Now, while Grafton Street is (in my view, but its open to question) no great example of the art of architecture or urban design St. Stephen’s Green is the one part of Dublin city which really is world class: long tree lined vistas on all four sides with a backdrop of the most elegant Georgian buildings in the city. Up until a few years ago, the one way traffic system around the square added to the effect. Arriving into the Stephen’s Green from, say Harcourt Street, never failed to thrill: there was a real magic to it. The drive around the full square gave a real sense of its scale and grandeur.
And now they’ve gone and screwed the whole thing up. The entire west side has been hived off and turned into a tatty tram terminal – overhead cables, tripping hazards and all the rest. It no longer seems to have any relationship with the other three sides which are now a maze of frightening traffic lanes separated by the ugliest black and red poles a local authority ever spent money on.
In the old days, the great thing about the Green was how integrated it was into the greater fabric of city. Now it feels isolated from the rest of Dublin.
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