by Alan Healy, Evening Echo
Cork’s historic Victoria Hotel building on Patrick’s Street is to be converted into a retail unit after planning permission was granted for the changes.
The prominent building was a focal point for many political groups and hosted the second-ever meeting of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884.
Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins and Winston Churchill were some of its former patrons.
The Victoria Hotel dates back to 1810 when it was called the Royal Victoria Hotel and was used by many visiting British, French and Prussian dignitaries.
The hotel was a popular disco location in the city centre in the 1980s and 1990s but has been closed for a number of years.
In 2017, new owners RESAM Properties Ltd lodged plans to build a high-order retail unit on the site of the historic location.
The facade facing Patrick Street will be retained along with the arched decorative ceiling in the first-floor ballroom.
However, the ballroom mezzanine will be removed and new ground-floor shopfronts will be created.
An entrance to the Cook Street aside of the building will also be created.
The building is not a protected structure but is listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
BUT, it doesn’t stop there!
The go-ahead has been given for what might be Cork’s most unique coffee shops.
Planning permission has been granted for a new coffee dock alongside the old railway line that ran through the centre of Cork city up along Brian Boru Street.
A small triangular store building at Clyde House on the street is to be converted into a shop, coffee shop and take away with a hatch window facing onto the street.
The building’s size, shape and location would make it one of the city’s most unique coffee shops.
Brian Boru Street and the Coliseum are located to the west of the building while a curved laneway, where the railway used to run, is located to the east.
Twin bridges, Brian Boru Bridge and Clontarf Bridge, were built and opened in 1912 to allow for the railway line and other traffic.
Because cargo ships still docked further up the river the bridges were Scherzer Rolling Lift Bascule bridges, allowing them to be raised to allow ships pass up and downstream.
Once opened, the new coffee dock will be located in an increasingly busy part of the city.
The new railway station on the southern side of Kent Station was opened specifically to improve access for rail passengers to the city centre.
The new Mary Elmes bridge is set to open to the public in the coming weeks, also with the aim of improving pedestrian and cycle connectivity over the north channel of the River Lee.
A planning decision is also awaited on a microbrewery in the nearby Thompson House on MacCurtain Street.