Ireland's tallest building will be a “defining new signature building” for Cork


The developers planning Ireland’s tallest building said their skyscraper will not obstruct or have a detrimental effect on Cork’s iconic skyline of church spires.

Tower Holdings are proposing a 34-storey skyscraper hotel at Custom House Quay that would reach approximately 140m in height.

If approved and constructed, it would become Ireland’s tallest building by a significant margin, outstripping the current tallest building, the 79m-high Capital Dock in Dublin.

In documents filed with City Hall, the developers say it is fully intended that the Custom House Tower will become a “defining new signature building” for Cork.

The New York-based company said: “The tower will not obstruct or have a detrimental effect on existing tall features such as church spires, or the Elysian tower and features in designated protected views and prospects and scenic routes considering its location.”

Below the hotel, the Bonded Warehouses will be occupied by a range of uses to complement the hotel including retail, restaurants, cafes, and gallery and cultural spaces, with a public promenade wrapping around the entire site. A landmark distillery building will be located where both channels of the River Lee meet.

The tower will include a spa, pool and treatment rooms at levels 5 and 6; plant at levels 7, 26 and 32; hotel rooms and suites at levels 8 to 25; hotel serviced suites at levels 27 to 31; and a restaurant and sky bar at levels 33 to 34. 

The guest bedrooms will face east and west, to enjoy views of the City and Docklands and there will be an outdoor terrace at the top of the tower for visitors to enjoy views of the city.

“On approach from the east, the new tall building will be seen against a backdrop of sky and the full impact of its silhouette on the skyline will be fully realised and understood within its wider context,” the company said in their planning application.

“The Custom House Tower will assume a central position on the city’s skyline. It will also form part of the emerging cluster of taller and higher buildings in the City Harbour Interchange Area which include the Elysian, the permitted Prism tower and the proposed Albert Quay Tower [if permitted].”

Recent planning applications for tall buildings in Cork have led to a debate between planners, developers, architects, heritage groups, and the general public about how Cork’s skyline should develop in the future.

Competing petitions are currently in place both in favour and opposed to a tall building on the Custom House Quay site.

Tower Holdings was recently granted planning permission for the 15-storey Prism office develop on the triangular site next to the city bus station.

That development was objected to by heritage body An Taisce who said it would ruin views of historical buildings and that a building of this height would set a precedent for others on the city centre island.

However, their view was countered by the former Head of Planning on Cork City Council, Pat Ledwidge who said: “The urban form of any city must evolve, as must the nature and use of buildings.”

“If this evolution does not occur, the sustainable development of the city will not occur.”

An initial decision date for the Custom House Quay site is September 24 but further information could be sought from the developers pushing a decision date back further.

This article was first seen on