Tag Archives: Ireland

Dublin of the Future, 1922

Patrick Abercrombie, Sydney Kelly, and Arthur Kelly. Dublin of the Future: The New Town Plan, Being the Scheme Awarded the First Prize in the International Competition.  Liverpool: The University Press, [1922].

The frontispiece for Dublin of the Future, entitled “The Last Hour of the Night” and created by Harry Clarke, drew me into the work. The image was unexpected and felt out of place in a planning report.

The Last Hour of Night

The plan itself has a complicated history. In 1914 The Civics Institute of Ireland held a competition seeking entries to redesign Dublin; however, the outbreak of World War I delayed judgment. A winner could not be selected until 1916, but then civil war further delayed the publication of the plan until 1922.  According to the authors:

The authors…were in a dilemma: whether to publish at this late hour the original scheme which gained the first premium in the Competition; or to set work to bring their plan up to date in view of every circumstance of increased knowledge and altered conditions. The last course they decided was impossible without being unfair: they could not revise and redraft their plan without having before them the work of the other competitors, many whose solutions they recognised as superior to their own. 

It was therefore decided, in the face of the drawbacks given above, to issue the Competition Scheme, supplemented with many drawings subsequently prepared to elucidate further the authors’ recommendations, reinforced by data which was in their possession at the time (but which haste had prevented them from presenting) and revised so far as was consistent  with its original framework….

…it may serve as a starting point, and possibly as a quarry of ideas, from which the final plan may be built. (pg. x)