A Liberties student on the plan to move NCAD out of the area


Being a resident of the Liberties, getting accepted into the National College of Art and Design was a wonderful thing. Not only is it one of the top colleges of Ireland but it is a ten minute journey from my house each morning. NCAD has been one of the main landmarks of the Liberties since it moved there in 1980. However, if the plans of the college director go ahead it will be moving to the cultural wasteland of UCD's Belfield campus. The move to UCD is opposed by staff and students alike in both of the colleges.It seems that the move was planned by the director Colm O'Brian without taking into account those who mattered - the students and staff. The move is seen by management as the solution to the current lack of funding for redevelopment on the site. A large-scale development of luxury apartments or office blocks would no doubt occupy the location., kickstarting a migration of yuppies and overpriced coffee franchises.

The campus and the Liberties are a great source of inspiration and influence to the work done in the college. Not much has changed since it was a brewery, the distillery equipment is still housed within the rustic red brick buildings and the vats are an artistic focal point in the main square. The campus has a uniqueness beloved by both students and residents of the area. The move to UCD would mean a drastic change to the landscape of Francis street and a loss of the autonomy NCAD enjoys.

The Liberties is an important resource of cultural influences and amenities, it is close to a variety of galleries and exhibits. Local shops supply all the materials that the busiest art college could need at very reasonable prices, this is hugely important to low income students. The area is lucky in that it has not been swallowed by the growth of commercial interests like the city centre but I fear it's only a matter of time especially so if the site is sold.

The economy of the Liberties would be affected by the move as the employment generated from the college would be taken away. The move would be the biggest loss to the area since the factory formerly on the site closed down. Slowly the community in the Liberties is being pushed out as Dublin city center creeps in. The Liberties is one of the last living, breathing areas so close to the chaos of the city but yet we are made to feel there is no place for it in modern society.