Work starts in Greystones on homes inside shell of La Touche hotel

Decaying building has lain derelict at centre of the town for almost 15 years

Work has begun on the redevelopment of the former La Touche Hotel in Greystones, Co Wicklow.

The landmark Victorian building has lain empty at the centre of the town for almost 15 years, growing increasingly derelict over the years.

The former seaside hotel, described as “the most prominent building in Greystones”, closed its doors in 2004.

Since its closure, the building has survived a number of suspected arson attacks, water ingress after lead was removed from the roof, and the removal of fixtures from plumbing to the metal staircase bannisters.


The hotel was opened as the Grand Hotel in 1894, having been built to designs by McCurdy & Mitchell of Dublin.

Among the famous guests who frequented the hotel over the decades were War of Independence veteran Michael Collins and playwright Brendan Behan.


The redeveloped structure will retain square, end blocks of the current building, and five, four-storey town houses will be inserted behind the west-facing facade. In addition there will be 22 new houses in the grounds at the eastern or seafront side. Two cottages at Marine Terrace facing the local Garda station are to be turned into a combined commercial unit.

Over recent weeks the former hotel’s fourth floor has been removed along with much of the east-facing facade which overlooked the sea at Cliff Road.

Last year storms were blamed when part of the west front collapsed, making balconies unsafe. Much of the deterioration of the hotel was unofficially chronicled on social media, particularly YouTube, by those who pried their way in around boarded-up windows.

Derek Mitchell, a local councillor and chairman of Greystones Municipal District, said the site had been “derelict and an eyesore” for 15 years “so it is good to see progress”.

He said the new houses would be timber framed and be made mostly off site and craned into place.

“This is quicker and less disruptive than traditional construction. Overall it is expected to take 18 months to complete. The first four months will be spent knocking down the modern structures and putting in foundations.”

Mr Mitchell said the commencement of work was at least “partly” due to the Derelict Site Tax and partly the high prices for houses. “The recently introduced tax charges of 3 per cent in 2018 and 7 per cent thereafter on sites zoned for housing which are lying unused are designed to get houses built in the current house shortage,” Cllr Mitchell said.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist