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The Bernard Shaw Closing Is Yet More Evidence That Dublin Is Dying

The Bernard Shaw Closing Is Yet More Evidence That Dublin Is Dying

It was hardly a surprise.

Once An Bord Pleanála refused Bodytonic permission to continue operating The Bernard Shaw's outdoor area, the writing was on the wall.

'Nearby residents' of the establishment complained about the noise levels. However, for years, the establishment shared a back garden with Charlemont flats without issue.

So, the news of The Bernard Shaw's impeding closure didn't illicit any amount of surprise.

Instead, it's just another cultural institution that has fallen under the weight of a new Dublin. This is a Dublin that doesn't care for soul, a Dublin that doesn't care for the people that live there.

It may be hyperbolic, but the past number of years has seen Dublin drained of venues that were imperative to the fabric of Dublin. Hangar on Andrew's Lane went last year to be replaced by an aparthotel. The Tivoli Theatre, which incorporated the ever-popular District 8, made way for a hotel at the start of this year. These were coming-of-age venues that represented far more than brick and mortar. These were places that saw life-altering gigs, friendships begin and unbridled euphoria.

The Bernard Shaw was inherently different to the likes of Hangar and District 8. It was a post-work meeting place with a twist. A place known as much for its Big Blue Bus pizza as it was for its cultural significance. You could easily spend an entire day in the cosy outdoor area. Its beauty was in its versatility. Hence, it made sense that the place was constantly heaving with people, as no place in Dublin was quite like it.

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As soon as An Bord Pleanála made their decision earlier this year, the end was nigh. Even though over 25,000 people signed a petition pleading to save the outdoor area, the plug had already been pulled.

In its place, according to District Magazine, is another hotel.

Dublin is increasingly becoming a tourist-driven city, a city that isn't fit to live in. Where once Dublin moved to a beat unlike any city in the world, its now just becoming another stop on the tourist itinerary.

Over the past 13 years, The Bernard Shaw acted as more than just a bar. It represented a conscious and cultural edge of Dublin being pushed further and further underground, overshadowed by sterile boozers and boring office blocks.

In fact, the new Wetherspoons hotel is currently under-construction across the road from the Shaw, to add insult to injury.

The Bernard Shaw will remain in operation until the end of October. The operator, Bodytonic, will no doubt pull out all the stops to ensure that the venue's closure will be marked by the unique events which made the space so special. But, its closure leaves a bitter taste.

Dublin is dying in front of our very eyes, bedazzled by new hotels, stripped bare by vulture funds. The Specials had it bang on about the clubs closing down...

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Sean Meehan

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