Friday, 19 July 2013

The Liberties Ladies Day

We proved the old chestnut of "Never work with children or animals" to be wrong this week as we got friendly with the Liberties' horses and their owners.

The area known as The Liberties is the south-west part of Dublin’s inner city approximately west of Aungier Street and south of the River Liffey, predominately in Dublin 8. Steeped in history, this area is characterised by its intimate terraced streets, bustling shopping districts, colourful locals, open spaces and the historical and contemporary architecture. We have spent a lot of time in this neck of the woods over the last 6 years due to its unceasing popularity as a potential site for projects amongst our architecture tutors! Dublin’s enduring horse and carriage tradition is ever present in these parts sustained by the huge flux of tourists drawn to the area by the Guinness Storehouse. The St James's area has long been associated with the brewing trade. Many breweries were established in Dublin up to the mid-17th century to compete with the booming London beer trade. These included a brewery established around 1670 at what is now known as St James's Gate.  

On 31 December 1759 this brewery was leased to Arthur Guinness at £45 per year for 9,000 years. The site has been the location of the Guinness brewery ever since. Guinness has expanded well beyond the original 4-acre lot, and has consequently bought out the property, rendering the 9,000-year lease from 1759 redundant. During the 19th and early 20th centuries the brewery owned most of the buildings in the surrounding area, including many streets of housing for brewery employees, and offices associated with the brewery. Nowadays, carriage traders have a large rank on Market Street South which extends around the corner to Pim Street where some of their stables can be spotted. Molyneaux Place, just off Thomas Street also has a long tradition of stabling with local traders dating it back to the 17th century. Though the days of horse-drawn coal and milk men are gone it is lovely to see this tradition of horse culture living on. 
We were lucky enough to wear the innovative designs of award-winning Milliner, "Bright, young thing" and recent Architecture graduate Aisling Aherne while ambling around these parts. Granted this isn't your typical inner city headwear, however the monolithic tanks, towering brick walls, stables, sheltered grottos and neighbourhood markets provided us with diverse backdrops for her striking, structural pieces. We asked Aisling how her architectural education has influenced her design aesthetic (if at all) and here's what she said:
"I credit my architecture studies for drawing out a creative side in me. The processes we were encouraged to explore in our architectural design are common to those I apply when designing hats. It’s about bringing a thought from concept through to a final product. Although the skills involved in between may be different the stages of design are very similar. My architecture studies have equipped me with a method of resolving challenges through various stages of design.
I like to think my designs themselves reflect my architectural background. Clean lines are a predominant characteristic within my design,  form and structure taking priority in my work. For me the drama is conveyed predominantly through the basic “blocked” shape with trimmings being secondary to this. This priority given to form is a derivative of my own architectural style  where additional elements are approached with minimalism in mind. My ‘structured’ approach to millinery is in a sense reflective of the boldness of modern architecture  with it’s simplified form and removal of  unnecessary decoration."

Ciana wears:
First look
Pink sinamay base with jinsin trimming

Becky wears:
First look
Red Mohawk with a silk abaca base and a striped coque feather

Ciana wears:
Second look

Blue velour felt base with wired leather
Becky wears:
Second look
Yellow silk abaca base with jinsin bow
This post coincides with the 43rd Liberties Festival running from the 17th to the 21st July which includes live music performances, comedy, historic walking tours, talent shows, a pop-up exhibition of local photography and much more. Check out for tickets and event details! 

Thanks to the Liberties men for their good nature and letting us photograph their horses. Huge thanks to Aisling too and check out more of her incredible work here and on Facebook.
And don't forget about the 20% discount we are offering our readers off Motel Rocks. Simply enter CONCRETECOLLAR at the checkout. Happy shopping!

Interestingly, St. James’ Gate was traditionally a main starting point for Irish pilgrims to begin their journey on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James). Their pilgrims’ passport were stamped here before setting sail. It is still possible for Irish pilgrims to get their passports stamped here, and many do, while on their way to Santiago de Compostella. Love a good passport stamp we do.

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