Dublin Civic Trust Studies + Reports
In this section you can access Dublin Civic Trust's online library of reports, studies and building inventories spanning 25 years of built heritage advocacy and research. These range from street and area-based enhancement studies, to detailed analysis of individual historic buildings and structures.
Much of our earlier work exists in paper format and comprises part of a longer-term digitisation process, undertaken as resources permit.
Defining Dublin's Historic Core
This study identifies the revitalisation of Dublin's historic city core, as bounded by the five principal Georgian squares, is an essential ingredient in the future development of Dublin as a thriving and sustainable city region.
The historic core is the essence of Dublin: it is the centre of its civic, commercial and social life. The Georgian squares and their connecting streets have defined the city centre for over 200 years, and the continued vibrancy and vitality of this area is critical to the success of the wider city. An urban initiative by Dublin City Business Association and Dublin Civic Trust, the report provokes ideas for the enhancement of the city centre as a destination for shopping and enjoyment, and as a place to live and work.
The report traces the history and identifies the essential cultural attributes of the city centre and its network of streets encircling the River Liffey. It assesses connectivity between defined quarters, the provision of public space, the presentation of the public realm, the revitalisation of the Georgian squares, the management of vehicular traffic, the uses of buildings, and the provision of civic and cultural attractions.
The report analyses how the city core must be strategically consolidated and enhanced in order to continue to be the centre of economic activity, innovation and culture in Ireland, reflected in a buoyant retail and service sector. It calls for imaginative proposals to develop a world class destination for shopping, business and leisure; for fresh thinking to enhance the liveability of the city; protect and enhance its historic built environment; and to increase the activity and vibrancy – and ultimately the sustainability - of the centre.
Thomas Street - Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre Street
Published in May 2012, this report puts forward a vision for the future of historic Thomas Street in Dublin 8 as the principal east-west artery of the western city and a pivotal component of its business and tourist offering. For the past four decades, Thomas Street has suffered from urban blight, dereliction and vacancy, including during the Celtic Tiger economic boom period when large tracts of the street were site-assembled.
The study highlights how Thomas Street’s history and surviving building stock forms one of its principal assets, having been originally founded as one of the ancient routes from Dublin to the west of Ireland, and later as the location of the medieval Abbey of St. Thomas. Later medieval, Georgian and Victorian layers of industry and development have all contributed to the rich grain of the street that still manifests today in the undulating and varied streetscape. The study underlines the importance of the retention and enhancement of this building stock as part of a drive to capitalise on its architectural character and boost economic activity from business and residential life. The report also promotes the consolidation and branding of local indigenous businesses, the development of visitor attractions, an improved public realm and on-street public information to capitalise on the considerable tourist potential of the district.
Thomas Street – Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre Street follows on from Dublin Civic Trust’s long-term involvement in the area, which has included achieving statutory Architectural Conservation Area designation for the district, publishing a book on the history of Thomas Street, and undertaking numerous architectural inventories of its historic buildings.
Parnell Street East: A Vision for an Historic City Centre Street
Parnell Street East: A Vision for an Historic City Centre Street was published in October 2011. The report sets out a framework to revitalise one of Dublin’s forgotten commercial thoroughfares, based on the ongoing revival of its economic fortunes driven by new ethnic communities in the area. It proposes that this could be enhanced by aligning the street more closely to the rejuvenation of the surrounding north Georgian city and by maximising cultural tourism, residential renewal and greater social activity in this part of the city.
The history of the eastern section of Parnell Street, running from O’Connell Street to Gardiner Street – which we called Parnell Street East – stretches back to the 1740s, when the street, then known as Great Britain Street, developed as the bustling commercial centre of the famous Gardiner estate. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the street was alive with merchants and businesses serving the fashionable residents of the surrounding squares and streets. However, decades of stagnation, decline and underinvestment in the 20th century left a blighted and undervalued streetscape that unfortunately remains partlyin evidence today. In spite of this, Parnell Street East has gained a new vibrancy in recent years as a centre for Dublin’s new multi-ethnic populations. This study set out to explore how this new activity might be harnessed to improve the street, promote investment and encourage the enhancement of its unique historic building stock which fortunately survived the onslaught of demolitions that erased much of the western end of Parnell Street during the 20th century.
The plan draws together a range of strategic factors that will affect the future development of the street, from the growing potential of the north Georgian city, to improvements in public transport accessibility in the area, to the potential of new commercial and retail opportunities. It also explores how historic buildings can be improved using good conservation practice, from façade cleaning, window replacement, shopfront enhancement and upper floor renewal. Fortuitously, much of this is now progressing with the establishment of the Luas Cross City line and associated public realm enhancement, to be completed and operational by late 2017, as well as a number of examples of private sector investment.
Capel Street & The City Markets
The study area of this report is defined by Capel Street which was laid out in the 17th century and is today flanked by 18th and 19th-century merchant townhouses and shops. It is one of the best known commercial streets in the city centre, home to the City Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market of 1892 and the historic remnants of St. Mary’s Abbey and the Debtor’s Prison. The area is also bounded by the institutions of Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street and the Kings Inns and Law Library, which feed a large footfall into the commercial life of surrounding streets.
The objective of the report was to highlight the considerable possibilities in the area and to put forward a strategy for managing its future development. The Capel Street/Markets area bears testimony to the growth of the city’s development, to its monastic past, to its legal system and its building typologies, but mainly to its commercial evolution. Some of the conclusions and recommendations included:
Create a gastronomic centre for the city, built around the City Markets, blending locally produced produce with ethnic stalls.
Encourage the improvement of the quality of the shop fronts where they have been inappropriately designed or poorly maintained.
A programme of improvements to the facades of buildings such as repair and replacement of correct fenestration, brick cleaning and removal of redundant signage would have a greatly enhance the street under the auspices of its Architectural Conservation Area designation.
Potential to pedestrianise the route from Mary Street to the Markets, and plan for the transition of the Fruit and Vegetable Market from wholesale to retail, moving towards the model of the English Market, Cork. This would result in associated new business forming around it, with Capel Street the beneficiary as a shopping destination.
Dublin’s Wasting Assets
The aim of Dublin’s Wasting Assets is to highlight buildings of importance or significance, or buildings which contribute to the capital’s rich and varied streetscapes, whose special character and value to the city is not being realised to its full potential. The document serves as a planning reference guide for the public and for Dublin City Council as the statutory authority responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the city’s built environment. It aims to encourage action to be taken to restore, reuse and care for these buildings in order to realise their full potential to the city.
Dublin Civic Trust undertook its first audit of wasting assets in 1997 at a time when the effects of a period of intensive urban regeneration in the city were just beginning to be seen, and when a growing awareness of Dublin’s rich architectural and built heritage was being realised. The study was revisited in 2001, featuring 128 buildings which were deemed to be at risk through neglect or dereliction, or were underutilised and failing to function to their full potential.
Dublin’s Wasting Assets 2010 includes a review of a number of the properties featured in 1997 and 2001, together with additions. It highlights a number of successful developments which have taken place since 2000 involving the welcome conservation of historic structures. It also showcases instances of systemic neglect, and in some cases the inappropriate modification or restoration of historic structures. In all, the 2010 survey includes 116 buildings and sites which are considered to be wasting assets.
South William Street Area Study
This report highlights ways in which the South William Street Area of Dublin can consolidate its position as a distinctive retail, cultural and architectural district within the city, while offering a unique shopping experience for the consumer.
Written by planners Fergus Browne and David Jordan with Dublin Civic Trust, the study recognises that much of the vital urban design ingredients necessary for successful development of the area as a cosmopolitan quarter are presently in place and have been for generations. These include its rich architectural heritage, its variety of cultural attractions and the diversity in retail and service uses, all of which are an inherent part of the character of the South William Street Area. These aspects of the quarter highlight huge potential for investment, growth and economic sustainability, which the study sets out to maximise and build upon.
Aungier Street Study
Aungier Street is one of the most important historic streets in the city, set out by Sir Francis Aungier in the 1660s as a fashionable residential thoroughfare for Dublin's social and political elite. Many of the buildings erected during its original 17th-century development still survive along the route, comprising a mixture of large-scale city mansions and smaller merchant dwellings. These buildings are rare surviving examples in Ireland showing the transition in building technology from timber-framing to mass masonry construction, including the mansion at Number 21 that Dublin Civic Trust restored in the 1990s.
This study, jointly undertaken between Dublin Civic Trust and Dublin City Council in 2013, explores the history and development of Aungier Street and its urban hinterland with the aim of stimulating conservation-led regeneration of its unique architectural and archaeological heritage.
Key strands of the study include:
- Establishing the significance of the area and its buildings
- Stimulating balanced economic and commercial activity that preserves and showcases the unique heritage assets
- Making the area more attractive through interventions in the public realm