Library plan part of a new chapter for city’s north side

by Rachel Darcy

Plans for a new cultural quarter on the north side of the city were unveiled on Monday, with the planning application currently being finalised.

Parnell Square Cultural Quarter will be anchored by a brand-new city library, designed by Grafton Architects and Shaffrey Architects. A planning application will be lodged for consideration with An Bord Pleanala in the coming weeks.

The project aims to deliver a new cultural landmark for the capital, and is being undertaken by the Parnell Square Foundation – a charitable trust that was established by Kennedy Wilson, with the support of Dublin City Council (DCC).

More than half (55%) of the project’s funds will be raised through philanthropy via the Parnell Square foundation, with DCC funding the other 45%.

The project will measure more than 11,000sq m and will be located in a terrace of six restored Georgian houses at numbers 23-28 Parnell Square, with a “dramatic” new building to be constructed to the rear of same.

A redevelopment of the Georgian houses at numbers 20 and 21 will also be redeveloped, and a new public plaza will be created in front of the City Library buildings and the Hugh Lane Gallery.

The new library will replace and reimagine the current Central Library.

Located beside Hugh Lane and close to the Irish Writers’ Centre, the Dublin Writers Museum, the Gate Theatre, Poetry Ireland and the Garden of Remembrance, it is envisaged that the library will create a focal point for Parnell Square Cultural Quarter.

Lord Mayor Nial Ring said that the project will have a positive socio-economic impact on the north inner city and on Dublin’s city centre.

Cllr Ring said: “Parnell Square is the first and finest of Dublin’s Georgian Squares; it has a rich and important history with philanthropic origins.

“Welcoming an estimated 3,000 visitors each day, up to one million people per year, this bold and visionary project will act as a catalyst for regeneration in this part of the city, drawing Dubliners and visitors of all ages in new directions and creating new business opportunities.”

It’s believed that the construction and commissioning stage of the new City Library project will take two to three years.

A model of the design for the new library went on display in the Central Library, Ilac Centre from September 12, until planning is lodged. It will then be on display in Civic Offices Wood Quay from October.

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