Skip to content

More from “Hands Off Dublin” 1976 – Deirdre Kelly & Pat Langan

parnell-st-summerhill-dublin-1976 pearse-sq-dublin-1976 santry-1976 summerhill-sackville-garden-1976


Trinity College & Grafton St, June 2014. No plans to push railings back 20Ft.

Walking by College Green last week and noticing the road works underway for the new Luas, prompted me to dig out again my 1976 copy of Hands Off Dublin by Deirdre Kelly and in particular the photo of the Trinity College railings.
Hands Off Dublin outlined in photos and text the future that lay ahead of Dublin unless there was ” a total reappraisal of the city’s planning policies”.  The photos showed areas which were under threat from then road widening proposals. You can see our earlier post on the book here.

The author, Deirdre Kelly, was a founder member of the Living City Group, formed in 1970, to prevent the breaking up of city communities.  All photos are by Pat Langan who was a press photographer in the Irish Times for 35 years.

An 80 page hardback book with loads more photos it was published in 1976 by O’Brien Press.

All photos scanned by Brand New Retro.


9 replies »

  1. What did go ahead was the Parnell Street widening – that’s why the ILAC centre, when it came to be built in the late 70s, was originally so far set back (all changed now of course). That was intended to be the road line of this “inner city motorway”! They also did a destruction job at the top of Capel St and North King St. but then it was just left derelict for years because the money wasn’t there. That’s why parts of Dublin looked just so like a third world city for so long. Apart from lack of money, no planning permission would have been given for any development because the land was earmarked for roads. It was what Frank McDonald described as “road planners’ blight” in his first book “The Destruction of Dublin” in 1985. It’s hard to get a copy of it now (and I’ve lost mine) but it’s well worth reading if you can get your hands on it.

    I was involved in a conservation/environmental group back in those days and we organised Frank McD to do a walking tour for us on the theme of “The Destruction of Dublin”, where he took us along the route of all these road proposals. That was in the summer of ’88, when laughably Dublin Corpo were celebrating the Millennium and all the hogwash that went with it. The irony wasn’t lost on any of those who took part in the walk. As far as I recall Deirdre Kelly did another one for us in Ranelagh where the Mountpleasant area was threatened by similar madness (she lived there).


    • There was another great man at the time called John Gallagher, who was involved in the Liberties conservation group. When they were voting on the widening of Clanbrassil St. there was a very large protest march organised to City Hall to protest, to coincide with the vote taking place at the Corpo meeting going on inside. Huge crowd outside chanting; they closed the top of Dame St. and Castle St. Genuine local protest, families with kids and all. It was November (1987 I think). Needless to remark the vote was lost and Clanbrassil St. became the dual-carriageway it is today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi all fab photos I left Dublin for Australia in 1972.Saddest day of my life,I was just married and 23 years old.I would like to buy a book with these stories and photoes ,can you advise me on where I can get this ?
    A friend of my turns 70 next year ,he is from ringsend ( an expat also)Would dearly love a book recommendation to give him for his birthday .Any Ideas at all? Best wishes Kate


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Keep Updated

BrandNewRetro on twitter      Brand New Retro on Facebook     subscribe & get eMail for new posts

Posts by Month