One of Dublin's biggest beer gardens faces closure due to hotel development

By Emily Mullen

June 20, 2022 at 3:51pm

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Just when you thought we had become hotelled out.

Planning permission has been granted to The Holiday Inn Express off O'Connell Street to develop the courtyard currently used as a beer garden by Fibbers, the Living Room and Murrays.

The planning permission approved by Dublin City Council [DCC] will see a six-storey extension located within the courtyard, providing an additional 95 hotel rooms. The development will see the total number of guest rooms at The Holiday Inn increase from 214 to 303.

The courtyard, which has been used and loved by generations of Dubliners is a well known spot for watching matches, catching a bitta fresh air after gigs and generally enjoying the buzz of Dublin city nightlife. The space has been described as “a unique cultural centre” faces closure as a result of the development.

Irish Twitter page Urban Living Dublin shared screenshots from C+W O'Brien architects, detailing the design proposal and site analysis. Screenshots shared by the profile on February 16th 2022 claim to outline more details of the proposed extension:

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At the back of the hotel is located an outdoor area connecting three pubs. This is a beer garden used day and night by the adjacent pubs - The Living Room, Murrays Pub and Fibber Magees. 

It has sitting tables, food trucks and big screens to watch matches. It can be very busy and noisy during the weekend. Although enjoyed by many, it's been a nuisance to guests and residents in the courtyard. The area is owned by the Holiday Inn Express but its on a lease that is set to expire soon, making an ideal time to expand the hotel. 

Approval of the large extension has been widely criticised by several politicians, including Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan who described the move as a "huge mistake". "The hotel knew when it opened (in fact part of it's original planning permission) that the beer garden was a going concern. Shutting it down right in the centre of the city is yet another lost space for night life," Hourigan added.

While Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty stated he was "hugely disappointed" at DDCs decision "to plop hotel accommodation on top of the Living Room/Murrays/Fibbers beer garden."

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While the planning has been approved by DCC, the objectors to the plans can still lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála to attempt to reverse the decision.

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