Transit Gateway 3 / Structures of Care


map 3 structures of care
A Deep Mapping of Dublin Port by Silvia Loeffler
Mapping Phase 3: Dublin Port from 1786 to 1866 / Structures of Care

Event was held at the following time, date and location:

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 from 18:15 to 20:15 (IST)

The LAB Gallery
1 Foley Street
Dublin 1

You can listen to and view the seminar here: Transit Gateway 3 at the LAB

As part of “Port Perspectives”, Transit Gateway is a project that documents the transitional changes of the shape of Dublin Port from its medieval shoreline to its current infrastructure. The changes of the port as a gateway to the city bring to mind the void of communication of the 18th century on the ships before Marconi, the forced emigrations of the 19th century, the modern context of maritime holiday migration that shaped the 20th century, and which now extends itself to the cruise business the 21st century, and how cargo volumes changed over the centuries in terms of goods, locations and quantity.

Transit Gateway is an artistic mapping cartography that will show the changing connections of the city and the port throughout the years, and how the port as a gateway creates a vital connection of the city with the wider world. In collaboration with partners and the local community, the artist Silvia Loeffler has been commissioned by Dublin Port Company to create a social and collaborative artistic mapping project that looks at the port ‘s transitional phases over a time period of 9 months.

A large-scale installation series loosely based on the various maps used by H.A. Gilligan in his “History of the Port of Dublin” is currently being created, and the works are displayed in the Terminal 1 Building in Dublin Port. Each month, a new map layer will be added to the installation.

Each month, a specific seminar, which will be held in the LAB on Foley Street, in order ‘to bring the port back into the city’, will accompany the map layer.

“Dublin Port from 1786 to 1866 / Structures of Care” was the third seminar in this series. We referred to the measures, which the newly formed Ballast Board undertook in their function as “the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin”. John Pidgeon’s House and late 18th century docklands’ everyday life was marked by illegal liquor sales at the South Wall, drunken behaviour at the Lighthouse, and ‘tours of inspection’ down the river. The 19th century became the era of packet and steam ships and the establishment of the port authority’s lifeboat service (1801-62). A multitude of new lighthouses (in 1810 there were ten, whereas in 1867 there were seventy-two) appeared and the construction of the North Bull Wall (1820/21 – 1825) took place, which would – eventually – lead to the appearance of Bull Island as we know it.

As Dublin grew in trade and commerce, additional bridges were built over the Liffey to connect North and South parts of the city to accommodate traffic. The quay walls required constant repair and maintenance, and, in psychological as much as in building terms, care and nurture were required to keep the port machinery operating in connection with the city and its dwellers.

We hope that you enjoyed the discussion of Dublin Port of this particular era, and how restoration, preservation and care are foundations of both environmental concerns and civic participation.

Speaker panel:

Rob Goodbody (built heritage specialist)

Sophia Meeres (landscape architect)

Tara Kennedy & Jo Anne Butler (artists / architects)

This seminar was the third in a series of nine, held over the next months.

The Transit Gateway seminars are part of a wider public engagement programme for Port Perspectives 2017. They are funded by Dublin Port Company and the LAB Gallery.

Dublin Port’s 2017 Port Perspectives / Engagement Programme has been developed in collaboration with Dublin City Council, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, UCD School of Architecture, National College of Art and Design, Irish Architecture Foundation, Create [the National Collaborative Arts Agency] and Business to Arts.




Rob Goodbody is a historic building consultant and building historian. He has published a number of books and articles, including The Metals – from Dalkey to Dun Laoghaire and has co-authored a number of other books, including The Martello Towers of Dublin. He has recently been working as one of the authors of a book on Dublin Bay, to be published later this year.


From the end of the eighteenth century serious efforts were made to remove the sand bar that obstructed the mouth of the Liffey and hampered the use of Dublin port. The success of these measures allowed the port to accommodate the ever-larger ships that sailed the seas in the mid-nineteenth century and altered Dublin Bay forever.

Bio & Synopsis – Ebbs and flows.

Sophia MEERES (UCD landscape architecture) researches changing landscapes and lifestyles, and time travel. Her contribution to this seminar will be in (attempting to) transport the audience back to Dublin bay as it was in the late 18th / early 19th Century. This talk will focus on the natural elements of Dublin port: on the beach, the tides, the 3 rivers, Dublin bay itself and interactions that existed in those days between locals and the landscapes revealed at low water.


Jo Anne Butler and Tara Kennedy have been friends and co-conspirators since first meeting at art school in 2001. In 2008 they founded a collaborative architecture and design practice, Culturstruction, working in the overlaps of design, architecture and spatial practices. They were also co-founders of the community-based design organisation ‘Commonage’. As socially engaged designers they borrow from the systems and structures of their shared backgrounds in visual arts practice. Today ‘Culturstruction’ is a long-term shared conversation about design that meanders and flourishes alongside other independent design-focused activities.

Jo Anne Butler (MArch UCD 2013) is co-director of Superfolk, a design studio proudly based on the west coast of Ireland. The name Superfolk describes the braveness of hope for the future of our planet, paired with a huge respect for the intelligence of folk cultures. Superfolk approaches design through a deep understanding of our materials, simplified ways of making and a mission to nurture love for our natural environment.

Tara Kennedy (MArch UCD 2013) practices architecture with John McLaughlin Architects, including producing Making Ireland Modern in 2016, and teaches at Cork Centre for Architectural Education as well as pursuing independent research and design projects. In 2016 Tara co-curated Beyond Participation with the Irish Architecture Foundation. Current work also includes exploring experience of architecture in shared, cultural and co-working spaces for parents with our young children, questioning how the design of these places might better support radical and active citizenship.


In 2013 Culturstruction contributed to an exhibition and publication titled ‘Planning for Protest’ for the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. In light of the global financial crisis, ‘Planning for Protest’ invited twelve international architectural offices to provide case studies and project proposals for contested spaces within their own cities.

‘Hiding in Plain Sight: A new Route for Civic Dissent in Dublin’ proposed a new ‘Route of Civic Dissent’ to make visible the connections between state and marketplace. The proposal took the concrete carcass of the intended headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank as a starting point for enquiry. In 2011 the Central Bank of Ireland had announced their intention to relocate from their city centre headquarters to the IFSC. We re-imagined the Central Bank at the Anglo building to include a place of public assembly, public discussion rooms, workshop facilities and a freedom of information library. Together these spaces facilitate popular education and transparency of information, creating opportunities for citizens to peacefully and actively participate in power. We proposed that the new Central Bank location could be very important for its potential to offer a foothold for the Irish public in the realm of globalised capital that is the IFSC.

In 2017, as the new Central Bank glitters along the river bank we will revisit these conversations around ‘Planning for Protest’, care and civic participation.

Dr. Silvia Loeffler is an artist, researcher and educator in Visual Culture. She is the organiser of the Transit Gateway seminars, funded by Dublin Port Company, and run in close collaboration with the LAB. This seminar series will continue until October 2017 and is part of Silvia’s artistic cartography ‘Transit Gateway: A Deep Mapping of Dublin Port’.