Dublin 1970-1990 – the city transformed

Dublin’s footprint grew steadily during the 1970s with housing transforming the landscape of the west of the city, especially in Tallaght, Clondalkin and Blanchardstown.  It was a time of change with the dominance of the city centre increasingly challenged by suburban shopping centres as Dubliners embraced the freedom offered by the motor car.  Cars demanded more and bigger roads but it was realised that Dublin had to control rather than accommodate these demands.  The suburban trend in housing, shopping and jobs made the problem of decline and decay in the city centre even more acute.  There was much talk about what needed to be done but little happened until the latter years of the 1980s.  When change came it was dramatic and both the social geography of the city centre and its appearance were transformed in less than five years.   The urban environment was given greater attention, largely because the issues could no longer be avoided.  The Liffey stink was finally tamed after a century or more of complaints and Dubliners had to say farewell to open coal fires. Some things never changed!  The problem of how to manage the city remained as intractable as ever despite significant changes in the local government structures and public housing need remained acute.  These and other topics are considered in this volume in the Making of Dublin City series.  As it usual, the discussion will be enlivened by colour maps, photographs and illustrations.


Joseph Brady
Dublin from 1970 to 1990
the city transformed
ISBN: 978-1-85182-641-4

Chapter headings

  • In Dublin’s Fair City
  • The challenge of the suburbs
  • The Centre Fights Back
  • Dublin’s environment
  • Urban Decay and Renewal
  • Landscape Transformations
  • Planning and Governance
  • A tale of the car and of the bus
  • The City at the end of the 1980s

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