U2 lowers height of planned visitor centre over council concerns

About 390,000 fans expected to flock to Dublin Docklands attraction each year

U2 has reduced significantly the height of its planned visitor centre in Dublin's Docklands in response to 'serious concerns' expressed by Dublin City Council.

Revised plans for the visitor centre show that the band is proposing a 2.34m reduction in height of the 14.4m high centre, which around 390,000 U2 fans are expected to visit annually.

In August, Dublin City Council put the plan on hold after expressing “serious concerns” over the height of the proposed centre.

The proposal by Paddy McKillen Snr’s Golden Brook Ltd and U2’s MHEC Ltd is to include a reconstruction of the band’s original studio and various themed exhibit areas that include a series of abstract scenes such as ‘the Music Room’ and ‘Larry’s Kitchen’.


An objection lodged on behalf of 63 nearby apartment dwellers claimed that the proposal would result in overshadowing of apartments.

The new submission says an independent light analysis shows the reduction in height “eliminates any potential impact on the quality of natural daylight reaching the buildings directly behind or any properties within the vicinity”.

The architects, ODAA, state that “this has been achieved without undermining the intent of the original concept and we are confident that the revised design maintains the same degree of functionality and user experience as before”.

Visitor experience consultants, realstudios have already designed exhibitions for David Bowie and Pink Floyd and they have told the city council that the annual visitor numbers for the U2 visitor centre would be around 390,000.

They state that the centre will attract 3,000 on peak days with August being the peak month with around 75,000 visitors in that month.

The consultants state that during peak months, there will be a need for some control over arrival at the site and this would include the need for pre-purchased tickets.

In response to the original plan, planning consultants for Carysfort Capital, McGill Planning state that, if granted, the U2 visitor centre “will leave a profound and long term effect on the character of the Grand Canal Dock area”.

The consultants stated that “the chosen design and architectural language is simply not appropriate for this location and should be refused”.

McGill Planning state that the planned “monolithic” U2 visitor centre “presents a significant and unsympathetic urban edge to Hanover Quay”.

The planning consultants state that instead, the U2 visitor centre “will present a significant, permanent and detrimental visual barrier for residents of the lower floor of the apartment scheme”.

In total, 12 objections were lodged against the proposal with seven submissions in favour including Fáilte Ireland and Dublin Chamber.

A decision is due on the application next month.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times