Back in January, we had a post on the blog dealing with the theme of ‘Dublin Re-Imagined’. It looked at some of the proposals for Dublin in decades and centuries gone by that fell by the scrapheap, including the Dublin Metropolitan Railway and the Merrion Square Cathedral that never was.
In some ways, this post is similar, though it deals with a familiar Dublin landmark that could have been radically altered.The Tara Street Fire Station, opened in 1907 by Dublin Lord Mayor Joseph Nanetti, was the work of the celebrated City Architect C.J McCarthy. He was responsible for a number of Dublin fire stations, and it has been noted that his “renaissance-type brick buildings” in Dorset Street and Tara Street were the most “interesting and original”of these stations.
This 1973 perspective sketch for the transformation of the station is interesting for a number of reasons. The vision of architect Alica Kelly and drawn by T.Durney, it presents a radical new vision for the site.
Firstly however, beyond the fire station itself, it is truly a product of its time. Notice the flared trousers of the passer-by, and the design of the cars in the streetscape! To the left of the historic tower, an advertisement for tobacco is visible in the larger image above.
This plan would have kept the historic tower, which rises to a height of almost 40m, but almost all around it was to be transformed with modern development replacing McCarthy’s site. The curve in the building would have been lost, along with much of McCarthy’s vision, though it should be noted the very function of the building had changed much in almost seven decades. No longer where there ‘married quarters’ within the station, where firefighters wives and children once lived. With that in mind perhaps, the architects here sought to use such space for commercial purposes. In truth, CJ McCarthy’s own vision for the station wasn’t quite ever realised, with his much more ornate tower rejected for a simpler design among other revisions.
My thanks to Mark Leddy for providing the Perspective Sketch for this piece.