Athbhaile, The Cobblestone, Tuesday, 22nd and 29th of November at 7pm on RTÉ ONE

ATHBHAILE is a story about family and community. It's the story of how Tom Mulligan turned a pub in inner city Dublin from an early morning house, into a home from home for trad musicians.

Scéal faoi leith is ea scéal The Cobblestone, teach tabháirne speisialta é i gcathair atá ag dul tríd tréimhse claochlaithe cosúil le go leor cathracha eile. Nuair a thagann sé go ceol traidisiúnta a aimsiú san Ardchathair, is é an Cobblestone bun agus barr an scéil.

Thagadh daoine ceolmhara anseo le ceol a sheinnt chomh maith le ceol a chloisteáil agus níos tábhachtaí fós, le comhluadar a fháil i gcathair.

It’s about the history of the Mulligan family’s love for that tradition and the campaign against a planning application to turn it into a hotel bar. As many of Dublin’s most beloved cultural landmarks have been lost over the past few decades to new developments, the Cobblestone bucked the trend, with Dublin City Council turning down the planning request and declaring it a site of cultural importance. But despite that, the fate of the Cobblestone still hangs in the balance.

The Mulligan Family

The Cobblestone in Dublin’s Smithfield has long been a home from home for trad musicians young and old, accomplished and beginner. When Tom Mulligan took over the pub in 1987 it was a local early morning house for the market people of the area. A few years after settling in, he decided to build on the legacy of his father TP, one of the founders of Na Piobairí Uilleann. The future of the community that Tom has created was threatened late last year when a planning application for a 114-room hotel was submitted to Dublin City Council. The Cobblestone would be left with a much smaller space, too small, as far as the Mulligans were concerned, to keep doing, what it had become.

7 nights of the week the Cobblestone caters for the many wonderful and varied musicians that pass through its doors. From sessions to lessons that help musicians graduate to sessions, there was no way that The Cobblestone could survive with less space and capacity. What happened next was one of the most heartening examples of people power seen in Dublin or across the country for many the year. The campaign to save the Cobblestone helped to highlight the story and the application for planning permission to Dublin City Council was refused.

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When Tom Mulligan first saw the planning application on the pub door, he felt ready to accept its fate. But after a campaign that saw two marches with thousands taking to the streets of Dublin, over 700 letters sent to Dublin City Council, and a petition signed by over 35,000, he now feels that he has a duty to save the pub’s legacy for future generations.

The Mulligan family speak candidly about their journey over the past year and their surprise at the outpouring of support when news of the planning application became public. They know, too, that this story will have many twists and turns before it’s over. Tom says he’s positive it will survive because he says he has to stay positive. But his wife Pauline has witnessed the sleepless nights and along with their two daughters, Síomha and Méabh, and their son Tomás, she is not confident the Cobblestone will be here this time next year.

Ó thraidisiún go teaghlach, tugann Athbhaile: The Cobblestone ar aistear pearsanta muid i dteach Uí Mhaolagáin chomh maith leis an tacaíocht a fuair siad ó mhuintir na cathrach.

For Dubliners this story has also served to highlight the many treasured parts of the city that have been disappearing over the years. For the traditional Irish music community in Dublin, the Cobblestone is one of only two trad houses left in the city. The people who call this pub a "drinking pub with a music problem" are the heartbeat of this documentary, opening up their sessions and lessons to the cameras and reflecting on what makes this unique Dublin landmark so special, and why they intend to keep fighting for its survival.

Athbhaile – The Cobblestone, RTÉ ONE – 7pm, 22nd November and 29th November.