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Anger at 'dumbing down' of writers' hangout

A top barrister has criticised the "dumbing down" of Baggot Street, with fast-food outlets diminishing its "former character".

The remark was made in relation to the site of Parson's book shop -- once a favourite haunt of renowned literary figures Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan.

A planning application was lodged to retain the unit in Baggot Bridge House as a cafe serving coffee, sandwiches, wraps and other items.

Mr O'Reilly said: "What was the only book shop in Baggot Street has now become another fast food outlet.

"It has merely contributed to the dumbing down of Baggot Street, which already has far too many fast food outlets which have taken away from its former character."

Mr O'Reilly referred to the Dublin City Tourism plaque beside Baggot Street Bridge.

He said that anyone who views the plaque, which commemorates the close connection of poet Patrick Kavanagh with Parson's bookshop, must be "puzzled" with what they see.

Mr O'Reilly had called on Dublin City Council to reject the planning application. The applicants did not provide a comment at the time of writing.

Parson's Bookshop had been a literary landmark for decades before it closed, and was frequented by Kavanagh, Behan, Hugh Leonard and many others.

comurphy@herald.ie