It seems like you’ve found a few articles worth reading.

If you want us to keep doing what we do, we’d love it if you’d consider subscribing. We’re a tiny operation, so every subscription really makes a difference.

Tea Rooms (and Toilets) for Merrion Square

Work should begin next month on building long-awaited tea rooms, and accessible public toilets, at Merrion Square. They’re due to be done in the summer next year.

Dublin City Council plans to spend around €3.4 million on the new building, which also includes a space for artwork, and outdoor seating.

Christina Todd, an executive landscape architect with Dublin City Council, has said that the builder should be on site by the end of June and finished by the end of June 2024.

“Always depending on materials, availability and things like that,” she said, at a meeting of the council’s South East Area Committee on 8 May.

Most councillors backed the plans. Especially, the public toilets. “Toilets in particular would be a really good addition to the park,” said Green Party Councillor Claire Byrne.

Said Fianna Fáil Councillor Claire O’Connor: “It’s a huge project. It’s a very welcome project and it has manifest support here.”

O’Connor wondered if the toilets would be open to all of the public, or just people who buy something from the tea rooms.

Todd said the plan is for the toilets to open to everyone. There will be five toilets, including two accessible ones, and one with baby-changing facilities, she said.

“There is an over-commercialisation of the park in my opinion,” said independent Councillor Mannix Flynn. He wondered whether the facility is really a restaurant and if it will be open in the evening.

Labour Councillor Dermot Lacey welcomed the plans. But he queried whether the planning permission granted in 2017 was still valid, six years later.

Todd says it was and that the council’s planning permissions, which it gets through a process known as Part 8, last longer than an ordinary planning permission.

The council will need to cut down one tree in the park to build the new tea rooms, said Todd. She hopes there won’t be others. “I am conscious to minimise that.”

The Latest Battle for Moore Street

The battle over the future of Moore Street – where the leaders of the 1916 Rising hid out together after they abandoned the GPO – continued at a full monthly council meeting on Monday night.

Councillors said they weren’t happy with a report from Assistant Chief Executive Richard Shakespeare recommending against adding 18 Moore Street to the record of protected structures.

Numbers 14 t0 17 Moore Street are designated national monuments. But number 18 next door is scheduled to be partly knocked.

The developer Hammerson has plans to redevelop the area and intends to demolish part of 18 and all of 19 Moore Street to build an archway to connect Moore Street to O’Connell Street.

Shakespeare, the council’s head of planning, couldn’t recommend the protection of 18 Moore Street as it “was derelict and in ruins at the time”, says his report to councillors. “The current building was constructed c. 1925.”

Some councillors don’t accept that, while others say that regardless of the state of the house at the time, they want the whole terrace of houses from 10 to 25 to be protected as a battle site.

Councillors previously agreed to a motion by independent Councillor John Lyons that the facade of 18 Moore Street should be added to the record of protected structures, says the report.

But Shakespeare said on Monday night that it is up to the council officials – not the councillors – to decide whether to recommend a building be added to the record of protected structures.

Referring to seven different reports, he said that the bulk of the expert evidence indicates that the house was in ruins and that the building was reconstructed after 1916.

“Although a portion of the 19th-century facade remains to the first floor at the front,” that doesn’t conflict with the council’s overall assessment, he said.

At the meeting on Monday night, Sinn Féin Councillor Micheál Mac Donncha highlighted how the council report said it is clear from the Shaffrey Report – detailed conservation reports about Moore Street drawn up a decade ago for developer Chartered Land – that some pre-1916 fabric is there.

“More fundamentally there is an assumption in the report that if there is no pre-1916 fabric then a building is not worthy of protection,” said Mac Donncha. “That is a very narrow interpretation of the legislation.”

The legislation allows for buildings to be protected due to their location, the history of the site and their overall context, he said. Historic buildings that have been destroyed are sometimes rebuilt and are deemed worthy of protection, he said.

It is up to the council’s chief executive to decide whether to start the process to protect a building, said Shakespeare.

“I don’t believe at this point in time that we would be comfortable to commence that process,” he said. “Because there is an awful lot of evidence that would lean against it.”

He will look at the issue again to see if there is any other evidence and if councillors have any further information they can email that to him, he said.

Laoise Neylon is a reporter for Dublin Inquirer. You can reach her at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *