IF YOU VISIT LITTLE STRAND STREET
I am willing to bet than most Dubliners have no idea where Little Strand Street but almost will be aware of the Ormond Hotel. If you walk along Little Strand Street you will see a huge void where the Hotel once was and you will also see a large construction site which is discussed below.
At the Capel Street end of Little Strand Street there is site which had been derelict for a long time but in August 2022 it was announced that the site at 163-165 Capel Street is to be sold after permission was secured to build a new hotel there. Dublin City Council had in September 2021 said plans for the hotel at the corner of Capel Street and Little Strand Street would “exacerbate” the over concentration of hotels and fundamentally undermine the vision for the provision of a dynamic mix of uses within the city centre area but the appeals board gave the green light to Ringline Investments for the construction of a nine-storey hotel. The buildings have been demolished and I assume that construction is underway or will begin soon.
The Ormond Hotel building was considered to be of particular cultural interest as James Joyce set the Sirens chapter of his novel ‘Ulysses’ there. Now the largest single component of Ormond Quay, the original hotel was enlarged in the early twentieth century to incorporate the neighbouring buildings on either side. The scale and form of the building contributed to the character of its quay side location. Ormond Quay was constructed in the late seventeenth century, the first of the quays on the north side of the river. It housed a number of noteworthy persons, including Sir Humphrey Jervis, who reclaimed the land from the estuary of the River Bradogue, c.1675, and subsequently erected the Ormond Market.
In 2019 work on the Ormond Hotel was put on hold in advance of a High Court hearing of applications by Village Magazine publisher Michael Smith and Bagots Hutton Restaurant requiring its owners, Monteco Holdings, to cease working on its demolition and redevelopment until such time as it complies with certain conditions of its planning approval. In August of 2019 a High Court judge has dismissed claims that redevelopment works at the Ormond Hotel in Dublin are in breach of the planning laws. To the best of my knowledge the construction of the new hotel was put on hold because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Strand Street formed part of the Jervis Estate formed by Humphrey Jervis, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1681-3, who laid out the area around Saint Mary’s Abbey after buying much of this estate in 1674. Jervis developed a network of streets arranged in a nine-square grid, including Jervis Street, Stafford Street (now Wolfe Tone Street), and Capel Street, as well as building Essex Bridge. The Strand Street Institute was built in 1868 by John McCurdy for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), at a time when working and middle class education was being promoted throughout the country in the form of working men’s clubs and institutes like this one. The nineteenth-century meetinghouse is bounded to the north, east and west by modern late twentieth and early twenty-first-century apartment blocks and offices, each matching the tall height of the meeting house. It is an important building to conserve on this street where twentieth-century buildings threaten the historic eighteenth and nineteenth-century industrial character. The building’s unique identity is preserved in the overall form and fenestration layout and through the retention of a number of important roof elements such as the timber eaves brackets. The quality of the rubble stone walls which, while not cut or shaped, have been drawn to regular courses, stands as a testament to the engineering of local craftsmen.