Protest to be held, as 100 objections made over Cobblestone site plans

Smithfield scheme exceeds limits on height and plot ratio, Green MEP says

A protest céilí will be held in Dublin on Saturday over plans to build a hotel surrounding the Cobblestone bar in Smithfield.

Activist group Dublin is Dying will march from Smithfield Square at 2pm to O’Connell Bridge, where they will hold the céilí, in what will be their second protest this month against the planned hotel.

Almost 100 objections have been lodged with Dublin City Council to the application by Marron Estates for a nine-storey hotel at 77-80 North King Street, which includes the Cobblestone.

A large number of the objections were made prior to the planning documents being available on the council’s website but after an online petition entitled “Save the Cobblestone!” was established. The petition attracted more than 30,000 signatures.


Almost all submissions lodged with the council do not refer to the particulars of the application but are objecting to the principal of the development of a hotel at the site. Several object to the “demolition”, “removal” or “destruction” of the pub.

The popular traditional music pub is a protected structure and would be retained as part of the proposed development, but an outdoor area and back room venue would be demolished.

The petition makes reference to the “demolition of the Cobblestone to make room for yet another hotel,” before going on to say: “This will involve demolition of the back room venue, the smoking area and the rooms upstairs where music and Irish language classes were held, leaving only the main bar swallowed up by a nine-storey hotel essentially turning the leftovers into a residents’ bar.”

A number of objections lodged with the council acknowledge the main bar will not be demolished, only more modern additions to the building, but point out the size of the venue would be substantially reduced. One such submission states the loss of square footage would make the pub “untenable”.

Another says it would “severely limit its future ability to continue as a cultural institution and venue”. Another states: “For what died the sons of Róisín? Hotels apparently.”

Site limits

In his submission to the council, made after the planning documents were published, Green Party MEP Ciarán Cuffe said the scheme exceeded the city development plan limits for the site in relation to both height and plot ratio. “If such an over-scaled development is to be granted it should be by way of material contravention of the plan,” he said. “The urban grain of the city will be severely damaged by the proposed development.”

Planners McCutcheon Halley, acting for Marron Estates, said the scheme “will transform this derelict underutilised brownfield site into a vibrant new hotel, which will act as a landmark building to the north of Smithfield Square.” The development was designed to “respond sensitively to the existing protected structures and will incorporate and adapt these buildings for new use, therefore, creating new modern elements which will respect the site’s heritage”.

The final date for submissions on the application is November 4th.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times