Landmark Dublin pub O’Donoghue’s in planning row with neighbour

Operator of Merrion Row pub is appealing decision giving restaurant Marcels permission for first-floor, open-air terrace

Planning dispute: O’Donoghue’s and Marcels. Image: Google Street View

Planning dispute: O’Donoghue’s and Marcels. Image: Google Street View


The operators of O’Donoghue’s pub on Dublin’s Merrion Row are ensnared in a planning row with neighbouring French restaurant Marcels.

O’Donoghue’s is appealing to An Bord Pleanála a decision made last month by Dublin City Council to give the green light to Marcels for a large first-floor extension to their dining area.

In the application, the operators of the brasserie-style restaurant, Central City Catering Ltd, have secured planning permission for a 30sq m open-air terrace for dining on the first floor.

In opposing the plan, O’Donoghue’s have hired planning consultants Brock McClure to outline the pub’s opposition.

The objection states O’Donoghue’s “is extremely concerned about how this proposal could negatively impact on their business by means of causing damage to the visual amenity of the surrounding area, adding to noise and light pollution, particularly the adjoining properties”.

The objection states the development of the terrace “would be inherently damaging to the character of the surrounding area”.

The objection goes on to state the proposal will impact on O’Donoghue’s “commercial operations and fails to take account of the existing immediate context”.

O’Donoghue’s previously opposed an attempt for a terrace on the first floor by the same firm in August 2014.

That application also went before An Bord Pleanála, and the appeals board ordered the omission of the terrace after its inspector found the terrace “would be unacceptable in terms of its visual impact on the streetscape”.

However, in the Dublin City Council planning report giving the green light to the current application, the planner pointed out the reasoning for the omission of the terrace was due to visual and residential amenity but that in the years following this decision “circumstances in the locality have varied in terms of vibrancy and use”.

The planner stated a first-floor terrace extension “is unlikely to have any greater impact than the existing advertising structure attached to the adjoining gable wall to O’Donoghue’s Public House”.

The planner also stated “a roof terrace at this location and as part of a restaurant could add to the vibrancy and animation of the streetscape and is likely to make a positive contribution to the locality”.

A decision is due on the appeal in January.

O’Donoghue’s continues to be one of Dublin’s most popular pubs and is a favourite haunt of celebs and high-profile business people - last year, Jason Mamoa, who played Khal Drogo in the Game of Thrones; Apple boss Tim Cook; and Michael Kelly from the House of Cards visited the pub.

The pub is owned and operated by the Barden family, and last year profits at the pub more than doubled to €452,098. The company’s cash pile increased sharply going from €1.49m to €2m.