Dublin Restoration

Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland. The city is located on the mouth of the Liffey River, and has been the Irish capital city since medieval times. This year – 2016 – they are celebrating an important anniversary has been celebrated. It has been 100 years since April 1916 – the year of the Easter Rising. The small rebellion was easily suppressed but it became very important because of the events that followed. While it was initially observed in a rather detached manner by the population of Dublin, this bloody repression, with the execution of many young men, caused a quick change of opinion among the people. In 1918, the Irish Volunteers guerrilla activities began, led by Michael Collins. In 1922, Dublin became the capital city of an independent Ireland. Over the past few decades, the city has been constantly expanding in terms of urban planning and economy. Many urban reclamation operations have been carried out, and specifically in the lighting sector. Neri has been involved constantly since 1999. The first project assigned to Neri dates back to the festivities marking the new millennium, when the subject of restoration work was the O’Connell Bridge, the bridge crossing the Liffey River. Built in 1879, it was decorated with monumental cast iron posts on its sides (8) as well as on the central traffic island (3), purchased from Paris.

Neri performed a delicate restoration on the lamp posts after English, French and German companies had refused the invitation, considering the complexity of the required operations. As a matter of fact, at the beginning of the Twentieth century, in an attempt to improve their stability, an inner concrete core was cast. This caused irreparable damage to the posts, which in some cases even got broken. The lamp posts, transported to Neri’s workshops, were dismantled, separating all the decorative components from the central column. The individual elements were therefore cleaned with delicate sand-blasting. Since the central columns of the posts were irreparably damaged by the concrete, models were created for their perfect reproduction. The foundry, with the created models, casts the new columns. Owing to the complexity of the decorations, the models were divided into different sections, each extracted individually by hand. 16 years after their refurbishment, the lamp posts continue to beautifully decorate and light this historical bridge in the heart of Dublin. The quality of the operation on the posts of the O’Connell Bridge paved the way for several other operations in the years that followed up until the present day. The Half Penny bridge – the most photographed place in all Dublin – was also lit, using ‘Light 801’ luminaires. The same type of luminaire was chosen to light Temple Bar, a particularly renowned district in the centre of Dublin, a meeting place among street artists, which has been refurbished, renovated, and designated as an authentic tourist location, with famous pubs and clubs.

Not far from Temple Bar is the first Irish House of Parliament, where Dublin’s original historical posts – with their typical Swan necks – were fitted with ‘Light 23’ in a silver colour – the typical colour of cast iron posts in Dublin. The same type of lamp post lights the National Library of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland. Similar to the previous model in terms of height, but with different decorations is the lamp post that lights the Irish Government Buildings – a building complex designed by Sir Aston Webb, the designer of the façade of Buckingham Palace – which was initially the Royal College of Science, the last grand building built by the British in Ireland. This part of the city is lit with this same type all the way to Merion Square. The collaboration between Neri and the City of Dublin has also been extended to the reproduction of this type of post – found throughout the city – thanks to an intelligent preservation and maintenance operation, which made it possible to save this important Nineteenth century urban heritage. The pedestrian areas of Dublin, for over a century, have been lit with small lamp posts with a single light. Painted black, today – as in the past – they light the inner streets of the capital, like Talbot Street. This type was also replicated by Neri, for extensions in the system and to replace posts that are damaged each year.

For other areas of the city, Dublin has chosen lamp posts from the Neri catalogue, like Nashira in front of Abbey Presbyterian Church and in Ross Road. Or the Tabit system in Clonfart Road in the north of the city. Or the Castore system, in Chapel Street. In Dun Laoghaire, in the south of the city, they preferred a reproduction of the lamp posts of Venice, created by Neri for the lake city, with ‘Light 600’. In Dun Laoghaire, Neri also restored two magnificent luminaires from the beginning of the Twentieth century, positioned on two original lamp posts next to a temple fountain by the historic Mc Farland Foundry.