The beer garden off O'Connell Street used by three pubs is facing closure due to hotel development

The beer garden off O’Connell Street used by three pubs is facing closure due to hotel development

A POPULAR BEER garden and nightclub in central Dublin that have been described as “a unique cultural center” are facing closure due to a new hotel development.

The building permit has been approved by the Dublin City Council for a major expansion of the Holiday Inn Express on O’Connell Street, despite opposition to the plans as it will result in the loss of a popular courtyard used by three well-known pubs.

The Dublin City Council has approved the development of a six-storey extension to the hotel, which is designed to provide an additional 95 guest rooms.

The proposed changes with some internal changes will result in the total number of guest rooms increasing from 214 to 303 – a net increase of 89 rooms.

The developer had originally applied for approval for a seven-storey extension that would have provided eight extra bedrooms but lowered the height of the building following concerns raised by council officials.

Most controversially, the plans also provide for the demolition of an existing courtyard that serves as an outdoor seating area for three popular bars – Fibber Magee’s, The Living Room and Murray’s.

Most of the dozen objections to the project expressed concern that the proposed development would deprive the city of Dublin of a unique cultural center and one of the few late bar venues in the O’Connell Street area.

The potential loss of the shared outdoor space had been criticized by several politicians, including local Green Party TD, Neasa Hourigan, who argued that the hotel expansion would run counter to the urban development plan that sought to protect cultural spaces in the city.

“There are few similar music venues in the city and none of them have been that long,” Hourigan said.

The Green Party TD said the O’Connell Street area was more suitable for meeting places related to the night economy than “quiet” hotels.

Workers’ councils, Darragh Moriarty and Declan Meenagh, said it was a fact that the balance against Dublin’s catering for tourists had “swung too far.”

In similar statements, they said: “Many music venues, late bars, nightclubs and dance venues have all been forced to close in recent years, leaving room for either the new hotel development or further expansion of existing hotels.”

Another opponent said the shared courtyard was “a beautiful mix of several pubs that have a great atmosphere and showcase the cultural diversity that exists in Dublin.” Consultants working for the three pubs said the proposed expansion of the Holiday Inn Express would “remove a vibrant social meeting area from the heart of the city with the clear, impact on the businesses they run.”

They claimed Murray’s performed traditional Irish music and dance that appealed to both tourists and locals, while Fibber Magee’s was “an iconic rock bar and a living part of Dublin’s culture and music scene since 1979.”

They noted that Fibber had hosted bands including Foo Fighters, Aslan and U2’s singer, Bono, while continuing to provide a platform for new bands.

The consultants said that The Living Room was generally regarded as one of the best places in Dublin to watch sporting events, while also being an important meeting place for Eastern Europeans living in Dublin.

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They also expressed concern that the hotel could be used as a direct supply center at some point in the future.

However, the developer said that the proposed expansion would improve and enhance the supply of hotel accommodation in a downtown location that would “support the growing city center and the tourism industry” and would be done “without any significant impact on surrounding streets.”

They claimed that the place as a place in the center was suitable for a filling system.

They said the architectural style of the proposed extension would be identical to the existing Holiday Inn Express and would not appear incongruent or out of place.

In its decision, the council said it was convinced that the revised plans, which included the omission of a floor, would not seriously damage other surrounding buildings in terms of loss of daylight and were in line with the urban development plan.

Opponents can, however, still appeal to An Bord Pleanála to try to overturn the decision.

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