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clouds over liberty hall | by Brenda Malloy
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clouds over liberty hall

Halla na Saoirse, Dublin


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. 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. The Irish Worker was shut down by the British Government for sedition as outlined in the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA). It was replaced for a short time by a paper called the Worker until that was also banned, and in 1915 the Workers' Republic was edited by Connolly until the Rising in 1916.


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 completely levelled by British artillery during the Rising, 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, 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. [2]


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.


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Taken on April 1, 2010