Dublin Slums in Conversation with the Chapelizod Neighborhood

Chapelizod neighorhood via GoogleMaps

I was struck by the beautiful architecture of the houses in the Chapelizod neighborhood of Dublin as they are today. The brick is stunning against the carefully placed and manicured greenery around the neighborhood. Most of the houses look alike and are appealing as such and because of their similarity. The neighborhood has its own aesthetic. It goes together in a tantalizingly eerie way.

I am drawn to houses that look like those in the Chapelizod neighborhood. I can just image walking the streets and dreaming of my life in one of those houses, with beautiful brick separating me from passerby.

Reading for this week made me think how much pictures and perfectly cut bushes can hide. In A Short History of Ireland, McMahon writes about the slums of Dublin that were ran by the wealthy leaders.

“Dublin, especially, was notorious and even contemporaries knew how
bad conditions were. More than 100,000 people lived in
one-room tenements, often in the degraded Georgian
dwellings of the city’s golden age of architecture, without
water, light or sanitation.”

A Short History of Ireland, McMahon

Kilfeather writes about the Gardiner estate, “decaying into slums”. She also writes that they are now in the process of being gentrified. Looking at the Chapelizod neighborhood feeling foreboding now. The architecture can be easily unkempt and fall into disrepair when people are no longer looking out for the neighborhood. I’m not sure if gentrification is the story of the beauty I see in the Chapelizod neighborhood, but I know buildings can tell stories.

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