GHIS Walk 4 – The Liberties

Written by Alison

Another Walk in EVE

On Wednesday the 8th of March a few of us gathered into the foyer of EVE to embark on another journey around the area of Dublin 8. It was a bright, fresh day and some staff/students alike embraced the idea. This time we would go in a different direction and see more of the “Liberties” area of Dublin, a medieval historical core which as we shall see is famed for its arts, design and culture.

Liberties – Frances St

At the top of Cork St we turned onto Frances St which was a hub and hive of activity; with lots of people walking in several directions. This area is called the Liberties. Several antique shops, coffee shops and charity furniture shops could be located. In fact Frances St is famous for its arts and antiques. It is considered Ireland’s “Arts and Antiques quarter attracting both national and international buyers to its various stores”

Alongside such places are shops that specialise in Oriental rugs, sewing supplies and equally sits auction houses and galleries. It was noticeable to see how many specialist antique shops could be found and how it lives up to its name. Down Frances St we also passed down the Tivoli Theatre and the Iveagh Market.  The Iveagh Market was built in the early 1900s by the Guinness family to “house street traders who had been displaced by the construction of the nearby Iveagh Trust. Moreover in recent years there was a proposed regeneration of the market with a market that will emphasise food and home grown produce, crafts and clothing. We also made our way passed by the Tivoli Theatre which is widely considered a historic arts venue. All in all Frances St was a very interesting and somehow novel experience for some of the walkers.

Thomas St

Fresh from our sojourn down Frances St we made our way to the top of Frances St and onto Thomas St. The name “The Liberties” could be said to gets its name from this area. At the top of the two streets an old ruined wall which dates from medieval days. According to historical sources those who resided within the wall paid taxes and were protected, however those outside did not pay anything and had to fend for them regarding protection. Therefore it states “The name represents being the only part of Dublin to be free of the laws of the city by existing outside its old medieval walls”. Hence, the name the “The liberties” came about.


Down Thomas St the next port of call was the National College of Art and Design. Another example of how the Liberties are famous for its artistic leanings. Thomas St is where the country’s largest Art College resides, which was founded in 1746 as a private drawing school.

Rest of Thomas St

From there we saw John’s Lane Church and an old pharmacy that made up powers and potions to cure its customers. Vicar St then lay in wait which again is a famous arts centre and events venue. The remains of a famous shop on Thomas St, Frawley’s stood close by. Frawley’s was a popular reduced priced shop with many of the Liberties and outer Dublin regions population. We carried on walking down Thomas St with more sights and clues to how medieval Dublin lived. We passed St Catherine’s Church and its graveyard, which is now a park. St. Catherine’s Church… was originally built in 1185.[1] It is located on what was once termed the “Slí Mhór” (Irish: Great Way) – a key route that ran westwards across Ireland from Dublin. The church was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by John Smyth (or Smith).

stCatherines Church on Thomas St Dublin 8
stCatherines Church on Thomas St Dublin 8

Then we saw St Catherine’s Bakery, Thomas Court Centre and the Guinness factory which is frequently used in films and adverts.  Throughout the journey the sights and sounds of this part of Dublin evoked memories in the walkers.


As we passed down Marrowbone Lane and passed St Catherine’s Gym where some us of go on a Tuesday afternoon, the familiar setting of Cork St lay ahead of us with another journey maybe in the offing.