Two views of Broadstone, Dublin

Broadstone Station, Dublin greets the new millennium. Rollei Model T with f3.5 75mm Zeiss Tessar lens.

Broadstone Station was the Dublin terminus of Ireland’s Midland & Great Western Railway. This enigmatic railway was built west from Dublin parallel to the suffering Royal Canal, and Broadstone Station was located adjacent to the existing Royal Canal basin in the north city center. M&GWR was among lines consolidated as Great Southern Railways in 1924, a move that sealed the fate of Broadstone; it was closed as a passenger terminal in 1936 (although tracks remained for freight services into the 1970s). The buildings survive as a Dublin Bus depot (garage). The old canal basin  was filled in many years ago and is now car park. The canal bridge that once spanned the road adjacent to the station is remembered in period photos on the walls of neighborhood pubs. Soon rails will return to Broadstone in the form of a LUAS light rail extension.

Broadstone Station is a vestige of Irish railways long gone. The station was executed in an Egyptian revival style and completed in 1850. I find the building fascinating, yet difficult to photograph because it is hemmed in by the five inhibitors of urban railway photography: pavement, walls, fences, wires and unkempt brush. On a weekday, cars and buses surround the old structure, which lend to ironic images of a grand decayed station encircled by transport modes that contributed to its redundancy. Making a simple image that captures the grandeur of the station isn’t easy. Here are two of my efforts: one was made with my old Rollei Model T on 120 size black & white film on January 3, 2000. I exposed the other digitally last Tuesday afternoon (February 19, 2013) using my Canon 7D and 40mm pancake lens.

Dublin's Broadstone Station, February 19, 2013. Exposed with Canon 7D fitted with 40mm pancake lens.
Dublin’s Broadstone Station, February 19, 2013. Exposed with Canon 7D fitted with 40mm pancake lens.
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5 comments on “Two views of Broadstone, Dublin

  1. Thanks! I’ll check it out. Brian

  2. Peter rigney on said:

    Hidden in the station is the plaque to commemorate MGWR workers who were killed serving in the British forces in World War One

  3. Like so many grand old buildings, it is under appreciated by those who own it. But, that’s what makes it fascinating. Its a relic of another time.

  4. Sean Solomon on said:

    It seems when buildings become dirty they look old and tired and the original inspiration of design is lost. On the other hand, the dirt can be looked at as a patina of age, that gives it value as an antiquity, much like copper that turns green. Its a tough call what to do, so each building must be evaluated on a case by case basis, considering its location and current status. Before I bought my building it was slated to be torn down. I cleaned the masonry facade bright and shiny and left the green patina of the copper bay window and gable. I was awarded a plaque by the city after its historical status and restoration requirements were fulfilled. This building in Dublin looks to be a solid structure with an architecture that does not look great dirty. What a shame it is being so neglected!

  5. Colm O'Callaghan on said:

    I was only there 2weeks ago Brian, Jim O’Dea took a simliar photo back in the 1950s with a lot of old ”vintage” cars parked in front of the building. There is a photo in existence of the Royal Canal flowing in front of the building before 1931. The nearby Foster Aqueduct which carried the Royal Canal across Phibsborough Rd was demolished in 1951 to ease the traffic bottleneck and allow buses to pass underneath.

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