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Dundrum - A New Era
- 4 March 2005

On Thursday morning, 3rd March 2005, you could sense the stillness in the air around Dundrum. 5,000 people had already gathered by 09:30. As the sun rose over the surrounding trees, the crowd clutched their creeds. They read them without a sound, ‘We are about to enter a new era’ which will ‘enrich, inspire and indulge every aspect of our lives’.

It was a beautiful day and the golden sun was in the midst of melting the ice on the ground. Then as the choir faded out – it was time. The holy father stood up and declared ‘God of Love, may a spirit of dedicated service be present here, making real your loving and self – giving care for us all.’

At the stroke of ten, the leader made the signal. Then as the crowd gained momentum and started pushing their way towards the new opening, the music started to blare - ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2.

The opening of Dundrum Shopping Center was choreographed brilliantly and it has opened up the debate on whether or not shopping is the new religion.

“Consumer Cathedral”

At a cost of over E850m, the new ‘consumer cathedral’ is breathtaking, visionary and sophisticated. The architects were clearly influenced by notable buildings such as the Millennium Wing in the National Art Gallery and Christchurch Cathedral.

The center is bright and airy and the shops have raised the bar in relation to design. Most people hide their faces when they enter a Penneys store– but no need to in Dundrum.

The opening has introduced a lot of new faces into Ireland like House of Fraser, H&M and Molton Brown. The developers are hoping that these names will pull in the crowds from the affluent neighbouring suburbs.

And there is more to come. In the autumn, we can expect the opening of the 12-screen cinema, the public theatre and the Mill Pond shopping area. In spring 2008, the old Dundrum shopping center will be refurbished and the finished project will incorporate offices and apartments.

“ From a village to a town”

Dundrum Town Center was given the go ahead by Dun Laoighaire Rathdown County Council over a decade ago. They have a vested interest and are expecting an average annual return of E20m from rents.

Residents are aware that Dundrum is no longer the sleepy village it once was. Local shop owner, Heather Goodman, empathises with the older residents in the area.
“They feel that they are losing their village, so the atmosphere in the last couple of weeks has become very depressing. Everybody’s being saying it’s just like a ghost town’.
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Shelia Grant from Dundrum is also anxious about the transformation. “We had a lovely village to begin with but now it’s going to be a town, its totally different”.

The center is open from Monday to Friday: 9am – 9pm; Saturday: 8:30am – 7pm and Sunday:10am – 7pm. Dundrum is served by the Green Luas line and the 17, 44/C, 48A, 48N and 75 bus routes.