I moved into the city centre about 21 years ago [not that I lived far from the centre before the move] because of the many plans to renovate the area. None of the promises were actually delivered.
Henrietta street still looks derelict, the new tram service will not be operational for another 2 years. The large square at Smithfield was to host all of Dublin’s major civic events, from rock concerts and the St Patrick’s Day parade to the marathon. The horse fair would be moved elsewhere, while the arrival of the Luas and high-end apartments would transform one of the city’s most neglected areas into a bustling, dynamic urban quarter. Some of my friends purchase so called ‘high end apartments but they are long gone mainly because because the area proved to be at best unattractive and unpleasant.
Today, many of the plans have been derailed or are still waiting to be realised. Dozens of shops are lying empty and Smithfield Square is seldom used as a civic amenity and anti-social behaviour is a major problem.
Key pieces of the regeneration jigsaw, such as the relocation of Dublin Institute of Technology to Grangegorman and the renovation of the city markets, have stalled.
Planners insist it is far too early to say the regeneration plans have failed. They acknowledge that the pace of growth has been much slower than expected, and that mistakes were made in the design of the area, but fresh plans are afoot to try to tap into the full potential of the area in dramatically changed economic circumstances. As I have waited more than twenty years all that I can say is that I will believe it when I see it.