Happy days to come for businesses surrounding the new TU Dublin campus

Technological University Dublin’s move to the Grangegorman campus has been a significant one for many small businesses in the Stoneybatter and Phibsboro area.  

“We have missed seeing students in the Square. We look forward to seeing them return and the energy that they bring,” Lee Coates, general manager at Third Space coffee shop in Smithfield Square, told The Liberty. 

Local businesses that surround the new TU Dublin campus will benefit from the introduction of approximately 10,000 students in the coming year. 

The Happy Days coffee van is also “looking forward to seeing all the life and smiling faces when students are back on campus”, owner and company director, Olivia O’Flanagan told The Liberty via email. Happy Days Coffee Van, located on campus just off the main Grangegorman road, said that “we have definitely missed having students. We only opened after lockdown so [we] have only ever had the local community as our customers.” 

“We are student friendly, providing outdoor service – and obviously coffee is a firm student favourite” 

– Happy Days Coffee Van. 


The TU Dublin campus has relocated to the site of what used to be St Brendan’s Hospital, the former psychiatric institution in Grangegorman. The variety of shops and cafes in areas like Phibsboro and Smithfield will draw hordes of students. The Third Space cafe and the Happy Days coffee van are two of the small businesses that will benefit from the student buzz.

Coates told the Liberty that “we hope to see lots of students and of course we hope they will buy a snack on their way past”. 

Happy Days coffee van.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic construction on the campus was briefly halted during the summer of 2020 and unfortunately all students are still working from home.  

The new campus is close to the shopping district of Henry Street and at most a 30-minute walk, or five Luas stops, to Grafton Street. Smithfield Square is a cultural and commercial area populated by cafes, restaurants, and shops and it is only a 10-minute walk from the campus. 

Students in college may have to stick to a tight budget and local businesses have kept that in mind whilst designing menus for campus students. Third Space told us “the space has plenty of study areas which we encourage to be used after 2pm every day”. Cafes such as this one have adapted their businesses to suit students.  

Currently, there is no exact date for when students can return to campus, with hopes that classes will change from online back to campus by the autumn. 

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