October 2021 saw the plans to demolish not one but two iconic cultural structures in Dublin city centre, only one has made it out of the woods…for now.
Hearing a beloved pub or club is set for demolition to make space for a new hotel has become part of life in Dublin in the last few years. The Cobblestone recently evaded such a fate after multiple protests, petitions and outcry objecting to the proposed demolition swayed the developers to withdraw their appeal.
Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, a member of the Dublin Is Dying group, referred to the demolition of such a pub to be “cultural vandalism”. The much loved Smithfield based pub first opened its doors in the 1800s and has since drawn in patrons from around the world. In October 2021, it was announced that it was to be demolished to provide a hotel close to the heart of Dublin. The news came shortly after a similar proposed demolition of the Iconic Merchants arch, leading from wellington Quay into Templebar square. People showed support in their droves, with online petitions to save these structures amounting to tens of thousands of signatures.
As of May 2022, the cobblestone has evaded demolition for now, as the developers have withdrawn their appeal to An Bord Pleanala. They had originally initiated the appeal after the Dublin City Council failed to approve the planned development of the land. Unfortunately however the fate of Temple Bars Merchants Arch is not so secure.
In recent years there has been a growing trend of watching cultural institutions of Dublin’s nightlife be demolished or closed down, often to make way for a new hotel. Venues such as Andrews Lane Theatre, which was demolished in 2018 the site now hosts a towering “Urban Nest” hotel with 137 “nests”. The Tivoli Theatre opened in the early 1900s only to be demolished in 2019 with plans for a 289 apart/hotel. 2019 also saw the closure of a cultural hotspot, the Bernard Shaw on South Richmond Street.
The Bernard Shaw has since reopened its doors in a new location in Phibsboro however it does not offer the same cultural experiences as the original. The South Richmond Street building has not been demolished, instead, it is just a derelict building at the top of Camden Street.
There has recently been talk of developing the beer garden of Fiber Magees of Parnell street to extend the current Holiday In on O’Connell Street. With the number of pubs and clubs being sacrificed to accommodate new hotels, it has people asking where are all these tourists supposed to go? If landmarks of Dublin’s nightlife culture keep taking the hit there will be nowhere left.