Royal Irish Automobile Club to redevelop Dawson Street premises

Private members’ club announces plan to refurbish premises with Tetrarch Capital

The Royal Irish Automobile Club (RIAC) is to blow away the cobwebs with a major redevelopment of its historic premises on Dawson Street in Dublin.

The proposed scheme, agreed with investment group Tetrarch Capital, aims to upgrade and improve the existing buildings, which cover numbers 33-36 Dawson Street and several buildings to the rear.

The plan, which is subject to planning permission and the approval of RIAC members, is expected to cost €30 million-€35 million.

It will see 77 new bedrooms added to the club’s hotel, which will be operated by Tetrarch, using the RIAC brand in its name.


The upgraded facilities will also include a new members' restaurant, bar, reading room, meeting rooms, offices for the RIAC and Motorsport Ireland, a new location for the Club's Guinness Seagrave Library, and a new 61-space car park.

The club said the heritage of the RIAC would inspire the interior design, which will incorporate distinctive and classic images, materials, colours and memorabilia from the automobile world.

Female members

Founded in 1901, on the day Queen Victoria died, the RIAC is one of the city's oldest private members' club and was started by those with an interest in the growing sport of "automobilism". It broke the mould of the stuffy St Stephen Green's set by accepting female members, something to which the neighbouring clubs agreed only quite recently.

Assuming approval from members and planning permission, it is envisaged that the RIAC would vacate the premises by the end of June 2019 to facilitate construction, which is expected to take 24 months.

The RIAC said the proposed scheme follows extensive research into potential options for the redevelopment and refurbishment of the club’s buildings and that the plan was intended to guarantee its long-term future, while respecting and showcasing the buildings’ unique historical features.

"This exciting proposal is about future-proofing the club to ensure that in the long term we can deliver the quality of facilities that our members expect, and attract significant numbers of new members in future," said the club's chairman, Arthur Collier.

“ The RIAC board is very excited about what the proposed scheme will deliver, and is very confident that in Tetrarch Capital we have a partner who can execute on an ambitious redevelopment of our Dawson Street home to the mutual benefit of both parties,” he said.

Michael McElligott, chief executive of Tetrarch Capital said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such a historic institution as the RIAC to create a scheme that will deliver enhanced facilities for members and a hotel of truly unique character.”

The proposed scheme has been designed by McCauley Daye O'Connell Architects, assisted by Molly Associates Conservation Architects with Ganley Waters acting as property advisers to the RIAC.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times