A COUPLE have seen their modest bed and breakfast premises flourish into one of the capital's most popular hotels – thanks to its location.
Joe and Mary Smith had no idea when 25 years ago they bought a guesthouse facing the presidential entrance to Phoenix Park that the €25m glass-encased Criminal Courts of Justice would spring up directly opposite them.
The new court was developed on an old pound where the city fathers stored cars impounded by the gardai or stolen or abandoned. Judicial activities proved such a magnet for business that Joe, a native of Cavan, and Mary, a Donegal woman, explained that they had to extend the B&B.
They added 35 and 36 Infirmary Road to 38 and 39 Parkgate Street to establish the 26-room Phoenix Park Hotel, within a stone's throw of the biggest urban park in Europe.
Barrister Constance Cassidy told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that all that was needed to complete the upgrade was a hotel drinks licence, which was granted by Judge Matthew Deery.
She said it means staff at the hotel, which overlooks the Wellington Monument and Alan Shatter's Defence Department offices on Infirmary Road, will now be able to serve drinks to guests and members of the public – but from behind a dispensing screen.
Ms Cassidy said the premises had been licensed in the 1800s by a Mr R Bourke, who had been stripped of it following objections from local residents.
She told the court Mr and Mrs Smith were not seeking a full publican's license as they did not intend to turn the premises into a public house.