02: Viking Site and Proposals
A look at the early days of development on the Wood Quay site and plans for its future.
In 1968 Dublin Corporation announced plans to build civic offices on a four acre site on Wood Quay. At the time the corporation had several premises spread throughout the city, often in decaying buildings offering poor working conditions to corporation staff. A new central premises at Wood Quay was the proposed solution. An open architectural competition was held and the Corporation Planning and Development Committee was tasked with choosing the winning design. However, plans were not to go as smoothly as initially anticipated.
At the time archaeological excavations were being carried out in the Christ Church area around High Street by the National Museum, who also made a request to carry out trial cuttings on the Wood Quay site. As the excavations were carried out the importance of this site as a Viking settlement became more and more apparent. Initial discoveries proved significant in helping to build a picture of life in the ancient heart of Dublin.
Work was halted as a result of archaeological discoveries and planning questions were raised regarding the possible dwarfing of Christ Church Cathedral by the planned office blocks.
The accompanying photograph shows The Irish House on the corner of Wood Quay and Winetavern Street, Dublin (circa 1950). This is the site of the Viking settlement and where the Dublin Corporation Civic Offices now stand. This photograph is part of the RTÉ Cashman Collection © RTÉ Archives 0510/008