Demolition of Kiely’s in Donnybrook given green light

Pub will be replaced by 85-unit co-living accommodation scheme over six floors

The demolition of the well-known Kiely’s pub in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 to make way for a six-storey, shared co-living accommodation scheme, has been given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála.

The board granted permission for construction of a scaled down 85-unit co-living accommodation scheme, with a cafe/restaurant at ground floor level by Shane Whelan’s Domhnach Ltd on Tuesday despite strong local opposition.

Domhnach had originally proposed 100 shared accommodation units.

Ten separate appeals were lodged on behalf of third party objectors against Dublin City Council’s decision to approve the project last January.


The council granted planning for the scheme despite 115 objections, including from politicians Ivana Bacik of the Labour Party and Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews.


The pub has long been associated with author Paul Howard’s fictional character, Ross O’Carroll Kelly. It was acquired by Westridge for €5 million-plus in 2019.

Those to lodge appeals included the Herbert Park Residents’ Association and the Donnybrook Residents’ Association. In her objection against the scheme, Rosemary Cullen Owens remarked that “the ghosts of many former Kiely’s patrons – not least its rugby regulars – will turn in their graves” over what is proposed”.

The board said the scheme would constitute an acceptable residential density in the village location, would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area and would be acceptable in terms of urban design, height and quantum of development.

The decision brings to an end a 15-month long planning battle over the proposal.

The board inspector, Colin McBride, recommended that permission be granted. He was satisfied that the location was suitable for a shared accommodation development, and that the applicant has “suitably demonstrated that there is need for this type of housing in the area, which is in close proximity to employment opportunities”.


Mr McBride further stated: “In my view, this type of accommodation should not be viewed as being provided to the detriment of family housing provision or social housing. This type of accommodation is recognised as fulfilling a distinct housing need under planning policy.”

Domhnach appealed against a condition that each of the shared accommodation units have a minimum width of three metres, which would have further reduced the number of units in the scheme.

Mr McBride said he found the width, dimensions and layout of the individual bedroom units proposed by Domhnach as “satisfactory and compliant with the relevant standards with no alteration required”.

He also said “the proposed development as approved would give rise to a satisfactory level of residential amenity for future occupants”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times