Apartments on former Magdalene Donnybrook site face opposition

Pembroke Partnership wants to build 44 apartments in three blocks

The former Magdalene Laundry  in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Photograph: Alan Betson

The former Magdalene Laundry in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Photograph: Alan Betson


Plans by Pembroke Partnership Ltd to construct an apartment block complex on the site of a former Magdalene Laundry in Donnybrook, Dublin 4, are facing opposition.

A previous 25-unit residential plan for the site was withdrawn in 2017 and the applicants for the revised plan state that a subsequent archaeological dig at the site uncovered no burials. One of four to operate in Dublin, the Magdalene Laundry on site at the Crescent in Donnybrook Village accommodated between 100 and 120 women at any one time.

The site’s use as a Magdalene Laundry ceased in 1992 when the site was sold to a private company which operated a commercial laundry on the site until 2006 and since then the site has been vacant.

The chimney stack on site is a protected structure and is to remain in place and be a prominent feature in the new residential development.

The stack was declared a protected structure in 2012 as a way of honouring the women who were forced to work at the Magdalene Laundry.

The new plan is to comprise 44 apartments in three three-to-four storey apartment blocks.

Consultants, Tom Philips & Associates say “the proposal has been approached and designed in a manner that is respectful of its past and also to the structures of significance on site”.

The consultants say the plan will make a positive contribution to the area “creating a vibrant, sustainable residential community”.


Five submissions in relation to the plan have been lodged with Dublin City Council.

In his submission, Dr Brendan Tangney of the Crescent, Donnybrook, pointed out that a number of developments are taking place in the village and stated that “it is negligent in the extreme for the council to allow this very intense spurt of activity to proceed on an ad-hoc development by development basis without having an overall coherent plan”.

He said the current and imminent developments will shape Donnybrook village “for generations to come and it is simply unacceptable to have this done on a piecemeal basis”.

Dr Tangney said that to say that the site is culturally and socially sensitive “is an understatement”.

Paula Murphy of the Crescent, Donnybrook, has told the council that the building “has an interesting and particularly poignant history”.

She states that “it is a tragedy that all that can be considered in this day and age is to demolish the building and use it as a source of making money”.

A decision is due by the council on the application before the end of the month.