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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 19 September, 2014

Dublin library to move to Parnell Square in €60m ‘cultural quarter’ project

The central library, currently based in the Ilac Centre, will become the focal point for a new ‘cultural district’.

Dublin city architect Ali Grehan, Kennedy Wilson Europe director Peter Collins, and Dublin city librarian Margaret Hayes at the announcement of the new plans today.
Dublin city architect Ali Grehan, Kennedy Wilson Europe director Peter Collins, and Dublin city librarian Margaret Hayes at the announcement of the new plans today.
Image: Jason Clarke Photography

DUBLIN’S MAIN LIBRARY is to move to Parnell Square as part of a €60 million development to create a new ‘cultural quarter’ for the capital.

The main library, currently based in the Ilac shopping centre, will relocate to a premises which will have a direct connection to the Hugh Lane Gallery through a new pedestrianised plaza.

The library will move to the old Coláiste Mhuire building, and two adjacent units, on the north-eastern side of Parnell Square. The building was vacated by the school in 2003 and is now owned by the Office of Public Works.

The building will also incorporate facilities for music and writing, and hopes to help regenerate the Parnell Square area – the capital’s oldest Georgian square – as well as revitalising the upper part of O’Connell Street as part of a larger ‘Civic Spine’ for the city between Parnell Square, O’Connell Street, Trinity College and Christchurch.

Council authorities hope that the regenerated Parnell Square area will become a popular meeting place north of the Liffey.

An initial €2.5 million in funding for the project is being supplied by an international property company, Kennedy Wilson, which will also lead the fundraising efforts to come up with the rest of the funding needed.

The existing library in the Ilac centre is open for 54 hours a week, but access is restricted based on the opening hours of the centre itself, while the constraints of the centre offer only limited space for expansion.

City manager John Tierney said the project offered “a powerful opportunity and catalyst for the redevelopment for this part of Northside Dublin”, while city architect Ali Grehan said it would be “the heart of the cultural life of the capital”.

A public consultation seeking suggestions and input on the plans will begin in the coming months.

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