PHOTOGRAPHED BY WILLIAM MURPHY

GRAND CANAL DOCK
Grand Canal Dock is an area near the city centre of Dublin, in the easternmost part of Dublin 2 and the westernmost part of Ringsend in Dublin 4, surrounding the Grand Canal Docks, an enclosed harbour or docking area between the River Liffey and the Grand Canal. Since 2000 the area has undergone significant redevelopment as part of the Dublin Docklands area redevelopment project.

The Grand Canal Dock area is somewhat disputed. It is generally understood to be bounded by the Liffey to the north, South Lotts Road to the east (or Barrow Street if separating South Lotts as its own area), Grand Canal Street to the south and Macken Street to the west (although current maps show the area including as far west as the corner of Leeson Street and Fitzwilliam Place). Grand Canal Dock contains Grand Canal Dock railway station (also known as Barrow Street Station), the national Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre, the U2 Tower site [unlikely to be built], and a number of notable buildings.

The area has been dubbed "Silicon Docks" as it has become an extremely popular location for high-tech multinationals such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin,[7] Airbnb and more.

The Grand Canal Docks first opened in 1796. At the time they were the world's largest docks. They fell into decline within just a few decades, due mostly to disuse with the arrival of the railways. The landscape was overwhelmed by Dublin Gas Company's mountains of black coal, along with chemical factories, tar pits, bottle factories and iron foundries. However, bakers and millers maintained business along the southern edge of the inner basin.

By the 1960s, the Grand Canal Docks were almost completely derelict. By 1987, it was decided that Hanover Quay was too toxic to sell. Regeneration began in 1998, when Bord Gáis sold the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) the former gasworks site located in the area between Sir John Rogerson's Quay and Hanover Quay for €19 million.

The DDDA spent €52 million decontaminating the land, even though the likely return was estimated at just €40 million. The decontamination took place under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency between 2002 and 2006. The process involved constructing an underground wall eight metres deep around the affected area and the contaminated land dug out and removed. By the time the decontamination was finished, an inflated property bubble and increased demand in the area (brought on, in part, by the decision by Google to set up its European headquarters nearby), allowed the authority to sell the land for €300 million. The DDDA injected some of its new wealth into the area's infrastructure.

A number of significant developments have happened since involving the construction of millions worth of real estate, the arrival of several thousand new residents, and the establishment of what is now known as Silicon Docks.