Plans are in place to make one of the country's oldest theatres the Ambassador Cinema in Dublin the city's main public library.
The multi-million euro plans are due to be discussed at a council meeting in the coming days.
RTÉ News spoke to Dublin historian Pat Liddy about the history of the Rotunda building. Originally known as the Round Room, the theatre was built in 1767 and became a key meeting place in eighteenth century Ireland. Paddy Liddy explains that all the money collected at the theatre from the wealthy went to support the Rotunda Hospital. The Ambassador is also the site where the Irish army was founded in 1913 as 'Óglaigh na hÉireann'. In 1922 the Communist Party took over the building and the red flag flew over it.
In the 1940s the building was renamed as the Ambassador and has more recently been used as a music venue.
Book shelves look set to replace the bands as Dublin City Council plans to redevelop the site and relocate the Ilac Centre Library there.
Sinn Féin Councillor Christy Burke recalls seeing 'The Ten Commandments' at the Ambassador and as an early dating venue but acknowledges that it is time to move on and redevelop. Labour Party Councillor Kevin Humphreys says,
With the investment now of millions into the Ambassador cinema as the new civic library it'll upgrade this end and it'll add life and vitality to this end of the city.
Dublin City Council plans to lease the Ambassador site from the Millenium Theatre Company for €1.2 million a year. The building will require a further €8 million in refurbishment and tax costs.
Under planning regulations, Dublin City Council will have to apply to itself for planning permission if the development is to go ahead. The plans for the proposed development will go on public display before the application is lodged.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 September 2007. The reporter is Martina Fitzgerald.