Busáras is the central bus station in Dublin, Ireland for Intercity and regional bus services operated by Bus Éireann. Busáras is also a stop on the Red Line of the Luas system, in Store Street just before the terminus at Dublin Connolly railway station.
Áras Mhic Dhiarmada (“Mac Diarmada House”) is the official name of the building, which also includes the headquarters of the Department of Social Protection. CIÉ, parent of Bus Éireann, leases the lower floors from the Department. Áras Mhic Dhiarmada is named after Seán Mac Diarmada, a leader of the Easter Rising in 1916.
The building has an L-shaped plan with two rectilinear blocks of differing heights sitting at right angles, with a circular hall at the ground floor designed in an International Modern style, influenced strongly by Le Corbusier. The British engineer Ove Arup was commissioned to oversee some of the elements of the design, such as the wavy concrete canopy which overhangs the concourse. It was designed to be a multi-functional building, with a restaurant, nightclub, cinema and other services all housed within it. The building incorporated a number of materials to create texture, such as brass, Danish bronze, copper, Portland stone cladding, Irish oak flooring, terrazzo stairways, and mosaics designed by Patrick Scott. Some of this original detailing remains.
It was one of the first modern buildings in Dublin that attempted to integrate art and architecture, utilising elements like glass facades and a pavilionised top storey with a reinforced concrete flat roof, the building won the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Triennial Gold medal in 1955. It was heralded as “Europe’s first postwar office building” by American and British journals. The building has remained popular with architects, but less so with the public.
The Eblana Theatre, originally intended as a newsreel venue, in the basement of the building was used as a theatre venue from 1959 to 1995. The building was featured on the highest value stamp issued in the Architecture definitive postage stamp set issued in 1982 by the P&T, the forerunner of An Post.
In 2006, Bus Éireann sought planning permission for the €2 million-plus second phase of refurbishment of the building. The proposal involved repairing and cleaning the bronze glazing and brickwork at ground floor level, to be overseen by conservation architects and an expert in bronze. Proposed works on the west-facing entrance lobby included new entrances at both sides, with bronze automatic sliding doors and uplights installed to the underside of the canopy. The refurbishment work was carried out by Collen Construction over a period of seven months and had a contract value of €1.7 million.
Busáras is served by Dublin’s Luas light rail tram system. The Luas stop is located in Store Street, and is one of only three stops on the system with an island platform. When it opened in 2004, it was the penultimate stop on the Red Line for trams travelling north to Connolly. In 2009, the line was extended and Busáras became the last stop before a junction, with trams either turning left to Connolly or continuing eastwards towards The Point. Passengers at Connolly who wish to board the Luas are encouraged to make the short walk to Busáras, where trams are more frequent.