Gallery change to private house sought


RESIDENTS IN Co Dublin who complained that a private art gallery on Vico in Dalkey housed too few works of art “missed the point that the building itself and the grounds were the work of art and it was celebrating its emptiness”, according to a consultant’s report included with a planning application to turn the gallery into a private dwelling.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council received an application last Friday from Marie Donnelly, former chairwoman of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, for a change of use of the Donnelly Art Gallery on Vico Road to a private dwelling.

The gallery, with views of Killiney Bay, was granted planning permission in 1996 by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. It was confirmed by An Bord Pleanála on the basis it would be open to the public for 60 days every year.

It was built in 1999 by Ms Donnelly and her husband, businessman Joe Donnelly. The modern building, with a facade stretching to 89 metres (294 feet), was designed by Italian-born minimalist architect Claudio Silvestrin and has a total floor area of 1,000 sq metres (10,764 sq ft).

The application lodged last week for Ms Donnelly included a town planning report from Dublin consultants Manahan Planners. It said the building was in use for the first half of the 2000s as a private gallery until the owner left Ireland to live abroad.

The owner had tried to get a public or private gallery to take it over, but it was rejected for reasons including a lack of space for public parking, lack of disabled access and lack of sanitary capacity.

It said the building “must find a use in order to allow it to be maintained and protected. The only practical alternative that emerged is that it be used as a private house.”

Local councillors are to discuss the gallery next week at an area committee meeting.