WATLING STREET | DUBLIN STREET IMAGES

WATLING STREET

FEATURING THE RUPERT GUINNESS THEATRE

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From this the most noticeable feature is St. Patrick's Tower which is an old Smock Windmill standing 150 feet tall and often popping into view between buildings on Thomas Street, the smock tower is at its most impressive when you see it from Watling Street.

It was originally built in 1757 (and rebuilt in 1805) as a smock windmill to power Roe’s distillery, one of the country’s largest whiskey manufacturers and run by members of the Roe family, merging with Jameson and the Dublin Whiskey Distillery to form the Dublin Distillers Company in 1889 and ceasing production of Roe in the 1920s.

The Rupert Guinness Theatre was named after the second Lord Iveagh and holds strong associations with the Guinness legacy. It was planned by W.D. Robertson, the chief engineer of the brewery, and designed by R. J. Bickford, the brewery architect. Its hall, which had level oak floors to facilitate its use for dances, could seat 600 people, and it was used by several Guinness-related social groups, including the Guinness Choir, the Guinness Players, and the Guinness Film Society. When it opened in May 1951, the first performance to take place was 'Shadow of a Gunman' by Sean O'Casey, and later that year, when the Abbey Theatre burned down, this theatre was used as the Abbey for three months. Although it is no longer in use, this building retains its original form, fabric and character. Its modern geometric design provides an element of variation to the architectural tone of the area, with horizontal emphasis achieved by channelled render to the ground floor. The simple but well-executed doorcase subtly enhances the façade, the Guinness harp overhead adding contextual interest. Prominently sited on a height, this building makes a formidable impression on the streetscape and is an important reminder of the social and cultural impact of the Guinness brewery on the area.