Tivoli Theatre demolition plans refused by council

Owner wanted to replace the ‘illustrious’ Dublin venue with a six-storey aparthotel

Plans to demolish the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin's Liberties and replace it with a six-storey, 289-bed aparthotel have been refused by Dublin City Council.

Last year, theatre-owner Anthony Byrne sought permission to level the 1930s building, which he has operated as a theatre since 1987, and build an aparthotel with a gym, restaurant and bicycle-hire shop on the site.

However, concerns were raised with the council over the potential loss of a cultural facility for the surrounding area.

In a submission to planners, People Before Profit councillor Tina MacVeigh said the Tivoli was “one of the few remaining urban theatres that has a long and illustrious history”.


Meanwhile, An Taisce said the closure of the theatre would “constitute a regrettable loss for the social and cultural life of the area and the wider city”.

The national trust said the incorporation of a new theatre space into any redevelopment scheme should be encouraged.

Dublin City Council’s conservation office also said lessons should be learned from previous developments in the area in recent years that had damaged the historical Liberties streetscape.

However, it said it supported the demolition of the theatre building, based on its condition and architectural quality.

“The proposed scheme needs to address issues such as safeguarding cultural heritage, historic streetscape diversity and grain and responding to local area character.”

The council earlier this year asked Mr Byrne to revise his plans in order to address the need for a replacement or alternative cultural space.

New plans submitted by Mr Byrne last month included a cultural facility that could be used as a theatre, gallery, dance or exercise space.

Height guidelines

However, the council has now refused permission for the redevelopment, on the grounds that the aparthotel would be too tall and would contravene height guidelines for the area.

The development would have an “overbearing and overlooking impact on the adjacent properties, many of which are protected structures”, the council said.

It would also “depreciate the value and seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity”.

Permission had previously been granted in 2005 for the demolition and redevelopment of the Tivoli, but the project never went ahead and the permission subsequently expired.

That scheme would have involved the construction of 130 apartments, shops and offices, as well as a new theatre venue.

Mr Byrne had wanted that development to reach 11 storeys, but this was reduced by An Bord Pleanála to five storeys.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times