Friday, February 06, 2004

Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Frank and Dublin Gal don't care much for the designs for the proposed new Carlisle Pier in Dun Laoghaire. I'm no expert, but I agree. But, more than the designs, the proposed use of the Carlisle Pier annoys me more.

The 4 proposals are:
  1. A national maritime museum
  2. An Irish diaspora museum
  3. An interactive center for literature, art and music, an emigration history centre, a municipal art gallery
  4. A national aquarium
Number 2 and number 3 are OUT from the get go. Diaspora museum? You just know that's going to be sickening. Besides, Cobh is a more appropriate location for it than Dun Laoghaire. The cultural center is just mish mash and should be discarded out of hand.

An acquarium might make sense, but I'm not sure the atmosphere would be right. It will be a few yards from the busy Car Ferry pier. That leaves the Maritime Museum, which is not a bad suggestion, but it would make the current Maritime Museum up the street from the Harbour redundant. And, since that building is the old Mariners Church, I can't see how there'd be much use for that building once the Maritime Museum had left.

I'm not actually sold on why we need to rebuild the pier at all. Sure, the Carlisle Pier has been there a long time, but if we're going to tear it down, why not just leave it down? Or, why not allow some private development to rebuild it and make use of it?

If we must rebuild it, I'd like to suggest a museum devoted to engineering. Dun Laoghaire Harbour is, to me, one of the greatest engineering feats in Ireland. I'm sure there are other towns/cities across the world that possess similar works, but the full story of how the rock was quarried out of Dalkey Hill (which is now a great resource - quarrying may change, but it doesn't necessarily ruin a natural amenity), transported by a novel mini-rail system and assembled into the 2 great piers in the 1820s is remarkable. A national engineering museum (I'm sure a better name can be found) would be appropriately located within the shelter of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.