An Bord Pleanala has granted planning permission to the company behind the pub, The Temple Bar for a "new bespoke high-end" whiskey emporium that is to house the country's largest whiskey collection.

The decision by the appeals board overturns a decision by Dublin City Council last year that refused planning permission.

In granting planning permission, the appeals board has also over-ruled the recommendation of its own inspector, Colin McBride to refuse planning.

Mr McBride recommended refusal after concluding that Temple Inns Ltd had made no compelling case for the proposed additional off licence/whiskey shop having regard to the number of off-licence and part off-licence uses in the general area.

However, the appeals board has given The Temple Bar publican, Tom Cleary's plan the green light after concluding that the proposal "is not an off-licence in the ordinary sense of the word but rather a bespoke high end retail, cultural and tourist experience". 

The Board stated that it considered that the proposal "represented a distinct social and cultural experience of merit, and that a compelling case had been demonstrated in this particular instance". 

The Board stated that the proposal would not conflict with the policies and objectives of the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022. 

In deciding not to accept the Inspector's recommendation to refuse permission, the Board stated that it was satisfied that the proposed development,  a high-end retail proposal differed significantly from the typical or average off licence offering in the area and therefore that it did not represent an increase in the proliferation of off-licence and part off-licence uses in the general area.

The board has made its findings in spite of former Environment Editor of The Irish Times and Temple Bar resident, Frank McDonald and two others, Declan O’Brien & Conal O’Sullivan voicing their opposition against the plan.

In their submission to the appeals board, the three stated that there is an over-concentration of licenced premises and off-licences in the area and expressed concern about another licenced premises in the area and its possibility that it would serve to expand the Temple Bar premises. 

Temple Inns Ltd have stated that visitors to the emporium could relax in the shop’s seating area, listen to a pianist at the grand piano and taste samples of the product within the shop.

The company has commissioned Drinksology to design the 'bespoke Whiskey experience with the experiential concept".

Planning documents lodged state that Drinksology has delivered 'The Best Bar in the World’ on two continents and ‘The Best Cocktail Bar in America’.

The planning documentation states that Temple Inns has one of the largest collections of Irish whiskies in the world and has 450 varieties of whiskey.

In his objection against the plan, Conal O’Sullivan told Dublin City Council as a resident of Temple Bar for 25 years "I have been appalled by the conversion of Dublin’s Cultural Quarter into Dublin’s ‘Drinking and Public Urination Quarter’.

Mr O’Sullivan claimed that the planning application "is not only unwarranted but also totally unnecessary".