Work under way to restore damaged Trinity College gate

Oak structure dating from 1879 taken down after being repeatedly rammed by motorist

 Builders at work on  repairing the front  gate  of Trinity College Dublin yesterday. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Builders at work on repairing the front gate of Trinity College Dublin yesterday. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 01:01

Work has started at Trinity College Dublin to replace a wooden entrance gate that was badly damaged after being repeatedly rammed by a motorist in April.

A section of the European oak gate at the College Green entrance to Trinity, which dates to 1879, was broken into pieces during the incident. Those pieces were gathered up with a view to repairing and restoring the gate. The remainder of the gate was removed and a replacement was put in its place.

A university spokeswoman said heritage building contractors Dunwoody & Dobson had sourced matching timber and that the damaged sections of the gate had been repaired or replaced. “Repairs were modified to restore the gate as closely as possible to its original construction,” she said, adding that the cost of the work was not yet known.

She said the gate would be put back in place in seven different pieces this week with the main body of it to be reinstated tomorrow afternoon. The gate will then be French polished on Thursday with the works expected to be finished on Saturday

The College Green entrance to Trinity was concealed by scaffolding and meshing yesterday and will remain closed while the work continues. Cobblestones outside the entrance had been removed as part of Luas works in the city but would be returned, the spokeswoman said.

On the day the gate was damaged, April 2nd, a man (68) was arrested in connection with the incident and questioned on suspicion of causing criminal damage, before being released. A Garda spokesman yesterday said a file was being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and the investigation was ongoing.

The man was first noticed driving erratically by cleaning staff in the university at about 6.30am on April 2nd. Security staff called gardaí and closed the gates in an attempt to stop him from leaving the college’s Front Square. He used the car to smash his way out on to College Green, where he hit several other vehicles before turning on to Nassau Street. He was pursued by a Garda car up Dawson Street and was arrested after colliding with a van.