Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Parnell Square culture quarter plan

Dublin's Lord Mayor Naoise O Muiri says it is a bold and visionary project

Plan have been unveiled for a 60 million euro cultural quarter in one of Dublin's finest Georgian squares.

A new city library will be the centrepiece of the redevelopment of Parnell Square, at the head of the capital's main thoroughfare O'Connell Street, under the proposals.

Council officials will invite the public to take part in a consultation process about the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter.

Dublin City Council said Beverly Hills-based property investment company Kennedy Wilson was donating 2.5 million euro "on a philanthropic basis" to get the project off the ground. The firm will spearhead a drive to raise the remaining 57.5 million euro needed from investors to complete the overhaul.

Lord Mayor Naoise O Muiri said the new public landmark will inspire the physical and economic regeneration of the historic area. He said: "Parnell Square is the first and finest of Dublin's Georgian squares. The area has a rich and important history with philanthropic origins. This bold and visionary project can act as a catalyst for regeneration across the city, drawing Dubliners and visitors of all ages in new directions and creating new business opportunities."

The north side of the square will be pedestrianised and a new civic plaza created to link the new library with the existing Hugh Lane Gallery as well as the Irish Writers Centre and the Dublin Writers Museum.

The new City Library - a long time ambition of city leaders - would be built on the site of the former Colaiste Mhuire school on Parnell Square, with the Georgian houses at the front forming an entrance to a larger building at the back. Public rooms for cultural uses including music, media, craft and design would also be incorporated. The buildings are currently being transferred from the Office of Public Works to Dublin City Council.

Dublin City Architect Ali Grehan said: "The Civic Spine is a route which includes the Grafton Street and Henry Street prime retail areas, important third level institutions and major cultural and tourism destinations.

"The Parnell Square Cultural Quarter will be a landmark destination which will complete the Spine at its northern end and will be the connector for extending this route north into the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus at Grangegorman."

She added: "It will appeal to people of all ages with a particular emphasis on creative opportunities for young people. The development will be a fusion of contemporary and historic architecture unique to Dublin."

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