Author: Eoghan Madden, senior engineer with Dublin City Council Some older streets in Dublin reflect urban rights-of-way that are up to 1,000 years old. Essex Street, Fishamble Street, Exchange Street and Copper Alley are from this period. The development of the city can be seen from contemporary maps, official documents and accounts. Before these maps, detail can be gleaned from archaeology, and conservation and heritage study, as well as written history. These can add further detail to the understanding of the shape and structure of Dublin and how people lived in the city. The street pattern evolved differently north and south of the river. Dublin Castle and the walled city influenced the shape of the streets inside, while the gates shaped the approach roads and thus the evolving ‘suburbs’ throughout the centuries. The rivers Poddle, Steine and Commons Water flowed above ground and their lack of bridges closed the public rights of way linking the areas between rivers to the city initially. North of the Liffey, a more generous, less congested street network evolved outside the city walls. [login type="readmore"] Source: Pat Liddy, The Changing Landscapes of Dublin, published 2002 BIRTH OF THE CITY 1,000 AD: The Viking settlement is bounded on three sides by the Poddle, Dubh Linn and the Liffey. The Gaelic Atha Cliath settlement is roughly located south of Father Matthew Bridge, reflecting the ‘crossroads’ of Slighe Mor, Chualainn, Dala and Midhluachra. 1300 AD: The city walls are now in the second circuit. New stone walls narrow the Liffey to its present width on Merchant’s and Wood Quays. Dublin Castle has walls and moats since 1240. The original alignment of 1170 AD is still there at Cook Street and the venue underneath the Civic Offices. It is also visible at Isolde’s Tower on Exchange Street. Suburban settlements are mainly religious, with St Patrick’s founding the first university in 1320 AD. 1530 AD: The walled city is still south of the river, stretched from Bridge Street to roughly the current line of Parliament Street. The southern boundary runs along Bridge Street, Lamb Alley, Ross Road and Ship Street. It is still very compact, with a dense street pattern. Francis Street really the only developed street outside the south-city walls. The north city is dominated by religious lands and the streets are spaced much wider apart. In 1534, Silken Thomas rejected Henry VIII in St Mary’s Abbey, some of which is still in existence off Capel Street today. By the end of the decade, Henry had closed down the monasteries and churches and deprived the city of its religious orders, as well as most of its social services and hospitals. 1610 AD: John Speed’s map of 1610 is the oldest surviving map of Dublin. A comparison between it and current Ordnance Survey mapping, by matching the church locations, shows Speed’s map to be relatively accurate. The wall and street layout are almost exactly right. The city walls are clear, as are the gates that determine the future street patterns. Suburbanisation is spreading out along Thomas Street/James’s Street, Patrick Street and Dame Street, and on Church Street to the north of the river. Land is being reclaimed on the south bank of the Liffey to the east of Wood Quay. In the 300 years since the completion of the city walls, Dublin has hardly grown. Speed’s map depicts a city barely straying outside its defences. This is a reflection of turbulent times, uprisings and international struggle. Rebellion in the 1640s brought Oliver Cromwell to Ireland, and his subsequent demise brought the Duke of Ormond(e) back to Dublin. This began a new era of optimism and development to the city. DEVELOPMENT OF THE QUAYS 1714 AD: Hermann Moll’s map of 1714 still has city walls, but they no longer dominate. The south city has begun to spread, extending from Francis Street to a very young Grafton Street. It resembles groups of streets bundled together without a common thread. The north city is developing in regular block shapes, between Queen Street and Bachelor’s Walk. It is five blocks deep to the west and is only one block deep at Bachelor’s Walk. There are now four bridges, the most easterly being Essex Bridge at Capel Street. The city quays have formalised the Liffey. It is now narrowed to the alignment of today. On the north side of the river, Ellis Quay (1682), Arran Quay (1662) Ormonde Quay (1667) and Bachelor’s Walk (1678) bring an urban edge to the river. On the south side, Usher’s Quay (1670s), Merchants’ Quay (12th century), Wood Quay (11th century), Essex Quay (1680s) and Aston Quay (1680) demonstrate the extent of the city. 1,728 AD: Charles Brookings’ map for the Archbishop of Dublin shows Sir John Rogerson’s Quay (1713), City Quay (1715) and George’s Quay (1700). Reclamation work towards the Dodder is taking place behind Rogerson’s Quay, while North Wall Quay will not be completed until the following year (1729) and is being overflowed at high tides. The North Strand is a beach and the city’s Custom House is still at Essex Bridge. The area of the original city south of Capel Street is a nest of congested lanes with no continuity and still bearing the mark of the walled city. The new areas to the east are more spacious, holding the new suburbs and allowing the older homes of the rich to be let and sublet – thus becoming tenements in the process. Source: Pat Liddy and The Changing Landscapes of Dublin, published in 2002, by dublincityinfo.ie WIDE STREETS COMMISSION 1765 AD: John Rocque produced a number of maps of Dublin through the 1750s and ’60s. His maps finally show Dublin reaching O’Connell Street, with Sackville Place being developed as a spacious and genteel Georgian street. This gentility does not extend beyond Henry Street and the street does not reach the Liffey. The Wide Streets Commission has been formed in 1757; however its work to create Parliament Street, Westmoreland Street and D’Olier Street has not begun. The city now stretches from Marlborough Street/Parnell Street to King’s Street/Queen’s Street on the north and from St Stephen’s Green to the Grand Canal in the south. The east of the city is the ‘new Dublin’, with more spacious housing. However, the Royal Theatre is still in Smock Alley and the Musick Hall is in Fishamble Street. The old city is crowded and unhealthy. Rocque estimated the population as being 96,480, based on the number of households. 1797 AD: The 'Plan of Greater Dublin', published by W. Faden, shows the work of the Wide Streets Commission has been in place for 40 years. Sackville Street has reached the Liffey and Westmoreland and D’Olier Streets are forming, while Parliament Street and City Hall extend Capel Street to the castle. Both North Circular Road and South Circular Road are built, and the Royal and Grand canals are complete. Gandon’s Custom House is now in place at the beginning of the Strand, as are Parnell Square and Mountjoy Square, Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square. The street patterns at the eastern end of the city are now in place, which are regular blocks, but they do not form continuous links with the existing city to the west. 1846 AD: The London Illustrated News published a bird’s-eye view of the city of Dublin as the first of its principal cities of Europe. It shows that today’s city inside the canals is in place. The denser pattern of streets in the original old city contained tenement housing, contributing to a city-centre population estimated to be over 230,000 people. The view published shows the Kingstown (1836) and Drogheda (1844) railways; Heuston has not yet been constructed. Dun Laoghaire harbour, completed in 1820, is connected to Dublin city. Despite this, and the Famine raging in the countryside, there are huge numbers of ships on the Liffey. The most easterly bridge is now Carlisle (O’Connell St) bridge, one of the now eight bridges over the Liffey. The mansions of the rich are still moving eastwards and the Kingstown railway provides a new, acceptable commuter belt. THE MODERN ERA 1846 to present day: Inside the canals, the built environment has hardly changed since 1846. The city itself continued to grow in population, moving towards 300,000 by the turn of the century. The 1911 Census showed 835 people living in 15 houses in Henrietta Street, for example. By the 1970s, the city-centre population had reduced to just over 70,000. It has now increased to roughly 140,000, but with a projected total of between 185,000 and 205,000 people. The canals have taken over the role of the 12th-century city walls. They limit the overall capacity inside the city centre to 25,000 vehicles per hour. The existing city-centre street fabric, inside the canals, has been in place for over 150 years. The area most affected by the Luas Cross City project, from St Stephen’s Green to Parnell Square, varies in age from 200 to 400 years old, with some up to 1,000 years. Metro North and DART Underground are regrettably delayed, as they would have provided additional accessibility to the city without compromising the capacity of the street network. The Luas Cross City project reduces the capacity of the street network. Reducing the number of cars through the area is dependent on adequate high-quality public transport for longer distance trips, and on walking and cycling for local trips. Cross-city vehicular movement will suffer because the public transport network needs to pass through the centre of the city. Relocation of this traffic will have an effect on the older walled city around Christchurch. The street network serves the needs of the city. With a population of over 200,000 living in the city, open space must be provided for residents and visitors. Streets tell the story of the the history of Ireland, as well as being the built environment. In the future, movement capacity is needed for a potential 350,000 jobs, some 70,000 students and an increase of 20% in retail floor space. Dublin’s streets will echo to footsteps again.