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Dublin 8- At the Tipping Point?

Iveagh market

Dublin 8- At the Tipping Point?

Back before the bottom fell out of the boom there were certain things that appeared certain. We were all rich, we were set to get richer and Temple Bar would gradually spread south past Christ Church and on up through Thomas and James street. And while the area could have done without the hen nights and drunken mayhem, the investment and jobs that come with it would have been more then welcome. Today the Guinness Hopstore, the city’s main tourist attraction, stands alone, an island amid a sea of lost looking tourists bobbing back and forth between city centre and Kilmainam Jail. The area’s become a place people had to pass through rather than go to. It’s been a sad and slow decline for a stretch of town that in its previous life was one of the city’s main shopping districts. This is a part of the city, once known as “the golden triangle”; housing as it did 37 distilleries.  In its day, the area teemed with industry, wool manufacture and silk weaving have all called the Liberties home.

They’ve all come and they have all gone. Gradually, in fits and starts, things went into decline. Now the streets are pock marked with derelict buildings. Today the Thomas Street unemployment office see’s more footfall then many of the local shops.  The area soaked in history,  going right back to the very birth of this city, an art collage, Guinness’s ,churches and church graveyards, it should be a tourist’s dream . However, we’re left with a feeling of a place on the verge of something but never quite taking off. All promise but no pants. But lately there’s a feeling of something bubbling up, of something about to happen. The sound of work men and machinery can be heard through the Iron Gate’s of the Iveagh Markets. Rubble and old masonry is being cleared away from the old Frances Street sight in preparation for what’s planned to be Dublin’s answer to Covent

The sheer scale of this project is impressive, a farmers market, arts and crafts sections as well as an underground brewery and distillery. Taken together with the planned glass fronted hotel on
the old Mother Redcap site and all this could represent a tipping point.

Keep walking further up the street and just past Guinness Brewery you’ll find James’ Street church of Ireland. For years, it was better known as “Lighting World” and for years more its laid empty, in state. Today it’s awaiting planning permission as a new distillery and visitors centre and if all this comes together it won’t be alone.

St._James'_Church_and_Cemetery,_Dublin

Teeling’s Whiskey is close to converting an old warehouse on Newmarket Square into Dublin’s first distillery for 125 years. The first taste of whiskey should be sunk before the end of the year
with a visitors centre to follow in 2015. This is not a modest venture but at €10 million, a serious investment and a return for Teeling, to the place of their birth.

It’s really the visitor centre part of these developments that should have the biggest effect on the area. They make the difference between tourists treating the neighbourhood as a one stop shop or
as a place they might just might want to hang around in.

Join all the dots and work out what’s likely to happen. An average tourists could conceivable wake up in Mother Redcaps, shop in the Iveagh markets, visit Guinness’s and take a tour around the local
Whiskey distillers.

We’ve been here before of course, the Digital Hub and the upsurge in visitors to Guinness’s were all set to act as motors for change. Ultimately,  it’s the relationship between all these new
projects and the whole quarter that spell out the future. Will all this flow of money spell jobs or gentrification? This all remains to be seen but right now it’s impossible not to feel a shiver
of excitement at events. It’s an old neighbourhood, take the local people with you and it could be a whole new quarter. One way or another the whole area’s in for more than a fresh coat of paint.

 

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