Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

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This topic contains 149 replies, has 41 voices, and was last updated by  Clinch 3 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #708298

    Devin
    Participant

    Passing St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Friday, I came across this: the kerbs of the beautiful stone pavements on St. Patrick’s Close are being re-pointed in a thick ridge of pasty grey cement, which should NEVER be done on historic stonework.

    And who’s responsible for this piece of cowboy practice – some dodgy contractors? No, it’s Dublin City Council’s Roads Maintenance Division.

    In this bit that hasn’t been reached yet, you can see that the kerbs and paving are pointed in a mortar which is close to the fawn colour of the stone, and that the mortar is FLUSH with the stonework. Any necessary repairs should obviously be carried out in line with what’s already there. But there’s an obsession with using raised cement pointing on old stonework. It’s rampant all over the country. It not only looks wrong, but use of cement on historic brick and stonework can hinder necessary movement and flexibility.

    There was only a feature on this on the architecture page of the Irish Times on Thursday a week ago; the importance of using softer (lime) mortars on traditional buildings/structures.

    [align=center:tonh7l7p]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/align:tonh7l7p]

    Dublin has gladly retained some great historic stone-paved areas, like around St. Patrick’s and Christchurch Cathedrals, Dublin Castle, and the north and south Georgian areas. Most of the surviving stone paving and kerbing is listed for protection in the Development Plan. But a bizarre situation has been prevailing for a number of years now, whereby the Council’s Roads Maintenance Division (rather than the Planning/Conservation section) has charge of historic stone paving. It means that unskilled operatives are going and doing their worst to 200 year old pavements; the raised pointing already mentioned, replacing bits in modern white granite, rearranging and cutting up the flagstones, messing up the coursing and bonding integrity…

    An Taisce Dublin City have asked the Council to rectify the situation. They’re aware of the problem but it’s slow slow slow … they’re “producing a report” on the city’s historic street furniture and will act on its recommendations…
    But in the meantime, more historic paving gets wrecked … it’s horrific!

  • #764045

    GrahamH
    Participant

    It’s terrible isn’t it?! You see it everywhere around the city. Combined with the rusty tones of the stones, it makes pavements look like dodgy 70s domestic cladding. And it’s not just secondary locations: the most famous ‘antique pavement’ in the city has been pasted in the muck – Trinity’s curved footpath on College Green:

    and not only that but also the most appallingly insensitive additions and alterations:

    Not even similar coloured slabs used at the crossing (as O’Connell St has proved, different coloured slabs are not required for the visually impaired), and just tossed down in any old fashion, Similarly the new pedestrian lights and security camera pole just shoved in with dollops of concrete.

    And as for this outside the gates of Trinity:

    What a disgrace.

  • #764046

    sarcastic
    Participant

    We have here the departament of protection of cultural heritage in Lithuania. They are fierce protectors of everything in the list. Sometimes the prevent some changes, that in fact are really needed. But i can swerar, they would never ever allow souch a blasphemy here 🙂

  • #764047

    urbanisto
    Participant

    Aah the aul perenial lump of tarmac and crappy grouting. Still things are getting better. Juts lokk at OConnell St with its fine new paving. It will be spanking in a couple more months. And isnt there a new maintaintenance regime inn place to help it stay like that. Well look a little closer…. the section from Abbey St to the Bridge. On the east the chaps are busily beavering away to complete the paving works while on the west side the paving has been in place since early this year. However the observant among you might notice the lovely patch at the junction with Abbey St ripped up for utility works of some sort and carefully replaced with… tarmac! And the roadway. The tarmac here was relaid a little better but they forgot one thing. The line of small cobbles that seperate the paving from the roadway all along the street. Sure they were only a gimick anyway.

  • #764048

    urbanisto
    Participant

    BTW we also have a department for Heritage in Ireland sarcastic….you’d never think it though.

  • #764049

    sarcastic
    Participant

    Oh, i am sorry if i made you think that way, I really didn’t mean to say that there was noone to care about thouse deeds.
    I just wanted to note, that in my country this institution often pays alot of atention to souch things. Unfortunately there are cases, when the building or particular place is left to decay, instead of letting to modrenise it in some gentle way..

  • #764050

    tjomeara
    Participant

    @StephenC wrote:

    BTW we also have a department for Heritage in Ireland sarcastic….you’d never think it though.

    The problem is not with the Dept of (against the) Environment, Heritage and Local Goverment in Ireland – it is with the lack of power they have to do anything about such things
    priorities lie elsewhere in modern ireland I am afraid

  • #764051

    anto
    Participant

    Rte or one of the Newspaper’s needs to highlight this. It needs to be highlighted visually. Lot of folks don’t pay much heed to this as they rush around. Maybe Irish Business Against Litter should extend its brief!

    I presume the Tidy towns don’t audit Dublin city centre. They’d probably recommend more hanging baskets!:p

  • #764052

    Devin
    Participant

    Like a stone wall, stone paving has a visual and structural logic; the way the stones are arranged together is very important. This stretch of antique stone paving running down a side lane off Pearse Street, by St. Mark’s Church, could be up to 200 years old and has had little or no alteration. You can see the organic quality of it – stones of different sizes coursed and bonded together happily.

    There is an unbelievable situation prevailing in this city where €300,000 can spent last year on restoring O’Connell Street’s stone monuments, engaging various professional conservators and other specialists (a great job and money well spent). But when it comes to repair & conservation work to Dublin’s antique stone paving, the budget is €0; no professional expertise is sought; all work is done in-house by the Council’s Roads Maintenance Division (or its contractors). This might be ok if the Roads Maintenance workers were capable of treating the paving in an appropriate way, but sadly the opposite has been the case. Some of the most savage and unlawful work to our priceless antique paving has been done by this department.

    Here is one such job in progress on Castle Street not too long ago, illustrating 2 common problems:

    1. Raised cement pointing, messily smeared outside the joints also.
    2. Idiotic diagonal cutting of individual flagstones, making a visual nonsense of the paving.

    Here is another savage job carried out right at the foot of Francis Johnston’s monumental arch entrance to the (now) BoI Arts Centre which closes Foster Place, one of our most important historic areas. A dish has been brutally inserted as if the existing paving wasn’t there – partly using non-matching white granite and again including fussy diagonal cutting of flagstones and messy cement pointing.

    As anyone who has worked on an old building knows, there are always compromises – you can’t usually make as many modern concessions as you would like to because you have to work with the fabric of the structure and respect its integrity. It’s the same with historic stone paving. But this principle has been almost completely ignored when it comes to Dublin’s historic paving.

    This is also quite common: The listed antique kerbstones seen here on Ormond Quay Lower are in the process of being removed and replaced with Chinese white granite. They just do this kind of thing all the time and hope no one will notice …. something to put in their end-of-year report. In this instance I managed to report it to the Conservation Officer in the Council and work was stopped. But there are hundreds of examples of this around the city – streets with “listed” antique paving or kerbing sloppily half-replaced in modern white granite (which becomes grey and ingrained with dirt almost immediately and looks as dull as concrete).

    Here is another mess at the corner of Earlsfort Terrace and Hatch Street Upper, like Graham’s example from Trinity: red crossing-point tiles thrown in all over the place in a random pattern, bits of surviving antique paving mixed in with concrete flags, and the usual straps of cement pointing. For jobs like these, there seems to be no consideration of the various treatment options, no plans submitted for approval. It seems that they just come along and decide what to do there and then, with usually disastrous results.

    The antique granite has a naturally abrasive surface and is quite grippy in all conditions anyway. It’s questionable that these studded tiles are needed at all, especially in a comparatively low-footfall area like this.

    [align=center:1vb75578]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/align:1vb75578]

    Almost all of the surviving antique paving and kerbing in the city is listed for protection in the Development Plan, which states “It is the policy of Dublin City Council to preserve, repair and retain in situ historic paving … [which is] identified in the Development Plan”. But it’s not worth the paper it’s written on, because no system of consultation has been put place to see that this objective is observed or to see that work to the paving is carried put in accordance with best practice principles.

    While the Council’s Roads Maintenance Division have carried out most of the work that I refer to, the blame for all of this lies ultimately with the Planning Department and their failure to put such a system in place. Jim Keoghan is the Council official who has for the last number of years been in charge of the Development Plan’s Record of Protected Structures and other items listed for protection.

    It really is a sorry state of affairs – historic stone paving is a hugely valuable asset and distinguishing feature of a city – it should be pristine.

  • #764053

    magicbastarder
    Participant

    i’m just thinking of all the bemused pedestrians wandering past people taking photos of footpaths.
    also, yesterday morning, there were workmen going at the new cobbles on o’connell street, near hamilton long, with a jackhammer.

  • #764054

    kite
    Participant

    @magicbastarder wrote:

    i’m just thinking of all the bemused pedestrians wandering past people taking photos of footpaths.
    also, yesterday morning, there were workmen going at the new cobbles on o’connell street, near hamilton long, with a jackhammer.

    😡 Somebody REALLY should be sent to prison for this type of vandalisn…or at least lose their job and be exposed as the culprit.

  • #764055

    Devin
    Participant

    Keep your hat on! It’s O’Connell Street – it’s going to get looked after, isn’t it? It’s every other street in the city (other than O’Connell Street) that you have to worry about.

  • #764056

    GregF
    Participant

    It’s great that this has been hilighted…..good one Devin and Graham. Looks as if apprentices of the Anco school of slab laying or should that be slab slaying were responsible. The foothpaths look a fecking mess and that diagonal cut in the slab looks really atrocious as has been pointed out.

  • #764057

    Devin
    Participant

    BTW anto, yeah it would be good to get something in the media about it – you could go chasing up some journalist, but you know it’s easier to just blog it up here.
    (However did manage to get a piece in the paper last year about the Dublin Port Authority having stupidly poured cement between the granite blocks of the Poolbeg wall – a ‘dry stone’ construction – causing it to crack.)

  • #764058

    anto
    Participant

    A letter to the Irish Times can have a good impact. A letter to the council, local TD, councillor esp. the more visually aware ones like the Greens etc.

  • #764059

    GrahamH
    Participant

    I’ve often wondered about the phenomenon below – you probably know what it is Devin.

    It’s this roadway cobble-edging as pictured. You see it all over the north and south inner city of Dublin.
    Are the cobbles the original surface that is left exposed to either side of the rest of the cobbled road that has been covered over in asphalt, or is the original cobbled surface dug up entirely and some cobbles just relaid as a quaint drainage system along the kerbline?

    The crudeness of the laying, and the amost flush surface with the road covering would suggest the latter…

  • #764060

    Devin
    Participant

    In that case it does look like it’s been relaid alright (for what reason I don’t know … a bit of municipal frilly-ing up of the road maybe!), but you do right enough see plenty of examples of old setts/cobbles at the edge of a road that have never been tarmaced over so as they can carry away rainwater.

    It’s interesting to think that almost every street in the city has setts under the tarmac – the setts were never taken up but used as a bed like the way you lay a rough mix before concreting (there’s a name for it I can’t think of).

  • #764061

    GrahamH
    Participant

    It’s a nice idea – I’m not suggesting we return to cobbled streets (was snickering at a pair of American women only yesterday trying to negotiate the Castle cobbles in heels :)). It’s a clever way of ‘keeping in touch’ with the past (assuming they are original), without having to sacrifice the convenience that modern developments offer us. Even as a relaid feature they are attractive.

  • #764062

    Devin
    Participant

    I think the problem is that the quality of relaid sett surfaces is so bloody awful compared to the quality of the few genuine old ones that survive around the city (apparently ‘setts’ is the correct name for the rectangular stones and ‘cobbles’ refers to the smaller roundy ones like in Trinty’s front square).

    Here is a comparison of a delicious, smooth old sett surface on John’s Lane, off Thomas Street (the whole city was like this once!), with a dire early-1990s relaid sett surface in Temple Bar. The John’s Lane one is a pleasure to walk on. The Temple Bar one, as we know, would drive you back to the pavement!

  • #764063

    DJM
    Participant

    Devon, thanks very much for such an interesting thread! It’s not something I’ve ever consciously thought about in great detail before, but it does highlight an issue that has very obviously (from the contributions) been overlooked by the relevant authorities.

    Here in Edinburgh, the place is full of cobbled streets – original ones – that are indeed very pleasant to walk on.

    Modern examples are quite sharp & uncomfortable to walk on though. Would this have been the case with todays ‘original/historical’ cobbles when first they were laid, or would they have been polished/smoothed to some degree?

    Not much demand for second-hand taxis over here!! 😉

  • #764064

    Devin
    Participant

    Yeah I suppose they wouldn’t have been quite so smooth when first laid 100 or more years ago, but, like anything of intrinsic quality, it gets better with age!
    But that’s no excuse for awful cobbling in Temple Bar. The main problem seems to be that the setts are not laid closely enough together – the old ones are always tightly laid. It’s really an embarrassment given the 1000s that visit every day.

    The lifting and re-laying of Smithfield’s setts a few years ago, and the public space scheme in general, has been the subject of some criticism – see here for one: http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4352 – but the resulting sett surface (below) was an improvement over the shockingly bad Temple Bar surfaces (wouldn’t be difficult I suppose).
    .

  • #764065

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Setts are being dug up and relaid in the Cow’s Lane area at the minute – difficult to see how they’re gong back down, though it would appear to be in the typical toothy fashion.

    Ship Street has lovely tightly knitted setts just walking over them today. Such a pleasure in contrast with Temple Bar.

  • #764066

    Frank Taylor
    Participant

    Devin, you are right to pursue this. God is in the details.

  • #764067

    PDLL
    Participant

    @graham Hickey wrote:

    I’ve often wondered about the phenomenon below – you probably know what it is Devin.

    It’s this roadway cobble-edging as pictured. You see it all over the north and south inner city of Dublin.
    Are the cobbles the original surface that is left exposed to either side of the rest of the cobbled road that has been covered over in asphalt, or is the original cobbled surface dug up entirely and some cobbles just relaid as a quaint drainage system along the kerbline?

    The crudeness of the laying, and the amost flush surface with the road covering would suggest the latter…

    This is an extremely common phenomenon in modern suburban road building around Austria (do a lot of business over there so see it a lot). The street is tarmaced and then the drainage areas along the edge are lined with such cobbled areas. The cobbles are brand new. I cannot see any functional reason for this so perhaps it is just decorative and to give a better definition to the road area.

  • #764068

    Devin
    Participant

    Or it could be because under-street services are located at the edge of the road, and the cobbles allow access to them without disrupting the tarmac.

  • #764069

    Lotts
    Participant

    Could be just to make you slip on your bike on a frosty morning

  • #764070

    Devin
    Participant

    Here is an example of what was mentioned earlier about the piecemeal, haphazard replacement of antique golden kerbstones with modern white granite that you see on so many city centre streets. The example street is Lower Leeson Street – the east side – from the Grand Canal down to St. Stephen’s Green:

    So, starting at the top, antique kerbs are present & correct.

    Down to the junction with Pembroke Street – fine so far …

    Then here we go – far side of the Pembroke Street junction and the white granite kerbs begin …

    50 paces later, across a laneway, and it’s back into the antique kerbs …

    Another little bit on and the white granite begins again, this time a lengthy stretch …

    Finally, just before reaching St. Stephen’s Green, you cross a laneway and the last little bit to the Green still has the original kerbs.

    Can you imagine seeing this in Paris, or even London?

  • #764071

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Certainly more unity is required, though to be honest I’m surprised they even bothered to go with white granite kerbs of the same broad width – they’re not particularly common in the city on that scale, so at least they went to the effort.
    But if they’re aware that they need kerbs of that width on the street, they they also know damn well that it’s antique granite that should be used along here, and that’s just presuming it wasn’t the latter they were replacing!

    At least the white granite looks well, but it’s absolutely no excuse for a disjoined paving scheme, nor the replacement of priceless rust-tinged Irish kerbstones.

    As an aside, I was looking at those very concrete lampposts on Leeson St the other day, wondering how long they’ll last. Will we give them a year to be replaced with silver repro muck?

  • #764072

    Devin
    Participant

    Well, they’re at it again. Dublin City Council’s Roads Maintenance Division have just done their dirty raised cement pointing on the listed antique paving on the west side of Temple Lane, from Curved Street up to Dame Street.

    And now they’ve moved on to the other side of the street. Here is their handiwork from this afternoon.

    I am not having a go at Fas – they do a lot of good work. But, as Greg said earlier, that’s the metaphor which sums it up best: the Fas trainees being let loose unsupervised on the valuable antique pavments.

    This is bloody awful. These pavements were fought for back when Temple Bar was being developed, only to have them smeared with cement in 2006. You’d think we’d have come further. Pointing is supposed to be secondary to stonework.

  • #764073

    publicrealm
    Participant

    @devin wrote:

    I am not having a go at Fas – they do a lot of good work. But, as Greg said earlier, that’s the metaphor which sums it up best: the Fas trainees being let loose unsupervised on the valuable antique pavments.

    This is bloody awful. You’d think we’d have come further. Pointing is supposed to be secondary to stonework.

    I suspect that that battle is lost. I agree it’s awful.

    This lunchtime I took the attached pics (camera phone) – unbelievably they show repointing of the main entrance steps to Powerscourt Town House.

    Maybe these are in private ownership – but the destruction wrought in public areas (in the name of DCC) is completely inexcusable.

  • #764074

    tommyt
    Participant

    This probably sounds preposterous but I have noticed posters mentioning that this white granite is permeable. Would anyone think it possible to artificiallypatinate/colour this stone in some sort of a bath of humic/tannic acid?. Could we leave batches of this awfully bland stone in monstrous vats of stewed tea!
    This granite also seems very liable to chipping. A good place to observe this is the section of Talbot st. from Marlbourough place to the junction at nth Earl St. One side of the street is old stone, still in great nick, whilst the West side of the street is the new stuff that is already in rag order, chipped and stained beyond redemption by the looks of it.

  • #764075

    Devin
    Participant

    @tommyt wrote:

    This granite also seems very liable to chipping. A good place to observe this is the section of Talbot st. from Marlbourough place to the junction at nth Earl St. One side of the street is old stone, still in great nick, whilst the West side of the street is the new stuff that is already in rag order, chipped and stained beyond redemption by the looks of it.

    Parts of Smithfield are in bits too after only about 5 years.

    [align=center:2wtb9hco]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/align:2wtb9hco]

    The correct pointing to antique paving should look something like this; a delicate tracery of whitish mortar between the stones, allowing the quality of the stonework to dominate.

    Stone masonry is a craft. Repair and alteration to historic paving is a highly skilled operation. But Fas trainees are doing it in Dublin city centre. It is shocking.

  • #764076

    urbanisto
    Participant

    HAve you been on to the Heritage Officer at DCC Devin? Perhaps they have an opinion on whats happening.

  • #764077

    GrahamH
    Participant

    It’s bad enough that Dublin’s most important pavements are being used as a training ground for tradespeople, but the real shocking factor is not this – rather it’s the fact that this is how they’re being trained to do it! 😮
    It beggars belief if the case.

  • #764078

    Devin
    Participant

    Stephen, yes, they’re aware of the problem. They know that practice for protected stone paving needs to be brought into line with practice for protected buildings. Resources need to be allocated for it …… this is the big step.

    [align=center:15zzt7xx]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/align:15zzt7xx]

    As work approaches completion on the new plaza beside City Hall, a large section the historic granite paving running along the Dame Street edge has been lifted (above). It will need to be put down again in accordance with best conservation practice – observing the coursing and bonding integrity of stone paving, and neatly pointed in the recommended flush or slightly sunken finish.

    The Council’s recent record in this respect is not good. But this is not a side street like Temple Lane or St. Patrick’s Close where you might get away with a bit of nasty work. You’re in the full glare of Dame Street now, DCC Roads Maintenance.

    An email has been sent to the Council in advance so there’s no excuse.

  • #764079

    wrafter
    Participant

    This is what they’re doing in Barcelona’s Placa Cathedral. I spotted this last night as I walked through. Red X represents replacement req’d.

  • #764080

    Morlan
    Participant

    Ah sure a lick of tarmac would patch those up reall nice.

  • #764081

    Seanselon
    Participant

    [ATTACH]3259[/ATTACH]

    So you think conservation standards are low in Dublin, huih?? Look at what was allowed on the steps of Galway Court House

  • #764082

    Devin
    Participant

    Uugh! Irish workmen are obsessed with cement … trowel it on … the more the better. Fine jointing is a foreign concept.

  • #764083

    kite
    Participant

    @seanselon wrote:

    [ATTACH]3259[/ATTACH]

    So you think conservation standards are low in Dublin, huih?? Look at what was allowed on the steps of Galway Court House

    😮 Even the hound looks depressed at this wanton act of vandalism.
    I would love to post photographs (can’t figure how to do it yet) of the historic paving outside Cork City Hall being ripped up and dumped to allow for cheap, glassy, Spanish or Chinese slabs laid to match the junk laid in Patrick Street at the behest of our City Manager, Joe Gavin (remember him Galway?) 😮

  • #764084

    Seanselon
    Participant

    Yeah, I remember him:-( I reckon The Courts Service are at least partly to blame as well though…

  • #764085

    Devin
    Participant

    The message seems to have gotten through. The Dame Street paving is being put down again and pointed in a – wait for it – slightly sunken finish!

    And while you’re working on this stretch of paving DCC, you could take the opportunity to undo some earlier horror-alterations, like this dish at the Palace Street corner, where the historic paving fabric was simply cut away to make room for new white granite.

    If you sourced stones of appropriate shape and dimension from your paving depot on Marrowbone Lane, you could restore the integrity of the pavement here. How about it, huh?

  • #764086

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Absolutely.

    What an ugly, bog standard drainage channel cover – could something more elegant and befitting of this location not be concocted?
    It also highlights how striking this curve would be if executed as a lighting strip, marking out the plaza area at night and neatly merging old and new. A little more innovation is in order,

  • #764087

    Devin
    Participant

    Just when you thought everything was going well with the works to the historic perimeter paving at the new plaza, they seem have run short of original granite and the last 12 feet or so at the City Hall end is being re-laid in non-matching white granite. Brilliant!

    If they ran short, why can’t historic granite be got to finish it properly? They have taken up vast quantities of this granite from all over the city in the past 20 years. They used to have a huge mound of it piled up in their Marrowbone Lane paving depot. Why must things always be like this in Dublin?

    Or maybe it’s being done deliberately, to be consistent with the paving inconsistency that you see so much around the city?

  • #764088

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Oh no – so near yet so far, and right at the City Hall junction 🙁
    Surely they have tons of original granite in storage!

    The bollards are fancy, but are they needed? I thought it was DCC policy, or should that be best practice, to limit the alterations, i.e incisions, to original paving? In all fairness, if you’re walking along the kerbline with that vast extent of paving to walk on, you deserve to be clipped by a bus.

    I note your image is sideways Devin – I presume your tourist camera just happened to accidentally take a picture next to the workmen while ‘testing’ it? Funny that, mine does the exact same for some reason.

  • #764089

    Rory W
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    The bollards are fancy, but are they needed? I thought it was DCC policy, or should that be best practice, to limit the alterations, i.e incisions, to original paving? In all fairness, if you’re walking along the kerbline with that vast extent of paving to walk on, you deserve to be clipped by a bus.

    Aimed more at drivers pulling up “for just a few minutes” I’d wager – give it 5 minutes it’d be full of white van men cracking the newly laid/restored surface

  • #764090

    GregF
    Participant

    @seanselon wrote:

    [ATTACH]3259[/ATTACH]

    So you think conservation standards are low in Dublin, huih?? Look at what was allowed on the steps of Galway Court House

    Jesus , that pointing job is an utter disgrace! The work of a ham fisted idiot!

  • #764091

    GregF
    Participant
    Devin wrote:
    Parts of Smithfield are in bits too after only about 5 years.

    [align=center:3jc8k70y]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/align:3jc8k70y]

    The correct pointing to antique paving should look something like this]

    Great that you hilighted this problem Devin of how it should and should’nt be done.

  • #764092

    hutton
    Participant

    @seanselon wrote:

    [ATTACH]3259[/ATTACH]

    So you think conservation standards are low in Dublin, huih?? Look at what was allowed on the steps of Galway Court House

    😮

    I too am only after noticing this… Desperate.

    This should win some kind of award as to how not to do it – it really is the worst yet 🙁

  • #764093

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    The bollards are fancy, but are they needed? I thought it was DCC policy, or should that be best practice, to limit the alterations, i.e incisions, to original paving? In all fairness, if you’re walking along the kerbline with that vast extent of paving to walk on, you deserve to be clipped by a bus.

    Slightly off-topic, perhaps, but I wanted to highlight this nevertheless.

    I’ve been mulling over this comment for the last couple of days, Graham, and I still can’t figure out whether you were being facetious or serious when you said pedestrians deserved to be hit by the bus if they walked too close to the edge. Usually, you’d put a smiley beside it to signify the gag, but there’s none. Equally, this isn’t the kind of comment I’d expect from you. Hence the query.

    Speaking as a daily pedestrian, as someone who has been hit by the wing mirror of a bus on Clare Street as I was walking along the kerb (in the same direction as the bus, so I was hit from behind on the back of the head), and as someone who has a professional interest in pedestrian planning in Dublin, I disagree strongly with your statement.
    This is the footpath, which is the designated area for walking. The walking area extends to the edge of the kerb. Period. No debate. Etc.
    There is no law against walking on any part of the footpath (unless it’s an off-road cycle lane- a separate matter entirely). And there are no bonus points in life for walking further away from the carriageway.
    If a bus hits a pedestrian who is walking on the footpath, the bus is automatically, a priori at fault- the implication being that the bus was too close to the pedestrians, which constitutes dangerous driving.
    And (quite tenuous, I know) buses on this stretch of Dame Street should be leaving room for bikes on the inside.
    Lastly (even more tenuous, perhaps), if someone walks down the middle of the road, drivers don’t have the right simply to run them over on the grounds that they were walking where they shouldn’t. Oh I’ve been tempted alright, such as when joggers take up the full width of the bike lane, to give them a fright, but I know that it’s not allowed. Simple as that.

    I too have an issue with the bollards, but it’s more to do with their safety re cycling (in addition to their conservation implications). Many bollards and footpath guardrails in town are too close to the edge of the footpath and as a result jeapordise cyclists- one clip of the handlebar and you can say goodnight. One might argue that, if buses should move out from the kerb (as I advocated) then cyclists should too, but that ignores the provisions re cycle tracks and the safety of cyclists who aren’t in lanes where provided- I have too many examples of drivers trying to ‘educate’ me on where I should be riding, using their vehicles as teaching aids.

    If I’ve misunderstood, sorry for the rant.

  • #764094

    GrahamH
    Participant

    ctesiphon I could not agree with you more. Wing mirror clipping is a serious problem in the capital, with hideously dangerous consequences. As a committed pedestrian who frankly spends more time on the streets than off them, I’ve had countless near misses, with mirrors sweeping literally a hair’s breadth away: luckily never having been hit to date.

    Without question the pavement ought to be a safe haven for pedestrians, from kerb to building line, but my point is that for good or bad this simply is not the reality on Dublin’s streets. Most fast moving narrow streets such as Dame Street, O’Connell Street, Nassau Street and Dawson Street are notoriously dangerous for vulnerable kerb walkers, myself included. It’s very frightening when you skip out onto the kerb, especially when in a rush, only to see a bus mirror heading straight for you – it is in this respect I refer to the self-held perception of invincibility of many pedestrians. In Dublin you simply cannot rely on authorities to protect you, with that intangible ‘protective’ municipal force lulling you into a false sense of security. You presume everything to be regulated and tightly planned, but it simply isn’t.

    In fact I find bollards can be even more dangerous than their absence, as people continue to use the kerbline regardless, especially during peak times and/or due to the inadequate space allocated to the pedestrian in general in the city. Only when a wing mirror approaches with bollards, it’s even more difficult to avoid it, with the bollards forming a barrier to your getting back into the pavement, especially if walking fast which kerb walkers inevitably are. That mightn’t make sense on paper, but on a crowded evening pavement where everything is flashing and fast moving, it’s very easy to get tangled in a bollard and have your head taken off in the process.

    And of course on what are already narrow pavements, rows of bollards simply consume even more space. It’s no wonder granite kerbs are an enduring feature of Dublin’s streets (even if Portuguese), not because they’re aesthetically pleasing but because they form an unofficial Iarnród Éireann-style ‘Keep behind This Line’ boundary.
    Most bus drivers are conscientious and will keep their distance, but high speed pulling in to the kerb is probably the most dangerous and frightening procedure some drivers practice – it really needs to stop.

    Interesting what you say about the impact on cyclists of street furniture so close to the road – what a nightmare this must be, especially where a cycle lane isn’t provided. Definitely a factor only a cyclist-planner would note. To get that implemented across all divisions within the council, from Lighting to Roads, would be a ‘challenging’ task. This is where the buzzword of joined-up thinking comes to the fore.

    Believe me, I’m staunchly on the pedestrian’s side on this one.
    Though as a driver, cyclist and pedestrian, I’d love to see the bitter rows you have with yourself 😀

  • #764095

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    ‘Driver’? Take that back and wash your mouth out! Never in all my life have I been so insulted!:D
    Seriously, no. I’m not one of them. Do you really think I could stay up on my high horse as long as I have if I were able to drive?

    Thanks for the clarification- I was starting to worry that you’d ‘crossed the floor’. I still think ‘deserve’ is inappropriate, but your main point re regulation and common sense is well made. However, I’d be of the opinion that if there are points of conflict between pedestrians and motorised traffic then something should be done re the traffic rather than expect the pedestrians to just know what to do.

    In pedestrian planning generally, I think it’s instructive to consider two categories of path user- MID (Mobility-Impaired / Disabled) and tourists. If we can accommodate both of these user categories, then all the others are accommodated too.

    Anyway- glad we cleared this up. Now to get back to the dismal state of the capital’s historic footpaths.

  • #764096

    Devin
    Participant

    Yes, and specifically the conservation issues relating to insertion of bollards in a historic pavement, which both of you mentioned. This is a very important issue. As said, each bollard inserted requires a deleterious cut into the paving fabric – not exactly what you’d call best practice for the care and conservation of historic resources, is it?

    If bollards were deemed necessary here at the edge of the new Dame Street plaza (see below), would it not have been better to see how or where else they could have been incorporated that would have avoided making irreversible cuts into the 200-year old pavement?

    So why were bollards deemed necessary here?

    (a) To protect pedestrians? I don’t think so, as penning off the footpaths is not wider policy around the city centre generally.

    (b) To stop vehicles from driving onto the plaza? It doesn’t seem so, as there is room to bring a vehicle on at either end.

    (c) To stop people parking on the pavement on the basis that, if you parked here, you wouldn’t be blocking pedestrians because they can walk by through the adjoining plaza? Perhaps, but I think our clamping system would soon sort that out.

    (d) To stop commercial vans pulling up “for a few minutes” as said earlier? Possibly, but if so, maybe the CC were being over-zealous in preventing this? I’m just not sure that putting bollards here justifies the cuts into the old pavement for any of these possible reasons.

    What in years to come when, under Transport 21, Luas is coming down the street and it is a largely traffic-free area, and these kinds of measures for restricting vehicles aren’t such an issue anymore? What when, over time, the bollards become bent and kinked from things hitting them like the ones in Smithfield? Either way, the stone pavement is going to last longer than the bollards, and when they are eventually taken out, you’re going to be left with a visually degraded pavement where the bollard marks have to be filled with bits of mortar.

    Again, it comes back to the fact that there is no consultation system in place for Dublin’s historic granite pavements (as there is for its protected buildings), no conservation advice received, no chance for anyone else to have a say. Someone in Wood Quay takes a decision and it is done … Yes I know the pointing was done correctly this time DCC, but consideration of other options for the bollards was needed here I think.

    Something that’s also open to question is whether stainless steel is a suitable finish for bollards here. It may be ok on O’Connell Street where it’s part of the whole new street design, but it is not necessarily the right thing to insert into aged granite. But that’s another issue.
    .

  • #764097

    jimg
    Participant

    So why were bollards deemed necessary here?

    ’cause they’re stainless steel and so by definition (like covering areas with cheap granite, plonking down useless kiosks and plazifying open areas), sticking them into the footpath is cool and adds credibility to the scheme and shows that DCC are forward looking. :rolleyes:

    Oh you mean in terms of providing function or form or complementing for historic urban fabric? I’ve no idea.

  • #764098

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    Re cheap foreign granite-

    There was a fascinating programme on BBC Radio 4 last night about the growth in the use of Indian granite in the UK. Though not exactly parallel, I’m guessing there would be many similarities between this story and the use of our beloved Chinese granite in Ireland.

    The question of human rights loomed pretty large in the programme, as well as the ethics of importing stone from an unregulated foreign industry, though the programme did point out that there are pros and cons for both sides in the ‘to buy or to boycott’ debate.

    One can only presume that all of these points have been considered by Dublin City Council and other bodies that use the stuff.:rolleyes:

    From a quick glance at the R4 homepage, it would seem that the programme is being repeated today at 3pm. If you can’t make it, I think the BBC usually has a ‘Listen Again’ function for a week after a show is broadcast.

    Have a look here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/costingtheearth_20070104.shtml

    EDIT: Yup- there’s a ‘Listen Again’ button just over the picture of the presenter on that page.

  • #764099

    hutton
    Participant

    @jimg wrote:

    ’cause they’re stainless steel and so by definition (like covering areas with cheap granite, plonking down useless kiosks and plazifying open areas), sticking them into the footpath is cool and adds credibility to the scheme and shows that DCC are forward looking. :rolleyes:

    Oh you mean in terms of providing function or form or complementing for historic urban fabric? I’ve no idea.

    Oh Mmmeeooow – and yet so spot on.

    Balls is what I say! Big granite balls that would achieve the same effect (whatever that is – suspect prevent vehicles mounting pavement) without having to cut into the existing slabs…

    Ah ctesiphon – “costing the earth”; an excellent programme on an excellent station – had thought I was the only Irish person under 60 who listens to R4! 🙂

  • #764100

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    even tubs of flowers would do the same thing, but probably not architectural enough for the planners / architects department… not mad keen on the silver bolllards to be honest

  • #764101

    Istigh
    Participant

    @paul Clerkin wrote:

    even tubs of flowers would do the same thing, but probably not architectural enough for the planners / architects department… not mad keen on the silver bolllards to be honest

    Lets face it have you ever seen large flower pots in cities that havent eventually been turned into an ash tray / rubbish bin. We are our own worse enemy in that regard.
    Is there another sollution?

  • #764102

    hutton
    Participant

    @istigh wrote:

    Lets face it have you ever seen large flower pots in cities that havent eventually been turned into an ash tray / rubbish bin. We are our own worse enemy in that regard.
    Is there another sollution?

    Yep – mandatory hand amputation of litter blighters 😀

  • #764103

    GrahamH
    Participant

    @jimg wrote:

    ’cause they’re stainless steel and so by definition (like covering areas with cheap granite, plonking down useless kiosks and plazifying open areas), sticking them into the footpath is cool and adds credibility to the scheme and shows that DCC are forward looking. :rolleyes:

    Oh you mean in terms of providing function or form or complementing for historic urban fabric? I’ve no idea.

    heheheh 😀

    Explains matters precisely! Just look at the above image again and see how it cordons off vechicular and pedestrian spaces in a way that has time and time again been raised as an undesirable feature in urban planning. Fair enough in semi-industrial places, or those featuring heavy goods traffic, but on a commercial street in the heart of the historic city?! They’re simply being used here to ‘finish it off nicely’, with no real purpose, while irreversably damaging historic paving. The same disasterous mess can be seen outside the doors of Trinity from an array of interventions over the years, while two temporary traffic camera poles in this area do the same.

    Admittedly some incisions can be interesting, for example you can still see where the gas lampposts and first electric arc lamps stood through the scars in the paving on College Green (I’ve yet to match those exactly :)), but these bollards are so short-sighted from the presepctive of taming Dame Street in 5-10 years time.

    As structures though they are pretty cool and work well with the granite I think – for the moment at least the steel finish doesn’t detract from it. That lamppost base there could do with a wipe down after all that construction work…

    As for imported stone, is a lot of Dublin white granite not Portugese? Henry Street I think was paved in Chinese. Ethical considerations are certainly something to bear in mind with these public projects – quarry child labour in India in particular has been a problem for a while now since the stone boom took off, whatever about the ecological impact.

  • #764104

    Devin
    Participant

    @hutton wrote:

    Balls is what I say! Big granite balls that would achieve the same effect (whatever that is – suspect prevent vehicles mounting pavement) without having to cut into the existing slabs…

    @paul Clerkin wrote:

    even tubs of flowers would do the same thing, but probably not architectural enough for the planners / architects department… not mad keen on the silver bolllards to be honest

    Yes!! See, even we can come up with a few alternatives that don’t involve drilling away ancient stonework!

    Please DCC, if you are contemplating this again, at least throw the idea out and get some feedback, and not just do it overnight.

  • #764105

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I don’t know what the intention was with this. This must constitute one of the most pointless interventions in a long time. This type of thing has been happening on a smaller scale across the city for a number of years as more and more parking control signs are errected.

    However time has definitely come for a code of practice to be imposed on the roads department on this issue.

    This is not asking a lot; what percentage of the overall percentage of kerbs and internal paving stock as a whole are we talking about 5% or less.

    A simple code of practice would only stipulate that where granite kerbs are authentic that any signage must be approved by the City Councils own conservation officer. In most location signage or bollards could be placed into the replaceable imported granite or comncrete slabs.

    The key issue here is the protection of un-replaceable elements of the built environment. The difference between a quality destination and a mediocre one are always the subtle touches. This intervention is about at subtle as a cavity block.

  • #764106

    hutton
    Participant

    @PVC King wrote:

    The key issue here is the protection of un-replaceable elements of the built environment. .

    Exactly what matters.

  • #764107

    dc3
    Participant

    “Wing mirror clipping is a serious problem in the capital, with hideously dangerous consequences”

    Indeed. Very many bus shelters in Dublin actually leave little space to pass between shelter and kerb,

    I have regularly noted near misses between late arriving passengers and the wing mirrors of late arriving buses, as they diced with death while passing this limited space between shelter and kerb.

    If you ever cross from the St Stephen’s Green corner (near the Shelbourne) the new one way alignment for city bound buses puts wing mirrors ready to catch the unwary pedestrian standing too close – and they regularly do.

    By the way, there is a nice array of bollards in varying styles, in Merrion Row – indeed it is hard to walk down the south side of it against any pedestrian traffic.

  • #764108

    Devin
    Participant

    Aside from a few glitches such as the bollards issue and the running short of some granite, the standard of work to the historic paving in the City Architect’s Department new Dame Street plaza project was good, and stands in contrast to an earlier project of theirs next door – the millennium restoration of City Hall.

    This was a very high profile job, carried out to international best-practice standards for historic monuments, befitting the great significance of the building. Unfortunately though, these standards did not extend to the historic granite pavements running around the building.

    While, inside, an 18th century interior of European significance was being revealed for this first time in 150 years, outside, some of the most shockingly bad repair work was being undertaken to its pavements:

    (Sorry for the dullness of the pictures; it’s rainy and wintry at the moment, and not the best time for taking pictures of pavements.)

    1. East pavement
    Appalling raised cement pointing carried out right along the east frontage of the building.

    2. West pavement
    The most disgusting raised cement pointing was carried out all along this magnificent stretch of sloping antique paving by the west façade of the building, turning the corner along Castle Street and culminating in ridiculous diagonal cutting of flagstones at the upper entrance to Dublin Castle (above). And there’s much more just out of picture.

    3. North pavement
    No work was carried out here at the front of the building, and it still has the fine whitish flush-pointing that you see here and there around the city. Why? Because it would have been too dangerous to cordon off the footpath in this location for works.

    This confirms two of the worst suspicions:
    (a) that repointing work is, in many cases, unnecessary, and (b), they just do it for something to do, in a place where it’s easy to do it.

    This City Hall job starkly illustrated the sometimes sham-like inter-departmental coordination in the City Council, where the City Architect’s Dept. could have top conservation consultants on massive fees working on the building itself, but let its surrounding pavements be almost destroyed by Roads Maintenance Dept. workers with no conservation training.

  • #764109

    urbanisto
    Participant

    Aside from a few glitches such as the bollards issue and the running short of some granite, the standard of work to the historic paving in the City Architect’s Department new Dame Street plaza project was good, and stands in contrast to an earlier project of theirs next door – the millennium restoration of City Hall.

    Hmmm I certainly dont feel happy about any aspect of the plaza and pavemnet works around this new building. 😡 Leaving aside the building itself I think the works that have been undertaken show a staggering lack of thought and design. Firstly mixing the orignal paving with a newer type looks like a dogs dinner. A similar compalint is made today on Archiseek about Hernietta Street. Why not either one or the other! And the fixtures and fitting are so bland and utilitarian – nondescript grates and bollards – what ever happened to beauty! I would also be highly critical of the way the plaza is laid out. for example why wasnt Palace Street repaved to provide a shared surface for predestrains and allow for an imporved entrance in to the Castle. This is after all the MAIN ENTRANCE! into Dublin Castle. And why are cars allowed part here. A similar decision was taken on the other side between the ‘plaza’ and City Hall. Why not completely pave this area in a unified and coherent way? I would also question the lighting and the lack of greenery. In fact the only token sob to greenery are the 4 sapling at the back to the square…surely these days we can plant semi-mature trees that at least have a presence from the beginning rather than in 20 years time!

    Its a complete waste and getting the joining between some paving salbs right does nothing to redeem it in my mind.

  • #764110

    Devin
    Participant

    I certainly dont feel happy about any aspect of the plaza and pavemnet works around this new building … Firstly mixing the orignal paving with a newer type looks like a dogs dinner. A similar compalint is made today on Archiseek about Hernietta Street. Why not either one or the other!

    I don’t know what you mean here Stephen. There is nothing wrong with integrating historic paving into new work, provided new and old are clearly distinguishable, which they are here – they are side by side. Mixing in new granite and old granite in the same pavement is another thing altogether.

    I agree with you about Palace Street; it could easily be eliminated and made car-free, befitting the entrance to the Castle.

  • #764111

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Thirded – the ever-present rank of cars and white vans outside the gates of the Castle on Palace Street is an embarrassment. Can you just imagine this outside any tourist site in a European city, let alone a principal one in a capital – and leaving aside any historical factors. Coupled with the new shower cubicle cliff face opposite, and limited pedestrian provision, visitors really must question if they’ve come to the right place entering this dingy hole, especially upon being greeted with what’s probably the largest suface car park in the city centre inside the entrance gates.

    I agree the contrast with the existing antique paving and the new plaza surface works well, as the old granite logically continues the line of the street’s pavement, especially as it gracefully sweeps round to Palace Street.
    As such however, I feel a more befitting, darker (perhaps bronze coloured) drainage grid ought to have been used to distinguish the two areas than the horribly cheap galvanised yoke used. It’s certainly a dog’s dinner at the City Hall end, where antique granite runs out – it’s incoherent areas like these that give otherwise decent projects a bad name.

    Beautiful north pavement picture Devin – thanks goodness it wasn’t touched.

  • #764112

    publicrealm
    Participant

    Spotted this morning at the corner of Ship St Great and (I think) Stephens St Upper – at the back of Dublin Castle.

    Seems like old granite paving taken up and piled in a heap – hopefully it will be replaced.

    Will keep an eye on it.

  • #764113

    publicrealm
    Participant

    O Dear.

    This morning the excavation was filled in and the old granite paving slabs had disappeared.

    Hopefully, as it is a semi-state body doing the work (ESB) they have been taken away for cleaning prior to replacement? :confused:

    Bugger that – image sideways!

  • #764114

    publicrealm
    Participant

    @publicrealm wrote:

    O Dear.

    This morning the excavation was filled in and the old granite paving slabs had disappeared.

    Hopefully, as it is a semi-state body doing the work (ESB) they have been taken away for cleaning prior to replacement? :confused:

    Today’s image :confused:

  • #764115

    fergalr
    Participant

    Maybe it’s temporary..? 😮

  • #764116

    hutton
    Participant

    @publicrealm wrote:

    Today’s image :confused:

    WTF?

    There’s no excuse for this 😡

    City Development Plan – Conservation Area Policy H13

    “It is the policy of DCC to protect…the historic fabric of conservation areas in the control of development”

    Maybe this isn’t a C.A. – sure its only abutting Dublin Castle afterall :rolleyes:

  • #764117

    publicrealm
    Participant

    @hutton wrote:

    WTF?

    There’s no excuse for this 😡

    City Development Plan – Conservation Area Policy H13

    “It is the policy of DCC to protect…the historic fabric of conservation areas in the control of development”

    Maybe this isn’t a C.A. – sure its only abutting Dublin Castle afterall :rolleyes:

    It’s so bad I actually believe it cannot be as it seems.

    I intend to chase DCC on Monday to get to the bottom – I actually can’t believe that the ESB would operate in such an irresponsible manner (or that DCC would let them). Call me old fashioned…:D

    BTW – I checked and it’s not in a Conservation Area!

  • #764118

    Ciaran
    Participant

    That’s so pathetic that I had to check and see if it was April fools day:( Terrible.

  • #764119

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Given the relative ‘neatness’ of the job, with expansion joints apparently included, this would appear to be permanent…

    Absolutely no excuse for this. And even if the surface is temporary, it is wasteful and unnecessary in its own right. The displaced granite could easily be cleaned and repaired as service works were underway within the trench, both conserving resources and minimising disruption to the public. And look at that shameful pile of granite: nothing numbered, nothing protected from slippage. Disgraceful job.

  • #764120

    Devin
    Participant

    .
    Staying with City Hall for a minute:

    Late ’90s picture, showing the intact west pavement of City Hall on the right.

    15 bollards and 2 heritage bins have since been added.

    Again, same issues as with the plaza paving bollards next door:

    – the cut required for each bollard means permanent irreversible damage to the historic paving fabric

    – no consultation or justification presented; the bollards just appeared one day. There had been a problem with people parking on the street in this location as far as I remember, but not on the pavement … so why the great need for bollards?

    Granted it can be said that the painted cast iron design here is more visually appropriate to the paving and the surrounds than the stainless steel used at the plaza.

    The square cut needed for the bollard. Note shocking raised cement pointing also. I see that City Hall has just won another award for its conservation (reported in paper last week) :

    http://www.riai.ie/index.html?id=7237

    Hmmmmm ….

  • #764121

    hutton
    Participant
    Devin wrote:
    There had been a problem with people parking on the street in this location as far as I remember, but not on the pavement &#8230]

    Correct – there had been a “problem” with people parking here – hutton happily used to have the limosene parked here some years ago (2000 – ’03) after discovering that there were no yellow lines, and so it was legal… trend caught on and other dirty great spoilers started copying – with the logical result that yellow lines were iinserted…. So the limo had to go elsewhere 🙁 –
    But no-one ever parked on the footpath either then or since as that was always a clampable offence

    So Devins puzzle stands – for what need these bollards :confused:

  • #764122

    Devin
    Participant

    That’s jogged my memory hutton; while City Hall was refurbished in 2000, the bollards appeared roundabout 2003. They must have clamped down on parking along this stretch at the same time. Still, no insights as to the bollards, as you say …

  • #764123

    ake
    Participant

    Aren’t the bollards supposed to stop you opening the car door?

  • #764124

    Anonymous
    Participant
    Devin wrote:
    .
    Staying with City Hall for a minute:

    15 bollards and 2 heritage bins have since been added.

    Devin’s second photo from the 6th May demonstrates the overkill our built heritage environment is suffering at the hands of insensitivity. Traffic Management regulations must be coupled with the required protection of heritage. Does there have to be three parking deterrents; 1) bollards on our fine handcrafted paving, and 2) double yellow lines on our individually laid cobbles; and 3) No parking signs on heritage lamposts. Could there have been some other way of achieving the same objective without visual clutter and with respect for this unique setting?

    As for the cement pointing of the paving – a blatant disregard of the protected status of this structure and its setting – the paving alone is worthy of Protected Structure status. Each flagstone is now framed with a cement ridge. Note: from Devin’s Photo C of the 6th Jan 07 the apparent seamlessness of the surface of the flagstones as they run into each other without the definite straight edges which have been introduced in photo B of the 6th Jan 07.

    Conservation Guidelines No 4 – Mortars, Pointing and Renders (1996)
    Extract “3. Inappropriate pointing: Raised pointing unfortunately all too commonly seen is aesthetically very disfiguring and more seriously, it allows water to lodge on top thus setting up decay in the masonry or brickwork. To avoid future problems the wall may have to be repointed.”

    Conservation Guidelines No 8 – Paving and Street Furniture
    Extract “4. Inappropriate pointing of paving slabs
    All stone paving should be flush pointed to a sufficient depth to ensure permanence”

  • #764125

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Precisely Walker. And this pavement is also one of the worst examples in the city of the practice. Not only is it unsightly to look at, it’s also very uncomfortable in any leather-soled shoe – now I know why the princess whinged so much about that pea. You can feel every clumsy ridge in the pavement as you walk over them. And the bollards are absolutely ridiculous – they serve no function whatsoever. Indeed DCC shot themselves in the foot there, because countless taxis pull up at the side door to allow visitors and delegates into City Hall – one would wonder how many near misses with car doors they’ve had.

    To add fuel to the fire, last Sunday a bunch of yellow jackets were grouped around a hole they dug in the centre of this very roadway pictured below, apparently changing a drain in the centre. They then ‘finished’ up the job with enormous splodge of tarmac, well over a metre square, dumped smack bang in the middle of the cobbled roadway, right in front of the main entrance to the Castle, City Hall and the Newcomen Bank. And it’s still there a week later.
    Even if these surfaces are ‘temporary’, there’s still absolutely no excuse for the original surface not to be immediately reinstated.

    Incidentally the photo posted by Devin there shows one of the most charming sitings of a lamppost in the entire city – this swan neck one on the corner from c.1903.

    @devin wrote:

    I love how it stands so precariously on top of the hill at the very edge of the pavement, especially as you approach from below, and how it so effectively lights the corner too. By its very appearance it is suggestive of developing there organically, simply replacing post after post on the same site. And if we even needed photogrphic evidence, here is the corner around 1900 with its arc-lamp predecessor, installed on all the main streets of Dublin in 1892 🙂

    So this almost certainly makes it the oldest surviving post of all the main commercial streets in the entire city! It never fails to astound how a truck hasn’t ploughed into it somewhere along the line. Bizarrely it’s now more at risk from DCC than it is from a runaway vehicle.

  • #764126

    tommyt
    Participant

    Apologies to Devin et al if this has been covered in this thread already but the west side of merrion square from the national gallery entrance to the junction with clare st is in an awful state and worthy of pictorial commentary at the moment-the usual globs of tarmac around new water mains ,cement bodges etc. on what is one of the few remaining extant ‘carpets’ of wicklow granite paving apart from the southside of Molesworth st.and the southside of fitz sq.that I am aware of.

  • #764127

    Devin
    Participant

    Aw stop, it would drive you to drink! …. It’s the Dublin City Council Water Metering Project. Have just lodged a big complaint about it.

    Firstly, I’m sorry if people are sick of looking at close-up pictures of pavements, but this has really got to be documented up here:

    Herbert Street

    Merrion Square East

    The project has been ongoing for the past couple of months in the south Georgian area of the city. It involves insertion of a meter with a plastic cover in the pavement in front of every premises in the area. Kerbing is unaffected, but, where complete listed pavements exist, it requires removal of one or more flagstones in the pavement to insert the meter. The remaining area around the meter was initially filled in with a dollop of tarmac (as seen above), pending the careful cutting and reinstating of removed flagstones … no problems so far ….

    Reinstatement work has begun in the past couple weeks and ……. you’ll never guess ……. they are making a rotten mess of it and muggins has to go chasing it up. The old flags are not being put back; white granite and concrete is being used instead, then the cement is slapped on …….

    There’s all this blather in the Development Plan about the Georgian cores of the city being of ‘international importance’ and establishing a ‘national urban idiom’ but, once again, the CC is exposed as having no system for standards of work to these valuable pavements.

    Fitzwillian Square North. Yum!

    Upper Pembroke Street. Mix ‘n match.

    Upper Mount Street. We’ll put in a few concrete flags here – no one will notice .. quicker than cutting old granite …

    Upper Mount Street. The utter sloppiness of it!

  • #764128

    GrahamH
    Participant

    This is obscene! It’s truly unbelieveable! 😮

    Whatever about one-off instances (even the above taken on a singular basis), it truly beggars belief that an infrastructural scheme that affects so many historic areas doesn’t even have guidelines, let alone a plan or framework for dealing with these historically precious places. It’s like ploughing Luas through a Georgian street without drawing up an EIS, let alone conditions of construction.

    What is the exact status of this ‘listing’ of pavements, because the Record doesn’t include them, while the Development Plan doesn’t expressly mention protection either (as in PS status). So is the only recourse left open to complainants after the local authority to contact the Minister and force the enaction of the Plan?

    You have to love it:

    “In recognition of the importance of these features and the pressure placed on them from road and paving works, Dublin City Council will seek to preserve, repair and retain in situ historic streetscape and paving features of heritage value which are set out in Appendices 8, 9, and 10.”

  • #764129

    Lotts
    Participant

    Devin – who should complaints be addressed to? What’s the most useful approach to take?

  • #764130

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Can they not access these utilities by shifting the works 1 ft to the right, so many are on the edge of the pavement, they wouldn’t even be disrupting traffic, just a single parking space temporarily. There they can make as much mess as they like & leave the shaggin pavement intact.

  • #764131

    Devin
    Participant

    Yes, true, they shouldn’t actually be located on the pavement at all where this granite paving exists. At the edge of the road or within the premises itseld should have been the option.

    Lotts,
    Des Callaghan of the Waterworks Dept. – 2224397 – is in charge of the job. Also the senior engineer for the area – seamus.duffy@dublincity.ie. And the Heritage Officer – donncha.odulaing@dublincity.ie – whose is officially in charge of listed street furniture.
    Do complain. I’ve found out that the Georgian Society, whose office is on Merrion Square, have also been onto the council about it, but the more hassle they get, the better.

    @grahamh wrote:

    What is the exact status of this ‘listing’ of pavements, because the Record doesn’t include them

    That’s the catch! You would have to be able to prove they formed part of the curtilage of the adjoining prot structures. Then they would require pp for work, and it would all have to be done according to best practice and different options would have to be considered etc. etc. But the pavements are separately owned by the council, under the care of the Roads Maintenance section, and so can be destroyed before you know about it … the whole thing is a farce!

  • #764132

    Lotts
    Participant

    @devin wrote:

    Lotts,
    Des Callaghan of the Waterworks Dept. – 2224397 – is in charge of the job. Also the senior engineer for the area – seamus.duffy@dublincity.ie. And the Heritage Officer – donncha.odulaing@dublincity.ie – whose is officially in charge of listed street furniture.
    Do complain. I’ve found out that the Georgian Society, whose office is on Merrion Square, have also been onto the council about it, but the more hassle they get, the better.

    Thanks very much. I’ll certainly follow up with them on this matter.

  • #764133

    GrahamH
    Participant

    The delightful scene presented to those attending the Urbanism conference in the Castle during the week.

    At least the widening works of the Olympia pavement opposite are finally underway.

    Beautiful cycle lane. These cyclists have it too good.

  • #764134

    ake
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    The delightful scene presented to those attending the Urbanism conference in the Castle during the week.

    [

    un be fucking lievable. The sheer ignorance of it!

  • #764135

    urbanisto
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    Beautiful cycle lane. These cyclists have it too good.

    Has to be one of the worst stretches of roadway in the city as well. Its littered with potholes. An absolute scandal.

    I have added my voice to others with an email to the Heritage Officer…I won’t hold my breath…..:(

  • #764136

    corcaighboy
    Participant

    That kind of carry on is just shameful. By the way, when making a complaint to the council, I have this advice. Calling them on the phone is a waste of time…such a call is never recorded nor kept on file so saying that you called them many times cuts no ice. Best to actually send a letter (preferably registered) so that the council actually have to acknowledge it and file it. Keep on sending them a letter on a regular basis and you would be amazed at the results. I found it was the only way Cork County Council would react to complaints….after 50 letters they can be shamed into actually doing something. Also, letters from community groups or resident associations/professional groups tend to carry more weight. If you have a valid complaint (and the massacre of Dublin’s pavements certainly qualifies) then the council needs to be shamed into changing their ways.

  • #764137

    Alek Smart
    Participant

    Great Thread,if only to underline my long held belief that nothing short of a total demobilization of Dublin City Council and all its works (Except the Parks Dept) will save the day.

    The problem is essentially one of ACTUAL vs NOTIONAL responsibility.
    Not one of the City Council`s assemblage of Senior Administrators and Engineering Professionals will have a single cent deducted from their wagepackets for authorising and presiding over sloppy,second rate and downright negligent work.

    In fact the time honoured established Civil Service dictum “Promote out of Harms way” will doubtlessly come along any day now.

    I say bring on Mr Wallace and let him have a stab at it….after all “It`s a Beautiful Game” or at least it is to DCC`s executive branch !! :p

  • #764138

    Devin
    Participant

    Funny you should mention him Alek; there’s a pavement-widening job going on at the moment on Capel Street and, difficult though it is to believe, it is being executed to a high standard. Listed kerbing and, where surviving, paving is being incorporated in situ and neatly pointed in a sand-lime mix, and new paving built out from that.

    The council’s only work where old paving is concerned has been destructive, so it couldn’t be by them, could it? No, it’s by Wallace.

  • #764139

    constat
    Participant

    @ake wrote:

    un be fucking lievable. The sheer ignorance of it!

    The architects of ancient Rome would surely turn in their tombs if they saw the progress made in over two millenium by contemporary DCC craftsmen!! 😮

  • #764140

    hutton
    Participant

    New offender spotted – this time at the NE end of North Great Georges St, outside circa no. 45; a couple of honey glazed slabs replaced by inappropriate shiny granite, spoiling the otherwise commendable restoration of a house. For what its supposed to be worth, the current City Development Plan both designates N Georges St as a Conservation Area and has specific policies directed at conservation of pavement features 😡

  • #764141

    publicrealm
    Participant

    @ciaran wrote:

    That’s so pathetic that I had to check and see if it was April fools day:( Terrible.

    I noted at the weekend that the road at Stephens Street Upper (adjacent the recently removed granite footpath paving area) was being resurfaced and the top layer had been stripped off in readiness.

    This exposed a very substantial area of well laid and very attractive stone sets, laid diagonally and interwoven with a concrete surface.

    Don’t know when they date from and I didn’t have a camera – so they are now reburied under new tarmac for another 100 years.

    I suppose we should be grateful that they are still there :confused:

  • #764142

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    @publicrealm wrote:

    I suppose we should be grateful that they are still there :confused:

    …and that Dick Roche didn’t give direction for them to be be preserved by record. 😉

  • #764143

    GrahamH
    Participant

    :p

    What a shame – they sound most interesting publicrealm.

    Curiously, around the corner the setts outside City Hall/Castle gate are also being relaid now, over a month after they were first dug up. Why the delay? And why the questionable manner of relaying?

    As can be seen from before, the whole roadway leading up to the gate is laid with typically dodgy widely-spaced setts, instead of attractively (and more comfortably for both pedestrian and driver) knitted tightly together. While not a major breach – heck we’re lucky to have setts here at all – it nonetheless demonstrates the usual lack of attention to detail and appreciation of a traditional craft, as per granite paving pointing and bollardism. Many of the gaps are also just filled with rough dirt, poured tar and concrete. Indeed the sham of these setts is also shown by the fact of their termination in a ridiculous straight line at the top of the hill along the edge of the Castle entrance – they don’t even continue into Castle Street to give a bit of visual breathing space. It’s embarrassingly cheap, half-hearted and visually incoherent.

    Cork Hill really has been fecked over in the past five years, and all details – from pavements, to roadway surface, to yellow lines, to lampposts, to bollards – now need attention. The fact that it’s all on the doorstep of City Hall says it all really. And seperately, the Castle gate piers have also sadly lost their lamps in the past few years; they nicely terminated the vista up the hill and created something of a dramatic entrance.

  • #764144

    GrahamH
    Participant

    3/7/2007

    Well, like clockwork, poor old Parks and Planters have been called out to save the day yet again in the case of the City Hall Plaza – only even their usual sensitive works aren’t safe from the blight of meagre resources. We now have bloated leafy wedding cakes fashioned from recycled 1980’s McDonald’s chairs dumped about the space in an attempt to enliven this sterile ‘civic amenity’.

    The finesse and consideration for the historic setting is striking.

    They’re utterly awful. Whereas I’d welcome any softening of the space, these just hammer home the point of how this area has been appalling designed from the outset. Can you just imagine a similar, supposedly tailor-made, architect-designed space in any other European city being scattered with frumpy floral planters? It’s akin to labouring over designs for a Meisian-inspired house and then putting up net curtains. And even the type of planter chosen here speaks volumes: I’ve seen better local authority models in regional towns! Not even half-decent timber or stone models used.

    Meanwhile on the historic granite paving fronting the plaza, further incisions have been made in the stone to accommodate more of these ghasty yokes generously termed litter bins.

    So not only are they hideous in their own right and in the historic setting, they also damage the paving on which they’re sited, are located in the wrong place for users of the plaza seating to avail of, and are plonked right in the way of pedestrians on this often crowded pavement! And why three in a row – in case you don’t see the first two?!

    What a mess: even after all the controversy over Robocop and the sterile square they still can’t get it right. And the place isn’t even finished yet either – the railings are still there shielding the sticks that were planted ages ago.

    Just as an aisde, as some consolation, there’s been a lovely job done with the planters on the Boardwalk. They’ve all been stained a more elegant dark shade, and have attractive architectural ferns with floral displays planted in them.

    A faintly exotic, Victorian whiff has been added to the Boardwalk. Nice job Parks Dept.

  • #764145

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    Mmmm. Lovely. And the sensitivity with which the square holes for the trees were created is deserving of the highest praise too.

    I’m thinking of mounting an assault on the DCC toolshed to steal all the circular saws- who’s with me?

  • #764146

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Did anyone see the plans for the plaza prior to construction ? I find it hard to believe that what we have now could have amounted to any kind of coherent landscape design for a major public space on paper;

    bland granite paving (poorly laid in some odd random pattern)
    raised granite seating (some merit in themselves but for fuck sake, more granite)
    4 carpinus trees (these twigs have to be an after thought, they wouldn’t cost more than 50 Euro each)

    and thats it ?

    I imagine DCC abandoned ship on whatever was proposed for the plaza once the botched new landmark emerged from the scaffold … the plaza, in fact the whole feckin project, really is dreadful.

  • #764147

    manifesta
    Participant

    I was walking up Dame Street when I happened upon this allegory.

  • #764148

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    Boo hoo.

    Oh, wait…

    *** *** ***

    I noticed on Dame Street today that there must have been one of those cascading planters left over from their insertion in the ‘plaza’ as one has landed at the top of Cow’s Lane. Or maybe it was making a break for freedom…?

  • #764149

    constat
    Participant

    @ctesiphon wrote:

    Mmmm. Lovely. And the sensitivity with which the square holes for the trees were created is deserving of the highest praise too.

    I’m thinking of mounting an assault on the DCC toolshed to steal all the circular saws- who’s with me?

    And what about the Lilliputian trees themselves !
    DCC couldn’t have found any smaller if they tried; the trees will probably be fully grown in say…150 years :confused:

  • #764150

    Anonymous
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    3/7/2007
    What a mess: even after all the controversy over Robocop and the sterile square they still can’t get it right. And the place isn’t even finished yet either – the railings are still there shielding the sticks that were planted ages ago.

    Nice photos GrahamH – As if the new building wasn’t bad enough, it’s poor design is complimented with egually poor ‘landscaping’.
    The attempt at a tree lined avenue leading up to the rear entrance flight of steps flies in the face of aescetic values. A child with a decent range of lego pieces could make more of this space.
    What’s missing?
    1. A decent bench with back support. I suppose the idea with the square blocks is that if enough people sit on them and all lean back at the same time they can use each other for support!
    2. A focal point of interest – the central area here has been dedicated to spotted ‘seats’ and wedding cake planters. There could have been a central feature of interest around which the seats etc could have been arranged.
    3. An ashtray stand for those who have the consideration to use them – there should be one there at least
    4. Materials used should suggest a welcome atmosphere not cold bare industrial sanitised hardness on the eye.
    5. An overall shape which dictates the placement of individual elements – the seats are in a square matrix pattern yet the planters are randomly placed out of sync making it look disorderly overall.

    Also, the area between the seats and the wall to the right (incl. the tree lined avenue) space has been wasted here. More mature trees should have been introduced and dotted over the entire public area not kept to the back in a cluster

    As for bins……….
    The capacity of the new bin is quite small compared to the old large black type – One larger is better than 3 smaller, it’s unecessary triple maintenance and further clutter of our fine hand crafted flagstoned streets. The damage done to the granite in introducing these grey daleks is irreversible and criminal.

    Further, these flagstones should be worthy of protected structure status – which would in theory then require a planning application to carry out work on them. Then at least the public could participate in the decision making process!

  • #764151

    Devin
    Participant

    UPDATE

    @devin wrote:

    I got a reply to my complaint about the water metering job that the matter was being investigated. Still, poor quality work continued … For example, here is a Herbert Street water meter as originally shown (top picture), with the removed flag area temporarily ‘blacktopped’. Then the finished mess (above) …

    Why would you build a 3-inch thick ridge of cement in the pavement?……………… Why??!

  • #764152

    Anonymous
    Participant

    ah sure who’ll notice … :rolleyes:

    slightly off topic, but have a good look … !

    well maybe not so off topic … they’ve made shit of the place, while installing the shit bollards, never mind the shit paving.

    now ye have it 😀

  • #764153

    Sarsfield
    Participant

    @peter FitzPatrick wrote:

    slightly off topic, but have a good look … !

    Nice piece of Photoshop 😉

  • #764154

    henno
    Participant

    is that photoshopped????

    if not they really live up to the sterotype of a council worker…. thanks for the laugh…

  • #764155

    alonso
    Participant

    ah that went round a few weeks ago… either there was just enough room or the mini hiace is now “public art”

  • #764156

    urbanisto
    Participant

    Where is that Peter

  • #764157

    Rory W
    Participant

    it’s in the UK – note the British Rail logo on the sign

    Also they could be the locing bollards which can be lifted – sorry to ruin the gag

    Agree about the shit paving job though

  • #764158

    Morlan
    Participant

    @peter FitzPatrick wrote:

    ah sure who’ll notice … :rolleyes:

    slightly off topic, but have a good look … !

    [IMG]http://www.webeireann.com/archiseek/bollards_ifsc.jpg[/IG]

    well maybe not so off topic … they’ve made shit of the place, while installing the shit bollards, never mind the shit paving.

    now ye have it 😀

    That’s a photoshop job. 🙂

  • #764159

    Anonymous
    Participant

    The forward i got said it was from the ifsc, not a chance, definitely uk somewhere …

    very observant picking out the Brittish Rail logo on the sign Rory :;)

    If Morlan says its a photoshop job, thats good enough for me !!

  • #764160

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get this? 😮

  • #764161

    Morlan
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get this? 😮

    That van isn’t a permanent feature, Graham!

    It’s been going around a lot of UK forums titled “Irish builders”. A fitting title considering Devin’s investigations.

  • #764162

    GrahamH
    Participant

    I still don’t geddit.

    Is the sand supposed to have fallen out of the van or what?

    (lol)

  • #764163

    Morlan
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    I still don’t geddit.

    Is the sand supposed to have fallen out of the van or what?

    (lol)

    😀 No Graham, the sand didn’t fall out of the van.

    How will they get the van out when they’re done?

  • #764164

    GrahamH
    Participant

    ahhhhhhhhh…..

  • #764165

    Devin
    Participant

    The sloppy concrete and tarmac road & paving surfaces in Temple Bar West End are finally being taken up and permanent surfacing put down, SEVEN years after the area was developed – hooray! (pics below)

    They’ve got a nice honey-coloured granite for the paving, which is good, and it’s being laid to a good standard. However I’m disappointed to see that it’s ‘business as usual’ with the street surface: cobbles (or setts) laid one inch apart then tar poured between – the same terrible surface as the rest of Temple Bar.

    The re-cobbling of Temple Bar is a failed project. The cobbles are uncomfortable to walk on and impossible to cycle on. Would it not have been better Dublin City Council to use, for example, a cobble imprint similar to what’s used on Luas? As cars are gradually closed out of the city more streets are going to need to be cycle friendly. This is what’s happening in Bordeaux and many other cities.

    Why is this abominable 1988 surface being foisted on Temple Bar West End?
    .

  • #764166

    GrahamH
    Participant

    3/6/2008

    Is this the latest ‘random’ artistic installation for the city centre?

    Or is DCC trying to make a tongue-in-cheek statement adjacent to the most frequented tourist attraction in the city?

    The mind boggles…

  • #764167

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    A dry run for the Olympics? Photo pedestals for the tourists? I don’t get it.

    Also, I can’t believe they’re still pushing those g-dawful setts.

  • #764168

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Nit-picky perhaps, but I was just passing watching the tourists scrambling about vieing for space with passing hoards of pedestrians, and observed firstly how utterly ridiculous these yokes look, secondly how ugly they are, thirdly how insensitively positioned they are in a tourist hotspot, and fourthly the obstacle they presented right in the middle of the busiest footpath in the city. Just no thought.

    Going back to the title of the thread, having recently heard a speech (though more of a passionate rant) on Irish limestone from one of the two producers left in Kilkenny, the extraordinary fact emerged that at least 50% of their output goes straight onto boats to the Netherlands. They cannot get enough of Irish limestone, and are willing to pay for it in spite of their own native resource – albeit somewhat inferior. Irish limestone is proving particularly popular for sea defences, but also for paving and quite highly engineered interlocking municipal paving systems that are expensive to produce. They spend significant sums on paving in the Netherlands, deeming it to be an improving, cost-eflective, long term investment.

    And yet we don’t even use the stuff here! Indeed in Kilkenny there’s a row brewing over proposals to use Chinese granite from the other side of the world to repave the city centre, rather than native limestone from the outskirts of the town. It was noted that too often municpal authorities in Ireland just see figures on a sheet and the bottom line, and nothing of the wider costs – social, economic and environmental – of trucking the alternative half way across the planet from potentially dubious sources. Once these factors are considered, our own little narrow world of penny-pinching dissolves into insignificance.

    Apparently there’s also a reluctance to use limestone for paving: it often being deemed to be too slippery and not abrasive enough, whereas it is generally more than adequate in its natural state and especially so if a machine-punched finished is given.

    It’d be great to see more native limestone paving the capital’s streets. You see the odd freak blue limestone kerb that stands out beautifully even against concrete, but that’s about the height of it. We really need to take both the longer term and wider view on this issue.

  • #764169

    tommyt
    Participant

    @grahamh wrote:

    Nit-picky perhaps, but I was just passing watching the tourists scrambling about vieing for space with passing hoards of pedestrians, and observed firstly how utterly ridiculous these yokes look, secondly how ugly they are, thirdly how insensitively positioned they are in a tourist hotspot, and fourthly the obstacle they presented right in the middle of the busiest footpath in the city. Just no thought.

    Going back to the title of the thread, having recently heard a speech (though more of a passionate rant) on Irish limestone from one of the two producers left in Kilkenny, the extraordinary fact emerged that at least 50% of their output goes straight onto boats to the Netherlands. They cannot get enough of Irish limestone, and are willing to pay for it in spite of their own native resource – albeit somewhat inferior. Irish limestone is proving particularly popular for sea defences, but also for paving and quite highly engineered interlocking municipal paving systems that are expensive to produce. They spend significant sums on paving in the Netherlands, deeming it to be an improving, cost-eflective, long term investment.

    And yet we don’t even use the stuff here! Indeed in Kilkenny there’s a row brewing over proposals to use Chinese granite from the other side of the world to repave the city centre, rather than native limestone from the outskirts of the town. It was noted that too often municpal authorities in Ireland just see figures on a sheet and the bottom line, and nothing of the wider costs – social, economic and environmental – of trucking the alternative half way across the planet from potentially dubious sources. Once these factors are considered, our own little narrow world of penny-pinching dissolves into insignificance.

    Apparently there’s also a reluctance to use limestone for paving: it often being deemed to be too slippery and not abrasive enough, whereas it is generally more than adequate in its natural state and especially so if a machine-punched finished is given.

    It’d be great to see more native limestone paving the capital’s streets. You see the odd freak blue limestone kerb that stands out beautifully even against concrete, but that’s about the height of it. We really need to take both the longer term and wider view on this issue.

    I may have mentioned it here before but I was flabbergasted to hear the same anecdote from a Tobermore sales rep a few years ago. He also stated that chineses granite is cheaper than ANY locally produced paving material. Prompts the obvious speculation about the lack of labour costs in chinese quarries… I know it is easier to cut as it is such a uniform material but if tonne for tonne it’s cheaper than even the crappest suburban driveway material it is going to appeal to the pple who control the purse strings in local authorities,

  • #764170

    GrahamH
    Participant

    12/7/2008

    And so the trowel merchants strike again, this time on the most prestigious antique granite pavement in the city – outside City Hall.

    Over the past year/18 months the subject area on the footpath just outside the west portico has been variously dug up and cordoned off, dug up and filled with tarmac, and even on one occasion about to be filled with concrete slabs until clearly someone higher up the chain decided that perhaps plugging a hole outside City Hall and Dublin Castle with concrete just may not be appropriate – but rather leaving it for yet another six months filled with more tarmac would be. And so it was.

    Over a year since digging this hole first ensued, the city has now been left with this masterpiece of masonry work.

    Given the surrounding joints are already too large as seen at the top, this image gives some idea as to the thickness of the ‘pointing’ employed.

    In places there’s actually more mortar than granite substrate.

    While ridiculous scrappy little pieces of stone have been chopped up to fill a gap, which makes about as much sense in the wider expanse of paving as employing a patch of mosaic in a tiled floor.

    I absolutely dispair at what is happening to the supposedly protected pavements in this city. A major report on the city’s street paving including inventory, recommendations for protection and conservation, and international best practice has just been comissioned by DCC – the only scrap of hope out there at the moment. Whether there will be anything left by the time it comes to be published and implemented is another matter…

    Also the ravishing state of affairs to the Dame Street side of City Hall. The junction further up is particularly poor.

    Also there is an obsession with maintenance staff for power-hosing the side steps, as well as the balustrading fronting Parliament Street. Not only does it look awful and completely ridiculous, it’s causing irreparable damage to the soft Portland stone in the case of the latter. They never stop cleaning around here, and it’s completely unsustainable.

    Do they’ve nothing better to be doing, such as painting the windows of City Hall that haven’t been touched since the restoration eight years ago and are peeling like a troup of Brits on a sun holiday to Marbella.

    Priorities, priorities…

  • #764171

    goneill
    Participant

    Does anyone know what exactly is the material used to pave the area outside the Lord Edward on Christ Church Place? Looks like granie setts, I’m told.

    Thank you

  • #764172

    Devin
    Participant

    There’s already a history with that job at the side of City Hall. First, the services door they were installing was laid crooked.

    Following a complaint, it was straightened.

    And now, the final insult: poor finishing.

    I’m just reading a report at the moment by the firm Caroe & Partners in connection with ongoing conservation works at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It says:

    2.2 PROTECTION IN ANCIENT BUILDINGS

    2.2.1 The building is of historic and architectural importance and it is essential that this building be handed down intact to future generations. This means that preservation is the main object of the work; every effort must be made to preserve the original fabric, and only in circumstances where this is impossible will new work be allowed. Any new work has to be in character with the old, and this eliminates many modern methods of construction. The work will differ from the normal run of things in that it will have to last for centuries to come, to bear the criticism of future generations and to stand side by side with the loving craftsmanship of the existing building.

    2.2.2 In repairing an ancient building, the skill of the workmen is of the utmost importance. The men employed should have a true instinct for the right treatment of materials and it is important that they should be told of the need for preservation whenever possible.

    You wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  • #764173

    ctesiphon
    Participant

    Looks like a cut & paste from Bernard Feilden.

    So far fetched, it could only ever be aspirational.

  • #764174

    Devin
    Participant

    As was mentioned earlier, DCC have finally commissioned a ‘Best Practice’ guide for the listed granite pavements. Tender info here – http://www.etenders.gov.ie/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=FEB097108 – and I hear it will shortly be ready. However the Council workers are still doing the cement ridge pointing where they can get away with it. Two examples:

    Ormond Market is a laneway off Upper Ormond Quay, so called because it led to an old market (visible on Rocque’s 1756 map, above, with the existing lane marked in red) where Ormond Square now stands. The lane is still paved end-to-end in old granite, presumably left in place because of the historic connection.

    Some time ago, a section of paving in the lane was taken up and tarmaced over … for whatever reason … and left like that for about a year. No sign that it would ever be but back. But it was eventually put back recently ….

    ….. taking care to finish to a high standard and match existing pointing in the laneway.

    [align=center:1pnjx7yd]-o-o-o-o-[/align:1pnjx7yd]

    There was a nice environmental improvement job done at the bottom of North Great George’s Street last year, possibly under DCC Architect’s Division (?). Tree planting, pavement widening, a shared surface, and integrating the historic granite paving sucessfully, with appropriate pointing in a sand-lime mix (akin to the work done on Capel Street). Not quite David Norris’s gates idea, but some civic improvement anyhow.

    DCC’s Roads Maintenance Division decided to do some repair work of their own to North Great George’s Street’s pavements at the same time, consisting of little outbursts of ridge cement pointing in about ten different locations along the street. (Insert sarky comment about DCC inter-department coordination.)

  • #764175

    Morlan
    Participant


    Photographed On The Streets Of Dublin

  • #764178

    Cathal Dunne
    Participant

    @devin wrote:

    There was a nice environmental improvement job done at the bottom of North Great George’s Street last year, possibly under DCC Architect’s Division (?). Tree planting, pavement widening, a shared surface, and integrating the historic granite paving sucessfully, with appropriate pointing in a sand-lime mix (akin to the work done on Capel Street). Not quite David Norris’s gates idea, but some civic improvement anyhow.

    That’s a good paving job by the council which adds to the area. I never thought I’d be saying that about paving done in Town. The trees are a nice touch and the paving is well-executed. It just shows what a difference proper paving and street furniture make to the urban fabric. If this little example could be replicated across the city Dublin would be a far more attractive place to live in. Hopefully a re-paving job like this will be part of the government’s jobs initiative announced yesterday.

    btw, is that an actually used pole in the foreground or another useless bit of clutter?

  • #764177

    urbanisto
    Participant

    @morlan wrote:


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/5681332829/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    A frankly bizarre high concept scheme for this space which really only requires a well executed scheme that shows traditional city paving and setts to its best effect. The scheme which intended to suggest the flow of the River Poddle using limestone with modern granite and finishes completing the scheme to match the nearby Barnados Square. The small amount of Wicklow granite paving that remains is to be preserved in situ like some relic of the rare aul times. The effect, as ever, will be an incoherent mismatch of about 5 or 6 different paving styles and materials when the adjoining sections are considered.

    4 pleached limes have been included to hide the bland and dead frontage of the Robocop building. A stone bench completes the picture. The scheme also extends across Dame Street at an angle into Sycamore Street.

    All in all a pretty disappointing response for those interested in preserving our traditional granite paving in a meaningful way.

  • #764176

    urbanisto
    Participant
  • #764179

    urbanisto
    Participant

    Fade Street is the next little space in the city up for a “revamp”. This time its a cheap and cheerful temporary surface, prototyping these types of materials for other streets in what is now the Grafton Quarter. The works are the first for the new Public Realm team.

    As with the Palace Street proposals above, I reckon simple is all thats required here. Some well laid and generously wide pavements. Keep the kerbs and features. Add some lice lamps area trees and smoothen out the road surface. Or even pedestrianise? Is that possible?

    I havent any snaps yet but its looks worrying so far. The older granite kerbing which lines the street is now to be encased more or less with tarmac on one side and cheap gutter bricks on the other. The new kerb is a cheap pour concrete that looks awful at the moment. I bet the surface will be just plain old tarmac….might look okay if its covered but have to see. Shame about the kerbstones though.

    Works being executed by Sierra, those champions of the public realm.

  • #764180

    Morlan
    Participant

    Here’s a recent addition to Stephen’s Green. Need I say more?

    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056468894

  • #764181

    urbanisto
    Participant

    I saw those!…how curious. I bet they result from OPW (which owns the pavement) refusing to let Dublin Bus (which thinks it can put its stops wherever it wishes and who’s to tell them otherwise) place stops on the Green. The fitting in the pavement holds the new stop signs. Very odd.

    Draft Public Realm Strategy is out boys and girls…. Submissions by 25th Jan. Your City: Your Space is the title….yeah right.

    Also an Outdoor Advertisement Strategy

    And also a workshop on Mon 5th Dec with DCC Roads on a best practice manual/policy etc for Dublin’s historic street surfaces.

  • #764182

    GrahamH
    Participant

    Lol – I saw that bus stop last week looking out the window of the Little Museum of Dublin across the road. I thought I was seeing things. Then all the taxis, racing traffic and signage clutter in the forground reminded me I was in Dublin, the continental illusion of a gracious mansion overlooking a great European square was shattered, and a bendy yellow pole made perfect sense.

  • #764183

    Punchbowl
    Participant

    Can anyone tell me why some patches of historic paving have been left in place (particularly outside pubs – Whelans of Wexford St for example) on otherwise modernised footpaths?

  • #764184

    urbanisto
    Participant

    Because cellars are in use below ground? Meaning street has never been excavated. Also the granite is more hardwearing with kegs slamming into it than the humble concrete slab.

    On the otherhand…it could also be due to an appreciation of heritage on the part of pub owners. In the same way that they manage to maintain their historic frontages and fixtures (for the most part)

  • #764185

    urbanisto
    Participant

    Another repaving horror show on Earlsfort Terrace to the front of the National Concert Hall. Old granite paving relaid in the most awful fashion with cement grouting as wide as your arm. I will post some images shortly.

  • #764186

    urbanisto
    Participant

    It seems any criticism of Dublin City Council’s corporate attitude to the maintenance of historic (or any) paving in the city is (as usual) entirely misplaced.

    From the City Council’s website in response to recent An Taisce comments:

    Media Release Tuesday 13th August 2013: Use of Granite in the Maintenance and Repair of Footpaths

    I reference to the article in today’s Irish Times “Dublin’s historic footpaths being destroyed by cheap granite” and would like to mention that this particular item was discussed at a recent Dublin City Council Strategic Policy Meeting.

    Dublin City Council Roads and Traffic Department are committed, to the reuse of antique paving, and where possible to the use of Leinster Granite for the maintenance of areas of antique granite. Granite that has been returned to Dublin City Council is reused if in good condition but approximately 10% is lost through lifting and relaying and general wear and tear. When sourcing granite for paving maintenance and repair, Dublin City Council must adhere to the Department of Finance Procurement guidelines, and it is only recently that Leinster granite became available and at competitive prices.

    Every effort is made to fuse the existing and new paving thereby avoiding a conspicuous disruption to the continuity of Dublin footpaths. However, because of a shortage of indigenous stone, repairs have been carried out using other materials or stone. The entire practice in relation maintenance and repair of antique granite pavements is being assessed in the context of the Public Realm Strategy. A mapping exercise showing the areas ofantique paving to be maintained has been done by the Heritage Office. When both of these exercises are complete a policy manual will be brought before the City Council for adoption. That policy will then apply going forward and a decision will also be made on how to deal with the existing situation. I hope this brings clarity to the situation regarding the use granite on our footpaths.

    ENDS

    Approx 10% is lost “through lifting and relaying and general wear and tear” …so how long before we lose it all then?

  • #764187

    Morlan
    Participant

    Oh goody! Another policy manual to stick on the shelf and gather dust with all the other AAPs, LAPs, Public Realm Strategies, City Development Plans, etc, etc.

    It’s the Department of Finance’s fault that Dublin’s historic paving is in absolute shambles, nothing to do with DCC at all, no. :thumbup:

  • #764188

    aj
    Participant

    DCC…. you are just priceless!

  • #764189

    Clinch
    Participant

    Historic paving disbelief in Lower Gardiner Street !!

    On Thursday last week some DCC operatives replaced the granite surrounds to two coal hole covers. Admittedly the granite was very badly broken up. Whats been put back however is quite tragic.

    The hole in the centre of each granite slab was obviously the wrong size- so its been “adjusted” using an angle grinder (chop marks clearly visible). The old cast iron cover is then held in place using an inch wide band of silicon. Not an original method as far as I can remember. The silicon appears to be leaching into the granite.

    It would have been better not to bother.

    I wonder if this stunning detail will appear in the soon to be published DCC historic paving manual ?

  • #764191

    urbanisto
    Participant

    Perhaps you should send it to Siobhan Maher of the Public Realm team for use as the front cover :shifty:

    publicrealm@dublincity.ie

  • #764192

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    We should promote a national paving day where we ask people to photograph incidents of this in Dublin

  • #764190

    GrahamH
    Participant

    And this happening in the context of a THIRD historic street surfaces study shortly due for release!

    So the reports continue on their merry way while the rest of us can go back to sleep………….zzzzzzzzz……..

  • #764193

    Clinch
    Participant

    Saturday.

    Stunning stretch of original historic granite paving and curbstones outside St. Saviour’s Church on Dominick Street are in the process of being RIPPED UP and paletted as part of Luas BXD works. This despite the Railway Order showing the pavement actually WIDENED in this area. The Development Plan lists this stretch of pavement as: “To be retained or restored and included in the City Council’s Programme for Restoration”.

    I presume this vandalism facilitates the road being temporarily widened to allow a chunk of the street be closed for the track to be installed. So this paving, much of which appears to be completely untouched since the day it was laid 150 years ago, is effectively being demolished because RPA can’t work out the phasing of their works properly?

    Am I wrong in thinking this paving is PROTECTED?

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