Chapter 12: Culture

Closed25 Nov, 2021, 12:00am - 14 Feb, 2022, 4:30pm

12.1    Introduction

Culture is a universal and fundamental part of the human experience, and plays a central role in defining us as a society and as a City. Cultural expression takes many forms such as music, dance, visual arts, sculpture, theatre and literature; all when used for purpose of interpretive or cultural expression. As the Capital City, Dublin leads the State in the wealth of culture available to all, from major cultural institutions and globally recognised festivals, to local community spaces and events. As recognised in the Government policy document Culture 2025, participation in cultural activities can contribute to social cohesion, reduce isolation and enrich all our lives. Cultural infrastructure is a key social asset that must be planned for in the same way as we do for our water supply, our transport, our parks and our built heritage.

Culture is defined by UNESCO as:

“a set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, that encompasses, not only art and literature but lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs.”

Taking into consideration the above, for the purposes of this Development Plan, culture infrastructure is defined as:

            “the buildings, structures and places/spaces where culture is either:

Experienced: places where culture is experienced, participated in, showcased, exhibited or sold e.g. museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, libraries, music venues, nightclubs and historical cultural sites.


Created: places of creative production where creative work is made by artists, performers, makers or manufacturers e.g. creative workspaces, performing arts rehearsal spaces, music recording studios”.

National and Regional Policy Context

The National Planning Framework at its outset outlines the national strategic outcomes and strategic investment priorities for the State. One of these strategic investment priorities (no. 7) is named Culture, Heritage and Sport; placing investment in culture at the heart of what this national plan seeks to achieve.

The NPF references arts, culture and heritage as one of the key elements supporting quality of life. The NPF and NDP are supported by arts and culture specific national policies that form part of the vision of Ireland 2040, with Culture 2025- A National Cultural Policy Framework which sets the vision, framework and direction for the cultural sector, and Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027 which provides a plan to enhance cultural participation.

Culture 2025 sets out three fundamental principles of national policy:

  1. Recognising the value of culture and creativity to the individual and society;
  2. Supporting creative practice and cultural participation and
  3. Cherishing our cultural heritage.

These three principles provide a policy basis for a number of aspects of development plan and also provide direction to the cultural sector.

The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Eastern, Midland and Dublin Region (RSES) details that Culture as referenced under Strategic Objective 7 of the NPF sets the context for the RSES. The RSES includes “creative places” as a key component of the Strategy and as a Regional Strategic Objective (number 5). The objective of the RSES is to “enhance, integrate and protect our arts, culture and heritage assets to promote creative places and heritage led regeneration”. The RSES highlights the importance of culture as an essential part of place making and in delivering an enhanced quality of life for the residents of the Region. It also recognises the benefit to the economy of successful place making with culture as a key driver. The Strategy specifically identifies Dublin City as a hub for higher order culture and leisure.

12.2    Achievements

The Council has a number of departments that contribute significantly in addressing cultural activities in the city. The City Arts Office is a developmental unit of Dublin City Council. It supports quality, access, participation, learning and innovation in the arts through collaboration and strategic partnership at local, regional and international levels. It provides a range of assistance to the artistic community including artists work, training and research spaces; residencies; grants, bursaries and commissions. It manages a range of festivals and events in cultural venues and public realm spaces. It also manages the city’s public art programme. It liaises with property owners and artists to create positive relationships and opportunities and is actively involved in increasing new spaces for artists’ studios at a number of locations across the city, on both Council and privately owned land. The Council also has a number of purpose built citizen stakeholder led cultural assets including Axis, the Lab and Dancehouse.

The Hugh Lane Gallery is wholly owned by Dublin City Council, and as well as hosting exhibitions and the permanent collection, runs a wide range of educational programmes, events and lectures which engage the public in a range of ways.

The Council currently operates 23 libraries across the city, offering accessible cultural events within local communities. City Libraries are re-imagining the role of the library in the community beyond their buildings and the lending of books. Libraries offer a sense of place, a local destination for their communities. Whilst literacy is at the heart of the work of the public library, they also provide cultural hubs for wider range of art forms. The many workshops and events for adults and children held in the City Council libraries are delivering a cultural and arts experience to many in their local community. There are plans now in place to expand this approach in future redevelopment of the existing and new libraries; not least the new City Library planned for Parnell Square which will be a key cultural asset to the city when built.

Dublin City Culture Company, on behalf Dublin City Council, run a range of cultural initiatives and buildings across the city including programmes such as Culture Connects, Creative residencies, Culture Club and the National Neighbourhood. They also manage and provide a range of services for two key Council heritage assets- Henrietta Street and Richmond Barrack, as well as maintaining a database and map (Culture Near You) of all cultural assets in the city (

The Events Office, often in partnership with others, supports a great diversity of cultural and artistic led events across the city; bringing culture and the arts to wide audience and enhancing the positive experience of those living, visiting or working in Dublin. These events make great use of the many quality public open spaces and a wide range of non-cultural buildings within the city such as College Green and our city streets for big and small events such as New Year’s Eve and St. Patricks Festival and the Bram Stoker festival. The Parks Department also contribute positively to outdoor cultural projects through the use of parks for events and the Sculpture Dublin initiative which commissions new works in parks and public spaces across the city.

The Council community and sports offices in conjunction with the Area Offices across the city bring about a wide range of locally led events, festivals and cultural experiences for their communities and also assist in the provision of local facilities for use by groups within the area.

12.3    Challenges

The nature of cities and their role in attracting those interested both in creating art and cultural experiences and those who wish to engage and participate, is one of the key parts of making Cities great places; but it can also create pressures. The impact of both local gentrification and City wide economic growth, creates demand for spaces and raises the cost of land. This can have negative impacts on the affordability to live in the city for those in the creative arts and also in relation to affordability and accessibly to larger type spaces needed to undertake art and cultural expression.

The interaction of land use policy and culture is a challenge to many modern cities as they grow and there is no single approach that best addresses this matter. The City Council does have a role in addressing these competing pressures, including through the provisions of the development plan.

As Dublin continues to grow, there is a challenge in protecting the arts and cultural assets of the city whilst allowing sustainable growth; and in expanding the range of spaces and places available to allow the pace of cultural growth match our population growth. This challenge must be met in all parts of the city, including the regeneration of industrial lands and of older social housing complexes; in new build in the suburbs; and in addressing gaps within the existing inner and outer city suburbs to enable new facilities. All of this must be done in tandem within the densification of the city to meet the targets of the National Planning Framework and RSES.

12.4    Strategic Approach

In seeking to shape future planning policy, a balance must be struck between achieving the cultural vision and aims of the National Development Plan in tandem with the targets of the National Planning Framework in terms of climate resilient, sustainable compact growth.

Culture also contributes to the economic growth of the city in a number of key ways. By having a vibrant city with many cultural activities and attractions, Dublin becomes more attractive to residents, tourists and visitors. Cultural investment provides employment and also has many spin off economic benefits to other sectors including food and beverage, retail and the taxi industry. Cultural engagement and investment also allows people to develop their skills to work in the creative industries. This sector, which already has a thriving base in Dublin, has further potential to provide skilled employment in a world where traditional models of working are fast changing.

The cultural infrastructure of the city has significant assets run by the State and the City Council. Alongside this, is the vibrant and vital private sector role in supporting culture and the arts within the city. Dublin has a wide range of privately run cultural assets; from the more traditional facilities such as galleries and museums, to smaller music schools, dance studios, recording spaces to rehearsal spaces for theatre companies. There is also the cultural experience of venues including theatre and music as well as many spaces across the city that host or are managed as arts or cultural spaces for events. All of these facilities form an inherent part of defining the cultural experience of the city and need to be valued and protected; and as the population of the city grows, so must cultural infrastructure.

This chapter seeks to address the planning challenges facing the sector; and recognises that the protection and expansion of all types of cultural assets will always be achieved through both public and private investment, reflecting the diverse and wide ranging sector that it is. For this reason, the Plan aims to provide for a vibrant and sustainable cultural sector and associated cultural infrastructure to meet the needs of the city. It is critical that in catering for future population growth outlined in the NPF that such growth is also in line with the strategic investment priority of the NPF of keeping culture at the heart of communities.

12.5    Policies and Objectives

The policies and objectives outlined below aim to ensure that culture infrastructure is valued and protected as an integral part of the fabric of the city, in line with national and regional policy.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Shared Vision for Culture

To lead and support the development of a shared vision for culture in the city in collaboration with cultural institutions and other cultural bodies in recognition of their key role and contribution to the cultural life of the city.


Cultural Infrastructure

To ensure the continued development of Dublin as a culturally vibrant, creative and diverse city with a broad range of cultural activities provided throughout the city, underpinned by quality cultural infrastructure.


Dublin UNESCO City of Literature

To promote the vision of Dublin UNESCO City of Literature as a “City of Words”, and to support investment in expanded and upgraded cultural infrastructure that supports this vision.

12.5.1 Protecting and Enhancing Dublin City’s Cultural Assets

As our State’s capital, Dublin has many significant assets with the majority of State owned cultural institutions located within the city. Facilities include the National Concert Hall, National Museums at Kildare St. and Collins Barracks, the National Library, State Archives, National Gallery, Museum of Natural History, The Abbey Theatre and IMMA to name but a few. Alongside these are many other nationally significant cultural facilities in both public, NGO and private ownership such as The Gate Theatre, The Hugh Lane Gallery, the Irish Traditional Music Archive, the Ark, Alliance Française, Project Arts Centre, the Olympia Theatre, Vicar Street and Irish Film Institute. Many of these institutions run outreach events and programmes to increase engagement and participation.

The Council seeks to continue to support the growth and expansion of the many cultural resources within the city, particularly where proposals increase the opportunity for greater engagement with local communities, the young, the marginalised and people with disabilities. Such cultural institutions play an important role in shaping the future of the arts and culture within the city in giving people, particularly children, the opportunity to engage and experience arts and culture and in nurturing future interest and involvement.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Cultural Resources

To support the development of new and expanded cultural resources and facilities within the city that enrich the lives of citizens and visitors, provide new opportunities for engagement and celebrate aspects of our history and culture.


Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 - 2027

Support the planned upgrade and investment in national cultural institutions within the city as outlined in Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 - 2027; including the new collections and Learning Centre at IMMA, Collins Barracks, The National Library, National Archives, Natural History Museum, IMMA, National Concert Hall and the Chester Beatty Library and other projects proposed during the lifetime of the Development Plan.


Abbey Theatre

Support the expansion of the Abbey Theatre to the Liffey to create an upgraded and expanded venue that contributes positively to the culture of the city and provides the Abbey with a distinctive, visible new context that contributes positively to the Liffey Quays.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Museum of Dublin

To undertake a study to identify public and private collections that contribute to the story of Dublin’s social and cultural history, and consider the feasibility of a dedicated Museum of Dublin where all these collections may be curated for public display.


Dublin Fire Brigade Museum

That Dublin City Council undertake a study to identify a viable, appropriately scaled, permanent location for the Dublin Fire Brigade Museum currently housed in the O’Brien Institute.


Dublin Music Resource Centre and Museum

In recognising the significant musical tradition in Dublin, the City Council will undertake a study to explore the opportunity of creating a Dublin Music Resource Centre and Museum that can provide facilities and opportunities for engagement with music for all, with particular focus on engaging and encouraging under represented and socially excluded people within the city.


Chatham Row

To work to deliver a new cultural resource in the former Conservatory of Music and Drama at Chatham Row, that will provide new spaces for cultural engagement within the city centre


Cultural Forum

To explore the possibility of establishing a Cultural Forum for Dublin, led by Dublin City Council and working with other cultural partners.


Arts and Culture Infrastructure

To work with the Arts office in developing an Arts and Culture Infrastructure policy document for the city that informs the preparation of audits, use of vacant spaces and toolkits for provision of cultural and arts facilities.

Building with murals

12.5.2 Cultural Hubs and Quarters

Dublin City has a number of world-class cultural hubs and emerging quarters, which have been supported and encouraged over the lifetime of previous development plans. As the city grows and intensifies, the importance and value of these places in defining and giving character and meaning to the city is even more relevant, making Dublin a rich and culturally diverse City. Cultural quarters, where a range of cultural uses are located in close proximity provide a benefit to the public in their experience and engagement with arts and culture, and can bring benefits to artists and practitioners in collaboration and interaction. The experience of culture night highlights the benefits of such clustering within the city.

The Council will continue to support, develop and nurture all identified and emerging cultural quarters within the city and seek the creation of additional spaces where the opportunity arises. The cultural quarters identified in this Plan are

  1. South Georgian Quarter;
  2. North Georgian City incorporating O’Connell St. and Moore Street;
  3. Kilmainham/Inchicore;
  4. Temple Bar; and
  5. Docklands.

Policies and objectives with regard to an Irish language quarter are addressed in a specific section - Supporting Irish Language and Culture in the City (see Section 12.5.6 below).

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Cultural Clusters and Hubs

To support existing, and encourage the growth of, emerging cultural clusters and hubs within the city, which bring together cultural activities interlinked with supporting uses (such as restaurants, retail, galleries and venues) to create vibrant, defined cultural quarters and communities within the city that give a variety of cultural experiences to all.

South Georgian Quarter

The South Georgian Quarter of the city has been the leading cultural quarter of the city since the foundation of the State. Its concentration of national institutions, closely situated to the Houses of the Oireachtas makes this quarter unique. The depth and range of facilities in this cluster has grown over recent decades. Significant investment has seen transformative improvements to the quality of space including the National Gallery, upgrades to the National Library and the Natural History Museum. The area also contains important smaller institutions such as the Irish Architectural Archive, the Royal Irish Academy; the Museum of Literature Ireland and a wide range of facilities regularly used for cultural, music and other performances.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


South Georgian Quarter Cultural Hub

To support the role of the South Georgian Quarter as a cultural hub of national significance and to support the growth and use of buildings within the area for cultural, heritage and artistic purposes.

Parnell Square and North Inner City including Moore St. and O’Connell St.

This area of the city, framed by the capitals premier street, has, in recent years grown and developed significantly as a new hub for culture and heritage within the city. The opening of two new world class museums (the GPO and Henrietta Street) sit alongside a range of existing cultural resources that include the Hugh Lane Gallery, Irish Writers Centre, Poetry Ireland, na Píobairí Uilleann, the Fire Station Studios, the LAB and Dancehouse. Further investment is also planned for the area including a large scale public realm upgrade of Parnell Square and Moore Street; the establishment of a new City Library and cultural resource on Parnell Square North; a new venue space at Grangegorman TUD; the restoration of  pre -1916 buildings on Moore Street and the establishment of a commemorative visitor centre marking a key touchstone in our State’s foundation.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Parnell Square and North Inner City Cultural Cluster

To promote and support the growth of the Parnell Square and North Inner City cultural cluster to facilitate opportunities that provide benefits both to the wider City and to the economic growth and regeneration for the NEIC that supports artists, mitigates social exclusion and increases opportunities for expression and artistic engagement for the diverse local community and in particular, young people.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


City Library

To deliver a world class new City library and cultural resource centre at Parnell Square alongside a significant upgrade of the public realm of Parnell Square to provide an attractive and appropriate setting for the high number of cultural facilities on the Square.


Poetry Ireland

To support the vision of Poetry Ireland to create a new all-island cultural resource at 11 Parnell Square, including library, exhibition space, performance and ancillary facilities.


14-17 Moore Street

To support the preservation and restoration of the  historic terrace 10-25 Moore Street and adjacent yards and lanes, and the remaining historic built heritage of the street, including numbers 1-8 Moore Street, and the establishment of a commemorative visitor centre, as a fitting tribute to the men and women of Easter 1916 and as an educational and cultural resource centre.


Convent and Magdalene Laundry Building on Sean Mc Dermott St.

To explore opportunities for suitable development of this site that incorporate housing and community uses and a memorial in the former Convent and Magdalene Laundry building on Sean Mc Dermott St. and that are sensitive to the legacy and history of this location.

Dublin 8, Kilmainham and Inchicore

The south central area of the city, with its wealth of historical, industrial, crafts and military heritage, has grown in importance as a cultural cluster within the city. A number of recent projects have and are being delivered in the area, making important interventions to support the growth of this area as an emerging cultural hub. Measures include the renovation and opening of Richmond Barracks as a heritage centre within the community with a particular focus on 1916 and the Decade of Centenaries; the acquisition and investment in Kilmainham Mills to create a new cultural and community space; plans for the new community arts facility at Bridgefoot St. and URDF funding sought to make a series of public realm interventions to support regeneration.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Cultural Spaces in Dublin 8

To deliver a number of new cultural spaces and artists workspaces in the Dublin 8 area, including the renovation of Kilmainham Mills and the establishment of the Creative Campus space.


Heritage Network and Trail

Support the establishment of a heritage network and trail from the Dubline route through to Kilmainham, Inchicore Works, Goldenbridge and Bluebell, supported by improved public realm, connections and restoration of the Camac River, which celebrates the rich history of this district.


Dublin 8 Regeneration

To ensure that the wider regeneration of Dublin 8 contributes to the cultural assets of the community with new spaces provided at street level in larger regeneration projects that will accommodate and provide for new local cultural uses.


Museum/Heritage Facility at Inchicore Works

To support CIE in any future proposal to provide a transport museum/heritage facility at Inchicore Works and seek that any new development at or proximate to the Works is sensitive to the industrial heritage of this area.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar, located in the heart of the city, has, in the 30 years since it was designated as a mixed use cultural quarter for the city, grown in scale and depth in terms of its cultural provision. It continues to support a wide range of arts and cultural spaces within a very small district of the city, justifying its identification as a cultural hub, a number of which are owned by Dublin City Council. Facilities such as Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, the IFI, Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios and the Project Arts Centre were flagship projects at the time of their establishment and they still deliver a range of high quality artistic and cultural activities. This success has not been without challenges. Growth in the night time economy and tourism have placed pressure on this small area within the city.

Dublin City Council recognises the importance of actively working to preserve the cultural role of Temple Bar and seeks to put in place policies and actions that will ensure that the artistic and cultural life of the area survives and thrives.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Temple Bar Cultural Hub

To support the role of Temple Bar as cultural hub within the south city and to prevent the erosion of the range of cultural and artist facilities and spaces and protect these for continued cultural purposes.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Planning Applications within Temple Bar

Require that all planning applications within Temple Bar that are in proximity to or that are deemed to directly impact on cultural or artistic facilities, must demonstrate how any such planned development will not erode or restrict the functioning of such spaces.


Variety and Diversity of Retail of Temple Bar

To seek to protect the variety and diversity of retail of Temple Bar which gives this hub its distinctive character.


Temple Bar as a Mixed Use Cultural Quarter

To seek to maintain the role of Temple Bar as a mixed use cultural quarter and avoid the concentration of particular uses and retail facilities which would re-inforce particular activities in the area to the detriment of the cultural, residential and social functions of the area. Any application for further expansion of floor space for licenced premises, restaurants or the sale of food or alcohol for consumption off the premises, will have to demonstrate how such expansion will not have a detrimental impact on the character of the area.


National Photographic Archive

Recognise the need for the expansion of the photographic archive and to support their identification of new space to meet the needs of this cultural facility.

Dublin Docklands

The Docklands area of the city has seen a radical transformation over the past 20 years. It presents a blend of the very modern alongside historic buildings and features of maritime history and trade and great historic engineering achievements of Dublin. The transformation, led initially by the Custom House Docks Authority, later the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and now by Dublin City Council, has seen the Docklands regenerate at a significant scale, with both positive outcomes for the city and some challenges.

Part of the vision for this area is the provision of new cultural facilities for the city. The establishment and subsequent expansion of the Point (now 3 Arena) and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre established new flagship venues on the north and south sides of the river bringing people into Docklands and providing night time animation. The opening of EPIC, a new museum for the city within the historic CHQ building has been a welcome addition to the area. Other new additions are planned and it is expected these will be delivered during the lifetime of the Plan, including a new venue within Dublin Port (objective BHA33 in Chapter 11 refers) and the U2 music space and museum in Grand Canal Dock. Poolbeg West SDZ presents the opportunity to deliver new artist spaces within Docklands as it develops. Dublin City Council, through its Docklands office, will continue to work with all key stakeholders in the area to achieve growth and expansion of the cultural offer and the development of new cultural assets in the area so it can in time, develop a role within the city as a cultural hub.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Cultural Facilities within Docklands

Support and encourage the growth of cultural facilities within Docklands, at community and citywide scale, to enrich the area, generate activity and economic benefits and celebrate the maritime heritage of the Docklands area.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Implementation of the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock SDZ and Poolbeg West SDZ Requirements

Support the implementation of the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock SDZ and Poolbeg West SDZ requirements regarding the provision of new spaces for arts and cultural uses as part of larger regeneration developments.


Poolbeg Hotel, Harbour and Power Station Complex

Support the development of the historic Poolbeg hotel, harbour and power station complex for an innovative cultural enterprise that will provide a sustainable future for these historic riverside buildings and provide a range of new facilities for this area of the city.

12.5.3 Supporting Cultural Vibrancy in the City

A wide range of cultural facilities is the lifeblood of a city. It provides vitality and vibrancy and attracts people to the city. It is essential that as Dublin city delivers its agenda of sustainable compact growth, that this growth is not at the cost of what makes Dublin a great place to be, to visit and to work. As cities grow and land values change, pressures emerge on more vulnerable uses such as privately run facilities including venues, theatres, art galleries, nightclubs and historic public houses. It is important that the Plan recognises that such pressures now exist within Dublin and responds accordingly to preserve and grow the cultural diversity of the city. As Dublin changes, there is also a need for the cultural offer to grow to reflect these changes, and to reach out and engage with those who traditionally have not partaken in mainstream cultural experiences.

As part of the preparatory work for the Plan, a cultural infrastructure study was undertaken of the city, and was published as a background document for the Plan. The study provides a detailed analysis of the extent of cultural infrastructure within the city; where challenges lie; and makes a number of recommendations, including content for a future toolkit on designing spaces for arts workspaces to address the mismatch that can occur between application of standard design spaces and the practical needs for practitioners.

The Icon walk Temple Bar

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Cultural Spaces and Facilities

To grow the range of cultural spaces and facilities in tandem with all new developments and across existing developments to meet the needs of an increased population within the city.


Protection of Cultural Uses

To protect cultural uses within the city that have been negatively impacted by the Covid pandemic and seek to preserve such spaces so they are not lost to the city as a result of the economic impact of the extended closure during the pandemic.


Cultural Uses in Developments on Former Industrial Lands

To ensure new developments on former industrial lands incorporate cultural uses as part of new mixed use communities.


Cultural Uses in the Design and Uses of Side Streets

To encourage the rejuvenation of quieter urban streets by the inclusion of cultural uses both in the design and uses of side streets.


Temporary Use for Cultural Provision

To facilitate the temporary use of underused sites or buildings for artistic or cultural provision.


Design of Cultural and Arts Facilities

To promote a co-design approach to cultural and arts facilities and that applicants and developers consider the Toolkit guide for artform specific workplace to inform the design of such spaces.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:



Masterplans or statutory plans prepared for lands over 2 hectares that were previously zoned for industrial purposes and are now identified for mixed use must include dedicated locations at the design stage for cultural uses and details as to how any existing cultural uses within the area can be accommodated as part of a wider regeneration.


SDRAs and large Scale Developments

All new regeneration areas (SDRAs) and large scale developments above 10,000 sq. m. in total area must provide for 5% community, arts and culture and artist workspaces internal floorspace as part of their development at the design stage. The option of relocating a portion (no more than half of this figure) of this to a site immediately adjacent to the area can be accommodated where it is demonstrated to be the better outcome and that it can be a contribution to an existing project in the immediate vicinity. The balance of space between cultural and community use can be decided at application stage, from an evidence base/audit of the area. Such spaces must be designed to meet the identified need.


Demolition or Replacement of a Use of Cultural Value

Where applications are made seeking to demolish or replace a cultural space/use, the development must re-accommodate the same or increased volume of space/use or a similar use within the redevelopment. Cultural uses include theatres, cinemas, artist studios, performance spaces, music venues, nightclubs, studios and dance space.


Toolkit Guide to Workspace

The Council will publish a “toolkit” for developers and other stakeholders giving a guide to the spatial requirements of artform specific workspaces to inform the design process and ensure viable arts and cultural spaces are provided.


Reuse of Vacant Space

The City Arts Office, in partnership with the Planning Department, continue its role as broker between owners of unused premises and landowners in encouraging the uptake of such spaces for artistic and cultural purposes for both short and longer term.


Co-Design and Audits

Large development applications (over 10,000 sq. m., either in phases or as one application) will, in the absence of a DCC local area culture audit (COU38 refers), be required to undertake a cultural audit for the local area to identify shortcomings within the area; and to work with DCC Arts Office to identify and agree appropriate arts or cultural uses, preferably as part of a co-design process in advance of lodging an application, for inclusion in the development. Such audits shall be informed by the existing cultural mapping resources in the Dublin City Cultural Infrastructure Study and by Culture Near You maps.

12.5.4 Supporting Key Cultural Activities

The development plan has a role in supporting key cultural activities within a wider context of policies and actions of Dublin City Council and others agencies and stakeholders. Dublin City Council seeks to engage with key stakeholders during the implementation of the Plan to support and improve the opportunities for cultural activity within the city.


Arts is defined by the Arts Act 2003 as:

“any creative or interpretive expression (whether traditional or contemporary) in whatever form, and including, in particular, visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film, circus and architecture and including any medium when used for those purposes”.

Allowing space for artists to work and live within the city is vital to maintaining a vibrant artistic community as part of the cultural life of the city. Dublin City will continue to work with artists and artist groups to expand the provision of studios available and/or supported by the Council.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Artist Studios

To further develop and provide spaces for artist studios within the city and avail of opportunities for utilising underused buildings within communities for artistic and cultural purposes.


Artist Live-work Space

To support the development of a feasibility model and pilot project for provision of artist live-work space during the lifetime of the Development Plan and to seek to provide a clear community benefit as part of the project.


Music is one of most widely engaged forms of culture in the city. The diversity and range of music – from full orchestras to solo singer songwriters and everything in-between; the creative range and diversity of this art form is vast. Alongside the diversity in type, is the need for diversity in space for musical artists to rehearse, record and perform. Retaining music as part of the cultural landscape of the city and the musical success experienced by many artists on a global scale cannot be sustained without maintaining a wide range and scale of venues for artists to hone their abilities and grow as performers. It is critical for the city’s music scene that existing venues for performance within the city are protected; and the Council will support and encourage the development of a new music venue (400-1,000 scale) within the inner city to support and diversify the sector.

Many rehearsal spaces and recording spaces in the city are located in former industrial estates. As these areas regenerate, it is critical that these spaces are retained within communities. Provision of affordable spaces is important particularly to younger people, and the provision of such spaces as part of Council and other public projects will be encouraged. With increased living in apartments, there are less options and spaces for people to rehearse and/or play with others, making the provision of space even more important as this form of housing increases within the city. The Council is committed to supporting the development of music hub within the city as a flagship space that will provide a range of facilities and opportunities to all (see Objective COU3).

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Music as a Key Cultural Asset

To support music as a key cultural asset of Dublin City and seek the retention and expansion of venues and facilities that allow for expression and experience of music in a wide variety of forms to enhance the cultural life of the city.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Music Rehearsal Spaces

To seek opportunities to include facilities for music rehearsal spaces within communities to enable and encourage more people to engage with music, with a particular focus on young people.


Industrial Estate Regeneration Areas

All large scale mixed use former industrial estate regeneration areas (over 10 ha) in the city shall include at least one studio/rehearsal space and/or venue.


Music Venues

To encourage the development of new music venues that will provide opportunities for music artists to perform at a range of venue sizes.

Photography/Audio Visual/Cinema/Digital Arts

Dublin has a growing and successful audio-visual sector, both as an economic asset in production and as a cultural experience, supporting cinema provision, education and local arts projects and facilities to engage with the media. The Council seeks to support this sector including:

  • supporting production within the city;
  • protecting key historic set pieces and the use of the public realm for production work;
  • supporting the emergence of audio-visual hubs within D8 and D2;
  • the development of new larger scale cultural spaces within the inner city that can accommodate film production requirements (studios/editing/recording/rehearsal);
  • and encouraging the provision of community spaces such as community radio studios and recording spaces across the city suburbs.

Provision of community space can allow local initiatives work with young people to develop skills and consider careers in this growing sector. This has proven successful in other locations as a means of engaging with children as risk of leaving education.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Audio-Visual Sector

Support the growth of the audio-visual sector within Dublin and to promote Dublin as a location for film and series production to provide employment opportunities, showcase the city and provide new artistic opportunities to all within the city.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Audio-Visual Sector

To support the growth of the audio-visual sector within the city, and the continued growth of the existing clusters in D8 and D2, including encouraging start-up space provision.


Audio and Visual Community Spaces

To work with local stakeholders to seek the delivery of audio and visual community spaces such as community radio studios and recording spaces across the city suburbs and where the opportunity arises. To seek to integrate provision for cinema events space within urban villages by ensuring that the design of future community facilities can accommodate cinema events.

Night Time Cultural Activities

A strong theme of the consultation process for the preparation of this Development Plan was the need to address night time cultural activities in all its forms.

Cultural activity in evening and night time gives life and vitality to the city; supports the food and beverage sector; and gives further opportunities for people to engage and interact with cultural activities.

The management of certain night time activities requires a multidisciplinary approach including policing and legislative controls. In land use terms, a careful balancing of activities is required to avoid potential negative impacts and over concentration of certain land uses. The Council will seek to cluster certain late night activities onto busy streets and key thoroughfares of the city or locations with limited residential uses where people are not using quieter residential streets to exit venues or to avail of transport options.

The recent publication Report of the Night Time Economy Taskforce in September 2021 by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media sets out a vision and actions for supporting and growing the night time economy in Ireland

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Cultural Activities in the Evening

To support the growth in cultural activities within the city and to encourage cultural institutions and amenities within the city to operate into early evening time on a regular basis, and to explore the development of more regular evening cultural experiences on a pilot basis.


Night Time Economy Taskforce Report

To be guided by the recommendations set out in the National Night Time Economy Taskforce Report 2021 and to seek that Dublin is selected as a pilot for the creation of a Night Time Advisor and stakeholder committee


Range of Cultural and Amenity Options

To seek and encourage a range of cultural and amenity options for residents and visitors within the city that are independent of licenced premises to allow options for younger people and others to engage and enjoy a range of activities in the city during evening hours.


Performance and Entertainment Spaces

To protect and support Dublin city’s cultural assets by facilitating the enhancement and/or growth of existing cultural spaces, including performance and entertainment spaces, while protecting the existing amenities of an area.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Noise Impacts

All applications for short or longer term residential proposals (including hotels) that seek permission adjacent to established late night uses such as nightclubs/music venues/public houses/comedy clubs, shall be required to demonstrate in their application, how, firstly through the use of good design and layout; and secondly, through increased sound insulation; they have ensured their development will not cause negative impacts on the adjoining uses in the future.


Purpose Spaces for Evening and Night Time Activities

To encourage the opportunity presented by new larger developments within the city to provide high quality, designed for purpose spaces that can accommodate evening and night time activities, such as basement/roof level “black box” spaces that can be used for smaller scale performances/theatre/dance venues, and for flexibility in the design of larger spaces, such as conference spaces, to be adaptable for evening uses.


Victorian and Edwardian Public Houses

To protect Dublin’s unique heritage of Victorian and Edwardian public houses as a central part of the city’s cultural offer, and resist changes of use that would result in the loss of such premises from their traditional role where they are open to public use.

Street Art

Dublin City recognises the importance of Street Art as an art form and notes its growth in popularity in many cities. This intervention is now recognised as an important art form creating unique experiences in the city. High quality street art can be transformative, changing how places are perceived and bring colour, joy, and express issues of society and experience. The pandemic and associated lockdowns of Covid saw a number of places within Dublin uplifted through the use of street art. It can however, also have a negative side, where tagging and poor quality street graffiti can damage historic buildings and give a sense of neglect. Dublin City seeks to support the development of new opportunities for curated and high quality street art at appropriate locations that can bring benefits to the surrounding areas.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Street Art

To continue to support Street Art as an Art Form in the city and to commission new street art at agreed locations to enliven the city and to address areas subject to tagging and vandalism and to support the use of construction hoardings as locations for new installations.


Music and Dance

To recognise the cultural value of a thriving club and dance scene for all music types and audiences to the City and to the night time economy; and to support and protect existing club venues and the future growth and development of such facilities as a distinct part of the cultural life of the City


Canvas Spaces

To pilot “canvas” spaces to support street art at agreed locations (including construction hoarding) and to establish legal walls in the city in support of developing street art through free painting and to look to establish pilot “canvas” spaces for a rotating programme of street art through free painting that can bring high quality installations to be seen by many in the city and add to Dublin’s attractiveness.

Image of wall with mural and red lighthouse

12.5.5 Culture in the Community

This Plan seeks to put in place policies and objectives that support the delivery of the 15 minute city. In looking at what makes vibrant and inclusive communities, planning policy has to look beyond the more traditional models of social infrastructure provision and seek to ensure that space and investment are aligned to provide the opportunity for cultural facilities within communities. Dublin City is already well placed in this regard. However, there are parts of the city that are clearly underprovided, such as the North-Central Area, Finglas-Cabra-Glasnevin and Kimmage-Rathmines, as outlined in the Dublin City Cultural Infrastructure Study 2021, prepared as a background paper to the Development Plan.

Dublin City has a number of very successful community arts and culture centres that provide a wide range of facilities including venues, rehearsal and exhibition spaces. Some are stand-alone facilities and some link in with other services. A key element is the recent programme of expansion of City libraries to broaden the functions of library buildings to a wider cultural offer. This is making a difference within communities by providing increased cultural spaces and facilities at a local level.

There are many opportunities to expand and grow the range and quality of cultural and arts facilities within the community and no one solution fits all. It is proposed that the Arts Office and Culture and Recreation Section will work with the Planning Department to undertake a series of localised audits of Local Electoral Areas to identify the best local solution that will provide a plan for investment in local facilities- both public and private – that will address shortcomings in that area.

One approach to provision of space that has had mixed success is the temporary use of vacant spaces such as retail units. These spaces are usually not designed for purpose and can often be only available as “meanwhile” spaces on short term arrangements. These conditions may suit certain uses, and the Council will continue to work with key stakeholders to take suitable opportunities when they arise (see policy CU16 and objective CUO25). However, these types of spaces can result in costs to fit out. The preference is for community and arts provision, as much as possible, to be designed in as part of larger developments rather than being retrofitted into unused retail premises.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Civic Arts and Cultural Spaces in Urban Villages

To seek to deliver new civic arts and cultural spaces in urban villages across the city in areas where there is a deficit and to prioritise such areas for investment.



Support the expansion and growth of libraries as key community and cultural assets within communities; including in providing key spaces for communities to use for cultural and arts events, music, classes, history and experiences and services for the unemployed including job seeking skills and online learning and training.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Cultural and Artistic Space Audit

To aim to undertake during the life of the development plan, an audit and implementation plan for each Electoral Area of the Council to assess the current and future needs with regard to cultural and artistic spaces and to set a series of actions, policy tools and initiatives to address identified shortfalls.


Buildings within Communities for Arts and Cultural Spaces

To seek to acquire buildings of merit within communities that can become important arts and cultural spaces; and give a new purpose to local buildings with heritage value and to promote the expansion of cultural uses within existing spaces, particularly within buildings in public ownership.



To support greater inclusivity as part of the cultural experience and to support adaptation to existing facilities to address existing shortcomings. To support initiatives and investments in arts and cultural spaces that aim to promote increased cultural engagement for minority groups, people with disabilities, young people, socially excluded, members of the Travelling community and LGBTQ+ community members.



To encourage disabled people to take part fully in the city's culture as consumers, creators, artists and workers by supporting a high standard of accessibility in new and existing cultural assets


Multilingualism Community Infrastructure

To promote the development and provision of multilingualism community infrastructure across the city and to provide for the needs of groups promoting multilingualism within communities.

12.5.6 Supporting the Irish Language and Culture in the City

As outlined in the Government publication Infheistíocht inár gCultúr, inár dTeanga agus inár nOidhreacht Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage, 2018 – 2027; a key objective of Project Ireland 2040 is to provide better social, economic and cultural infrastructure, including providing more opportunities to enjoy our cultural heritage and language. Dublin City Council supports the statement that our language is fundamental to our identity and our expression of ourselves as a distinct people; alongside recognising that our City is made of many peoples with many different backgrounds.

Making space for cultural engagement allows all to experience, learn, express and share as part of a mutual cultural enrichment. Supporting the Irish language and the traditional arts within the city will create these opportunities, both through provision of physical space and sponsored programmes and also through supporting cultural events and through appropriate use of the public realm.

Many existing community spaces play an important role within the city fabric in supporting Irish culture and use of the Irish language, such as GAA clubs and community halls and facilities that provide space for local arts and cultural events, dance classes and hosting comhrá groups within local communities. The important role of these spaces is recognised by the Council in supporting and preserving Irish language and culture across the city.

Irish Language Quarter

Whilst not in any designated Gaeltacht area, Dublin has a highest absolute number of people living in the State who utilise Irish on a daily basis. Dublin is also home to a number of Irish language educational facilities both for mainstream education and those providing Irish language education to the wider public. The recent successes of initiatives such as “pop-up” Gaeltacht nights within the city have demonstrated the support for increasing the visibility of Irish within the city and providing space to all interested speaking Irish within a social setting. In seeking to develop this concept, Dublin City Council supports the initiative of Irish language organisations within the city to create and grow Irish language hubs within the heart of the city and where appropriate, in selected urban village locations.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Irish Language

To continue supporting Gaeilge as part of our identity and as a living language within the city and to explore options for promoting Irish language and culture through policy and actions.


Traditional Arts

To support the traditional arts within the city including music, dance and sports and to support key language and cultural investment projects in the city. DCC supports the UNESCO recognition sought for Irish cultural heritage elements, including hurling, harping and piping which have already achieved protection.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Dublin Gaeltacht

To support the promotion of the Irish language and support initiatives to establish Irish language network areas/ “Dublin Gaeltacht” in Dublin.


Irish Medium Education

To continue to engage with Department of Education and Skills to support the growth in Irish medium education and to work with Department in providing facilities to meet demand within the city.


Na Píobairí Uilleann

To seek the delivery of the planned extension to na Píobairí Uilleann on Henrietta St. to provide a new cultural/performance space within the North Inner City for traditional music and dance.


Key Venues and Cultural Facilities

To protect important key venues and cultural facilities (both public and private) within the city that give space for the expression of traditional music, song and dance. Where proposals for redevelopment of such spaces are made, the applicant will be required to address how these uses will be accommodated.


Irish language on Shopfronts

To support the use of the Irish language on shopfronts, having regard to the principles set out in Dublin City Council’s ‘Shop-font Design Guidelines’ and Chapter 15.


Naming of new developments

 To ensure that all new developments are named in the Irish language only, to redress the historic under-representation of Irish language names in the City; whilst also reflecting the rich diversity of history and origins of place names and townland names within Dublin and also names that are reflective the social history of each place. All place names installed for new streets or estates must be bi-lingual.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Promotion of Irish Language

To promote the growth and use of Irish within Dublin City and the provision of opportunities and space for people in Dublin to learn.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Dublin City Language and Cultural Hub

To promote and support the development of a flagship Dublin City Language and Cultural Hub as outlined in the Project Ireland 2040 document, Infheistíocht inár gCultúr, inár dTeanga & inár nOidhreacht Investing in our Culture, Language & Heritage 2018-2027.


Irish Language Quarter

To promote and support the development of an Irish language quarter and to seek a designation in the south City area focussed around the Harcourt St. area as an Irish Language Network. To explore the opportunities for supporting greater use of the Irish language within selected urban villages within the city.

12.5.7 Culture in the Public Domain

Public spaces play a highly significant role in the public expression and cultural value of the city. They provide music venues, space for festivals, events and markets. Dublin City Council has continued to enliven public spaces through performance and the hosting of regular and one-off cultural events within the public realm. Examples in the past four years include continuing the successful Opera in the Open; New Year’s Festival, St. Patricks Festival, Dublin Pride, Bloomsday, to name but a few, as well as supporting walking tours of the city to the benefit of locals and tourist alike. The public realm is also animated through the year by a range of single art-form and multi-disciplinary arts festivals such as the Dublin Theatre Festival, Fringe Festival, the International Literature Festival Dublin, the Dublin Dance Festival and the Dublin International Film Festival.

Public spaces have been regularly used to host markets of all scales - for example, the well-established Saturday market at Temple Bar, as well as a number of local markets in the suburbs such as Ballymun and Bushy Park. The Council has also worked to increase the number of new public spaces within the city and to ensure that they can provide new uses and venues in the future. These include public realm interventions through North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock SDZ and in larger regeneration projects.

The importance of public spaces being adaptable and capable of hosting cultural events have never been more relevant. The Council supports the recommendations of the Report by the Culture Recovery Taskforce -Life Worth Living- which highlights this as a key part of supporting this sector. The Council will continue to seek funding and opportunities to increase and improve the range of public realm spaces capable of hosting events and other cultural activities and support arts and cultural organisations in utilising these spaces.

A key part of cultural expression in the public domain is the use of public art and sculpture installations, whether permanent or temporary. Public art encompasses a wide range of artistic expression including the commissioning of permanent work as well as temporary work such as performance artforms (music, drama, and dance) and other artforms such as film, literature, etc. Permanent work does not have to be sculptural and there are excellent examples of interventions both by the City Council and private developers which exemplify different approaches to public art commissioning. Dublin City has a successful record of adding new public art and sculpture that enhances the historic fabric of the city. The Council will seek to extend and grow the role of the public domain as a cultural space, including new commissions and requiring new spaces and installations as part of large scale development. Alongside this, there is a need to value existing works, through initiatives such as creating a sculpture trail for the city. The Council will also endeavour to participate in the Percent for Arts programme at all opportunities where it is applicable.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:


Public Realm for Cultural Events

To encourage greater use of the public realm for cultural events to make the city centre more attractive to those with young families, and to seek provision of new public spaces for outdoor performance that are designed and fitted to host a range of events.


Life Worth Living Taskforce

To seek to adapt and expand the range of public spaces in the city that can host cultural and events activities to allow for increased and more inclusive public engagement with culture and the arts.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:


Percent for Arts Scheme

To seek that all significant scale public projects within the city should make use of the Percent for Arts Scheme, particularly those which will provide new public realm and to require new public buildings of significance to include art work as part of their development.


Public Art

All large scale regeneration schemes, whether lodged for planning as a single or multiple applications; where the total scale of regeneration exceeds 25,000 sq. m. shall be required to include an element of public art.


Commemorative Art and Monuments

When commissioning commemorative art or monuments that consideration is given to increasing the representation of women and minorities.


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