Some Ringsend residents have been wanting changes to the square in front of the neighbourhood library for a long time, concerned that it’s been clogged with parking and traffic, which has stopped people from lingering in the village.
Now Dublin City Council has drawn up draft plans for a revamp of the square – and these are due to be unveiled at the Ringsend Irishtown Community Centre on 21 March.
Last month, local councillors caught a glimpse of a earlier draft.
The design, by Mitchell + Associates architects, included a proposed extension at the back of the current library, which is a protected structure.
It showed a plaza extending to cover Fitzwilliam Street, the road behind the library, where there are now parking spaces. It also included a cycle lane on Irishtown Road, the road that runs in front of the library.
Those designs weren’t final, and may have been tweaked based on councillors’ comments.
Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn said he hopes the architects “push out the boat” on the designs.
Flynn says that, while the library itself is a listed structure, “they’re going to be able to work within it, and there’s potential to build something around it that would look really interesting.”
The idea is that the square is “a centre point between Ringsend, Sandymount, and Irishtown, and it becomes a place where everybody can meet”, he says.
The architects want to stress that it’s very much a draft plan, says Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys, who was also at the council presentation. “People’s viewpoints and concerns will be taken on board before the final plan is developed.”
Who to Prioritise
“It’s quite a challenging space, because it can be used as a surface car park,” says Humphreys. “I think it would be very beneficial to the local community if the greater priority was given to pedestrians.”
He says businesses could then thrive. “Because that’s what’s at the heart of an urban village,” he says.
Back in December, Dublin City Council held a meeting with local businesses to discuss parking and loading arrangements.
At earlier meetings, there had been concerns from the community about limiting parking and how that would impact local businesses, says Lorraine Barry, the Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre manager.
Local pharmacist Niamh Murphy, who owns the Lloyds Pharmacy behind the library, said she’d heard there had been “some talk of getting rid of parking spaces”.
Some of her business comes from people driving to the medical centre next door, dropping by hers to fill their prescriptions, then carrying along to the shops, she says. “Parking is a big concern.”
Murphy said she didn’t understand how cutting parking would help deal with increased traffic. “But I have an open mind, and hopefully we can all work together,” Murphy says.
Humphreys says that if the final plan is agreed by summer, construction could start in early to mid-2020.
“I think it has a huge potential and opportunity to make a destination area for people to come down, to visit, to shop, to socialise and to use the library,” he said. “[…] I’m enthusiastic to hear and listen to what people’s views on this will be.”