The people, places and things that make Dublin special
All interesting Dublin landmarks tend to polarise. For every champion of The Spire, you’ll find someone who still thinks that it should never have been erected. And so too with the Poolbeg Generating Station. Even the more ardent of its champions would be hard pressed to describe it as beautiful; its two distinctive red and white chimneys, built in 1969 and 1977 and standing at over 207 metres, poking the city’s skyline, cannot even be described as useful – they were decommissioned in 2010.
Its detractors would claim that (a) the chimneys’ industrial ugliness and (b) the fact that they’re obsolete relics means they have no place in a modern capital city. These arguments prove weak, however, when held up against Poolbeg’s undeniably iconic status. Many people nearly lost their reason when it was reported in 2014 that the ESB were thinking of demolishing the chimneys, which, according to the company, were taking up far too many resources to maintain. Following a significant public outcry, last year the decision was reversed – the chimneys would stay. “The chimneys are a well known landmark in the Dublin skyline, distinguished by their height, as Dublin does not have significant high rise development,” an ESB spokesman commented, as the chimneys’ champions breathed a little easier. This particular Dublin icon will remain intact.
Chimneys aside, Poolbeg is of course a fully operational power station. While it’s known locally as Pigeon House, the current station is actually adjacent to the original Pigeon House site, previously a military barracks before becoming a power station where electricity was first generated in 1903. It was eventually decommissioned in 1976, with the modern day station built in phases over the Sixties and early Seventies. As has become apparent, it’s all about form over functionality when it comes to Poolbeg, especially in the creative and artistic communities who may or may not know (or care) that the station’s total installed capacity is 1020 megawatts.