Last tower demolished in St Michael's

The Laughter Wall shows the smiling faces of former residents of St Michaels Estate, as demolition began on the final tower block today. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

The Laughter Wall shows the smiling faces of former residents of St Michaels Estate, as demolition began on the final tower block today. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

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After 15 years of waiting, the last remaining tower block at St Michael's Estate in Inchicore in Dublin has been demolished.

The demolition is part of regeneration efforts in the estate, which will be replaced by a two-acre site called Thornton Heights. The area, which is expected to open later this year, will contain 75 new housing units,  along with a series of community facilities and playgrounds.

A total of 10 tower blocks have been demolished as part of the regeneration scheme. This demolition includes a seven-storey mural known locally as the Laughter Wall, which depicts smiling  former residents of the estate.

The mural was created in 2002 at a time when the area had a reputation for drugs and anti-social behaviour to show that, despite negative perceptions, the area still had community spirit.



The area's regeneration board is hoping that the main 10-acre site will also be developed, according to the board's chairman Finbarr Flood.

"Today is an important day for this neighbourhood and its residents. With the demolition of the tower block, the new housing development at Thornton Heights can be seen clearly," he said.

"We have waited a long time, but are delighted the new units will be available to the community very soon."

Former resident of Block 4 and board member Caroline McNulty said she is looking forward to seeing what the new development will bring.

"This block was my home and is full of memories for me. To see it knocked down is the end of an era, but I'm looking ahead and cannot wait to move into my new home in Thornton Heights."

The tower blocks were officially opened in February 1970 by then Minister for Local Government Kevin Boland.

In February last year, work stopped on the new houses after a dispute between Dublin City Council and construction firm Bam Building Ltd. The council halted work over alleged health and safety breaches at the site, but work continued following a resolution to the dispute.

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