No room for film studio in Poolbeg planning scheme document

Dublin Bay Studios fails to secure 20-acre site on former Irish Glass Bottle/Fabrizia land

The Irish Glass Bottle site at Poolbeg, Dublin: no plans for “Hollywood-style” studio. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

No land will be set aside for a film studio in the new Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) planning scheme, which will be available for public consultation from Tuesday.

Up to 3,000 apartments in blocks up to 50 metres – or 16 storeys – tall are planned for the former Irish Glass Bottle and Fabrizia sites, which comprise the largest available landbank within the fast-track planning zone set up to regenerate the city’s industrial east end.

Despite months of campaigning, Dublin Bay Studios has not secured the 20-acre site it sought to have designated in the zone for a “Hollywood-style” film studio.

Windmill Lane Studios founder James Morris and film producer Alan Moloney, the team behind Dublin Bay Studios, want to develop an €80 million studio complex at Poolbeg. U2 singer Bono has advocated for the project and lobbied former minister for the environment Alan Kelly to support the studio. Actors Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy have also spoken in support of the project.


A working draft of the planning scheme, which was circulated to councillors last month, stated that while the Irish Glass Bottle/Fabrizia lands were required for housing, there was potential for film industry uses on nearby port lands "if a situation arose where these lands were not needed by Dublin Port for a period of time".

However, following objections from Dublin Port Company, this reference has been removed from the document now available for public consultation.

The document does say that, within the commercial and office buffer zone which will separate the apartments from the port lands, there may be an opportunity for “uses associated with media/digital media and film production”, but it does not designate space for a large hangar-style studio.

However, it does hold out the possibility of locating the film studio elsewhere in Poolbeg, outside the new development zone, and refers to the "cultural hub" at the Pigeon House Precinct as presenting a possible opportunity. However, being outside the development zone, this area, surrounding the old Pigeon House hotel, would not have the benefit of the fast-track planning scheme which allows landowners to apply for planning permission that cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times