This major Dublin Civic Trust conference held in 2013 assessed the role and significance, past, present and future, of the historic squares of Dublin. 

Hosted in the magnificent former Assembly Rooms of the Rotunda Hospital, the event featured a host of expert national and international speakers who explored the architectural, cultural, social and economic significance of the five major historic squares of Dublin and their hinterlands.

Speaker presentations showcased the squares' historic evolution through estate planning and management, building speculation and development, public landscape design, and other international influences that helped shape the now familiar landscape of the city.

Dublin Civic Trust recorded the proceedings of the event which are now available below as a unique educational resource. Enjoy the videos and please give us your feedback.


Read the Conference Programme and Brochure +

Fitzwilliam Square

Fitzwilliam Square

Event Programme

Welcome & Introduction
Geraldine Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, Dublin Civic Trust

Opening Address
Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government

Changing the Rules: The Social Construction of the European City Square, 1500-1900
Dr. Desmond McCabe, Historian and Author

Grand Ambitions - Development of the Gardiner Estate
Merlo Kelly, Architect and Conservation Consultant

The Square in the Town Plan
Dr. Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Landscape Architect and Historian

The Design and Redesign of Urban Squares – A Scottish Perspective
Christopher Dingwall, Landscape Historian and Heritage Consultant, Scotland

Dublin’s Forgotten Pleasure Grounds - Parnell Square
James Kelly, Conservation Architect and Chairman, Dublin Civic Trust

Can the Past Serve the Present? Artists as a Source for Depicting Dublin’s Squares
Adrian Le Harivel, Senior Curator, National Gallery of Ireland

An Outsider’s Perspective - Appraising Dublin’s Squares
Chris Sumner, Chair of Planning and Conservation, London Parks & Gardens Trust

Challenges and Opportunities - The Squares as an Urban Resource
Nicki Matthews, Conservation Officer & Conservation Architect, Dublin City Council

Maximising the North Georgian Core
Karin O’Flanagan, Mountjoy Square Society and Resident

The Future of the South Georgian Core
Paul Kearns, Senior Planner, Dublin City Council

A Strategy for Dublin City Parks and Garden Squares
Leslie Moore, City Parks Superintendent, Dublin City Council

Financing Regeneration - The Economic Case for Renewal
Garrett Fennell, Mountjoy Square Society

The Campaign for London’s Squares: A Tale of Two Funders
Drew Bennelick, Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund

The Lanes and Approaching Streets of Mountjoy Square: A Contemporary View
Mary Laheen, Architect and Lecturer, School of Architecture and Landscape, UCD

Debate & Discussion
Chaired by Aidan Pender, Director of Strategic Development, Fáilte Ireland

Concluding Address
Frank McDonald, Author, Journalist and Environment Editor of The Irish Times