Supporting Local News

New owners cook up plans to transform former Griffin’s bakery


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

New owners cook up plans to transform former Griffin’s bakery New owners cook up plans to transform former Griffin’s bakery

From the Galway City Tribune – The new owners of the landmark former Griffin’s Bakery premises on Shop Street have begun work on transforming it into a new food outlet with residential accommodation under a ‘living over the shop’ scheme.

Some of the work has already been carried out, by the owners’ admission, “without the benefit of assessment by the local authority and appropriate review channels”.


Jessed Ltd has now sought planning permission to retain works carried out on the ground floor of 21 Shop Street, including internal alterations and fit-out and for a change of use from bakery and coffee dock into a food outlet with indoor and outdoor seating.

The application also seeks permission for a change of use of the first, second and third floors from a bakery operation to residential use – including the removal of ovens, preparation and refrigeration equipment.

According to a Heritage Impact Report submitted to Galway City Council with the plans, some of the works have already been carried out “without the benefit of assessment by the local authority and appropriate review channels”, but investment in the building is “badly required”.

“It should be noted that all future repairs and replacements will be carried out in accordance with good conservation practice and the resultant works will ensure the functionality and economic usefulness of this building well into the future.

“The loss of the uneconomic retail/manufacturing use at this location is not considered to be significant, given the existing pattern of building uses where the predominance of manufacturing is concentrated outside of the city centre core area.

“The reinstatement of residential use to the upper floors is not inconsistent with the historical use of 21 Shop Street when operated for over 100 years by the previous owners and the intensification of use shall further extend the longevity of usefulness to the ‘living in the city’ and ‘living above the shop’ initiatives of most major Irish cities,” the report reads.

Under the Government’s Living City Initiative (LCI), Galway City centre is a designated Special Regeneration Area, meaning a person who refurbishes or converts residential or commercial properties can claim tax relief on monies spent.

Jessed Ltd is owned by Graham Quinn, who set up beauty products distribution business Graham Anthony, and is also involved in property investment with Joe Dennigan of the distribution giant Sam Dennigan & Co.

The Council is due to make a decision on the application at the end of the month.

According to a conservation report previously prepared for the building, Griffin’s was founded in 1876 by John and Miko Griffin, who started their business on Cross Street on the site of what is now Busker Browne’s, producing mainly bread and scones.

The brothers had the first break-making machine in the West of Ireland and supplied bread to the British Army and Navy.

In 1921, John’s son Matthew purchased 21 Shop Street, where he ran a tea room, as well as a cake and bread shop.

The business was handed down from Matthew to his son Anthony, who ran it from the 1960s until 2008 when it was taken over by his son Jimmy, who ran it with his wife until September 2019 when it closed its doors for good.

Planning watchdog An Taisce said that while it is great to see Griffin’s Bakery being utilised, they had concerns about the proliferation of cafés in the city centre.

They said that while the application seemed reasonable at the outset, there was no detail as to what was being provided over the full four floors of the building – apart from a café on the ground floor.

According to Derrick Hambleton of An Taisce, there is no clarification regarding the use of the upper floors of the building and if it will be turned into an Airbnb.

“While An Taisce members are indeed sad that the Griffin family is no longer operating a bakery, we have no principled objection to the shop conversion from the former bakery to a coffee dock and food outlet.

“An Taisce would however draw planners’ attention to the recent local disquiet over the number of coffee and sandwich outlets that are now being located in the city centre,” Mr Hambleton said.

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