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A Fair City

Dublin's O'Connell Street set for 'new dawn' under proposed new development plans

The proposal includes retail units, a hotel and residential spaces.

BUSINESSES IN DUBLIN say plans to redevelop O’Connell Street in Dublin as an urban quarter would “breathe new life” into the capital’s city centre.

Parts of O’Connell Street and the surrounding streets – Moore Street and Parnell Street – have become an eyesore for locals and visitors due to a number of vacant buildings and sites which have fallen into disrepair.

Planning permission was approved for UK property company Hammerson in 2010 to develop a shopping complex, which according to the Irish Times, it has now scrapped in favour of a more ‘open’ development.

It will now encompass outdoor retail units along with office, hotel and residential spaces – a MetroLink station is also proposed for a vacant site alongside the Carlton cinema unit on Upper O’Connell St.

Graeme McQueen, of Dublin Chamber, said the new plans would have the potential to change the wider north city centre area and benefit local businesses.

“The north of O’Connell St has been lying idle for far too long,” he said.

O’Connell Street should be the jewel in the crown of Dublin but over the past few decades it has become an area of huge frustration for both businesses and locals.

“The plan from Hammerson to redevelop the entire area is very welcome and has the potential to be the start of a bright new era for both O’Connell Street and the wider north City Centre area.”

Dublin City Council said it has not yet received any new plans for consideration in relation to the development but understands planning permission for the new concept will be put forward early next year.


The former Clery’s building was the latest major site on the city centre street to have been left vacant after it went into administration in 2015, closing its doors for the last time and putting over 400 people out of jobs.

The site was bought in 2018 by Europa Capital and similar to Hammerson’s proposed development, there are plans underway to develop it into a mixed-use development including a hotel and office and retail units.

“This Hammerson project, in combination with the redevelopment of the Clery’s building and other developments, will breathe new life into an area of Dublin that has [been] underwhelmed for far too long,” McQueen said. 

A spokesperson for Hammerson said the company was continuing to engage with the Moore Street advisory group in relation to proposals.

“Hammerson seeks to protect and enhance the Moore Street area’s unique heritage including its market and connections with 1916, while at the same time delivering clear economic benefits and employment opportunities locally,” they said.

“As part of this process we have appointed architectural practice ACME to look at options for the entire site, which stretches from Upper O’Connell Street, to Parnell Street to Moore Street and Henry Street.

“The proposals will reinvigorate this part of Dublin’s north inner-city.”

The advisory group, which was established by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in 2017, previously said the “cultural and historical importance” should be considered in any commercial developments proposed for the area.

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