On September 12 last year the popular Charlie’s Bar on the Dublin Road, Athlone, was completely gutted by fire, devastating students and locals alike whose memories were tied up in the premises over many decades.
But now twelve months on the venue looks set to rise from the ashes after a plan to rebuild the hostelry got the green light from Westmeath County Council recently.
The approval for Seamus Maylnn on September 8 last came after he initially submitted plans last February, seeking the green light to demolish the existing premises also known as Charlie Brown’s public house and an associated bookmakers, and to construct new public house in its place with an ATM and all associated site works.
The pause button was subsequently pressed on the project in April, when the council sought further information on aspects of the project before making a final decision.
That was supplied by the applicant at the end of June, with responses to questions raised by two submissions in relation to a Construction and Environmental Management Plan, noise, bin storage and litter.
The local authority delayed the decision again after looking for a clarification of further information, with queries about an enclosed smoking area, site layout and the entrance to the site all needed before a final verdict could be made.
That information was supplied by the applicant on August 16, clearing the way for the approval verdict to come through less than a month later.
The green light for the rebuilding project is subject to compliance with 16 separate planning conditions, including that noise monitoring is carried out during construction, the applicant must adhere to a revised design for a smoking area, install a planting scheme and maintain sightlines at the access route.
An early morning blaze on September 12, 2021 gutted the popular hostelry and an adjacent bookies, a short distance away from the main TUS campus.
At the time, the operators of the premises spoke of their heartbreak in a post on the Charlie’s Bar Facebook page, before thanking everyone who supported them with “water, food, love and support” following the devastating fire.
The couple, who had run the pub for nine years, vowed at the time of the fire on social media to come “back bigger and stronger” after their business was completed destroyed.
Just months later in April four other local businesses premises were extensively damaged by fire, including the Grove Bar in Baylough.