Clarence Hotel gets planning permission to double rooms

Dublin City Council also approves plans to connect existing hotel and Dollard House

The Clarence has had links with U2 since 1992. Photograph: Dave Meehan / The Irish Times

The Clarence has had links with U2 since 1992. Photograph: Dave Meehan / The Irish Times

 

Planning permission has been granted for an extension to the Clarence Hotel in Dublin which will almost double the number of rooms at the four-star hotel associated with U2.

Dublin City Council has approved plans by Brushfield, the operator of the Clarence, to build an interconnection between the existing hotel and the adjoining Dollard House – a protected structure located between Wellington Quay and East Essex Street.

It has also granted planning permission for a change of use of Dollard House on its three upper floors from vacant offices to add 56 bedrooms to the hotel which already has 59 guest rooms and suites.

Consultants for Brushfield, which is part of the Press Up entertainment group, said its plans for using Dollard House for hotel use would provide additional accommodation which would address the recognised shortfall of hotel bedrooms in Dublin.

“This proposed development seeks to make use of the under-utilised building in a prime tourist area and would represent a very positive outcome in that it adds tourist bedrooms within the city centre but also will make the Clarence Hotel more sustainable and viable,” they added.

The consultants said the plans would also protect and enhance the integrity of Dollard House, which was previously connected with the Clarence between 1886 and 1937.

They pointed out that the hotel and associated companies had sought to make use of their portfolio of listed buildings with the reopening of the Workman’s Club at as an entertainment venue, the opening of the Bison Bar as a literary-themed pub and the relaunch of the Clarence’s Tea Room as the Cleaver East restaurant.

“This will continue our clients’ outstanding contribution to the rehabilitation of the block. It will bring diversity and interest to this end of Temple Bar, which has been sadly deserted since the renovation of the area began in 1991,” they added.

They also noted that planning permission had previously been granted in 2007 for the demolition of Dollard House apart from the retention of its Wellington Quay facade.

The €150 million project for a Norman Foster-designed redevelopment of the hotel with 140 rooms was shelved due to the economic downturn.

However, the current project will preserve the entire building which is where the Irish Free State’s first postage stamps were printed.

The Clarence has had links with U2 since 1992 when Bono and the Edge were part of a consortium which bought the boutique riverside hotel.

However, the band’s singer and guitarist together with developer, Paddy McKillen snr, divested themselves of their leasehold interest in the Clarence this summer, although they retain ownership of the hotel building.

The leasehold was acquired by Press Up, which is owned by Mr McKillen’s son, Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan, which had already been managing the Clarence’s operations for a number of years.

The Clarence reported recently that its profits had fallen by 23.5 per cent to €764,963 in 2018.