One of the oldest telephone boxes in Ireland could be reinstalled on a street in Dublin if the right location can be found, Eir and Dublin City Council have indicated.
The 1920s telephone box was originally on Parkgate Street, near the Seán Houston Bridge, but was moved to Dawson Street, on the city’s southside in the 1990s. When the Luas cross city plans got under way, the kiosk was placed in storage.
At a council meeting last month, councillor Ciarán Cuffe, now a Green Party MEP, asked for the kiosk to be reinstated on Parkgate Street.
Mr Cuffe said moving the phone box to the southside had been part of a pattern of relocating attractive items of street furniture from poorer parts of the city to more affluent areas.
It is “part of a wider trend of beautiful pieces of unique street furniture disappearing,” he said. “They’re such a lovely part of Dublin and once they’re gone it’s very difficult to get them back,” he said.
He told The Irish Times that local resident Ken McCue brought the matter to his attention. Mr McCue, a cultural planner who worked on the heritage area regeneration project for the markets area of Dublin in the mid-00s, said many fixtures had been removed from the northside and either relocated to more affluent areas or sold to private buyers.
He pointed to the mill stone from St Mary’s Abbey which was apparently sold to a buyer in the UK; cobble sets from Smithfield which ended up in Trinity College; lamp standards from Smithfield moved to a driveway in Howth and a Victorian post box which was taken away from Henrietta Street.
Mr McCue said he believed the phone kiosk was probably a copy of the early British phone boxes designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. “His next job was the Liverpool Cathedral,” said Mr McCue. “If you look at the shape of it, it looks like a giant telephone box.”
In response to Mr Cuffe’s request, Dublin City Council said: “The 1920s telephone kiosk on Dawson Street, the last of its kind in Dublin city, is the property of Eir (one still exists in Foxrock village).
“The kiosk was removed by Eir from Dawson Street during the Luas Cross City Works, and it is understood to have been put on display at Eir’s headquarters in Kilmainham. We are awaiting a response from a representative of Eir regarding the current whereabouts of the kiosk.”
When contacted by The Irish Times, Eir said: “The phone box is in storage in Eir, it has been refurbished. A decision is still to be made on where the phone box will be installed for the future; the team are discussing at the head office in Eir and they would absolutely be open to reinstalling it back in Dublin city if the right location could be found.”
Mr McCue said the right location is “back where it was” on Parkgate Street.