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Gallagher’s and JP Clarke's in Bunratty. Photograph by John Kelly

Famous thatch at Clare restaurant to go under new plans

THE famous thatch roof at a popular Bunratty restaurant is set to go under new plans approved by Clare County Council, writes Owen Ryan.

Gallagher’s Seafood Restaurant has been granted planning permission for the replacement of its thatch roof with natural slate, for internal changes and for retention permission for its external dining area with retractable roof and windows.

Regarding its plans for the roof the application it said, “The thatch roof has come to the end of its lifespan and it has been very difficult to, firstly, source a thatcher that can do the works and secondly the defining issue is the fire proofing of the thatch.

“Indeed, the kitchen is adjacent to the thatch roof and this is a major concern in terms of fire risk to the management of the restaurant along with the issue of insurance as it has become uneconomical to insure and therefore an alternative solution has to be found.”

Regarding the external dining area, a document submitted by the company as part of the application states this area “was built as a result of the Covid-19 emergency and it was not possible to apply for planning permission at the time and the exemption system was used for same”.

It claimed the company is “now rectifying the situation” while it added that “the construction was built so that it could remain for the long term and is of high quality reflecting the overall design of the premises”.

The County Council planner’s report said, “The existing thatched roof is an attractive feature in Bunratty and whilst not a protected structure there would be merit in its retention.

“However, the applicants have outlined reasons in the unsolicited information as to why it is proposed to remove the thatch and replace it with a natural slate roof.

“These reasons are considered reasonable and therefore the replacement of the thatch is considered acceptable.”

It was also positive about the external eating area. “I note that the applicants stated that due to the restrictions around Covid-19 they required this structure and built it to a high standard to ensure that it would be used long term.

“I consider that the structure, as constructed, is of a high quality of finish and does not detract from the existing buildings or the visual amenities of the area. I consider that its indefinite retention would be acceptable,” the report concluded.

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