A SATURDAY VISIT TO GRAND CANAL SQUARE

GRAND CANAL SQUARE

I thought that it was Friday when I visited this area of Dublin and only discovered that it was Saturday when I visited the Crystal Boat restaurant and was presented with the weekend special offers. I do have an excuse - I was very unwell for about seven daysI lost track of time.

Grand Canal Square, an urban space in Dublin's Docklands, was opened in June 2007. The square is located at Grand Canal Dock on the south side of the river Liffey between Sir John Rogerson's Quay and Pearse Street.

Designed by American Landscape Architect, Martha Schwartz and developed by the former Dublin Docklands Development Authority, the 10,000 sq metre square is one of the largest paved public spaces in Dublin city. The €8 million project is among the most innovative landscape design projects ever undertaken in Ireland and Grand Canal Square is expected to become a key cultural destination for Docklands and the city.

Grand Canal Square is located at the west end of Grand Canal Dock with one side facing out on to the water. The tinted glass office building designed by Duffy Mitchell O'Donoghue - No.1 Grand Canal Square - is on the south side, with the Daniel Libeskind designed Grand Canal Theatre on the east side and the Manual Aires Matues designed 5-star hotel on the north side of the Square. There are shops, cafés and restaurants at ground floor level. The Square is built over an underground car park at the centre of the Grand Canal Dock development area.

The Square features a striking composition of a red "carpet" extending from the theatre into and over the dock. This is crossed by a green "carpet" of paving with lawns and vegetation. The red "carpet" is made of bright red resin-glass paving covered with red glowing angled light sticks. The green "carpet" of polygon-shaped planters filled with marsh like vegetation provides seating and will connect the new hotel to the office development across the square.

Grand Canal Square is also criss-crossed by granite-paved paths that allow movement across it in any possible direction, while still allowing for the Square to host major public events such as festivals and performances. The layout can accommodate a diverse range of activities throughout the day and night.

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