New home for Molly as Luas moves statues
SOME of the capital's most iconic statues will be moved into storage from October to allow major construction works for the new Luas line.
The Lady Grattan fountain and horse troughs on St Stephen's Green will be the first to go, followed by the Steine Sculpture on College Street, four cast-iron bollards from the centre of O'Connell Street and paving to the north of the Parnell monument.
And the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) said the Molly Malone statue will be wheeling her wheelbarrow outside the Failte Ireland tourism office on St Andrew's Street from early next year.
It is the only so-called heritage item that will not be put in storage for the duration of the works, because it is a major tourist attraction.
"It will start with a series of inspections and surveys," a RPA spokeswoman said. "We're only removing them as they're required to be removed, because we don't want them off the street longer than necessary.
"Molloy Malone is moving because she's such a big tourist attraction. The plan is she'll be returned as close to her original position as possible."
The €370m Luas Cross-City link will connect the existing two lines and is expected to be operational from 2017. Any heritage items in the path of the tramway will be removed, but most will return to their original location.
Works have already been completed surveying cellars in the path of the tracks. The next phase of the works, which will be carried out as statues are removed, involves moving 70km of utilities, including pipes for electricity, gas, water, traffic signals and telecommunications.
It is expected to cause widespread disruption, and will take up to 18 months, but work sites will be opened on a phased basis. Only when these are completed can work begin laying the 5.6km of track.