Who The Hell's In Charge of Dublin City's Planning? Because They're Failing

In a BIG way

Holiday Inn Dublin Oconnell St

Look around: what do you see? On the one hand, there's a whole load of really amazing architecture, from the Georgian facades up high on George's St to the more Brutalist style of Dame St's Central Bank. 

On the other hand, there's a shit tonne of ill-advised and barely thought out designs that appear, to the untrained eye, to have been constructed out of leftover materials from previous projects, resulting in a hodge podge of windows, roof heights and doors.

Holiday Inn Dublin Oconnell St 2

Not only that, but these new buildings – conceived of and built in 2016, lest you forget – frequently fail to address any real concerns of Dubliners. 

Take the new Holiday Inn on O'Connell St – a grim, grey building whose windows are like an architectural Rubik's Cube (but way less fun). 

Sure, there's huge demand in Dublin for hotel rooms, and it's great that tourists have somewhere to stay but, er, what about all the Dubliners who have nowhere to live because of restrictive and short-sighted planning laws that put limits on building heights and mean that apartments in the city are few and far between – and incredibly expensive.

My problems with O'Connell St's Holiday Inn aren't limited to the fact that it looks shit, and doesn't help the locals – it's about the street, too, which is essentially an enormous rest stop, peppered with bus stops and fast food chains, with no real "destination" buildings, especially now that Clery's is (however temporarily) shut.

Whatever about the Dublin Central scheme – ah, the good ol' days of big dreams and even bigger building plans – being a bit nuts, at least it was visionary in its own way, and would have worked towards reinventing and reinvigorating one of our city's biggest problem streets. 

Dublin Central Plan Oconnell St

As Dubliners, we should be totally mortified by the fact that our most historic streets is a hot bed of petty crime and has absolutely nothing to recommend it, bar the Spire and the GPO – the former, much derided by most locals, and the latter, usually hidden by a mob of Spanish students congregating before they move on to their next target.

And just when you think things can't get any worse, the Holiday Inn comes along – bleak, grey and utterly disappointing.

Written By

Rosemary MacCabe

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