Keys are officially handed over to East Village Coffee for cafe in Round Tower Visitor Centre

Keys are officially handed over to East Village Coffee for cafe in Round Tower Visitor Centre

By Maurice Garvey

THE official handover of keys to the Round Tower Visitor Centre, Brú Chrónáin, took place on Tuesday.

As reported in The Echo last month, East Village Coffee was successful in a competitive process to operate a café and retail offering as well as managing the visitor centre.

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Mark Matanes catches keys from a socially distance throw by the Mayor Ed O’Brien

Jonathan Barr, owner of the popular East Village Coffee on Monastery Road, teamed up with Mark Matanes, former manager of the visitor centre, and put together a ‘dream team’ proposal in the tender process with South Dublin County Council.

Mayor Ed O’Brien, welcomed the handover as “positive news for Clondalkin and the wider county in a time of so much economic uncertainty.”

“It is testament to the quality of the building and the pride within the area for the Round Tower that the Council was able to attract high calibre applications to its tendering process,” he said.

“Whilst the Visitor Centre will remain closed in line with current health restrictions, the fact that we now have an operator in place means that the centre is best placed to open up when the county opens up, and I look forward to revisiting the exhibition at the Round Tower Visitor Centre – Brú Chrónáin when it reopens.”

Jonathan Barr of East Village Coffee said: “We are delighted to be given this opportunity to add to this attraction in the heart of Clondalkin.

We will be working closely with the council and our suppliers to provide a service our customers have grown to appreciate.

Whilst current health restrictions mean that we won’t be able to open the visitor centre straight away we do plan to initially offer take away coffee and treats, to gradually overtime provide a full dining experience.

Our plans also include testing an early bird menu as well as opening up the centre for events and gatherings, subject to prevailing government and health guidelines.”

In May, the Happy Pear, established in Greystones by twins David and Stephen Flynn, announced they would not be reopening in Clondalkin, citing a loss of revenue due to coronavirus.

The SDCC, a primary stakeholder and leaseholder for the €4 million centre, put the project out to tender for an operator to provide a café, retail service as well as to manage the centre.

The council has just completed a tendering process to update the interpretation at the visitor centre under the Fáilte Ireland Surprising Stories funding initiative.

Those works are expected to commence within the next few weeks. The visitor experience aspect of the centre will reopen in line with prevailing government health guidelines due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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