ABOVE: THE SAMUEL BECKET BRIDGE & THE CONVENTION CENTRE
The innovative glass-fronted Convention Centre (also known as the National Conference Centre) is scheduled to open in September 2010. It overlooks the Liffey at Spencer Dock and contains a 2,000-seat auditorium, two 450-seat multi-media halls, exhibition spaces, conference banqueting halls, meeting rooms, and lecture rooms. The glass atrium provides panoramic views of the River Liffey, Dublin city centre and the Wicklow mountains. The Convention Centre will play a key role when Dublin takes on the role of European City of Science in July 2012.
The Centre’s Pritzker Prize winning Irish-American architect Kevin Roche was one of the bright young things who worked on Busaras in the 1950s. His subsequent portfolio includes the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport, the Oakland Museum of California and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Convention Centre is located on the site of two North Wall stalwarts - Campion's Bar, a once celebrated Victorian pub, and Kilmartin's Turf Accountants. Campion’s was located at 47 North Wall Quay, a building that appeared on the 1837 Ordnance Survey map and which was owned and occupied since at least1834. The plot was originally allocated to Mathew Brownlow and Thomas Wilkinson in 1717. Between 1839 and 1866, it was owned by Matthew Jones, a provisions dealer. He opened it as the Falmouth Hotel in 1847, renaming it the Chester and Holyhead Hotel in the 1850s. The building prospered as a tavern during the early 20th century, resisting the temptation to modernize, but was affected by the derelict streetscape around it. The pub and adjoining turf accountants were demolished in 2000.