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Hedigans 'The Brian Boru' pub in Glasnevin. Leah Farrell/
the brian boru

Metrolink station could be renamed to honour pub set to be demolished during project construction

Hedigans ‘The Brian Boru’ pub would be demolished in order to construct the Glasnevin MetroLink station if the plan is approved.

THE GLASNEVIN METROLINK station could be renamed to commemorate the Brian Boru pub, which is set to be demolished as part of the construction of the rail project.

The 200-year-old pub, located on Prospect Road in Glasnevin, would be knocked down in order to build the proposed station if the current plans for the project are approved. 

The pub, which has been in the Hedigan family since 1906, is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses, while the site itself is reputed to be where Brian Boru and his army camped before the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. 

At an oral hearing into the project this morning, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said it would be willing to consider renaming the Glasnevin station to honour the historic pub, following an address from owner Michael Hedigan. 

The proposed MetroLink will have 16 new stations running from Swords to Charlemont and carry an estimated 53 million passengers annually. Construction is set to begin next year, with expectations of first journeys in 2035.

TII lodged a Draft Railway Order seeking permission for the project last year and received 318 submissions in response, with An Bord Pleanála deciding to hold oral hearings to facilitate third parties expressing their concerns.

The oral hearings are scheduled to run until 28 March.

At the hearing this morning, Michael Hedigan spoke about his family’s 120-year association with the pub. 

Harts Corner-2_90699805 A mural of Brian Boru on the side of Hedigans 'The Brian Boru' pub in Glasnevin. Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

He said the pub is a “huge part” of Glasnevin’s history, with the building itself having been constructed in the 1840s as part of a row of terraced homes. 

His grandfather, Patrick Hedigan, purchased the Brian Boru in 1904. His name was carved into a wooden board above the door, which was then gold leafed and covered with glass. “It’s been refurbished a number of times by myself and my father before me,” he said.

“Patrick established a very successful business which he operated until his death in 1939. My father John then took over and continued to trade successfully for 34 years until his own death in 1973.”

Hedigan said he joined the business in 1968 having previously worked there during the summer holidays along with his brothers and sisters. “We did that in the holidays not because we had to but because we all wanted to add to our pocket money,” he said.

“Since then we have had the fourth and fifth generations working in Brian Boru. You can see how intrinsically linked we are to the premises.”

Hedigan said he and his family were at the hearing because “we want to make sure that the presence of the Brian Boru on this site is recorded property”.

“We’ve spent a long time of looking after the people in Glasnevin and the wider Dublin area and it seems like we’re just getting caught in the middle here,” he said.

“It is probably the most important site on the MetroLink and we’re just a cog in that wheel. But we have a premises that four generations of my family have spent about 175 years working in and looking after our customers in Glasnevin, which we are very proud of. ”

He said the Brian Boru will be “sorely missed not only by the community and customers in Glasnevin but in the wider Dublin area”. 

I cannot overemphasise the profound effect that this is going to have on the entire Hedigan family, of which there are many of us.

“TII are involved in a big campaign to build this metro and obviously, if the Brian Boru has to go, we would like it to be remembered correctly and properly.”

At a previous hearing for the project, Fianna Fáil TD Paul McAuliffe questioned the naming of the Metrolink stations. He mentioned Glasnevin station and suggested that Cross Guns could be an appropriate name, citing the bridge of the same name. 

ms11_glasnevin_south1920x1080 (1) An artist's conception of the proposed Glasnevin Station. Metrolink Metrolink

Referencing this, Hedigan said: “But I say that this site has been known as the Brian Boru for 200 years, so what’s wrong with Brian Boru station?”

He also said that ‘Prospects station’ could be a more appropriate name “because it has a meaning in the area”. 

“If they considered the Brian Boru station, we have this beautiful facade that has been minded by the Hedigans since 1904. That nameplate, our painting of Brian Boru… that was our brand. We may in time, if the Brian Boru has to go, consider donating this to a museum that would keep the facade remembered on Prospect Road.”

Responding to Hedigan, Metrolink project director Aidan Foley said TII “regret that there is a need to acquire your property” for the construction of the project.

He acknowledged that the Brian Boru is “a much-loved institution in Glasnevin” that will be sorely missed by the community should the project receive the green light. 

“I believe it would be fitting that the station record the presence of Brian Boru in some way. If that’s through incorporating the nameplate or some other way… we’re very happy to work with you to try to come up with such an arrangement,” he said. 

On the potential to rename the station to acknowledge the Brian Boru, he said that while he could not go into it right now, “we are willing to consider that proposal”.

Foley concluded by saying that TII’s interactions with the Hedigans over the years have always been very productive and collaborative, and “we appreciate how you have worked with us over the years in what are very difficult considerations”. 

Dermot Flanagan SC, on behalf of the Hedigans, thanked Foley and said that given that concerns raised in their submissions have been actively considered, they will “continue to engage on a positive basis moving forward”. 

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