Current situation: September 2016
An Bord Pleanála have issued their decision, affirming the grant of permission but with an additional condition regarding the Real Tennis Court:
The IRTA strongly welcomes the decision, and looks forward to the people of Ireland being able to play and enjoy Real Tennis, and witness part of our sporting heritage through visiting the building.
The inspector's report notes that: A large number of observations from Ireland and around the world raised concerns in relation to the impact of the works on the Real Tennis Building. Many thanks to all who made such observations. As a result, we are hopeful that Real Tennis will, before too long, be played in Dublin again.
The IRTA has written to the relevant bodies re-affirming our eagerness to work with them to bring this project to a successful conclusion.
An Bord Pleanála links
History of the application
29 August 2016: IRTA submits further information to An Bord Pleanála
Further to our appeal, the applicant (the Office of Public Works) submitted further information, and we received a letter from An Bord Pleanála notifying us that, "in the particular circumstances of this appeal, it is appropriate in the interests of justice" that the IRTA make further submissions or observations. Continuing to work with the same planning consultants, we made the suggested further submission:
We now await An Bord Pleanála's decision, which we expect to issue before 20th September.
27 May 2016: Coverage in the Irish Examiner
Detailed article in The Irish Examiner by Dr Paul Rouse, sports historian at UCD:
The article concludes:
18 May 2016: IRTA lodges appeal with An Bord Pleanála
The IRTA, in conjunction with a planning consultant, has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála:
21 April 2016: DCC grants permission
Dublin City Council (DCC) has granted permission to the OPW for their plans, which include using the Dublin real tennis court for exhibitions. There is now a four-week period during which we can appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála (ABP). We are in discussions with a planning consultant as to how best to proceed. ABP will have to take into account the large number of excellently written submissions from the public to DCC. Thank you all for your support so far; we'll keep you posted.
31 March 2016: Nearly sixty objections received by DCC relating to Real Tennis court
Along with the IRTA's own observation, nearly sixty objections to the conversion of the Real Tennis Court to an exhibition space were lodged with Dublin City Council from all around the world.
31 March 2016: IRTA submits observation to Dublin City Council
The IRTA lodges an objection with DCC relating to the conversion of Dublin's Real Tennis Court building into an exhibition space:
26 February 2016: Office of Public Works applies to turn Real Tennis court into exhibition space
Ireland’s Office of Public Works (OPW) has sought permission for the development of a Children’s Science Museum at a large site which includes Dublin’s real tennis court. Under the OPW’s plan, the court would be the venue for the museum’s temporary (i.e., in almost constant use, but frequently changing) exhibitions. The application for planning permission states that
The renovated Real Tennis Building can also act as an independent event space with the proposed restoration works offering the possibility of the sport of Real Tennis … being played on the court once again.
The proposed plans state that the tennis court, a Protected Structure, should be “restored”, and they do include repairing the limestone floors and walls. However, the plans would fail to bring the court back to playable condition:
Also, the playing of real tennis has not been specifically included as a proposed use of the court.
Link to planning application
If you’d like to view the full application, it’s on the Dublin City Council website: