Artane Band hall reopens following extensive renovation

Land swap deal with historic Dublin band enables developer refurbish north city venue

Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring with members of the Artane Band, at the opening of a refurbished hall. Photograph: Jack Power/The Irish Times

Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring with members of the Artane Band, at the opening of a refurbished hall. Photograph: Jack Power/The Irish Times

 

The Artane Band, a cultural ever-present of All-Ireland final day in Croke Park, opened a newly refurbished band hall on Tuesday.

The marching band and school of music in Artane reopened following a major refurbishment project. More than €1 million was invested into the north Dublin band hall during the renovation.

In a land swap deal developer Keith Craddock, of Dublin firm Redrock Developments, built a number of houses on land previously owned by the Artane Band. In return the developer built an extension on to the band’s existing premises, refurbished the building, and laid a new car park.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Con Hogan, chairman of the board of directors, said the Artane Band had “carved its own niche in Irish culture” since it was established in 1872.

“Through its association with the GAA on big match days, it is known throughout the world,” he said. The expanded band hall would allow the school of music to grow into the future, he said.

“Here’s to many more years of the boys and girls in the iconic blue and red of Artane, striding proudly through the pages of Irish musical and cultural history, as they have done for almost 150 years,” said Mr Hogan.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring, ex-officio patron of the band, attended the opening ceremony of the refurbished hall.

“I’m not patron of any other band or anything else in the city, so it means an awful lot to me. I’m born and reared in Ballybough and across the road from me was Croke Park. And to me Croke Park and the Artane Band were always one and the same,” said Cllr Ring.

Ronan O’Reilly, director of the Artane Band and school of music, said the older building had no soundproofing between rooms. “It was a complete mush, you could hear somebody talking in a room next door, or teaching ... so we’re more separated now” he said.

“We’re more fit for the more commercial side of music now … Apart from being a school of music its very much an area for the community,” he said.

The developer had gone “above and beyond” in renovating the building, said Mr O’Reilly, over the agreed financial value of the land in the swap deal.

The refurbished premises includes a new band room with improved acoustics, with the old band room converted into a function hall.

When Mr O’Reilly started as director of music in the Artane Band 21 years ago, there were 90 people involved in the band. Now the band and school of music had about 460 members, he said.

A senior band for over-18s is due to celebrate its 30th year in existence. And the school has recently started a youth choir and adult community choir, he said.