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December 6, 2007

Smock Alley Theatre project on hold after objections

The restoration of what is said to be one of Europe’s oldest theatres, Smock Alley, in Dublin’s Temple Bar, has been hit by planning objections. A €7.2 million plan by the Gaiety School of Acting to redevelop the theatre, which was built in 1662, has been approved by Dublin City Council and a state grant of 2 million euro has been allocated to the project. But now a Temple Bar resident and a conservationist are objecting to permission being granted and have appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanala, the Irish planning board. According to the local resident, there is concern about the noise that a theatre in the area would generate, particularly as it would include a bar. Damien Cassidy, of the Irish Heritage and Conservation Group, said he was objecting because he felt it would be more in keeping with the original architecture of the area if a church, which had occupied part of the half-acre site, was restored, rather than the theatre. It was a “totally unsuitable” venue for a theatre, he claimed.

The Stage