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#6 Trees Come Down

In our last post we saw that the Berkeley’s site was a stand of trees, between Fellows’ Gardens to the west and College Park to the east, with New Square to the north and Nassau Street to the south. The main image shows this vista from New Square, reproduced from the pamphlet International architectural competition for a new library building. The statue you see is of Provost George Salmon, he who famously declared “Over my dead body will women enter this college”. It was moved in 1964, after a couple of brushes with tubs of paint and as work on the Berkeley progressed. He now resides flanking the Campanile in Front Square, with William Lecky to the other side.

To give a sense of what this view from New Square looks like now, here’s a shot of the same area from February 2017:


Facing from where the Berkeley now looks towards New Square and the Printing House, was this view:


Other views of the site from the same pamphlet are also worth studying. From the top of the Old Library:


…and from College Park, obviously without the Berkeley and Ussher Libraries:


The fate of the trees on the Berkeley site engendered a number of queries from the architects that were interested in entering the competition, listed in Official answers to questions: International architectural competition for a new library building.

Q.88 The building of a new library will result in eliminating many trees:
Is their replanting possible?
No; but new ones can be planted in accordance with architect’s suggestions.
Which of the trees is it possible to preserve?
Left to competitors.
How much does the replanting of trees cost?
Does not arise.
Should the elimination of trees be paid for?

Q.89 Would the Promoters be agreeable to a solution that tries to save many of the trees that are the site?
Left to competitors.

…and my personal favourite:
Q.90 Is there a certain nostalgia on the part of the members of the Board on the Jury attached to the preservation of the existing trees on this site, for how else is one to construe the painstaking record of this arbor?
Competitors must draw their own inferences from the information supplied.

The trees of Trinity are many and varied; anyone interested should look at the fantastic Trees of Trinity College Dublin, originally published in 1993 and now on its 3rd edition. A quick perusal will give an answer to why Trinity librarians often have conkers lying around – there is a horse chestnut by the side staff entrance to the Ussher.  Planted in the 1920s, this is one of the last remnants of that “arbor” we see in the photos above.