Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall ("Irish: Halla na Saoirse"), in Dublin, Ireland is the headquarters of the Services, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union (SIPTU). It was formerly the tallest storeyed building in the Republic of Ireland at 59 m High (until superseded by the County Hall outside Cork city), and is currently the tallest in Dublin but only the seventh tallest in Ireland. It 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 as that of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA).

History

Standing on Beresford Place and Eden Quay, near the Custom House, the original Liberty Hall used to be a hotel before becoming James Connolly's personal fortress in Dublin. From 1913 through 1916 it was kept under constant armed guard by the ICA, and hence, though it was Dublin Castle's primary adversary, it was probably the safest place in Dublin for rebel activity. Following the outbreak of World War I a banner reading "We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland" was hung on its front wall, and within was printed the newspaper "The Irish Worker". Because the building was so heavily guarded, "The Irish Worker" was the only subversive paper in the city that wasn't shut down under the Defense of the Realm Act.

Prior to the Easter Rising of 1916, Liberty Hall acted as a munitions factory, wherein 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 British authorities, who chose the building as the first to be shelled with artillery. It was badly damaged in due course, however was faithfully restored after the rebellion.

In the late 1950s however, the Liberty Hall was declared unsafe and promptly demolished.

The current building was constructed between 1961 and 1965. At 16 storeys (60 m) high, the structure was originally built with non-reflective glass, however a 1972 bomb explosion led to this being replaced with a reflective variety, as most of the original windows had been destroyed in the attack. This is said to have reduced the aesthetic appearance of the building. The viewing platform, which had only recently opened, was also closed.

On 19 October 2006, it was announced that SIPTU were seeking planning permission to knock Liberty Hall and build a new headquarters in the same location. [http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/1019/siptu.html?rss]

A newspaper article from October 2007 says that SIPTU has selected a shortlist of architects to design the new building, with plans to demolish the current building in 2009. The successor is planned to be complete within 18 months of this. [http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2007/1001/1191015000240.html] [http://www.irish-architecture.com/news/2007/000271.html]

In January 2008 Dublin based architects Gilroy MacMahon, who designed the new Croke Park stands, were chosen to design the new Liberty Hall [http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/property/2008/0103/1198880258007.html]

Several buildings named Liberty Hall in the United States predate this building. The most famous is Liberty Hall, particularly in [http://www.libertyhallnj.org/history.cfm?when=1 Union, New Jersey] ; [http://www.metronc.com/issues/issue10_03/Design/designq.html Kenansville, North Carolina] ; [http://www.libertyhall.org/history.htm Frankfort, Kentucky] ; and the UNIA headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica.


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