24/12/2023

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This morning, Christmas Eve, I decided to undertake some last minute shopping starting at 10AM and was surprised to discover that there were very few people to be seen which is unusual for this time of the year. 


Yesterday I met some people at the St Stephen's Green tram stop and when we crossed the Liffey we noticed that the North Side was much less busy. When we arrived at the restaurant where we had booked a table we were more than surprised to discover that the place was empty except for one diner. The owner told us that he had, because of reduced business over the last few weeks he had decided not to open on St Stephen's Day and that he might remained closed until the 28th.


Stephen's Green Shopping Centre is a large indoor shopping centre at the top of Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland. It is named after St. Stephen's Green, a city park situated across the road from its main entrance. Its street address is St. Stephen's Green West.


The site of the shopping centre was assembled over 15 years by the Slazenger family, beginning in 1966. In total, more than 150 individual property owners were bought out over that period. Most of the buildings were Georgian, and these were left to fall into disrepair and ruin as plans for an extensive redevelopment of the site as an office block and shopping centre totalling almost half-a-million square feet were drawn up. The original architects were Scott Tallon Walker, and planning permission for their scheme was granted in 1975. During the recession of the late 1970s, the small shops were rented out under a scheme known as "the Gaiety Green". At the weekends, this was marketed as the Dandelion Market, known for its alternative vendors, popular with younger people. U2 played some of their earliest gigs at the market. The market, which closed in 1981, is commemorated with a plaque, while Sinnotts Bar on South King Street is the only trader from the original site that remains.


The site was put up for sale in 1980, and was purchased by Patrick Gallagher in April 1981 for £10.5 million. Most of the buildings on the site were demolished while Gallagher attempted to sell the site to Irish Life, without success. He also sought permission to erect a show house for his Fortunestown development in Tallaght but this was rejected by Dublin Corporation. After Gallagher went bankrupt, the site was re-acquired by the Slazengers, and it was placed back on the market in 1983, and later sold for £5 million to Power Securities. They drew up plans for 7 acres of retail, bar and restaurant spaces, with 40 luxury flats and parking for 800 cars.


The centre in its final form was developed by British Land under a design by James Toomey.


Work began on the shopping centre in 1986, with plans for anchor and specialist shops, restaurants and bars, leisure facilities, and, at a cost of £15 million, 700 parking spaces.


The project was completed in 1988, with a total budget of £50 million, and the centre officially opened its doors on 8 November that year, though with only 4 units ready on the first day.[6] The use of glass and ornate white iron work on the exterior has been "likened to a Mississippi steamboat moored on the edge of the Green" and the building is locally often called "The Wedding Cake".


In 2019, a fund managed by Davy Group acquired the remaining portions of the property not under its ownership.


Permission has been granted for the €100m redevelopment of St Stephen’s Green shopping centre, which will see the current glass dome and facade replaced. The recent planner’s report acknowledged that the existing shopping centre is a local landmark, but this was not due to the quality of its architecture and stated that the shopping centre is not a Protected Structure.

This morning, Christmas Eve, I decided to undertake some last minute shopping starting at 10AM and was surprised to discover that there were very few people to be seen which is unusual for this time of the year. 


Yesterday I met some people at the St Stephen's Green tram stop and when we crossed the Liffey we noticed that the North Side was much less busy. When we arrived at the restaurant where we had booked a table we were more than surprised to discover that the place was empty except for one diner. The owner told us that he had, because of reduced business over the last few weeks he had decided not to open on St Stephen's Day and that he might remained closed until the 28th.


Stephen's Green Shopping Centre is a large indoor shopping centre at the top of Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland. It is named after St. Stephen's Green, a city park situated across the road from its main entrance. Its street address is St. Stephen's Green West.


The site of the shopping centre was assembled over 15 years by the Slazenger family, beginning in 1966. In total, more than 150 individual property owners were bought out over that period. Most of the buildings were Georgian, and these were left to fall into disrepair and ruin as plans for an extensive redevelopment of the site as an office block and shopping centre totalling almost half-a-million square feet were drawn up. The original architects were Scott Tallon Walker, and planning permission for their scheme was granted in 1975. During the recession of the late 1970s, the small shops were rented out under a scheme known as "the Gaiety Green". At the weekends, this was marketed as the Dandelion Market, known for its alternative vendors, popular with younger people. U2 played some of their earliest gigs at the market. The market, which closed in 1981, is commemorated with a plaque, while Sinnotts Bar on South King Street is the only trader from the original site that remains.


The site was put up for sale in 1980, and was purchased by Patrick Gallagher in April 1981 for £10.5 million. Most of the buildings on the site were demolished while Gallagher attempted to sell the site to Irish Life, without success. He also sought permission to erect a show house for his Fortunestown development in Tallaght but this was rejected by Dublin Corporation. After Gallagher went bankrupt, the site was re-acquired by the Slazengers, and it was placed back on the market in 1983, and later sold for £5 million to Power Securities. They drew up plans for 7 acres of retail, bar and restaurant spaces, with 40 luxury flats and parking for 800 cars.


The centre in its final form was developed by British Land under a design by James Toomey.


Work began on the shopping centre in 1986, with plans for anchor and specialist shops, restaurants and bars, leisure facilities, and, at a cost of £15 million, 700 parking spaces.


The project was completed in 1988, with a total budget of £50 million, and the centre officially opened its doors on 8 November that year, though with only 4 units ready on the first day.[6] The use of glass and ornate white iron work on the exterior has been "likened to a Mississippi steamboat moored on the edge of the Green" and the building is locally often called "The Wedding Cake".


In 2019, a fund managed by Davy Group acquired the remaining portions of the property not under its ownership.


Permission has been granted for the €100m redevelopment of St Stephen’s Green shopping centre, which will see the current glass dome and facade replaced. The recent planner’s report acknowledged that the existing shopping centre is a local landmark, but this was not due to the quality of its architecture and stated that the shopping centre is not a Protected Structure.

23/12/2023

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At Christmas I like to explore areas of the city to investigate the Christmas Decorations that happen to be on display but today was a big disappointment ... there was more to see at Halloween.

22/12/2023

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I never noticed this complex until today even though I have walked by it many times.


In May 2021 The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and the Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS) secured about €23 million from the sale of the CIF's headquarters on Canal Road in Dublin 6. 


Canalside is located close to the Charlemont Luas Tram Stop, which is also to be the location for the final stop on the Metro line planned from Dublin Airport. High profile companies such as Amazon, LinkedIn, Zendesk, and TikTok have been attracted to the area following its extensive redevelopment in recent years which has transformed the area into a new high-tech quarter.

16/12/2023

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The new Greystones Harbour is a modern, state-of-the-art facility that has transformed the town's waterfront. The development was a public/private partnership between Wicklow County Council and SISPAR, and it involved the construction of a new harbour, a 230-berth marina, 5,500m2 of commercial units, and 341 residential units. The project also included the creation of a new 16-acre public park.


Having opened in  Summer 2020 The new Greystones Linear Park is sixteen acres linking the harbour to the cliff walk. While I did not explore the park as it was getting dark I have included an AI [Google Bard] written description that may be of interest:


Nestled along the picturesque coastline of Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland, lies the captivating Greystones Linear Park. This expansive green oasis, spanning an impressive 16 acres, seamlessly interweaves the natural beauty of the Irish coast with a blend of recreational amenities and thoughtfully designed spaces.


The park's design carefully considers the surrounding landscape, incorporating undulating mounds and a safety barrier that gently guide visitors away from the cliff edge, preserving the integrity of the coastal environment. These mounds not only enhance the park's visual appeal but also serve as a haven for wildlife, creating undisturbed corridors for plants and animals to thrive.


The park's extensive network of pathways, seamlessly weaving through the undulating terrain, offers a variety of walking and running routes to suit all fitness levels. These meandering paths provide ample opportunities to admire the stunning coastal vistas, from the rugged cliffs to the sparkling waters of the Irish Sea.


For families seeking a fun-filled adventure, the park's expansive open play area beckons with its array of engaging play structures, including swings, climbing frames, and slides. This vibrant space transforms into a hub of activity, filled with the laughter and exuberance of children enjoying the outdoors.


Pet owners can also revel in the park's designated dog park, where furry companions can frolic and socialise with their fellow canine friends amidst a sea of lush greenery. This fenced-off enclosure provides a safe and spacious area for dogs to run, play fetch, and simply enjoy the fresh air.


To further enhance the park's tranquil ambiance, designated seating areas are thoughtfully placed amidst the landscape, offering moments of respite and relaxation. These benches, strategically positioned on the mounds, provide panoramic views of the surrounding scenery, inviting visitors to soak in the beauty of the Irish coast.


The park's commitment to sustainability is evident in its diverse range of plantings. Dense vegetation along the boundaries creates natural barriers, shielding visitors from the nearby car park and railway line, while also enhancing the park's ecological value. These carefully chosen plants attract a variety of wildlife, adding a touch of vibrant life to the park's surroundings.


In conclusion, Greystones Linear Park stands as a testament to the harmonious integration of nature, recreation, and community. Its scenic beauty, thoughtful design, and extensive amenities cater to a wide range of visitors, from families seeking outdoor adventures to those seeking moments of tranquility. The park's commitment to sustainability ensures its longevity and enhances the overall experience, making it a cherished destination for residents and visitors alike.

13/12/2023

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I asked Bard [Google's AI] to provide a story about Christ Church Cathedral and here is the result:


Amidst the vibrant tapestry of Dublin's historic centre, Christ Church Cathedral stands as a towering sentinel, its weathered stones whispering tales of a millennium past. Founded in the 11th century by the Norsemen who had claimed Dublin as their haven, the cathedral has endured the trials of time, bearing witness to the city's tumultuous evolution. 


Originally a modest timber structure, the cathedral underwent a series of transformations over the centuries, its architecture evolving from Romanesque to Gothic. The grandeur of its soaring vaults, intricate carvings, and stained glass windows now evokes a sense of awe, transporting visitors back to an era of faith and grandeur.


Stepping through the cathedral's imposing oak doors, one is immediately enveloped by an atmosphere of tranquility. The hushed whispers of visitors mingle with the sonorous strains of organ music, creating a harmonious blend of sound that echoes through the cavernous nave.


The cathedral's rich history is palpable in every corner, from the labyrinthine crypts below to the grand chambers above. The 'Undercroft,' once a Viking burial ground, now houses a collection of artifacts that chronicle Dublin's past, including the infamous 'Cathedral Bells.'


Climbing the winding staircase to the cathedral's upper levels, one encounters stunning views of the cityscape, with Dublin Castle and the River Liffey gracing the horizon. The panoramic vista serves as a reminder of the cathedral's enduring presence, a steadfast witness to Dublin's ever-changing panorama.


Christ Church Cathedral is not merely a relic of the past; it remains a vibrant hub of religious and cultural life. Regular services fill the cathedral with the sounds of prayer and hymns, while exhibitions and concerts showcase the city's artistic heritage.


As the sun sets over Dublin, casting a warm glow upon the cathedral's weathered stones, one can't help but feel a sense of deep connection to this remarkable place. Christ Church Cathedral stands as a testament to human resilience and faith, a beacon of hope in the heart of a bustling metropolis.

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