O'Connell Street, Dublin 2
O'Connell Street is Dublin's main thoroughfare. One of Europe's widest streets, Known as 'Sackville Street' until 1924, Dublin Corporation renamed it in honour of Daniel O'Connell, a nationalist leader of the early nineteenth century whose statue stands at the lower end of the street, facing O'Connell Bridge.
O'Connell Street has its origins in a street named Drogheda Street dating from the 17th century. Laid out by Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda, it was a third of the width of the present-day O'Connell Street, located on the site of the modern eastern carriageway and extending from Parnell Street to the junction with Abbey Street.
In the 1740s, a wealthy banker and property speculator by the name of Luke Gardiner acquired the upper part of Drogheda Street extending down to Henry Street as part of a much larger land deal. He demolished the western side of Drogheda Street creating an exclusive elongated residential, thus establishing the scale of the modern-day thoroughfare.
Despite the progress made in improving the street's architectural coherence post-1916 and 1922, poor planning controls in the 1970s and 1980s had a sorely negative impact on the vitality and presentation of O'Connell Street.
Like so much of Dublin of that time, property speculators and developers
were permitted to construct on the thoroughfare what were widely
accepted to be inappropriately designed buildings,
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