O’Connell Street / GPO Plaza

  • Location: O'Connell Street
  • Architect: Dublin City Council Architects
  • Completed: 2006

The first physical feature of the regeneration of O’Connell Street was put in place in January 2003. More than a thousand onlookers gathered on the street to see the final section of the Spire being lifted slowly into position by one of the world’s tallest cranes.

Following the construction of the Spire, work started on Phase 1 of the O’Connell Street Improvement Scheme. This phase, which incorporates the area between the Spire and Abbey Street, was completed in April 2004. The street works scheme was designed to upgrade the environment for pedestrians and shoppers by reducing traffic flows, widening pavements and creating a spacious and elegant boulevard with new tree planting. The design incorporates new natural paving for the central median and footpaths approximately twice their present width. Carriageway widths are reduced to accommodate two lanes of traffic and one cycle lane north and south bound.

Phase 2  involved the laying of a new central median between Abbey Street and O’Connell Bridge and a new northbound carriageway surface and widened footpath from the junction of Bachelor’s Walk and Lower O’Connell Street to the junction of Lower O’Connell Street and Middle Abbey Street. This work was completed in 2005. The third and largest phase took in the area between the Spire and the Parnell Monument and started in early 2005.

The centrepiece of the street is the granite-paved plaza at the General Post Office. The civic space is formally closed on three sides by a total of 27 clipped lime trees and, combined with the sculptured lighting, has created an important public space for the city. There are now156 trees on O’Connell Street after completion of the project.

24 weeping birch and 38 ornamental ash were planted throughout the length of the central median of the new O’Connell Street. These offer a semi-natural planting scheme of flowering and fruiting mountain ash trees and gracefully weeping birch trees, the latter giving a sense of movement down the central median. These trees on the median are illuminated from the ground up at night, thus strengthening their presence on the street and providing a different perspective to that available during daylight hours.

67 oriental plane trees  grace the new footpaths, double their original width and allowing the trees room to grow. These trees are long lived and in time will develop an impressive stature and an attractive dappled and flaking bark with olive green leaves. Newly designed street lighting has been installed to complement and highlight the trees.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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