Well-known north inner city building Aldborough House, located on Portland Row close to the Five Lamps, is set to be demolished.
Built throughout the 1790s, Aldborough House was the second-biggest Georgian private residence in Dublin, after Leinster House.
The house, which was a theatre in the early years, has been vacant for much of the past two decades and is in an advanced state of decay, largely due to severe water damage and vandalism.
Last month, planning permission was granted to Reliance Investments Ltd for the conversion of Aldborough House into an office complex and for the complete demolition of the theatre wing, to facilitate building two new five-storey “office wings” in its grounds, despite criticism of the project by the Department of Heritage and various conservation organisations.
The Lord Amiens Theatre at Aldborough House was built in 1795. The structure of the theatre, though interiors have been altered for various uses throughout its history, remains exactly as it was in its heyday as a Georgian private theatre.
A new campaign by the Friends of Aldborough House, spearheaded by Brice Stratford – a historian and theatre director descended from the family of the Earls of Aldborough – seeks to protect the building in situ, or to secure a site for removal and restoration of the theatre elsewhere.
He said: “Ireland’s contribution to theatre in the 18th Century was huge and lasting; to permanently and irreparably destroy the best physical link we have to this extraordinary past, let alone the loss of the oldest theatre building in the country, is beyond comprehension.
“The Lord Amiens Theatre must be saved; for Dublin, for Ireland, and for the theatre community worldwide.”
The Irish Georgian Society said it had “grave concerns about the scale and intensity of new development and the extent of internal alteration proposed”.