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Old May 7th, 2014, 03:18 AM   #101
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Quote:
Investors to circle €60m Westin hotel

Jack Fagan

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 17:02




The five-star Westin Hotel and adjoining AIB bank branch on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street and College Green will be of interest mainly to international investors rather than hoteliers when they are offered for sale from today at a guide price of €60 million. At this level the investment will show a return of more than 7.7 per cent.

Though the names of a number of leading hoteliers have been mentioned as likely buyers, the reality is that they are unlikely to pitch for the hotel because it is leased on a long-term basis for at least another 12 years.

Adrian Truick of agents Knight Frank is handling the sale for receiver Declan McDonald of PwC. The two properties were held as a investment by Treasury Holdings until it was wound up in 2011 with debts of €2.7 billion.

25-year lease

The Westin is one of the best-located hotels in Dublin, occupying a large proportion of a city block overlooking Trinity College. The former AIB premises was converted into a hotel and let on a turnkey basis to Westin Hotels Ireland in 2001 under a 25-year lease. The current rent of €4,187,700 is subject to review every fifth year with a guaranteed increase of 3 per cent compound at each review. The lease is guaranteed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

AIB is paying a passing rent of €675,000 a year for the bank premises on the ground, basement, sub-basement and first floors levels at the corner of College Street and Westmoreland Street. The 35-year lease also runs from 2001 with rent reviews every fifth year on an upward-only basis. The lease, due to run for at least another 22 years, is guaranteed by AIB Group.

Investors looking at the Westin can be expected to study recent hotel sales in the city. Kennedy Wilson’s purchase of IBRC and Bank of Ireland loans tied to the Shelbourne Hotel worked out at a valuation of almost €420,000 for each of the 265 bedrooms. More recently the sale of the Clarion Hotel in the IFSC for €33 million equated to €200,000 per key. Companies pitching for the Westin are likely to put a valuation of about €10 million on the bank investment and €50 million on the hotel. At that figure each of the 163 bedrooms would work out at just over €306,000.

The ground and first floors of the eight-storey Westin accommodate most of the public areas, including the reception, foyer, restaurant, lounge, meeting rooms and conference/ banking facilities. The hotel bar is located in the original bank vaults at basement level.

A number of original 18th century listed facades and other period features of the old bank building have been incorporated into the hotel, including the original banking hall, which has been converted into a striking function room with highly ornate ceilings and chandeliers.

Dublin’s hotel market continues to improve, with the uplift in room rates and occupancy levels driven by an improving backdrop and increasing tourist numbers. In 2013, occupancy levels grew by 5.5 per cent, with revenue per room increasing by 11.2 per cent. Even with average room rates improving, revenue per room is still 20 per cent below the 2006 peak and accommodation costs in Dublin continue to lag the average European level.

Adrian Truick says that with long-term secure income and guaranteed rental growth, the Westin investment would appeal to a range of local and international investors as well as the specialist European hotel investment funds.

© 2014 irishtimes.com
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Old May 14th, 2014, 05:25 PM   #102
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Another hotel is being sold, this time the Pearse Hotel (which I recall was called the Trinity Capital recently) to the newly-floated Dalata Hotel Group plc. As the article states, it's a well-located hotel in terms of being next to the trip-generators to the capital which is probably why Dalata is buying it. Article here.
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Old June 4th, 2014, 11:54 AM   #103
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Quote:
Dalata to acquire two Dublin city centre hotels

Fiona Reddan

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 08:15


Dalata Hotel Group, which floated on the Irish Stock Exchange in March, has agreed to acquire two Dublin city centre hotels, the first since its €265 million flotation.

It will pay € 15.3 million in cash to acquire a freehold interest in the Maldron Hotel, Parnell Square, Dublin 1, with the transaction expected to complete in August of this year. The hotel is a three-star hotel with 126 rooms and two conference rooms. It has been operated by the group since August 2007 under the terms of a 25 year leasehold agreement with an annual rent of € 1.1 million a year, subject to upward only rent reviews at five year intervals. The next rent review is due in March 2017.

The group is also set to pay €14.4 million in cash for the freehold interest in the Pearse Hotel, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, including adjoining retail and office properties. The deal is expected to close within three months. Facilities at the hotel include 101 en-suite bedrooms, bar/restaurant, and five conference rooms. The adjoining retail and office properties extend to 392.7 square metres. Profits attributable to the Pearse Hotel in 2013 were € 0.7 million.

According to Dalata, it plans to carry out an extensive refurbishment programme and restore the property to a high quality four-star hotel. The hotel will be re branded as Maldron Hotel Pearse Street, and will bring the company’s number of Maldron properties in Dublin up to six (Cardiff Lane, Parnell Square, Smithfield, Tallaght, Citywest and Dublin Airport).

© 2014 irishtimes.com
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Old June 4th, 2014, 03:51 PM   #104
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Press release:
Quote:
Varadkar announces €300,000 boost for Dublin city centre tourism projects

Tuesday 3rd June 2014

· €152,650 for St Patrick’s Cathedral visitor centre

· €150,000 for whiskey museum on College Green

A new visitor attraction at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and the development of a new whiskey museum on College Green are getting a funding boost today from Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar.

€300,000 is being allocated under Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Investment Programme for these two projects in Dublin and has been announced by Minister Varadkar.

“These two city centre projects should prove a hit with tourists. St Patrick’s Cathedral gets more than 370,000 visitors every year and many of them want to learn more about the Cathedral. The new interpretative centre will tell the story of the Cathedral, and the development of Dublin,” Minister Varadkar said.

“Irish distilling is world-famous and undergoing a renaissance, so the new Whiskey Museum on College Green couldn’t be more timely. It will cover all the major whiskey brands and link in with the new distilleries opening up nearby in the Liberties. Both projects should be good for businesses, retailers and jobs,” Minister Varadkar added.

Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn today emphasised Dublin’s strategic importance for overseas tourism to Ireland. Three quarters of overseas visitors stay in Dublin at some point in their trip to Ireland and tourism is worth over €1 billion to the local economy in Dublin. Mr Quinn added:

“Increasingly, a successful tourism destination needs to be able to tell its story and to provide opportunities for visitors to engage with that narrative. The projects announced today – as part of the Dublin Discovery Trail - allow us to do just that and contribute to our overall ambition of marketing Dublin as a ‘must-see’ and ‘must-do’ destination”.

€152,650 for St Patrick’s Cathedral

The funding will develop a new visitor and interpretative area for visitors. Surveys conducted by the Cathedral showed that visitors would like to learn more and engage with the building.

The project will include touch screen facilities, animations showing how the city developed from 800AD to 1500, themed video clips on local attractions, and a detailed history of the Cathedral. A new audio visual area will play themed videos showing how the Cathedral developed within the wider city.

Visitors will also be able to practice calligraphy, and try out brass rubbing, which should prove popular with some sections of the UK market. The visitor centre will put the Cathedral’s history into context with other local sites such as Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle.

The funding will also be used to develop a new monument in the North Transept of the Cathedral to remember all those affected by conflict. The monument will take the shape of a large barren tree surrounded by barbed wire and will be made from composed steel. Visitors will be able to leave a thought or prayer on the monument.

Irish Whiskey Museum

Funding of €150,000 is being awarded for the development of a new Irish Whiskey Museum on College Green on the Dublin Discovery Trail. The museum will focus on the rise and fall of Irish Whiskey, and its current renaissance.

In particular, it will tell the story and culture of Irish Whiskey and its impact on the global whiskey market, using interactive displays and guided tours.

Irish Whiskey is growing again in popularity around the world, and several new whiskey distilleries have opened around Ireland in recent times. Three new distilleries are being developed in the nearby Liberties area of Dublin.

The museum will incorporate all Irish Whiskey brands and the museum has received endorsements from a range of distilleries - large and small - including Diageo (Bushmills), Pernod Ricard (Jameson and Powers) and Tullamore Dew.

Further information

Both projects are situated along the Dublin Discovery Trail which runs across the city from College Green to Kilmainham, and focuses on Dublin’s culture and heritage. The Trail was developed by Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and other stakeholders.

The Dublin Discovery Trail aims to grow tourism in Dublin using technology, new signage, wi-fi links, and dedicated branding. The goal is to give walkers an interactive, informative and enjoyable trail through the city.

St Patrick’s Cathedral is located in an important position adjacent to the Dublin Discovery Trail route next to a cluster of visitor attractions including St Werburgh's Church, Dublinia and Christchurch.

The present building dates from 1220 and is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland with services taking place daily. Concerts are held in the Cathedral throughout the year. In 2012 the Cathedral attracted over 370,000 visitors. The Cathedral recently undertook a €1 million conservation of the Lady Chapel at the east end of the building which included an extensive cleaning of the space including all the stone work, monuments, stained glass and floor tiles.

Ends

Issued by the Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport 01 604 1087 / 01 604 1090

Initial Publication Date:
03/06/2014
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Old June 4th, 2014, 10:07 PM   #105
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So that's why that building on College Green is being restored! Should help to bring the area up further. And I see the empty unit beside the tourist office is being kitted out for a jeweller. Slowly but surely a nice but run down area is beginning to make a come back. Roll on the opening of H&M and the restoration of that building and BOI.
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Old June 5th, 2014, 12:14 PM   #106
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Quote:
Two Irish 'secret spots' among Europe's best

A lesser-known detour off the Ring of Kerry and a popular Dublin pub have been included in a newly-published list of Europe’s best “secret spots”.

Lonely Plant placed Kerry’s scenic Cromane Peninsula at a distinguished number five, ahead of dream destinations ranging from Italian olive groves to Berlin’s finest bars.

The low-lying spit at the western end of Castlemaine Harbour is lauded for the “open fields giving way to spectacular water vistas and multihued sunsets” which make it one of Europe’s top 50 “undiscovered and overlooked spots”.

Cromane’s Jack’s Coastguard Restaurant, according to the popular guide book publishers, “is a local secret and justifies the trip”.

Described as an “other-worldly experience”, Kavanagh’s pub in Glasnevin, Dublin is the second of two Irish locations to feature and comes in at number 46.

Situated beside Glasnevin Cemetery, the public house is more affectionately known as The Gravediggers.

This, the list says, is “due to 19th century funeral workers stopping off here for a pint after a hard day burying people”.

Owner Eugene Kavanagh told The Irish Times: “We’re a traditional pub and we carry on as we've always done but to be successful you also have to be different – which we also are”.

Italy and the UK share the most mentions on the list, with five each, including East London venue Wilton’s Music Hall which is described as “a glorious and truly atmospheric surprise”.

Praised as “the travellers’ equivalent of a special restaurant that is your own little secret”, the Czech city of Olomouc tops the list.

As Lonely Planet describes: “The main square counts amongst the country’s most charming... The evocative central streets are dotted with beautiful churches, many of which play host to a thrilling history”.

Story from RTÉ News:
http://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2014/...-secret-spots/
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Old June 12th, 2014, 11:18 AM   #107
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Quote:
Dublin ranks 12th in global travel price survey

Conor Pope

Last Updated: Thursday, June 12, 2014, 08:33


Dear old Dublin did not make it into the world’s top 10 most expensive places for a city break, according to the annual cost comparison study published by TripAdvisor this morning, although a night in the city will still set a couple back more than €260.

The Irish capital was listed as the 12th most expensive city in the Tripindex, which compares the cost of an evening out in 48 key tourist cities around the world after totting up the price of a cocktail in a five-star hotel, a meal for two, taxis to and from a restaurant and an overnight stay in a four-star hotel.

The index puts the cost of two dry martinis in a high-end Dublin bar at €26.72 , while two taxi fares come in at a total of €15 and the cost of the hotel is said to be €150.

According to Tripadvisor, dinner for two in Dublin, including wine, will set you back €72.50, a price that many people may like to take with a side order of salt.

All told, the cost of a night in Dublin comes in at €264.22.

Claims rejected

The Irish Hotels Federation rejected the price claims made by Tripadvisor, saying the conclusions drawn from the recent study do not reflect the value currently available in Dublin hotels.
“The research carried out is based solely on the prices for rooms found on Tripadvisor and does not reflect the broad range of rates actually available in the market.

“The vast majority of bednights are booked through other sources, such as directly through individual hotel’s websites, through group bookings, directly with the hotel, and the conference and event market segments,” a spokesman said.

London is revealed as the most expensive destination in the world for a city break, with an evening out and overnight stay in a four-star hotel for two in the British capital setting you back an average of €386.87, over three times the price of a break in the world’s best-value destination – Hanoi in Vietnam – which comes in at an average of €113.78.

Western Europe is home to seven of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world, although three eastern European destinations – Sofia, Prague and Budapest – feature among the world’s 10 best-value destinations.

Cancun is the cheapest city in the world for cocktails: a pre- dinner vodka martini for two comes in at an average of €2.50.

For the same outlay you could get 1½ cocktails in Cape Town, half a cocktail in Hanoi and barely a sniff of the olives in Paris, where a bill of of €38.44 would leave most people shaken and probably stirred.

© 2014 irishtimes.com
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Old June 12th, 2014, 08:50 PM   #108
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The article should start with the word "thankfully". We have spent the last 5 years trying to deal with our competitiveness against our competitors particularly in tourism and the more we slip down that table the better. There is nothing worse than the feeling you have been ripped off.
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Old June 19th, 2014, 11:19 AM   #109
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Long overdue!
Quote:
New discount travel card for tourists visiting Dublin

Thursday 19 June 2014 07.04

Tourists visiting Dublin will be offered a new discount travel card from today.

The Leap visitor card offers tourists 72 hours of unlimited travel in Dublin on Luas, DART, Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann's short hop zone.

The card, specially designed for and targeted at foreign visitors to Dublin, will only be available at Dublin Airport Leap card outlets.

It will cost €19.50 and will also include the return trip between the airport and the city centre on the Airlink Bus.

The National Transport Authority received European Union funding for the initiative.

The authority is also launching a separate product for students at language schools in the Dublin area.

The Leap trainee card will be available to students through their language schools and from Dublin Bus.

Costs for this card range from €46.50 - €119, depending on the duration of stay.

Story from RTÉ News:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0619/624904-tourism-dublin/
It should be available at other outlets, not just at the airport, though.
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Old June 19th, 2014, 03:32 PM   #110
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I'm surprised there was not a card like that until now! It's a good idea.
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Old June 19th, 2014, 07:22 PM   #111
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Dublin Bus have (had?) a 'Freedom ticket' which allows for 72 hours unlimited travel on bus services including tours and the Airlink at a price of €30. This new ticket is much better value, especially considering that a return journey on the Airlink costs €10 alone.

Now they just need to make it cheaper for locals!
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 04:37 PM   #112
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http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime...ling-1.1875719


**** sake
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 04:46 PM   #113
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I see the Red Line hoodlums are spreading their wings.
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 08:38 PM   #114
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Can you just imagine the IQ of the brain dead little prick that did this?
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Old July 29th, 2014, 06:50 PM   #115
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Quote:
Elbow and coffee conferences to bring €11m to Dublin

Fáilte Ireland said four major conferences have been secured over the next 12 months which will mean some serious revenue for the capital.

FÁILTE IRELAND HAS announced that four conferences with a potential revenue boost of almost €11 million have been secured for Dublin.

These include the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers annual meeting in October bringing 2,300 delegates and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association conference in September with 800 delegates.

Also, the World of Coffee with 4,000 delegates and the British Elbow and Shoulder Society with 750 delegates will both be hosting events in June next year.

The business tourism sector, including conferencing, is worth €579 million a year for Ireland and grew 9% last year, supporting 19,000 jobs. Already this year Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Convention Bureau has secured 40 conferences worth almost €30 million for Dublin with many more in the pipeline.

CEO Shaun Quinn said today’s news is another boost for Dublin and that there is an intention to build on this growth with an emphasis on winning more large-scale international meetings.

TheJournal.ie
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Old July 29th, 2014, 11:55 PM   #116
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I'm nerdily excited that ICANN has decided to decamp to Dublin for their annual conference. As stewards of the internet we can thank them for being able to use sites like SSC. We should also host the British Knees and Toes Society to complete the set and I'd imagine the Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association delegates will insist on having their taxis drive through the Port Tunnel on their way to the conference.

This all shows what a fantastic asset to the city the Convention Centre is. It's one of the biggest boosts to business travel to the city ever and is responsible for an appreciable increase in occupancy rates at many of our city centre hotels.
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Old July 30th, 2014, 12:32 AM   #117
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Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes... Sorry, just couldn't resist.
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Old July 30th, 2014, 03:07 AM   #118
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Dublin Cyclist attacks tourists with screwdriver when challenged for cycling on pavement.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime...path-1.1881634

Quote:
A cyclist used a key to assault a Spanish tourist after a row over cycling on the footpath, a court has heard.
Karl Manning (41) of North Great Charles Street pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Gerard Parareda at Middle Abbey Street on August 25th, 2013.
He also admitted possession of an offensive weapon, a screwdriver, on the same occasion. He has eight previous convictions, all for minor offences and dating back to before 2006.

and

Manning had brushed off a woman in the company of the victim, causing one of their group to shout after him that he was an idiot and that he “can’t cycle on the footpath”.
I Say Hang On a sec! This is Dublin, not bloody Europe or something.
Quote:
Manning turned back and confronted the group of three people. He took a key out of his pocket and swung out, hitting Mr Parareda. The Spanish group then tried to prevent Manning from getting away but Manning took a screwdriver out of his pocket and began to hit the victim again.
Just LET the locals cycle on the pavement if they want to cycle on the pavement, OK. It is a Dublin 'cultural' thang.
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Old July 30th, 2014, 11:54 AM   #119
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Cyclists that use the pavement need a good slap. Most have no consideration for pedestrians and are utterly ignorant.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 02:28 PM   #120
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Quote:
Planned Jewish museum strikes discordant note

Locals say development threatens harmony and will destroy Dublin's 'Little Jerusalem'

Wayne O'Connor
Published
03/08/2014|00:00

For generations Portobello was the beating heart of Dublin's Jewish community but where once there was harmony now there is anger and resentment in "Little Jerusalem".

The leafy Dublin suburb is the home of the Irish Jewish Museum and Ireland's oldest synagogue but now local residents are up in arms as the group of trustees in charge of the museum want to demolish the existing building to make way for a new museum.

The museum was founded and curated by Raphael Siev for 25 years until his death in 2009.

It is located in two adjoining Victorian houses and Ireland's oldest synagogue is located in the upstairs portion of the property, with a display area for artefacts and memorabilia below it.

It is planned to knock down these two buildings and three more neighbouring terraced houses to make way for a museum that is six times the size of the existing one.

The Sunday Independent was granted permission to tour the museum and observe the site. However, the museum's principals declined to comment on the project.

However, locals are appalled that An Bord Pleanala has given the new museum the go-ahead and are keen to be heard.

Maurice McConnell has lived next to the museum since the 1980s and he is one of the residents who have campaigned against the new development.

"Before Raphael Siev passed away, he wanted the museum to remain in-situ," said Mr McConnell.

"He had visions of building the museum to create a representation of what it was like to live here at the turn of the century, with an outhouse at the back and a place where the meat was cured, a more subtle development like an interpretative centre. We cannot understand the scale of the utilisation of this space," he added.

It is the construction of a new basement for the museum that concerns him most.

The Irish Jewish Museum intends to house a new six-metre-deep basement in the new development and Mr McConnell fears this could pose a threat to his home.

"There are issues relating to hydrology at the site because we have underground wells and going down that depth may, we believe, put a blockage in the water regime and push the water under my house," he said.

Another resident, Pauline Atkinson, has similar concerns.

She claimed the original hydrology survey completed in 2007 was done after a six- week period of drought.

She suggests the survey should have taken place over a longer time frame.

"They will be building in an area where the other houses were constructed on shallow foundations in the 1860s," she claims.

However, some residents say they are upset at the way that they have been treated by the museum since the plans to extend the museum were announced.

Donal O'Donoghue moved in across the road from the Irish Jewish Museum in 2006 and he claims he has noticed a change in the way the 
museum interacts with locals.

"The museum door was always open. Raphael Siev always came out and chatted or said hello. Now, we have no consultation and it has become a case of us and them," said Mr O'Donoghue.

He said a modest proposal would be welcome and he questioned the need for such a huge redevelopment.

"Does it need to be 17,000 square feet? Do they need to have a restaurant which seats 70-100 people?" asked Mr O'Donoghue.

"In the basement they have 14 toilets. They have more toilets than the National Gallery have open to the public. It is bloated and excessive in my view," he added.

The museum is currently open five days a week (Sunday to Thursday) for four and a half hours each day.

In the 90 minutes that the Sunday Independent spent talking to residents during its opening hours at the peak of the tourist season, it had no visitors.

Locals agree that the museum is an important symbol of the area's past and they do not want to see this vibrant history lost.

"The Irish Jewish Museum has been a great attraction in the area. It is small and it fits in beautifully with the surrounding area," said Ms Atkinson.

Mr McConnell added that "the destruction of a unique museum, the last of its kind in Ireland is a major issue.

"Residents feel, rightly or wrongly, that the people in charge are destroying their own heritage," he added.

Sunday Independent
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