Council Briefs: North Great George's Street Gets Protected and the Geography of Arts Funding

Councillors voted to designate North Great George’s Street and its environs an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) at January’s monthly meeting of the full council.

The boundaries of the conservation area lie just to the north of Denmark Street Great, to the east of Hill Street, along a strip of Parnell Street, and along Rutland Place at its western edge.

It means that new developments in the area must be in line with the character of the neighbourhood, says a report to councillors.

Buildings there already should be encouraged to reinstate and enhance their features in a manner sympathetic to the “special character of the area”, says the report.

This designation would “protect the special historic and architectural character and also support compact sustainable growth of this historic city centre area”, said Chief Executive Owen Keegan in the report.

Map from Dublin City Council report.

North Great George’s Street has a big stock of late eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth-century structures. Many original materials and details are still intact, including pitched roofs with natural slates, timber sashes, and boot-scrapers.

The ACA will also include former mews plots and lands behind North Great George’s Street, on the east side of Rutland Place and on the west side of Hill Street, says the report.

“This could be an area where we could provide social and affordable accommodation in a protected area and particularly to look at the cultural side too,” said Labour Councillor Joe Costello, at the meeting.

Arts Funding

Dublin City Council awarded €550,000 in grants and bursaries to artists and arts organisations as part of its Arts Grants and Bursary Scheme for 2020, councillors heard at the January full council meeting.

From 163 applications for grants, 59 were successful, says the report from Assistant Chief Executive Richard Shakespeare. Meanwhile, 17 bursaries were awarded out of 76 applications.

Grants were awarded for plays, exhibitions, neighbourhood art projects and annual revenue support for some established arts organisations.

Bursaries, which had a bigger budget this year given Covid-19, were awarded for film, dance, visual art and music projects.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Deirdre Heney welcomed the report but queries how some areas were getting more money than others.

Dublin Central and Dublin South Central both got eight grants, she said. “There was zero for Dublin North Central.”

Social Democrats Councillor Cat O’Driscoll said that applications for grants and bursaries were low in Dublin North West. “It’s not that there are no organisations interested in art in these areas, it’s just maybe they are lacking capacity or knowledge of the process.”

“I notice that the Dublin Fringe Festival got €30,000,” said independent Councillor Mannix Flynn. The festival should rotate venues each year throughout the city, and go to places like Clondalkin and Ballyfermot, satellite towns, flat complexes and Traveller halting sites, he said.

It can’t be a postcode lottery with regards to any of our services that affects people’s mental health and integration, said Green Party Councillor and Lord Mayor Hazel Chu. Arts support well-being in neighbourhoods said Chu.

Shakespeare said he would bring the council’s area managers for Dublin North Central and Dublin North West together with the City Arts Office and Dublin Culture Company to see how they could collaborate on the arts.

Funding for grants and bursaries is not set to rise in 2021, says the report, given the “unprecedented year involved”. Meaning next year’s allocation is expected to stick at €550,000.

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Stephanie Costello: Stephanie Costello is a freelance reporter for Dublin Inquirer. She covers community news and the jobs beat. To get in contact with her, you can email her on [email protected]

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