A Happy New Year to the community and businesses of The Liberties!
After an undeniably terrible year, what does 2021 hold for The Liberties. Here’s ten things to look out for in the year ahead:
1. Work Finally Starts on the Francis Street public realm scheme – the revamp of Francis Street was due to start last March but difficulties arose with the programme due to the uncertainty cause by the Lockdown. The much anticipated project is now set to start this January and continue for 10 months. By the end of it, Francis Street will have a sparkling new public realm with wider pavements, street trees and planted areas, new lighting and street furniture and a more elegant and leisurely vibe.
2. Bridgefoot Street Transformation – work to complete the new park at Bridgefoot Street is well advanced and should be completed in January. The park itself will open in early summer. Bridgefoot Street is also set for a new green median to complement the park. Meanwhile look out for a community garden and allotments in the park, while a new social enterprise hub by Innovate Communities is planned to open opposite the park at Usher Street.
3. A New-look GEC – the Guinness Enterprise Centre on Taylor’s Lane will unveil a major transformation in January that has doubled the floorspace of the existing centre and added state of the art new facilities to the award-winning enterprise hub.
4. A New Spot to Relax on James Street – work will begin early in the year to transform the island on James Street around the Rutland Obelisk. A new planting scheme is proposed, while seating will be reordered and improvements made to the pavement. The project is part of ongoing ‘greening’ plans across The Liberties.
5. Time to Smarten Up Your Shopfront – the hugely successful Shopfront Improvement Scheme returns in early spring offering incentives to businesses in Dublin 8 to refurbish their shopfronts. Last year the scheme assisted a whopping 33 projects across The Liberties, Rialto, Dolphin’s Barn and Inchicore.
6. Going Up Around Meath Street – a new apartment scheme will be unveiled in the spring at the corner of Meath Street and Carman’s Hall. To be known as Flag Alley, the building is the latest development from Salamisso Developments, which also built the adjoining Tramyard. The company has also been granted permission for a new hotel development at Molyneux Yard transforming the largely derelict laneway and spurring wider development of this backland area. Work on the Molyneux Hotel is expected to start later in the year.
7. Revealing the Roof – Saint Patrick’s Cathedral has been undertaking a multi-million euro restoration of its roof, the largest scale project at the Cathedral since its restoration in the 1860s. The huge scaffold currently covering the roof will gradually disappear as the year progresses revealling the 1,000s of newly laid slates below. The project recently received support funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage.
8. Moving in at Bonham Street – a new housing scheme at Bonham Street is set to be completed in September. The 57-unit scheme by Dublin City Council is one of a number of new social housing developments underway across the area. New homes at Margaret Kennedy Square off Donore Avenue welcome their first residents in February, while work continues on a 55-unit scheme at Cork Street and Chamber Street.
9. A Plan for the Iveagh Market – the surprise move by the Guinness family in December to reclaim the Iveagh Market on Francis Street has thrown up an opportunity to rehabilitate the building. More details of Lord Iveagh’s plan for the building are expected in the summer.
10. New Faces – 2020 has been a lonely year with businesses closed, office workers working from home and no city visitors. The impact on businesses in the city has been profound and sadly we have lost a number of well-known names in The Liberties already. But its always darkest before the dawn and The Liberties will bounce back. We look forward to life and vitality returning to the streets of Dublin 8 in 2021.