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06th May 2022

‘Dublin’s not dead yet’ – a timeline of the Cobblestone being saved

Fiona Frawley

exterior of the cobblestone pub

“For now, we celebrate”.

Last Friday evening, it was confirmed that developers Marron Estates had withdrawn their application for a hotel to be built at the site of the Cobblestone in Smithfield.

The news was announced by Dublin Is Dying, the group who campaigned tirelessly and organised protests and petitions to prevent the developer’s plans becoming reality.

The plan, originally submitted to Dublin City Council in October of last year, would have seen the Cobblestone’s back room, beer garden and upstairs area demolished, leaving the front bar to stand alone within the surrounds of a hotel which, needless to say, would have exuded an extremely different ambience than the one the D7 pub is famous for.

The withdrawal of the application is a powerful example of the importance of protest, and the desire to preserve cultural spaces in the city.

Here’s a timeline of the Cobblestone being saved, from initial application to final withdrawal:

October 2021 – Plan for redevelopment is submitted

In the same week that a plan to demolish the iconic Merchant’s Arch at Temple Bar to make way for a hotel was submitted, the news emerged that the Cobblestone could be the victim of a similar development.

Shortly after, the Dublin Is Dying group was formed on social media, sharing news of protests to attend and petitions to be signed. The protests were attended by hundreds, with signatures on the petition reaching upwards of 35,000.

November 2021 – Planning permission is refused

The following month, after outcry and protestation from Dubliners, politicians and cultural figures, the redevelopment plan was refused by Dublin City Council.

Dublin Is Dying, who were at the centre of the efforts to see the plan thrown out, welcomed the news, but warned that “the battle is far from over”.

December 2021 – Marron Estates lodge appeal against DCC’s refusal

Sure enough, just weeks later Marron Estates lodged an appeal against Dublin City Council’s decision to Án Bord Pleanála. The developers were criticised on social media for lodging the appeal so close to Christmas, at a time when protesters could potentially be distracted, and not necessarily paying attention to the status of the application.

May 2022 – Marron Estates withdraw planning application

Almost 6 months later, Dublin is Dying announced that Marron Estates had withdrawn their planning application. A huge victory for the group who committed themselves to ensuring the Cobblestone was protected in its entirety, and recognised as a space of major cultural importance in Dublin.

Dublin Is Dying have said the intentions for the future of the site are unknown, but added that they hope the owner will engage with the local community and Mulligan family on “more suitable design” and that “DCC will safeguard our wonderful cultural bastion for all to enjoy”.

An excellent reminder of the effectiveness and importance of protest, and a reminder to pop into the Cobblestone for an evening of pints and trad at your earliest convenience. Hup!

Header image via Instagram

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