| 5.5°C Dublin

Pub-lic support Cobblestone pub owner ‘blown away’ as hotel planning permission is refused

Development would be ‘overbearing and significantly out of scale and character’, says council

Close

Protesters at a Save the Cobblestone demonstration in Smithfield, Dublin, in October. Photo: PA

Protesters at a Save the Cobblestone demonstration in Smithfield, Dublin, in October. Photo: PA

Protesters at a Save the Cobblestone demonstration in Smithfield, Dublin, in October. Photo: PA

The owner of the Cobblestone said he is “blown away” by the support after a controversial plan to redevelop the site around the landmark traditional music pub in Dublin’s Smithfield has been refused by Dublin City Council.

Thomas Mulligan, today told Independent.ie that they are “blown away by the support of friends of the pub who went into overdrive in their opposition to the plan."

Marron Estates Ltd are the landlords of the site on which the pub has been operating for more than 30 years.

“The group ‘Dublin is Dying’, made up of artists and patrons of the pub, have been carrying out the opposition around us, and shielding us, so it’s an emotional day for us all. I’m sure the fight isn’t over but it’s a very significant victory in a battle that will probably be a long war,” said Mr Mulligan.

There was a public outcry when plans for a 114-bed hotel up to nine storeys high on the North King Street site were applied for, with the Arts Council saying that what was planned “would be a significant cultural loss to the city of Dublin”.

In its objection to the plan, the director of the Arts Council, Maureen Kennelly, told DCC that “the medium-term closure – during construction – and likely reduction in the physical and social footprint of the Cobblestone pub and live music venue on completion would be a significant cultural loss to the Smithfield area and the city of Dublin”.

Close

Ispíní Na hÉireann band members Adam Holohan, Tomás Mulligan, Oisín Mulligan playing outside the Cobblestone in Smithfield in July. Photo: Mark Condren

Ispíní Na hÉireann band members Adam Holohan, Tomás Mulligan, Oisín Mulligan playing outside the Cobblestone in Smithfield in July. Photo: Mark Condren

Ispíní Na hÉireann band members Adam Holohan, Tomás Mulligan, Oisín Mulligan playing outside the Cobblestone in Smithfield in July. Photo: Mark Condren

She added that the pub’s successful and nurturing engagement with the arts community “has taken place over a period of 30 years and it is imperative that the physical and artistic infrastructure is not dismantled nor the established arts community displaced”.

In a statement to Independent.ie today, Ms Kennelly, said the Council has set forth a vision for Ireland in which the Arts are valued as central to civic life, as a hallmark of local and national identity, and as a sign and signature of our creativity as a nation.

"In this context, the medium-term closure during construction and likely reduction in the physical and social footprint of the Cobblestone pub and live music venue, on completion, would have been a significant cultural loss to the Smithfield area and the city of Dublin."

"The Cobblestone is an integral part of arts activity in Dublin’s inner city where it accommodates the practitioners and teachers of the traditional arts with exceptional impact – an astonishing roll call of musicians continues to perform there and to nurture the next generation."

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

"The growth and development of this influential touchstone for tradition is dependent on its location, integrating as it does with the social fabric of the city. The Cobblestone’s cultural impact is seen in its vital engagement with the arts community while contributing to and helping to define the cultural character of Dublin. This has taken place over a period of thirty years and its continuance is to be welcomed," she added.

More than 700 objections were registered against the proposal by Marron Estates Ltd to construct the hotel over the protected structure of the Cobblestone pub.

There have also been several large demonstrations in recent weeks against the proposed development at the top of Smithfield Square, which is renowned for its links to traditional music.

Local councillor Christy Burke said he was confident from the beginning that the proposed hotel would not get planning permission.

“From the time the application went in I had a positive view that it would not get the go-ahead, and I welcome the decision of the planning department,” he said.

“It’s a good day for the city, for culture, for traditional music, for the musicians past and present, and it’s all down to people power.”

“The last thing we need in Smithfield is another hotel, and there were hundreds of objections to this not only from Dublin and around the country, but from around the world too.”

“There was a massive campaign against the plan, including two prominent demonstrations,” he added.

The plan was also objected to by Club Chonradh na Gaeilge, who said the pub is a cultural institution that has given a springboard to some of Irish Traditional music’s best known names.

“It is a venue that supports new artists, marginalised communities, Irish language efforts, student endeavours, and is emblematic of the Dublin that Dublin City Council should want to show to residents and visitors alike. This development will be in direct convention of some of the policies laid down by DCC themselves in the Dublin City Development Plan,” it said.

Today, Ciaran Wadd of Conradh na Gaeilge said it had a positive reaction to the news that the development was refused.

“It is good that the amount of voices who objected to the plan were listened to. Culture was always our stance and the planned development went against that,” said Mr Wadd.

“We recognise The Cobblestone as more than a pub or a venue, and we recognise how vulnerable a space can be even on a temporary basis during development,” he added.

Others gave their reaction on social media. Wexford based musician Jimi Cullen said the news was hugely positive.

“I know it could be appealed but this refusal is a positive step and hopefully a sign that the plan will be stopped,” he said.

Welcoming the news, TD Neasa Hourigan said the decision was down to “the people power of everyone who got involved”.

“Do I dare hope for the future of the cultural space in Dublin?” she said in a message on Twitter.

The application for the development of the Cobblestone pub, and separate plans for development at Merchant’s Arch beside the Ha’penny Bridge, have both met with strong criticism in recent weeks.

Dublin City Council was due to make its decision on the application last Thursday, and news broke this morning that the application had been refused.

In its reasons for refusing the permission, DCC said it considered that the proposed nine-storey development would be “overbearing and significantly out of scale and character with the prevailing architectural context, and would represent substantial over-development of this highly sensitive site, two of which are protected structures”.

It also said the development “would completely overwhelm the protected structures and would cause serious injury to their amenity, architectural significance, legibility, special architectural character and setting”, adding that the demolition of the historic structures within the historic curtilage of the site, including the facades at Nos 78 and 79 and brick warehouse structure to the rear, would represent an unacceptable loss of historic fabric and would cause serious injury to the setting of the protected structures on North King Street”.

DCC also said in its reasons for refusal that it was the opinion of the planning authority that the proposed development would result in serious injury to the amenities of adjoining residents, including those on Red Cow Lane, Brunswick Street and North King Street, as the development would result in a loss of daylight and sunlight and an overbearing visual impact.

“The proposal would therefore depreciate the value of properties in the vicinity and be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” it said.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy