (that we visited the next day), 2005 the Mechanical Engineering Building in Trinity College, The GrandCanal Quay of Marta Schwartz in 2007,  2009 The Samuel Beckett Bridge from Santiago Calatrava, 2010 The Bord Gàis Energy Theatre designed by Danial Libeskind, 2010 The Convention Center of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, the Long Room Hub of McCullough Mulvin Architects 2010.

Ussher Library

All of these constructions helped Dublin to become the city it has transformed into : a cosmopolitan small capital (1 270 000 inhabitants). Unfortunately, it’s economical growths crashed during the world crisis (2008), but even so little by little it’s still developing and expanding itself.

The GrandCanal Quay, The Bord Gàis Energy Theatre, theThe Convention Center and the dock’s new buildings…

A few more pictures of the cities diverse building, as well as the Museum we went to see during the late after-noon…

Emilie, Anne-So, Marc. 

Paul Tierney’s tour

Irlande, GeoGuide, 9ème édition, Guides Gallimard
Cartoville Dublin, 12ème édition, Guide Gallimard

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