Work set to begin on Liffey Street plaza with trees, benches and bicycle stands

Development of pedestrian zone beside Ha’penny Bridge to take up to two years

Supplied by Olivia Kelly

Construction is to begin later this month on a €6.5 million pedestrian plaza for Dublin, beside the Ha’penny Bridge on Liffey Street, more than three years after it was approved by city councillors.

Liffey Street will be closed to traffic between Strand Street and the quays as a result of the development. The remainder of Liffey Street Lower and all of Liffey Street Upper, which runs from Abbey Street to Henry Street, will be upgraded to create a more “pedestrian-friendly” environment, with benches, bicycle stands and trees, the council said.

The work is expected to begin on January 23rd and is due to be completed by the end of next year. Pedestrian access will be maintained during this time.

Liffey Street Lower is currently open to southbound traffic from Abbey Street to the quays. The creation of the plaza will mean traffic on Abbey Street, including cars exiting the Arnotts car park, will no longer be able to access the quays via Liffey Street Lower, but will instead have to turn right on to Strand Street and continue to Capel Street to reach the quays at Grattan Bridge. While most of Capel Street has been made car free, the area between Strand Street and the river Liffey has been kept open to traffic to facilitate the plaza.


The council began devising plans for a northside plaza following the refusal in 2018 by An Bord Pleanála of the College Green plaza. Unlike the College Green scheme, the council decided to progress the Liffey Street project through its own internal planning process.

The plans were presented to the council in February 2019, before going out for public consultation, and there have since been some alterations including the removal of a water feature incorporating a line of water jets or mini fountains. The council determined these would be “visually incongruous” and would impede the movement of pedestrians.

The scheme was approved by councillors in September 2019 and construction was due to begin later that year with a completion date of mid-2020. However, work had not yet begun when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Following the introduction of pandemic-related restrictions in 2020, the council began a programme which sought to give more space to pedestrians and to facilitate outdoor dining on the city’s streets. These schemes were largely focused on the southside of the city, on streets surrounding Grafton Street, and Liffey Street was not included in the programme.

Separately, the council has recently sought bids to redesign the College Green plaza ahead of submitting a fresh planning application to An Bord Pleanála this year.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times