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VIDEO: "mmm skyscraper i love you..." McDermott Tower comes crashing down in Ballymun
Short DivX film for you to download.
Ballymun is a suburb on the north fringe of Dublin city centre. Before the 1960's it was a rural community, the remnants of which can still be seen dotted around the landscape today. In a period of relative economic prosperity, hundreds of families, mostly from the few surviving inner city tenements, were housed in new high-rise blocks in the mid to late 1960's, which at the time were hailed as modern, even futuristic. Long term residents remember how people queued in housing offices to get re-housed in the new tower blocks. The architecture and housing solutions had been directly imported lock stock from the UK where similar experiments had sprouted from the ground up in the 1950's (and by the time Ballymun was being built, the purported benefits of high-rise housing were already being questioned across the water).
Ballymun suffered from the nelgect associated with mass high-rise estates and developments as time progressed. Housing was built but necessary facilities and support for council tenants did not materialise. As a result Ballymun became isolated from the city. The only high rise suburb in the city soon became associated with poverty and exclusion. With the arrival of heroin into Dublin in the 1980's, existing social problems were intensified.
Ballymun is currently undergoing a massive regeneration, with most of the original eight storey blocks and all of the seven "signatories" towers (named after the seven men who signed the 1916 proclomation of independence) being demolished. Despite being a high rise suburb, Ballymun was actually low-density. The flat blocks were surrounded by large green spaces. These spaces between the blocks are being filled in with low-density, low-rise housing, which has been built and designed in consultation with the residents of the area over the past few years.
This short (2:35) film captures the demolition of the McDermott Tower on the morning of Sunday March 13th 2005. It is the only tower that will be imploded for safety reasons. The demolition had meant to take place the previous Sunday but had been postponed after the death of a worker on the site. An investigation into his death is ongoing. The demolition of the tower blocks means that one of the most distinctive places in Ireland will be lost for ever. The Ballymun towers were visible from every part of Dublin, and they were the first sight for people arriving back into Dublin airport. Most residents seem to be happy with the regneration, and are glad to see the towers go, despite many people expressing nostalgic regret for the sense of community that had grown in the towers.
The attachment is a small 7 MB download. This is a DivX AVI video file. What does this mean? It means the film has been created with a compression tool or "codec" called DivX. To play this film, you will need a DivX player. This is free to download from the DivX site - http://www.divx.com .
Right-Click with your mouse here to save the file onto your computer.