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Different Schemes, Same City?

How lessons from Luas Cross City works are informing the design and implementation of the Luas Finglas and MetroLink Cultural Heritage Strategies

Emer Dennehy

Cite this as: Dennehy. E. 2024 Different Schemes, Same City? How lessons from Luas Cross City works are informing the design and implementation of the Luas Finglas and MetroLink Cultural Heritage Strategies, Internet Archaeology 66.


Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) Archaeology and Heritage operate under a Code of Practice (CoP) for Archaeology (2017) as agreed with the present Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (MHLGH). In accordance with the CoP, a Project Archaeologist is assigned to each scheme. TII Project Archaeologists are responsible not just for archaeological remains, but for cultural heritage in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2014/52/EU and Environmental Protection Agency Guidelines 2022. Therefore our responsibilities equally encompass the management of built and cultural heritage constraints. This is inclusive of statutory constraints such as National Monuments, Record of Monuments and Places (RMPs) sites, and Protected Structures, and non-statutory constraints such as those included on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH), industrial heritage complexes, parklands, statues, and street furniture.

O'Brien National Monument on O'Connell Street, showing LCC construction works and an inbound Luas Red Line tram
O'Brien National Monument on O'Connell Street, showing LCC construction works and an inbound Luas Red Line tram (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Between 2013 to 2017, TII managed the various cultural heritage requirements of works contracts associated with the construction of Luas Cross City (LCC) in Dublin, Ireland. This scheme provides an ideal case study to consider how archaeological projects can help us understand the development and eastward expansion of the city's public realm from the late 17th to the 20th century. It also demonstrates how we can apply lessons learned from cultural heritage works to engineering contracts.

  • Google Scholar
  • Keywords: archaeology, Luas, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, megaproject, MetroLink, cholera, industrial heritage, canal transport site, railway transport site
  • Accepted: 31 Oct 2023. Published: 21 March 2024
  • Funding: The publication of this article is funded by the European Archaeological Council.
  • PDF download (main article text only)

Corresponding author: Emer Dennehy
MetroLink Archaeology and Heritage Advisor/Transport Infrastructure Ireland Project Archaeologist

Full text

Figure 1: Luas Cross City Route Map. Map also indicates interchange with Luas Red and Green Lines (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Figure 2: Broadstone Railway Terminus and Luas Broadstone Stop, Constitution Hill, Dublin (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Figure 3: Extract from Bernard de Gomme's 'The City and Suburbs of Dublin' (1673). Note circuit of medieval town wall enclosing 'The Citty of Dublin' in relation to St Stephen's Green and 'Trinity Colledg' which mark the alignment of LCC. © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Figure 4: 'Terminus of the Midland Great Western Railway' at Broadstone by Henry Adlard (1828-1869). Note presence of Mallet's 'Insistent Pontoon Bridge' crossing the Royal Canal. © National Library of Ireland

Figure 5: Luas terminus at Broombridge Hamilton Depot (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Figure 6: A digital facial reconstruction of a Tudor Dubliner from College Green, with intermediate modelling stages shown on left (Rubicon Heritage Ltd)

Figure 7: O'Brien National Monument on O'Connell Street, showing LCC construction works and an inbound Luas Red Line tram (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Figure 8: Cleaning newly exposed buttresses and retaining walls, Broadstone Harbour (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Figure 9: Cholera cemetery charnel trench under excavation. (Barrow Photography for Rubicon Heritage Ltd)

Figure 10: LCC Area 29 superimposed on 'An exact extract of the City and Suburbs of Dublin' by Rocque (1756); illustrating extent of Wide Street Commissioners demolition work. © Irish Historic Towns, Royal Irish Academy and Trinity College Dublin

Figure 11: Proposed MetroLink Station at St Stephen's Green Park (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Figure 12: View from north-east of the Royal Canal 5th Level 6th Lock Gate and historic MGWR bridge abutment (Alastair Coey Architects)

Figure 13: Cross-section through the perimeter ditch of St Stephen's Green Park, located below modern footpath (Rubicon Heritage Ltd)

Figure 14: View of the retaining revetment wall of St Stephen's Green Park's perimeter ditch (or ha-ha). Note this wall now functions as the foundation for the Park's perimeter fence (Rubicon Heritage Ltd)

Figure 15: Typical Georgian building on 43 Dominick Street. Note insulating passage to fore, and coal hole covers parallel to street kerb (Left; Archaeology and Built Heritage); example of partially infilled lightwells/keg drops on Marlborough Street (Top right); example of coal hole cover with granite surround (Bottom right, Archaeology and Built Heritage Ltd)

Figure 16: View of archaeologist recording cellar crowns and coal holes, Dominick Street Lower where associated Georgian buildings had been demolished c. 1960s (Archaeology and Built Heritage Ltd)

Figure 17: Turk's Head meerschaum pipe recovered from Broadstone Harbour (Transport Infrastructure Ireland)

Table 1: Typical investigation and treatment of cellar works requirements

Table 2: Specialist classification to inform NMI retention policy for LCC (Rubicon Heritage Ltd)

DAHRRGA 2017 Code of Practice for Archaeology agreed between the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional and Rural Affairs and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (EIA Directive), Official Journal of the European Union.

EPA 2022 Guidelines for Information to be contained in Environmental Impact Assessment Reports, Wexford: EPA.

Government of Ireland 2018 Project Ireland 2040: Building Ireland's Future, Dublin: Government of Ireland.

Ó Cionnaith, F. 2016 Exercise of Authority: Surveyor Thomas Owen and the paving, cleansing and lighting of Georgian Dublin, Dublin: Four Courts Press.

RPA 2010 Luas Broombridge: Environmental Impact Statement, Dublin: Railway Procurement Agency.

Rubicon Heritage 2017 'Revealing the face of Tudor Dublin', 22 June 2017, Rubicon Heritage [blog].

Rubicon Heritage 2021 'One in 1500: In search of Anthony Donlevy', 25 Nov 2022, Rubicon Heritage [blog]

Transport Infrastructure Ireland, National Roads Authority, and Railway Procurement Agency 2017 TII Digital Heritage Collections, Digital Repository of Ireland [Distributor], Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) [Depositing Institution].

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