Dublin Bay South | Change of use for the ESB HQ Museum
1 February 2021
Monday 1st February, 2021
Observations on the planning application at: 29 and 30 Fitzwilliam Street Lower and No.62 Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2
Planning Reference: 3972/20
I write to you to submit observations on the planning application at 29 and 30 Fitzwilliam Street Lower and No.62 Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2 (ref: 3972/20). I am very concerned at the aspect of the application seeking permission for a change of use to residential from museum use at lower ground level of No’s 29 and 30 Fitzwilliam Street Lower and No.62 Mount Street Upper, ground, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor levels of No. 29 Fitzwilliam Street Lower. This will mean the closure of the Georgian House Museum, which has been operating from the premises since 1991 and has formed an important part of Dublin’s cultural landscape over the decades since. I support the comments by the Irish Georgian Society, which has said that the move would be a “sad and significant loss” to the city.
While I had noted the temporary closure of the museum in 2017 to facilitate the construction of a new ESB headquarters, I had assumed, like most Dublin citizens, that this closure would be temporary; so I was very dismayed at recent reports indicating that the ESB does not intend to reopen the museum; and was most disappointed to see this application being submitted for permission to convert the building into three apartments.
I believe that the proposed closure of the museum would mean the loss of an accessible public experience of Dublin’s 18th century heritage. I have visited the museum myself, along with family members, and have been very impressed at the way in which it showcased and provided insights into “Dublin home life from 1790 to 1820”. The ESB is to be commended for having created and sustained an accessible and compact museum which since 1991 has allowed many visitors, Dubliners and others, to experience the architecture, interior design and lifestyle of a Georgian townhouse. Its closure would undoubtedly damage the credentials of the ESB as a company with a commitment to preservation of heritage. At the very least, if permission is to be granted for this change of use, the ESB should commit to providing a new location for the museum.
I hope that you will take the above observations into account when making a decision on this planning application.
Senator Ivana Bacik