Liberty Hall, Dublin

Desmond Rea O'Kelly
Date Built
Eden Quay, Dublin
The original Liberty Hall building sat beside the Liffey on Eden Quay.  It started life as a hotel but went on to be regarded as James Connolly's personal fortress.  It was from here that the leaders of the Easter Rising set off to march to the General Post Office.  It was because of its connections to the Independance movement that it became a victim of the British shelling of the city during the Easter Rising.  It was leveled by the British bombardment.  The building was rebuilt but by the 1950s it was deemed to be unsafe and it was once again demolished.

Today's Liberty Hall is the headquarters of the Services, Industrial, Professional, Technical Union (SIPTU), a 16 storey concrete and glass rectangular tower with an adjacent "Liberty Hall" theatre building.  Originally the glass in the building was non-reflective but a bombing in 1972 blew out most of the glass and it was replaced by reflective glass. 

The architect of today's tower was Desmond Rea O"Kelly and the building was to become his signature piece.  When he died in 2011 the Irish Times published an obituary in which they pointed out the irony that Kelly's wish was that Liberty Hall would not be demolished in his lifetime and the day after he died SIPTU withdrew an application to replace it with a taller tower.  However, that was only a temporary stay of execution because on Saturday, February 25, 2012 the Irish Times reported that Dublin City Council had given conditional approval to the demolition and the construction of a new 22 storey replacement.  Des McMahon of Gilroy McMahon Architects, the practice selected to design the new building, is reported to have said that the new design was for “a building of great visual lightness and elegance as well as a building that is wholeheartedly sustainable”.