The Masonry: Why We Chose the Liberties

One of our newest workspaces, The Masonry, opened earlier this summer. Located at 151 Thomas Street in the heart of The Liberties, this unique property is one of the rare repurposed warehouses in Dublin city.

Spanning 70,000 sq. ft over six floors, the building features heated internal courtyards, an in-house café, as well as large event space. Housing up to 900 workstations, comprising of coworking, studios and private offices, our aim was to transform this heritage building into a lively workspace that sparks inspiration, creativity and productivity.

Since opening, we have been delighted to receive so much positive feedback and curious questions about the space and its history. Joining the community at Dublin 8 was also an exciting extension to our current community and we are delighted to be a part of the many new spots that celebrate the area.

Below, we have documented the many reasons we felt passionate about this building and The Liberties as the latest addition to the Iconic portfolio.

character

The colourful and dynamic Dublin 8 district is bursting with character and community spirit. It is one of the most charming places in Dublin city, full of storytellers, master musicians and street characters, all ready to give you a warm welcome to the area.

The Liberties is also famous for its markets, running since 1973. Liberty Market on Meath Street, as well as the fruit and vegetable markets during weekends on Thomas Street and Meath Street are always buzzing with locals and really add to the local atmosphere. We also can’t talk about character without mentioning Francis Street, there are over a dozen art and antiques dealers on this street alone, where you won’t get very far along without having to stop for a browse.


Source: Food & Wine

history & heritage

The Liberties boasts a wealth of local history and heritage that you can discover by walking its ancient routes – which we highly recommend! It is one of Dublin’s oldest and most historic neighbourhoods, home to the original gates to the city itself. The area’s name derives from the division of zones in Dublin by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century. The Liberties was connected to Dublin city but at the same time maintained its own jurisdiction; hence “liberties”.

While the fortunes of the area declined in the 20th century, Thomas Street and Meath Street remained the quintessential heart of Auld Dublin, renowned in song and story.

The Masonry building is equally steeped in history, with routes dating back to 1780. Formerly the IAWS headquarters (Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society), the property was essentially used as a seed and grain house.


Portion of the Seed Department at the IAWS Store, 1917.

The incredible design and architecture has been something we were careful to maintain during renovations, honouring its heritage. This unique property is a hybrid of Edwardian style architecture to the front, interconnected with a repurposed warehouse to the back, featuring an internal courtyard which is now part of our in-house dining experience at Vandal.

Despacthing seed and grain from the building’s internal courtyard, 1918

This poignant Dublin city landmark has been transformed into a lively contemporary workspace. It is our hope that our repurposing and rejuvenation of this heritage building will play a major role in the overall regeneration of The Liberties area.

attractions

Some of Dublin’s top visitor attractions are in The Liberties. The Guinness Storehouse at St James’ Gate Brewery is the most visited Dublin attraction annually. Thomas Street is home to the country’s largest art college, NCAD – which was founded in 1746. The area features numerous art galleries including Basic Space, Pallas Projects and the Jam Art Factory. Along with the Irish Museum of Modern Art located nearby in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

The Liberties is also home to the Teelings Whiskey Distillery in Newmarket, which opened in 2015.

Meanwhile, a brand-new whiskey distillery opened on James’ Street in the summer 2019. Located within the St James’ Gate Brewery’s iconic power station, Roe & Co is the fourth distillery to open in the area since 2015.

The location of The Masonry gives our members the opportunity to discover the magic Dublin and The Liberties has to offer right on their doorstep.

activities

This neighbourhood is a vibrant hub of constant excitement with a calendar filled with social and cultural activities.

Vicar Street on Thomas Street is one of the premiere destinations for comedy gigs and concerts. One of Ireland’s oldest festivals, the Liberties Festival started in 1970. The five-day event, which takes place in July, has become a highlight of summers in Dublin, featuring comedy, opera, yoga, walking tours and more.

You can check out more of the upcoming events taking place in The Liberties here.

Vicar Street – image source

a healthcare quarter

Hospitals and innovative healthcare are a prominent feature of The Liberties. Ireland’s oldest mental health hospital was founded in 1796 by Dean Jonathan Swift and continues to serve the community.

One of the city’s first maternity hospitals, The Coombe, is located on Cork Street, while St James’ Hospital is Ireland’s largest teaching hospital and a major research centre.

The new National Children’s Hospital at St James’ represents a €1bn investment in The Liberties and surrounding areas. It’s expected to be completed and commissioned in 2022. More details on this project can be found here.

food & drink

As well as our in-house all day brunch café and restaurant, Vandal, located on the ground floor of The Masonry; Dublin 8 is full of cool, little eateries, pubs and bars.

Legit Coffee Co, Tasty 8 and Bounce Back are excellent brunch spots while Passion for Food is among the best kebab shops in the city.

If you’re in the mood for pizza, try Lucky’s, Sano Pizza and the newly opened Proof Pizza, which serves cocktails and prosecco on tap. For something sweet, Queen of Tarts on Cow’s Lane is well worth a visit.

You also have the old reliable Arthur’s on Thomas Street or Fallons on Francis Street for a pint. The more traditional The Lamplighter is also a great spot, as is The Thomas House, which specialises in punk, rock and reggae with live performances.

THE MASONRY – BEFORE & AFTER

There are so many reasons why we chose The Liberties, however, the simple fact is; we also fell in love with this incredible property, and could see its massive potential the moment we stepped inside.

Renovating this building from the former IAWS headquarters, to the workspace it is today, has been a truly incredible project to be a part of. Maintaining its character and original features throughout was always a top priority for us during the transformation process, and what a transformation it has been.

You can see some of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images below, showcasing the Masonry building in Dublin 8.

Rich history runs through The Liberties. It’s an authentic part of the city that is embracing the future by incorporating new elements. Dublin 8 is most definitely a district on the rise.

Find out more about The Masonry and see all of our membership types.

Internal Courtyard


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