Dublin City Council has given the green light to contentious plans to turn James Joyce’s ‘House of the Dead’ on Dublin’s quays into a 50-bed tourist hostel.
The council has granted planning permission after the planner in the case concluded the proposed change of use to a tourist hostel “will be the best way to secure its long-term conservation”.
The plan by Fergus McCabe and Brian Stynes last year provoked a backlash with one of the country’s most popular writers, Colm Tóibín, claiming that the hostel plan will “destroy an essential part of Ireland’s cultural history”.
The Department of Heritage also lodged a hard-hitting objection claiming the proposal “will undermine, diminish and devalue a site of universal cultural heritage, importance and part of the UNESCO City of Literature designation”.
The applicants lodged revised plans last month that included the omission of a rear contemporary extension.
Now, the planning report recommending permission states that “the building is capable of being converted into the new use and any harmful extensions or modifications have been removed from the scheme”.
The council states that the plan would allow for the refurbishment, conservation, repair and extension to an existing protected structure.
Consultants for the applicants stated the substantial investment “will result in a high-quality tourist offering” and those who will stay in the hostel will range from over-night travellers to those wishing to stay longer in the city.
In their objection, John McCourt and Colm Tóibín stated: “In the decades since Joyce’s death, too many of the places that have been rendered immortal in his writing have been lost to the city”.