Quinn’s pub in Drumcondra saved from developer’s wrecking ball

Board refuses planning permission for five-storey build-to-rent apartment scheme

The landmark Quinn’s pub in Drumcondra in Dublin, popular with GAA fans heading to Croke Park over the years, has been saved from the developer’s wrecking ball.

Cork-based firm Discipulo Developments Ltd had plans to demolish 42 to 44 Drumcondra Rd, including the former Quinn’s pub, to make way for a five-storey build-to-rent apartment scheme.

Along with the 50 build-to-rent apartments comprised of 11 studio units, 33 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units, the proposal also included plans for three ground-floor commercial units, including a bookmakers.

However, the plan will not now proceed after the appeals board refused planning permission, concluding that the former Quinn’s pub building “makes a positive contribution to the streetscape character and identity of the area”.

The board ruled the demolition of the building “would result in the loss of a historic Victorian building and would detract from the built heritage of the area”.

It said inadequate justification has been provided for the demolition of the remaining structures and shopfronts on the site and that the proposed new scheme would be incongruous.

As a result, the board ruled the scheme would seriously injure the visual amenities and character of the area.

Quinn’s pub ceased trading in January 2020.

The latest decision upholds a refusal made by Dublin City Council on April 1st, 2021. At that stage, council executive architectural conservation officer Niamh Kiernan said Quinn’s pub is of cultural interest “and the building should be considered to be of significance due to its importance to GAA sports fans across the country who would have used Quinns as a landmark and a meeting point before and following national GAA matches at the nearby Croke Park”.

In its appeal, Discipulo contended the buildings currently do not make a positive contribution to the streetscape and no concerns were raised about demolition at pre-planning stage.

The firm put forward a revised scheme and the Discipulo appeal also contended that part of the conservation officer’s rationale for retention of the Quinn’s building “appears to be based on its significance to GAA fans, which is a regrettable priority amid a national housing crisis”.

The appeal stated the council has granted permission for the demolition of other older, more prominent public houses, including Howl at the Moon in Mount Street Lower and Kiely’s in Donnybrook.

The Iona and District Residents’ Association was one of a number of parties to object to the scheme.

The initial application in February 2021 came one year after fund provider BlackBee Investments purchased the pub. The pub was formerly owned by the bankrupt billionaire Seán Quinn and since his downfall the pub had been run on behalf of the liquidators of the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank.