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Skyline to change forever as work begins to demolish last tower block


The 'nibbler' starts demolition

The 'nibbler' starts demolition

Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Locals take pictures of the iconic tower block

Locals take pictures of the iconic tower block

Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin


The 'nibbler' starts demolition

WORK has commenced to demolish the last remaining tower block in Ballymun, bringing an end to the housing project launched nearly 50 years ago.

The 15-storey Joseph Plunkett Tower was the last of the seven tallest tower blocks to be built in the late 1960s and launched in 1967.

Over the last few weeks it has been conspicuous on the Ballymun skyline as the only reminder of the old development standing over the newer homes built under the Ballymun Regeneration Scheme.

But at 4.30pm yesterday a long-reach hydraulic 'nibbler' started to chew away at the top of the tower's west-facing elevation.

The machine, visible from Balbutcher Lane, is well recognised and almost ignored by locals who have grown used to it's presence on the landscape.


However, extra attention was paid yesterday as demolition started on Joseph Plunkett, the last tower standing after the destruction of Thomas Clarke, Sean McDermott, Thomas McDonagh, Patrick Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt and James Connolly.

The process of demolishing it is expected to take three to four weeks.

The same method was also used to demolish four of the original towers, and all 29 of the eight and four-storey blocks.

The remaining two 15-storey towers were demolished using explosives.

All the rubble remaining from the scheme is scheduled to be reused for projects such as road construction, while removable fixtures are being sent for recycling.

Joseph Plunkett Tower contained a total of 90 two and three-bedroom flats.

U2 also made reference to the 'seven towers' in the song Running To Stand Still on the Joshua Tree album.

The total scheme comprised 2,900 flats which were built on the outskirts of Dublin, but which were eventually swallowed up by the expanding city.

As they fell into disrepair over time they eventually became examples of a bad social housing project involving a massive population density with little amenities.

In 1997, Dublin City Council announced plans to prepare a regeneration masterplan for Ballymun and its 20,000 inhabitants.

As the Ballymun Regeneration project got underway and the towers were gradually removed from the landscape the residents were housed in new units built locally to a modern standard - and the high-rise model was abandoned by Dublin City Council.