IRISH-owned pub chain JD Wetherspoon has continued its expansion in Ireland by purchasing a former church in Dublin for almost four times the asking price.
The company paid €1.475million for the property on Lower Abbey Street in the capital’s north inner city, which was formerly used as a rehearsal venue by the Abbey Theatre.
Wetherspoon’s will merge the venue with the former TSB bank at 12B Lower Abbey Street, which it purchased earlier this year for €1.5million.
The plan is to convert the two buildings into a gastro pub.
Auctioneer Iain Finnegan of Finnegan Menton recorded 77 bids in total last week, over the property with a €400,000 guide price.
The two-storey corner building has an overall floor area of 4,240 sq ft, including a light-filled church extending across the entire width of the building with an overhanging balcony wrapped around the hall.
There are additional rooms to the front and rear at ground and first floor levels.
Wetherspoon’s already operates five bars in Ireland and plans to open 30 in the next five years.
The company’s first two venues were The Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock and the Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire.
This summer, it opened up three more: The Great Wood in Westend Shopping Park in Blanchardstown, the Old Borough in Swords and The Linen Weaver in Co. Cork.