Dublin Graving docks / Grand Canal Docks / Alexandra Basin

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This topic contains 46 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  lostexpectation 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #709608

    Adolf Luas
    Participant

    This may well have been spoken of previously on Archiseek, but does anybody know what fate awaits the two beautiful graving docks at the eastern end of Grand Canal Dock? I’ve never heard any debate regarding them and generally find that the majority of people I speak to are totally unaware of their existence. It would certainly be in the interest of any developer or the likes of the DDA to keep quiet about them as they are lovely structures that would seriously get in the way of an underground car park or basement. They really ought to be protected. They’d make wonderful performance, gallery or museum spaces that could easily be inter-linked below ground.

  • #793036

    Anonymous

    There are 3 graving docks. The largest is destined to be excavated for an u/g car park, the other 2 are being restored. Those 2 were partially restored and the fill excavated by the DDDA a few years back. All three were filled in circa the early 20th century. They will form the center piece of a new development – the middle dock will be effectively be a pond / feature i.e. not operational, the smallest will be fully operational. It is being developed in a joint venture between Waterways Ireland, who own the docks, and DDDA.

  • #793037

    Anonymous

    theman-

    From a quick look at Google Earth, I only see two. Is the third one currently filled in? Is it the southernmost and also the largest? There’s a patch of land that seems to have an ‘entrance’ from GC dock itself, to the south of the two water-filled docks.

    Adolf-

    Past experience shows that designating structures as Protected Structures in the DDDA functional area does nothing to protect them.

  • #793038

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    here’s the docks for anyone unfamiliar with the area

  • #793039

    Anonymous

    When i saw the thread title I thought this was going to be about the several sunken vessels in GCD.

    Speaking of THEM, are there any plans to raise them and generally clean up the water quality of the dock?

    I’d never seen the graving docks before, is that the same place that the Viking Splash tours enter the water?

  • #793040

    Anonymous

    I am amazed by this: I often walk along beside them and never knew what was the other side of wall, I assumed it was just waste land. I went on the Viking etc years ago and I think it enters the water at the filled in dock.

    I am amazed and pleased to hear that the DDDA unfilled two of the docks, their instinct is usually the opposite.

  • #793041

    Anonymous

    Interesting to discover that there are three graving docks. Access to them is over a trampled down chain-link fence that directly faces Grand Canal Dock.
    Any idea what’s being constructed around them?

  • #793042

    Anonymous

    There are definitely 3 docks – the largest is filled in and is at the south opf the photo, just behind the boundary wall. You can access if from South Docks Road, just at the RHS of the chain link fence. It is going to be used as a donor to piece in the missing stones to the other 2 docks. They are missing their gates, and the sluice that empties them into the Dodder also has to be upgraded.

    The proposal for the development is mainly apartments, approx 6 floors high each building, in between each dock. Waterways are also getitng a new maintenance yard, as awell as a community center being incorporated into the development. AFAIK, the social & affordable element of Britain Quay / U2 tower is being allocated in this development.

  • #793043

    Anonymous

    Graving docks are a bit of an endangered species in city docklands areas, fast disappearing as waterfront properties become more and more desirable. Protected though these may be, let’s hope this remains the case. Reasons to be skeptical:

    The Gowan graving docks in Glasgow, in use til 1988 and a Class A listed site, are currently part of a huge redevelopment that promises all sorts of shiny amenities (mixed residential & commercial use, floating restaurants, shops). However, the graving docks themselves, as far as I can tell, have been demolished.

    A similar threat faced the Todd Shipyard graving docks in Red Hook, Brooklyn. A certain blue-and-yellow big box proposal called for the demolishing of Graving Dock No. 1, which apart from being a great piece of maritime history, was also a functioning dry dock, one of only 6 in the NY Harbor. The Preservation League of New York State got on board to protest its destruction, listing it as one of NY’s ‘Seven to Save.’ There were lawsuits and cases made by the Society for Industrial Archaeology, Save the Graving Dock Committee, and all sorts of noise raised by the Village Voice. Its fate? Filled in, bulldozed, and currently making way for a 1,400 car parking lot. But IKEA, never fear, will be sticking in a promenade and a couple of consolation cranes. I also hear they have plans to christen a vase FUKD to commemmorate the area’s maritime history.

    So yes, it’s great (and admittedly a bit astonishing) that the DDDA is preserving/restoring 2 of the 3 graving docks as part of redevelopment. The scheme is something other docklands areas could learn from. I, for one, had no idea those graving docks were even there, but I take heart that they exist!

  • #793044

    Anonymous

    Im confused – why should these be preserved. And what use are they

  • #793045

    Anonymous

    Graving docks (or dry docks) are used to make repairs to ships as well as other sundry things like de-barnacling the sideboards. The dock area can be drained to allow easy access. A stronger case for preserving them is, of course, if they are actually still in use. But I happen to think they are cool architectural structures. I’m not opposed to redeveloping them, especially if the redevelopment happens to incorporate the shape of the original dock. I just think filling them in is a huge waste of potential space. And lazy thinking.

  • #793046

    Anonymous

    @StephenC wrote:

    Im confused – why should these be preserved. And what use are they

    Go and have a look for yourself, they really are very beautiful, quite sculptural in a way and an increasing rarity.

  • #793047

    Anonymous

    There was, until relatively recently, also a canal graving dock for barges close behind the library in Phibsboro, in the shadow of Mountjoy.

    It was obviously associated with the long filled in arm of the Royal Canal, now a park, that ran down to Broadstone. The library itself stands on part of the canal.

    I think the dock may have been filled in in the 1970’s.

  • #793048

    Anonymous

    @dc3 wrote:

    There was, until relatively recently, also a canal graving dock for barges close behind the library in Phibsboro, in the shadow of Mountjoy.

    It was obviously associated with the long filled in arm of the Royal Canal, now a park, that ran down to Broadstone. The library itself stands on part of the canal.

    I think the dock may have been filled in in the 1970’s.

    That’s very interesting. I wonder if an image of the graving dock exists? I’d love to see it.

  • #793049

    Anonymous

    Could this P-shaped car park be our little friend?

    It’s on the eastern bank of the filled in canal spur, in the shadow of Mountjoy. The rounded eastern end of the car park might suggest a former graving dock?

  • #793050

    Anonymous

    Looks like it might be the right spot to me.

    I used to pass it a long time ago as a kid, so the memory of the precise location has faded somewhat but I do think it was on the Mater side of the old canal route.

  • #793051

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    @theman wrote:

    There are definitely 3 docks – the largest is filled in and is at the south opf the photo, just behind the boundary wall. You can access if from South Docks Road, just at the RHS of the chain link fence. It is going to be used as a donor to piece in the missing stones to the other 2 docks. They are missing their gates, and the sluice that empties them into the Dodder also has to be upgraded.

    The proposal for the development is mainly apartments, approx 6 floors high each building, in between each dock. Waterways are also getitng a new maintenance yard, as awell as a community center being incorporated into the development. AFAIK, the social & affordable element of Britain Quay / U2 tower is being allocated in this development.

    A better view of these

  • #793052

    Anonymous

    Re the Phibsboro dock, I have since seen an OS map which locates it pretty exactly, with the entrance at a 45 degree angle between the existing main channel of the Royal and the long filled in Broadstone branch.

  • #793053

    Anonymous

    I presume this is a graving dock!

    It’s beside the Nation Conference (Convention?) Centre on North wall, between it and the Royal Canal but entered from the liffey.


    A picture taken a few months ago and another, more recent, shot showing the fancy new gates.

  • #793054

    Anonymous

    gunter: don’t think it is – it’s actually a lock on the canal; a graving dock is usually off a dock proper and can be either dry or wet -it’s basically for ship repair. It’s monstrous to fill one in- what a location for waterside activities and totally controlled.

  • #793055

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Gunter, that’s the beginning of the Royal Canal, where it enters the Liffey.

  • #793056

    Anonymous

    Sorry about that. The absence of the ‘canal’ beside it should have been a clue.

  • #793057

    Anonymous

    Some recent photos of the Graving Docks can be found here – they were taken last Easter when a number of wrecks were removed from the basin –
    One of the photos is shown below:

  • #793058

    Anonymous

    Great set of photos – how did they all get there in the first place? I hope they’re not all scrapped – presumably some ‘artist’ could do an assemblage of found objects – ‘The Spirit of Ringsend’?

  • #793059

    Anonymous
  • #793060

    Anonymous

    I came across a biography of one Bindon Blood Stoney (I kid you not) one of the chief engineers of Dublin Port in the mid 19th century, and it appears that there is another significant graving dock located at the north west corner of Alexandra Basin, behind the boundary on East Wall Road.

    This is a construction drawing of Graving Dock no. 1, which was begun about 1853 and opened on 9 February 1860.

    This graving dock fell into disrepair after a second, bigger, graving dock was built as recently as the 1950s. Apparently the proposal now is to fill in Stoney’s granite Victorian graving dock with sand to preserve it and facilitate redevelopment.

    Stoney was apparently also the man behind that huge iron diving bell contraption which sits on the south campshire at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. This was a dredging work station which was lowered to the river bed and pressurized to allow labourers to manually dig the river bed and prepare an even surface to receive giant precast blocks of quay wall.


    I will look at this thing with new respect the next time I go past.

  • #793061

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    I didnt know of the graving dock, but I did know about the bell….

    the dock is pretty impressive but obviously not used – judging by the amount of rubbish behind the gates in these shots

    would love to see it close-up before its filled in

  • #793062

    Anonymous

    Great pics – I’ve always been fascinated by these graving docks (we have a series of them here), but they seem to be prone to the vagaries of the ship repair market and no-one seems to have a clue what to do with them once they’re no longer needed for their primary purpose. Yet, as artifacts they are superb (apart from their intrinsic historic value) and they seem to be crying out for active use. Aquarium? Exhibition space? Workshops/offices? (All assuming the ability to roof them over and successfully dealing with the small question of the sea wanting to rush in!)
    Alternatively, they could be used as a ‘feature’ framed by development on either side.
    The worst thing to do is to fill them in and pretend they never existed.
    Project anyone?

  • #793063

    Anonymous

    Varanasi on the Liffey?

    @gunter wrote:

    fill in Stoney’s granite Victorian graving dock with sand to preserve it and facilitate redevelopment.

    Does not compute. First we get ‘preservation by record’, now preservation by burial?

    This is a pretty remarkable piece of Victorian engineering. It should be a centrepiece of any redevelopment, not a foundation.

  • #793064

    Anonymous

    @ctesiphon wrote:

    Does not compute. First we get ‘preservation by record’, now preservation by burial?

    This is a pretty remarkable piece of Victorian engineering. It should be a centrepiece of any redevelopment, not a foundation.

    The filling in with sand was secondhand information, may not be reliable, although filling in things does sound like the prefered modus operandi of Dublin Port Company, at the moment.

    On re-reading the article, I think Bindon B. Stoney over-saw the construction of the graving dock, but it may have been designed by George Halpin II.

    It’s supposed to be 80 feet wide (not sure is that at the top or the bottom) and 400 feet long, being built to accommodate the latest mail steamers. Apparently it cost over £116,000 back in the day and it only went out of service in 1989!

    I agree that it would be nice to think that someting this impressive would merit a better fate than to be back filled and forgotten, but surely the ideal solution is to fix the gates and keep it in use! Do you not have to paint the bottom of boats any more?

  • #793065

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    btw this building is named after Bindon Blood Stoney

    And here is more of his work

    1879 – Design for Swing Bridge, Dublin

  • #793066

    Anonymous

    @paul Clerkin wrote:

    btw this building is named after Bindon Blood Stoney

    Aah- I wondered.

    My first guess was something to do with bankers…

  • #793067

    Anonymous

    The street that runs perpendicular to the river is also called blood stoney street.

    The graving dock could make a great outdoor swimming pool!

  • #793068

    Anonymous

    @ctesiphon wrote:

    my First Guess Was Something To Do With Bankers…

    Ha!:D

  • #793069

    Anonymous

    Re: Phibsboro dry dock, it was at one time the property used by the Phibsboro 19 th (“Panama”)Scout troop. I was in that scout troop back in the late ’60’s-early ’70’s. When we were kids, we thought it was an empty swimming pool ! I seem to remember the prison turned it into a parking lot for the officers.

  • #793070

    Anonymous

    Interesting to note from the birds eye images that the southern aspect was taken well before or after the other aspects given the ships in the larger graving dock are different. Always thought they were taken at the same time.

  • #793071

    Anonymous

    @gunter wrote:

    Stoney was apparently also the man behind that huge iron diving bell contraption which sits on the south campshire at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. This was a dredging work station which was lowered to the river bed and pressurized to allow labourers to manually dig the river bed and prepare an even surface to receive giant precast blocks of quay wall.


    I will look at this thing with new respect the next time I go past.

    Wow, thanks a mil for that little pearl of information, I have been wondering what on earth that thing was for ages, impressive stuff, must have been quite a horrible job… 🙂

  • #793072

    Anonymous

    That’s an incredible piece of kit. There was a hole cut into it when it was restored 8/9 years ago and the iron is about 4 inches thick!

  • #793073

    Anonymous

    Anyone have any information on the constructional make up of the dock walls and/or the graving docks down in grand canal basin? I have information on the later dock walls built 1871 but have nothing for GCD which was completed 1796! Would welcome any suggestions…

  • #793074

    Anonymous

    I visited the site of the Graving Docks today and found that the third dock that had recently been excavated has been completely filled in. Maybe it wasn’t filled in but has gone altogether. There is some clearing of the site going on. Does anyone know exactly what became of the third dock? When I last saw it, which wasn’t too long ago, a lot of the individual pieces of cut stone had been numbered in yellow paint.

  • #793075

    Anonymous

    It seems all 3 of these are filled in now, what gives?
    There was an implication earlier in the thread that the two surviving docks were protected?

  • #793076

    Anonymous

    I think I’m mistaken about my previous post, looks like there’s still something there, but (when viewed from the West) they’ve blocked off the dock entrances so you can’t see them properly.

  • #793077

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    recently updated pictures on google showing the Grand Canal Dock ones you can just see the inlet in the bottom left of image of the former third one.

  • #793078

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    The Alexandra Graving Dock is gone
    compare before and after aerial shots

    null

  • #793079

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    edevelopment of Alexandra Basin comprising infill of Graving Dock, extension of Berth, remediation of Basin, construction of 5 New Berths and re-engineering of North Quay Extension, Dublin
    http://www.pleanala.ie/casenum/PC0154.htm

  • #937095

    admin
    Keymaster

    Photo of the Royal Canal Graving Dock at Phibsborough

  • #947730

    lostexpectation
    Participant

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