‘Normal People’ author, Sally Rooney is one of a number of high profile writers backing author, Colm Tóibín’s fight to prevent James Joyce’s ‘House of the Dead’ on Dublin’s quays from being turned into a 50 bed tourist hostel.
Last month, Dublin City Council granted planning permission to Fergus McCabe and Brian Stynes for the proposal after the planner in the case concluded that the proposed change of use to a tourist hostel “will be the best way to secure its long-term conservation”.
However, best selling author of 'Brooklyn', Colm Tóibín has joined John McCourt in lodging an appeal against the decision with An Bord Pleanala.
The appeal includes a plea by two ‘blood descendants’ of James Joyce, Nicole and Sabrina Joyce to reverse the Council decision to grant planning permission.
The Tóibín appeal is one of four third-party appeals lodged against the decision where appeals have also been lodged by An Taisce, Dermot Kelly and a fourth by Dr Seamus Cannon and Charles Hulgraine.
The house at 15, Usher’s Island, Dublin 8 was once home to James Joyce’s grand aunts and the setting of Joyce’s best known short story, ‘The Dead’.
Sally Rooney along with world renowned authors, Salman Rushdie, Richard Ford, Kevin Barry, Edna O’Brien and John Banville have signed an objection lodged with the Toibin appeal to the appeals board. The objection states: “If this redevelopment is allowed to go ahead, it will disfigure one of the most famous settings in modern literature.”
The argue that the house could be "sensitively developed to become a location capable of attracting tourists…and inspiring new generations of Joyce readers”. Referencing the centenary of Ulysses in 2022, it states "we believe that saving this unique piece of our national heritage is an urgent priority".
The objection is backed by the signatures of 3,500 “concerned citizens” who have signed a petition calling on the appeals board to reverse the Council’s decision.
Consultants for the applicants told the Council that the hostel will be managed to a high professional standard to ensure that guests are mindful of the neighbouring residential context. They stated that the substantial investment “will result in a high quality tourist offering” and those who will stay in the hostel will be overnight travellers to those wishing to stay longer in the city.
A decision is due on the case next March.