Hundreds of people have attended a protest against the development of a hotel on the site of a much loved pub in Smithfield, Dublin.
The Cobblestone is a protected structure and the planning proposal would see it lose its backroom venue, smoking area and upstairs rooms.
Such a prospect has enraged regulars who say the spaces are vital for the pub’s Irish language lessons and trad music sessions.
#SaveTheCobblestone now at the council buildings after marching via Merchants Arch - quite a crowd - it appears the pandemic exit may well see a significant return to street protest as we contest what that world will look like. Wall to wall hotels not being a popular option pic.twitter.com/DKNKGJh8HH
— Andrew Flood 👨🏻💻📝🕺 (@andrewflood) October 9, 2021
Speaking to Newstalk, musician Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin said demonstrators had two key messages:
“Put an end to this proposal - Dublin City Council shouldn’t give it permission to go ahead.
“And we’re also talking more generally about cultural spaces in Dublin - that they should be for people that live here. That they shouldn’t be altered and changed into basically a playground for tourists.”
Save the Cobblestone. Save Merchant's Arch. Save Moore Street. Save Dublin from vultures. pic.twitter.com/BWyrYy50A9
— sadhbh 🦀 (@wannabeart_hoe) October 9, 2021
Tomás Mulligan, whose father has run the pub for over three decades, says the proposal would be an indescribable cultural loss, not just to Dublin, but to Ireland:
“This place is just way more than just a watering hole for people. It’s the Mecca of Irish music and culture.
“It’s so important to Ireland - not even just us and not even to people who like to go for a drink around Smithfield.
“If you go to Dublin and you’re an Irish musician and you have no connection there, the Cobblestones is where you go.”
— CATU Stoneybatter/Grangegorman (@CATUstoneyb) October 9, 2021
Joe Costello, a Labour councillor and former TD for the local area, has also come out strongly against the plan:
"I consider it cultural vandalism, that what we're doing is destroying protected structures and at the same time we're destroying a traditional music centre."
26,000 people have signed the petition against the changes on UpLift.ie and organisers are also urging people to register a formal objection with Dublin City Council before a deadline of 4 November.
Main image: The Cobblestone pub Picture by: Cobblestone pub Facebook page