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Why is there so few open spaces / squares in Dublin?



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,190 ✭✭✭✭Grayson

    the problem with smithfield is that the space isn't utilized that much. I worked there for 4 years and there's a load of empty open space. Even if they plasnted grass and some trees it would be an improvement.

    Yep. And there's loads of cities that weren't bombed that have them. Plus, if anyone wants to mention the weather, there's still plenty of cities that have bad weather that have open outdoor spaces.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,411 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    Irelands lack of outdoors has nothing got to do with weather. It's got to do with our fekin weird culture of shame and embarrassment. All fun has to be done indoors behind darkened glass.

    When the new pangolins pergolas went up in Limerick after Covid I heard people some say that "no one will use them because people will be lookin at you"

    Cultural change is already bringing about the kinds of places the OP pines for.

    Post edited by breezy1985 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,924 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    They won't get the chance to make the Phoenix Park bigger very often...

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 murphymick

    What’s a pangolin? Tried googling all I can see is some reptilian animal.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,411 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    🤣 Pergola not pangolin. I'm gonna pretend that was predictive texts fault.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 17 murphymick


    Why would people be embarrassed to use what is essentially just an outdoor furniture suite?? 🤔

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,059 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    I would go anywhere that I could see pangolins tbh, they're adorable

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,639 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    This comes up every year. This is what was said the last time and it's still true.

    It starts with "there's no public squares in Dublin" then people point out a few and the people that weren't aware of them pretend they were aware of them all the time but suddenly don't like them or "they're too dangerous" or there's people they don't like using them already...

    St. Stephen’s Green.

    Opened in 1880, St. Stephen’s Green is perhaps Dublin’s most well-known Georgian square.

    Mounty Square.

    Planned and developed in the late 18th century by Luke Gardiner, the 1st Viscount Mountjoy, Mountjoy Square was once Dublin’s most prestigious Georgian square.

    Parnell Square.

    Perched at the end of O’ Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare, Parnell Square is the oldest Georgian square in the city.

    Merrion Square.

    One of the best surviving Georgian Squares in Dublin, Merrion Square’s architecture has remained unchanged for 200 years. Most notably the west side of the square has the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery and Leinster House.

    Fitzwilliam Square.

    Only a stone's throw south of Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square is the smallest and the last of the last of the five Dublin Georgian squares to be completed.

    Temple Bar Square.

    The heart and soul of Dublin’s historical and cultural activities, Temple Bar Square is a spot popular with tourists. The area is a historical hodgepodge as it was once a medieval suburb that was redeveloped in the 1600’s for British families and then again in the late 20th century to become the vibrant spot in the city filled with pubs and restaurants.

    Meeting House Square

    Just around the corner from Temple Bar Square hidden down a small walkway is the much more contemporary Meeting House Square. It is Dublin’s newest square, only opening in 2011.

    Mayor Square.

    Located in the IFSC, Ireland’s financial epicentre, Mayor Square is another square that shows off a more cutting-edge side to the city. Surrounded by Dublin’s modern architectural additions including the Samuel Beckett Bridge, IFSC House and the Convention Centre

    Grand Canal Dock.

    Nicknamed Silicon Docks, Grand Canal Dock is fast becoming one of the trendiest squares in Dublin. Home to tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Airbnb.

    Smithfield Square.

    Cafés, Restaurants, Bars and Entertainment in the heart of Dublin 7.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,059 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    Fitzwilliam square park is private, no? And I know you always try and spin positive on these things, but I went out with a girl for a couple of years who had a place on Mayor Sq, and "cutting edge" is one way of putting it. Not really the type of place people hang out unless you're a gang of teenagers from Sheriffer harassing people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,639 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    Fitzwilliam square park is, but I walked in to it a few times, it wasn't locked up, however the garden is private.

    Regarding Mayor Sq., it exists, it's nice, it's utilised & busy with people at lunch time in the summer. The OP wanted to know why there are so few open spaces, not who uses them or if there's people there that they may not like!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,411 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    There are people sad enough to believe that other people are interested in their business.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,455 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice

    Historical towns with markets were considered English, us Irish prefeed living as independent clans.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 murphymick

    Most of which are public parks which are locked at night.

    We don’t have any open pedestrianised town squares. Dublin really is grim.

  • Registered Users Posts: 980 ✭✭✭Fred Cryton

    The main reason is the people.

    Open spaces on the continent would attract late night dining, dancing and culture.

    Open spaces in Ireland would attract beggers, junkies, criminals, drunks, thieves and hard left radical revolutionaries shouting into megaphones.

    That's your answer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,817 ✭✭✭Northernlily

    O'Connell St is an absolute fooking rancid shithole!

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    o,connell street is not a great place to hang around ,too much noise traffic ,theres a few small parks around the city centre if you know dublin well .most of dublin was built after 1800 to 1900 , if you exclude modern suburbs built after 1960 . the canals are good place s to sit down if you want somewhere quiet on a summers day .stephens green is a nice place to go ,summer or winter . the builders .designers of dublin did not like large public squares ,its more of a european tradition and squares take a lot of work to keep clean.

    look at videos of dublin in the 80s, it was full of old empty derelict buildings in bad condition .it looks alot better now ,why the hell would you look to o.connell street as a quiet relaxing palce to go unless you are inside a small cafe

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,639 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    Have you been to Grand Canal Dock at night time during the summer? It's very civilised, people dining, drinking in moderation or having coffee... Excellent atmosphere. Are you aware of Smithfield square? Have you been there on a summer night? These are two of the pedestrianised squares in Dublin.

    Who told you we don't have any open pedestrian town squares? It's no wonder Dublin is grim to you. You've either never been there or you stayed in your bedroom typing away.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,270 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    Don't think there's any point at addressing questions to him, he's banned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,180 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    If in 10 years the FAI / IRFU decides to relocate to a bigger stadium in a Dublin suburb… greater population equals bigger demand for tickets just say.… would a public amenity be replacing the Aviva stadium… or housing ? Let’s look at similar options…

    Phoenix park racecourse….housing

    Leopardstown racecourse….housing

    Limerick racecourse….housing

    Shelbourne Park dog track…housing too apparently

    Population continues its unfettered explosion and expansion….

    public amenities get deprioritised…we’ll be living in a society unwilling or unable to function in most other aspects apart from trying to house people. No other considerations.

    in ten years time we’ll be starting at a population closer to 10 million…

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,639 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    The outdoor civic area in Clongriffin beside the Dart station is nice. When they start bringing retail in it's going work.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,232 ✭✭✭TooTired123

    It’s not fair to say it’s shame and embarrassment.

    It’s hyper self consciousness. In countries with a much larger population there’s far more anonymity.

    My brother lives in a large village in France and he can go anywhere there ( the Main Street, the children’s play park, the outdoor public swimming pool etc) and know for certain that even if his neighbour recognises him there, the neighbor wouldn’t care less one way or the other and it would be unthinkable to even glance at my brother never mind speak to him.

    I can guarantee you that if I went to Dublin today and sat outside a cafe in Sth Anne St or whatever I would have someone from Thurles tapping me in the shoulder passing some kind of “well for ya” remark within a 1/2 hour and if not that then I’d have someone walk up to me during the week here at home pointing out how they saw me sitting there and many I “very good to myself” all the same.

    People are paranoid about this and instead of telling these busy bodies to mind their own business we just prefer to not do it.

    Thatll go away with time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,357 ✭✭✭orangerhyme

    It was never part of our culture really.

    Before the smoking ban, you didn't even see tables outside pubs and cafes. That's a new thing.

    Even pedestrianized streets like Grafton st and Galway are relatively new.

    I know in Spain and Italy they've lovely little plazas surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants and you'll see all generations sitting out. It's lovely to see.

    I agree Smithfield Square could be improved. We'll see what happens with Capel St but it has lots of potential.

    Recently Mayor Sq, Temple Bar Sq, Meeting House Sq, Grand Canal Sq are all new additions to the city.

    Wolfe Tone Sq is nice.

    College Green Plaza if it ever happens could be amazing.

    St Andrews st could become a plaza also if no traffic goes through there, but I'm not sure about it.

    I think Mountjoy Sq and Diamond park are both being rejuvenated.

    If the maternity hospital was moved from Parnell Sq it could be great.

    Newmarket Sq will be great once it's done. Maybe in 3 or 4 years time. It's a real student quarter now.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,270 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

  • Registered Users Posts: 813 ✭✭✭Homesick Alien

    Pretty sure I was going to Meeting House Square long before 2011

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,826 ✭✭✭Shoog

    Colonial past. Dublin was never the main centre of revenue fot the British so they had little motivation to improve the circumstances of the Dublin population. In the UK meanwhile, where Industrial towns were the main source of income, there was a movement to improve condition for the worksers to improve productivity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,639 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    Pretty sure you were & I'm people were meeting there for the last millennia!! Irish weather convinced Temple Bar Cultural Trust in 2004 that Meeting House Square needed to become more than just an “outdoor room”. Following an open tendering process, TBCT commissioned Sean Harrington architects to create a retractable canopy roof that would, in effect ‘complete’ the square. Seven years later in 2011, at a cost of €2.4 million, the twentieth anniversary of Temple Bar’s regeneration was marked with the installation of four 21m high ‘umbrellas’, creating the first retractable cover of its type in Ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,924 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    The squares and parks that do exist were often created by the British. It's our urban planning of the last 50yrs that's not bothered with it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,319 ✭✭✭MrMusician18

    In case people didn't know, O'Connell St. originally was a public square until the row houses at the southern end were demolished. If Dublin were to have a grand square, then pedestrianising O'Connell St is the best option, in terms of it being a natural focal point, its shape and location.

    The problem is that it is a major bus route for which there are no realistic alternatives currently.