Dublin's Olympia Theatre - Planning Permission with Conditions

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Dublin's Olympia Theatre, Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland Dublin's Olympia Theatre, Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland

The Olympia Theatre needs little introduction to Dubliners having been in existence for 100 years this year, with its famous canopy standing over the footpath on Dame Street.

In 1879 it opened as Dan Lowrey's Star of Erin Music Hall on the site of Connell's Monster Saloon. Undergoing several name changes it was rebuilt and reopened as the Empire Palace Theatre in 1897.

Opening finally as The Olympia in 1923, a whole century of touring and local artists have happily performed at the venue.

Generations of Irish people have returned to the Olympia to see the most famous actors and musicians in the world performing at the venue including David Bowie, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hady, Noel Coward, Alec Guinness, Blur, Foo Fighters, Florence + The Machine, Hozier, Dua Lipa and REM to name a few.

In 2021 the Olympia signed a sponsorship deal with 3, a mobile phone company, who also sponsor the Point in Dublin's Docklands and subsequently applied for planning permission in 2022 to erect a faux-art-deco arch over the building and adding several LED screens to the exterior as well as internal alterations.

Dublin City Council allowed for much of the permissions sought including for refurbishment of much of the fixtures but refused painting of the lower ground floor from red to grey, the aforementioned faux art-deco arch and the LED screens.

I think the decision to allow for necessary amendments to the building is important but the LED screens, I'm glad those did not get the permission requested.

Imagine the view of the Olympia from Dublin's iconic City Hall here, with bright and shiny LED lights going 24 hours a day.

View of The Olympia on Dublin's Dame Street from City Hall
View of The Olympia on Dublin's Dame Street from City Hall

In reality, most artists on at the Olympia would not need much advertising in order to sell tickets, so it wouldn't seem like in a cultural streetscape such as Dame Street that bright visual interruptions would be necessary. 

It does look like necessary works will be carried out but the classic Dame Street streetscape will remain the same, the colour can be changed - but not it seems to grey, no arch and no LED screens.

It's good to know that the Olympia will continue to welcome artists from Ireland and overseas for years to come.

Find out more about what's on at the Olympia.

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 February 2023 12:01
Darren McLoughlin

International travel photographer and Irishman in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about Ireland or about photography in Ireland.


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