There’s something brewing at Finn’s Corner — after 20 years inside its iconic black gates in the beating heart of Dublin, a mini Guinness Storehouse is coming our way in the form of a Christmas pop-up at the former iconic Cork city sports shop.
How Corkonians will react to the arrival of a Dublin brewer into a city with its own proud history of brewing is anyone’s guess, but with little left of Beamish & Crawford — other than the famous Counting House — and Murphy’s gone Dutch, whatever pride we had is long swallowed, along with more than a fair share of the black stuff.
The Cork outlet will be in line with another Guinness Storehouse pop-up announced yesterday for Dundrum Town Centre — where shoppers can pick up the type of gifts on sale at St James’s Gate — albeit the experience will be limited to retail, with no chance of a perfectly-poured pint on any nearby equivalent of the rooftop of the Gravity Bar.
Guinness is also planning a pop-up at Kildare Village.
Goods on offer at Finn’s Corner will include popular offerings such as a Guinness Foodie Kit, a Home Starter Bar Kit, and a hamper tailored for rugby fans.
It is expected that the shop will open next week, once Covid-19 restrictions are eased, with a similar timeline to Dundrum, which will stay open until January 17.
Given its temporary nature, there’s no chance of it developing as a tourist attraction, in the manner of the Dublin Guinness Storehouse, which in normal circumstances attracts well over a million visitors per year. It’s likely the ‘outreach’ pop-ups are an attempt to claw back some of the revenue lost to tourism at the St James’s Gate site in 2020, where the storehouse is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, but continues to operate online.
The long-term future of Finn’s Corner — until recently an iconic family-run sports and retail business for circa 145 years — looks set to revolve around hospitality and accommodation, if proposals recently lodged with Cork City Council are pursued.
A proposal from Patricks Unity Ltd, believed to involve an Irishman living abroad, was submitted last week to the council and would involve a café/restaurant on the first two floors and seven apartments in the upper floors, with an increase in the eight of the building to accommodate one apartment.
However, the council has since revealed that the planning application as submitted was invalid, so the applicant will need to re-apply in order to proceed.
Applications can be deemed invalid for many reasons, eg if the planned development was not advertised in a newspaper, or for failure to display a site notice.
The 6,000 sq ft building, which dates to the 19th century, was sold by Cushman & Wakefield earlier this year for around €1.3m. When it closed last January, former Irish rugby legend Moss Finn and his brother Will were co-directors.
The shop, on the corner of Washington Street and Grand Parade, had the distinction of supplying outsize boots to New Zealand All Black legend Jonah Lomu, as well as jeans to rock and blues guitar legend Rory Gallagher.