Liberty Hall

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Liberty Hall
Halla na Saoirse
Liberty Hall Dublin SIPTU HQ.jpg
Liberty Hall, the headquarters of SIPTU
Liberty Hall is located in Central Dublin
Liberty Hall
Location of Liberty Hall in central Dublin
General information
Architectural styleInternational Style[1]
AddressEden Quay
Town or cityDublin, Ireland
Coordinates53°20′54″N 6°15′19″W / 53.3483°N 6.25527°W / 53.3483; -6.25527
Construction started1961 (1961)
Completed1965 (1965)
AffiliationThe headquarters of the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union
Tip59.4 m (195 ft)[2]
Technical details
Floor count16 excluding ground floor
Design and construction
ArchitectDesmond Rea O'Kelly
Known forDublin's fourth tallest storeyed building and Ireland’s first tall building

Liberty Hall (Irish: Halla na Saoirse), in Dublin, Ireland, is the headquarters of the Services, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union (SIPTU). Designed by Desmond Rea O'Kelly, it was completed in 1965. It was for a time the tallest building in the country, at 59.4 metres, (195 feet) high[3] until it was superseded by the County Hall in Cork city, which was itself superseded by The Elysian in Cork. Liberty Hall is now the fourth tallest building in Dublin, after Capital Dock, Montevetro (now Google Docks) and the Millennium Tower in Grand Canal Dock.

Liberty Hall is more historically significant in its earlier form, as the headquarters of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union early in the 20th century, and also as the headquarters of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA).


Members of the Irish Citizen Army outside the original Liberty Hall, beneath a banner that reads "We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser, But Ireland."

Standing on Beresford Place and Eden Quay, near the Custom House, the original Liberty Hall was built as the Northumberland Hotel[4] before it became the headquarters of the Irish Citizen Army. During the 1913 Dublin Lock-out a soup kitchen for workers' families was run there by Maud Gonne and Constance Markievicz.[5] Following the outbreak of the First World War a banner reading "We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser, But Ireland" was hung on its front wall, and ICA's newspaper, The Irish Worker, was printed inside. The newspaper was shut down by the British government for sedition under the Defence of the Realm Act. It was replaced for a short time by a paper called The Worker until that too was banned. James Connolly edited a third paper, The Workers' Republic, from 1915 until the Easter Rising in 1916.

Liberty Hall, Dublin's fourth tallest storeyed building, stands in the background; in the foreground is the Ha'penny Bridge.

Until the Easter Rising, Liberty Hall also served as a munitions factory, where bombs and bayonets were made for the impending rebellion. It was on the street in front of the building that the leaders of the Rising assembled before their march to the General Post Office on Easter Monday. They left the building vacant throughout Easter Week, a fact unknown to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland authorities, who chose the building as the first to be shelled. It was completely levelled by British artillery during the Rising, but was faithfully restored afterwards.

In the late 1950s Liberty Hall was declared unsafe and promptly demolished. The present building, which has sixteen storeys, was constructed between 1961 and 1965. It was originally fitted with windows of non-reflective glass, but after they were damaged by a UVF car bomb on 1 December 1972 they were replaced with windows of reflective glass. The viewing platform, which had only recently been opened, was also closed after the car bomb.

On 19 October 2006 it was announced that SIPTU (into which the Irish Transport and General Workers Union had merged in 1990) was seeking planning permission to demolish Liberty Hall and build a new headquarters on the same site.[6] By October 2007 SIPTU had selected a shortlist of architects to design the new building and was planning to demolish the current building in 2009.[7][8] In January 2008 the Dublin architects Gilroy MacMahon, who had designed the new stands at Croke Park, were chosen to design the new Liberty Hall [9] In February 2012 SIPTU was granted planning permission by Dublin City Council to demolish the present structure and build a 22-storey replacement, with a height of about 100 metres. The new building would have included office space, a theatre and a "heritage centre".[10][11] However, in November 2012 the planning permission was overturned by An Bord Pleanála,[12] which ruled unanimously that the new building would be "unacceptably dominant in the city".[12]

Liberty Hall was the subject of a documentary broadcast on RTÉ One in May 2009.[13]


  1. ^ "Liberty Hall, Eden Quay, Beresford Place, Dublin, DUBLIN". Buildings of Ireland. The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Liberty Hall - The Skyscraper Center".
  3. ^ "Dublin Skyscraper Diagram -".
  4. ^ "The Northumberland Hotel, Beresford Place (Liberty Hall)". Come Here To Me!. 2 June 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  5. ^ Jill Franks, British and Irish Women Writers and the Women's Movement, McFarland, 2013, ISBN 1476602689, p. 33
  6. ^ "SIPTU plans to demolish Liberty Hall". 19 October 2006 – via {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "New Liberty Hall shortlist". The Irish Times.
  8. ^ "SIPTU proposal (3)". Archived from the original on 24 July 2008.
  9. ^ "Architect chosen to design Liberty Hall replacement". The Irish Times.
  10. ^ "New 22-Storey Liberty Hall Plan Gets Go-Ahead". Irish Times. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  11. ^ "New Liberty Hall to Climb Higher into the Capital Sky". Irish Independent. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  12. ^ a b "An Bord Pleanála Refuses Permission for New 23-Storey Liberty Hall". 16 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  13. ^ Liberty Hall documentary

Coordinates: 53°20′54″N 6°15′19″W / 53.34833°N 6.25528°W / 53.34833; -6.25528