The construction of Luas Cross City in such a busy city is a complex undertaking requiring the involvement of different specialists at various stages. One of the most critical, interesting and indeed delicate stages is the Heritage Works. These works are ensuring the protection of important statues and items of historical and cultural significance during the project.
The contract for Luas Cross City heritage works was awarded to KN Network Services (KNN). Various items of historical and cultural significance have been carefully removed by the Contractor to secure storage for a period of up to two years and will be returned during the final stages of the Luas works.
Along with the statues, KNN is also responsible for the storage of a wide range of street furniture and paving items removed by other contractors working on the project. These items are being cleaned and carefully repaired, if needed, whilst in storage and before they are reinstated to the streets of Dublin. The removals and reinstatement are being carried out to the best possible conservation standards with advice from Dublin City Council and Paul Arnold Architects.
The heritage works began with the successful removal to storage of the Lady Grattan Fountain at St. Stephen’s Green 2014. The fountain which dates from 1888 was in excellent condition and will be returned close to its original location in 2017. Close inspection of the fountain and troughs has shown that some repairs which were carried out in the past have given way. Some new repairs to the stonework are now being undertaken.
THE STEINE SCULPTURE
The removal of the Steine Sculpture, which was installed on College Street in 1988, while challenging, due to the heavy concrete foundation that was poured around the standing stone, was safely completed in 2014. The Steine will be cleaned in readiness for its reinstatement in 2017. The Steine will not require any level of significant repair or cleaning as it is in excellent condition.
These finely executed cast iron bollards are some of the oldest pieces of street furniture surviving in O’Connell Street dating from the first half of the 19th century. Originally designed as bases for lamp standards, they were adopted for use as vents for a substation at this location in the 20th century.
We have now completed a programme of repair and replacement of some of the lost and damaged decorative cast iron scrolls on each of the bollards. These repair works were carried out by skilled iron works experts at Bushypark Ironworks. Discussions are ongoing with regard to a new home for these fine pieces of decorative street furniture.
The temporary removal of Molly Malone took place on 28th April 2014. Following her removal we were able to carry out a close examination of the statue and discovered that Molly and her cart had suffered some significant damage over the years. This type of damage is to be expected in a statue that receives the level attention that Molly has received. A detailed repairs programme was agreed and carried out including structural repairs to joints, rewelding the entire replacement of the granite plinth and significant rewaxing and cleaning of the bronze itself.
And she’s back … Molly Malone returns to the streets of Dublin
In July 2014 Molly Malone returned to the streets of Dublin on Suffolk Street.
The careful removal of the Thomas Moore statue was successfully carried out in May 2014. Extensive pre-work surveys including laser scanning and detailed examinations of the condition of the bronze and surrounding stone plinth were undertaken in advance. These examinations showed that the statue was in very good condition, particularly when taking into account its age. The statue was placed in College Green back in 1857.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with Dublin City Council will carry out some much needed bronze repair works in the form of repatination. This involves a thorough steam clean of the bronze followed by the reapplication of a chemical patina, to match the finish that was originally applied in the 19th century. Reinstatement will take place close to its current location in 2017.
In December of 2014 a section of historic railings and gates were carefully removed from the perimeter of the Rotunda Hospital on Parnell Street. Once delivered to the workshop these were carefully cleaned of years of accumulated rust and layers of paint. This then allowed for a full assessment of their condition. The railing repairs and conservation works are now completed. The reinstatement of the railings is due to take place in 2017.
The People’s Island is an art work by Rachel Joynt which was installed at the northern end of Westmoreland Street in 1988. The art work consisted of bronze footprints set in concrete to depict the everyday movement of people within the city centre. As part of the Luas works the Island is now being reimagined by Rachel and will be installed in a new configuration in 2017. The island area will now be bigger and the new bronze footprints will be imbedded in granite paving.
To facilitate the alignment within the central median of O’Connell Street Upper, the Fr. Mathew Statue was carefully removed by KNN in June 2015.
The works commenced with the installation of hoarding and scaffolding followed by the removal of the marble statue of Fr. Mathew. The limestone plinth was carefully removed one stone at a time with each stone being carefully recorded and numbered to ensure the accurate reinstatement of the statue later on. The works took two to three weeks in total to complete.
The statue was delivered to a secure storage facility where close assessment of its condition was carried out. This examination showed that the statue was in excellent condition and would require only some minor conservation works before reinstatement. Prior to removal it was known that the fingers on both hands of the statue were broken off and missing. We are now considering the restoration of the fingers on both hands to return the statue to its original condition.
TII are in discussions with Dublin City Council and the Capuchin Order with regard to agreeing an appropriate new location within Dublin City Centre for the reinstatement of the statue.
Other works which have been completed since 2014 include the careful recording and lifting of historic granite paving and kerbs throughout the city centre. These items are now in storage, where some cleaning and repair will be carried out before their reinstatement in 2016 and 2017. In particular some fine historic Wicklow granite paving will be reinstated in its original location around the perimeter of Trinity College in late 2016 / early 2017.