17/04/2012

Thomas Street Regeneration Proposals Launched

Regeneration proposals for historic Thomas Street in the centre of Dublin's Liberties have been put forward in a new study by Dublin Civic Trust, being launched on Tuesday 17th May 2012 by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague, in the National College of Art and Design in the centre of Thomas Street.

Commissioned by Dublin City Council, the study, entitled Thomas Street – Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre Street, puts forward a vision for the future of the historic thoroughfare in Dublin 8, which has suffered from urban blight, dereliction and vacancy, including during the recent economic boom period. The study highlights Thomas Street’s historic building stock as one of its principal assets, while underlining the importance of its retention and restoration as part of a drive to improve the appearance of the street and its architectural character. It also promotes the consolidation and branding of local indigenous businesses, and the development of visitor attractions, an improved public realm and on-street public information to capitalise on the considerable tourist potential of the district.

Chief Executive Officer of Dublin Civic Trust, Geraldine Walsh said: "Thomas Street is the commercial heart of the Liberties and one of Dublin's most historic streets. This has been recognised in recent studies conducted by Dublin City Council, including a major Local Area Plan, however there are now limited funds to implement initiatives of this kind. What we have done with this study is focus specifically on Thomas Street as the public face of the Liberties, and brought a recognition to the fact that most change can be driven by individual stakeholders on the street – the building owners, businesses, traders and residents. It is these efforts on the ground that effect real, meaningful change."

Conservation Research Officer with Dublin Civic Trust, Graham Hickey, said: "Thomas Street is all too commonly perceived as a decrepit route through the Liberties, whereas it is in fact a street of enormous significance to Dublin. Not only is the route grounded in over 800 years of the city's evolution, but the scale and hierarchy of its churches and institutional complexes lend the street a remarkable grandeur and status within the city. Its stimulating streetscape scene of fine grain merchant premises interspersed with imposing public buildings never fails to impress the visitor and citizen alike, and it is this unique resource that this report seeks to highlight to commercial and cultural advantage for all. There is enormous scope to build on this asset by developing quality retailing, services and visitor attractions that complement this character and develop an unrivalled brand for the district."

The report follows on from Dublin Civic Trust's long-term involvement in the area, which has included achieving an Architectural Conservation Area designation for the district and writing a book on the history of Thomas Street.

(CD/GK)

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