Streetless Dublin has road signs. Located on Oliver Bond Street, behind the doors of the Liberties Training Center.
It says Mullinahack, but there’s nothing called it here.
Centuries ago, this was a vibrant area crossed by a long-disappeared river called Coleman’s Brook. It’s where Anne Devlin, an Irish Republican and housekeeper to Robert Emmett, grew up.
But by the 1800s it was in decline, rife with crime and filth. Marina Hack Lane closed in his 1900 and the area was taken up for development.
Dublin overlaps like onions. Clues like this are everywhere, pointing to small or seismic changes. These include the Wide Streets Commission’s reimagining of the medieval city, the advent of Georgian squares, and the transformation of Temple Bar (once destined to become a central bus station).
Like any city, it is constantly developing and is never finished.
Development often goes in the right direction. But it can also be worse. I recently spent a lot of time walking and biking the streets trying to reconnect with our capital after Covid.
You’ll see glittering offices, student residences, and hotels. I see devastating neglect. And it’s impossible to overlook the glaring gap in between.
It’s like, as John Mahon of Lucky’s, a lovely neighborhood bar in the Liberties district, says, “underdeveloped and overdeveloped at the same time.” He points out that many punters who visit his pub can’t afford to live in the same zip code.
Last week, I went to see Irish songwriter Sorcha Richardson at the 3Olympia Theater. The deep theme of her album is laugh like a foolis her relationship with the city. Dublin City Shutdown / Leave City with Luggage It’s the line she sang 525 — when applied to Covid as urban livability.
Supporting act Sammy Copley also introduced one of their songs. Irish Goodbye, asks: do i have to go? ”
Listeners can’t miss it. Art, music, kitchen conversations – all trace back to Dublin’s woes, how young people, locals, hospitality staff and low-income artists struggle to afford affordable living and work .
of RTÉ prime time Episodes on O’Connell Street further spotlighted substance abuse, vacancies, and police visibility.
Covid has decked Dublin, but the problem clearly has deeper roots — a sad spaghetti of planning policies, licensing laws and failure to evolve in a sustainable way.
Now the city is going through a very important period. Post-pandemic, the New Dublin Development Plan (2022-2028) and new licensing legislation are underway. However, rather than prioritizing urgent and comprehensive treatments, we are still obsessed with symptoms.
Dublin needs tech giants, offices and hotels. But we can’t keep those developments ignited while the community rots.
They must coexist with street life, social structures and livability.
Capital cities need independent bars, galleries, shops, clubs and collective supply lines.
They bring energy, ideas and scenes. They are part of what gives Ireland its spirit, attracts tourists now and sustains creativity in the future.
They also make for safer, more interesting and diverse places to live and visit.
But I feel like a lot of people make Dublin Dublin Frozen from the dough.
There will be more Marina Hacks in the future. But whatever the architectural heritage, we cannot afford to lose this layer.