Planning permission for proposed U2 visitor centre expires

The centre was to contain exhibition spaces housing memorabilia from U2′s musical history including old guitars, performance outfits and other paraphernalia

An artist's impression of the proposed U2 visitor centre at Hanover Quay in Dublin’s south docklands

The five-year planning permission for U2′s planned visitor centre and exhibition space in Dublin’s docklands has expired.

Plans by U2 firm, MHEC Ltd and businessman Paddy McKillen snr’s company, Golden Brook Ltd, were first lodged in 2018 and planning permission was secured from Dublin City Council in 2019 for the visitor centre and exhibition space at Hanover Quay.

Documents lodged during the application process forecast that the U2 visitor centre would make Dublin’s Docklands “a destination experience for the millions of U2 fans around the world” and attract around 390,000 U2 fans to the capital each year.

The centre was to contain exhibition spaces housing memorabilia from U2′s musical history including old guitars, performance outfits and other paraphernalia.


The project also received backing from the likes of Fáilte Ireland, Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF). Its chief executive Tim Fenn told the council that the project “would provide a new and innovative tourism offering that would help position the city as a vibrant destination with a variety of distinct cultural experiences”.

Dublin City Council’s planners also lauded the centre’s design by award-winning architects, ODAA stating that it was “a striking and innovative contemporary building” and “would upgrade one of the most prominent locations in the city”.

However, no work on the ground at Hanover Quay has taken place since planning permission was granted.

A spokesman for Dublin City Council has confirmed that a “commencement notice was not submitted for this development” which is required to allow construction work start.

Despite the absence of building work on the ground in the docklands area, it is understood plans are ongoing for the centre.

In order to advance the project, the U2 firm would be required to lodge a new planning application and the time frame would be quite short as U2 revised their plans in 2018 to meet the concerns of planners. There is no recourse for a third-party appeal to An Bord Pleanála concerning the docklands site.

The expiry of the planning permission comes two years after a company controlled by the members of U2 bought out the project’s partner firm, Mr McKillen snr’s Golden Brook Ltd.

U2′s Not Us Ltd purchased Mr McKillen’s investment property firm, Golden Brook Ltd, on February 14th, 2022 for €232,283.

A note attached to separate 2021 accounts filed for Golden Brook Ltd shows that the firm’s bank loan of €1 million and Mr McKillen’s loan of €800,430 to the firm were fully repaid on the acquisition of the business by Not Us Ltd where Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen have a 25 per cent shareholding each.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times