Chapelizod – a Village Struggling with its Past and its Future


For years, I’ve attended the Chapelizod Residents Association (C.R.A.) AGMs and meetings alongside those of the Chapelizod Old Village Association (C.O.V.A.).

I decided to try to understand the passion of both these voluntary groups, who are passionate about protecting the identity and heritage attaching to this most fascinating village, so I decided to take a closer look.

I thought an hour or two on a Saturday would be sufficient time to walk the village and its environs, but in fact, I did my walking tour over two Saturdays and still I felt I had not done the village justice and needed more time.

What I experienced was an almost out of body experience, as one could immerse oneself into the history of the Village and be mortally saddened at its neglect.

What is most obvious while strolling through the village is my absolute conviction that the volume and throughput of motorised vehicles is not consistent with the sustainability of this magnificent village.

So obvious is the neglect and contradictions that one wanted to scream "STOP!". Imagine people’s homes crumbling from the effect of monstrous volumes of traffic outside the doors of small terraced home built for a pedestrianised village environment.

Chapelizod is sandwiched between the magnificent walled Phoenix Park and the beautiful River Liffey, a site in such a magnificent location would be hard to imagine.

The Village is riven with contrasts, not least of which are the old industrial river course industries and what might be deemed the “modern” at the industrial estate on the edge of the village. There are also generational contrasts between the “new tenants” or owner-occupiers of the modern apartment complexes and the “local” residents whose families have lived here for generations.

There are the contrasts between those brave residents who are investing in the maintenance of their homes and sadly those who are giving up the struggle; and there is the huge contrast in architectural detail and design over the years.

My pictures tell the story of Chapelizod better than words, and when one sits down to enjoy a nice pint in one of the local pubs and contemplates its demise and future, one can legitimately ask who or why nobody shouted "STOP!", or at least why a Local Authority has been deaf to the cry of the Residents and C.O.V.A.

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