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Hotel Ballymun

Artist Name(s) Seamus Nolan
Artwork title Hotel Ballymun
Context/Background Seamus Nolan's Hotel Ballymun was commissioned by Breaking Ground, the per cent for art commission programme for Ballymun Regeneration Limited, and was curated by Aisling Prior. Breaking Ground was launched in Ballymun in February 2002 and continued until 2008. 


Hotel Ballymun was conceived by artist Seamus Nolan. From 23 March to 27 April 2007, the 15th floor of Clarke Tower, one of the last remaining tower blocks in Ballymun, was transformed into a short stay hotel.  Nolan worked with local residents to develop a series of furniture workshops which took place in January and February 2007. 

Participants worked with furniture designers Sticks and Jonathan Legge, customising and remodelling furniture left behind in the vacated flats to create unique pieces of furniture for the hotel.

Guests at Hotel Ballymun were able to appreciate the spectacular views over Dublin, just weeks before these views ceased to exist. Clarke Tower was due for demolition in Summer 2007. In addition to the nine individually designed, single and double bedrooms there was a garden room, a TV lounge, communal kitchen, reception area, breakfast and seating area, as well as an intimate conference and events centre. The rooms were furnished with one-off pieces, customised and remodelled from existing furniture, which were designed and made by people from the Ballymun area.  A diverse programme of cultural and social events took place throughout the day and evening time including talks, live art and music performances.

During the day from 2 -5p.m daily there was also a chance for the general public to take the lift up to view Hotel Ballymun. There were a maximum of twenty places in the audience or for participants, depending on the nature of the event, making for an intimate and memorable experience. The Hotel opened with nine guest bedrooms. In addition to these there was a lounge, reception area, TV room, conference room and a garden room.

At the close of the project, an auction was held for all of the furniture made for and used in the project. Funds generated by the auction along with the donations made by Hotel guests were used to fund arts bursaries and scholarships for people in Ballymun.  

Hotel Ballymun was commissioned by Breaking Ground, the percent for art programme for Ballymun Regeneration Limited, was launched in Ballymun in February 2002 and completed in 2010. 


A catalogue, featured on in the books section, and DVD were produced 

Two essays, Hotel Ballymun: A Site for Reflection in the Heady Days of Regeneration by Ellen Rowley and Enabling Conversations by Mark Garry were written to mark the project.

Radio and TV Coverage included:
TV3, News 5.30pm 23 March 2007 
RTE TV1 News 6pm 23 March 2007 
Q102, News 5pm 23 March 2007 
98FM, News 5pm 23 March 2007 
Mooney, Radio 1 22 March 2007 
Newstalk, Breakfast show, 21 March 2007 
Q102, News 3pm, 12 March 2007 
RTE Radio 1 Today Show, 22 April 2007

Newspaper and magazine coverage included:
The Sun, Hotel Ballymun, by Neil Cotter, 3 March 2007 
Ballymun Newsletter, A room with a view, March 2007 issue
Irish Examiner , View from the top, Marc O’ Sullivan, 21 March 2007 
The Irish News, Guests  invited to Ballymun Penthouse, Sarah Stack, 12 March 2007 
Tribune, Welcome to Hotel Ballymun, Eimear McKeith, 18 March 2007 
Irish Daily Star, Ballymun’s ‘hotel’ is art in the sky for guests, 12 March 2007 
Irish Independent, Going Up …. Welcome to the new Hotel Ballymun, Sarah Stack, 12 March 2007 
Daily Irish Mail, Forget the Selbourne, try the Ballymun Towers, Enda Feeney, 12 March 2007 
Irish Independent, It’s room with a view, Paul Melia, 24 March 2007 
The Irish Times, Rooms with a view: Hotel Ballymun opens in iconic tower block
Art’s project’s guests check in on 15th floor, Roisin Ingle, 24 March 2007 
Northside People, Hotel Project delayed, Aoibhinn Twomey, 28 March 2007 
The Observer, Dublin no-go flats attract the art gang, Henry McDonald, 1 April 2007
Totally Dublin, Tower Song, Conor Creighton, April 2007
The Tuam Herald, To Hotel Ballymun, David Burke, 5 April 2007
Kilkenny People, Kilkenny native breaks 


Seamus Nolan is an artist based in Dublin. He was the recipient of Wexford County Council's inaugural Emerging Visual Artist Award 2006.

Since then he has completed a residency in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, shown work in Japan, London and Venice with The Pilot Archives, in the Art in the Life World exhibition in Ballymun, and Phoenix Park in The Kerlin Gallery. He has had solo shows in both The LAB and the Wexford Art Centre, and has completed temporary public art works including Nature Reserve for Europalia in Brussels and Hotel Ballymun in Ballymun Co. Dublin, commissioned by Breaking Ground. 

Commission Type Regeneration Agency,Local Authority
Commissioner Name Aisling Prior for Breaking Ground, Ballymun Regeneration Ltd
Commissioning process Curated commission
Project commission dates April 30, 2005 - April 26, 2007
Public Presentation dates March 23, 2007 - April 26, 2007
Artform Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 150000 - 250000 euro
Project commission start date 30/04/2005
Project commission end date 26/04/2007
Location Clarke Tower, Ballymun
County Dublin
Town Ballymun
Street Address Main Street, Ballymun
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Denise Reddy
Relationship to project Assistant Art Project Manager
Public engagement

Local, national and international audience

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Breaking Ground Team:

Aisling Prior, Curator and Director

Paul McAree, Art Project Manager

Denise Reddy, Assistant Art Project Manager

Jo Anne Butler, Assistant Project Manager

Elaine Cronin, Artist's assistant

Over 70 people worked with Breaking Ground to help realise and run Hotel Ballymun.

Ballymun Regeneration Limited (BRL)

Ciaran Murray, Managing Director and Assistant City Manager(DCC),

Eamonn Farrelly, Projects & Contracts Liason Manager

Ali Grehan, Chief Architect

Derry Solon, Deputy Chief Architect

Sheena McCambley,Senior Planner

Health and Safety Team, John Rizzolo, Killian O'Shea, Jim McMahon.

Dublin City Council

Paul Clegg, Deputy Area Manager, Dan Moynihan, Area Engineer, Mick O'Rourke Area Housing Manager, Connell McGlynn, Relocations Manager, Des Feeney, Lifts Engineer, John Hanlon, Area Foreman

Michael Quaide & Associates, Project Management

Castlerock Building Services, Environmental Works

Community Awareness: Eileen Roche, Noel McDonald, Dean Kenn, Mary Ann Duff, Lisa Lennon

Fire Consultant, John McCarthy

Fire Prevention Hochtief Building Services

Empire Security Company: Thomas Larkin Snr, Thomas Larkin Jnr, Oliver Macambou, Babs, Dominic Carol, Darren Ward, Dayo Adeyemi, Muyiwa Barbarind, Ramon Ponl, I.D O' Sulyman, Pat Sharkey

Sticks Fine Furniture Designers

Furniture Designer, Jonathon Legge

Furniture makers: Cecilia Moore, Helen Nic Giolla Rua, John Byrne, John Pakker, Racheal Starr, Peter McNamara, Michael Lowndes, Noreen Lynch, Sebastao Kamalandua, Nicola Coyle and Maurice Caplice.

Hotel Staff: Jennifer Brady, Caitriona Ni Treasaigh, Eilis Murphy, Geni Murphy Tanya O' Callaghan