17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
The Freemasons’ Hall in Dublin is probably one of the more curious places to visit. Every Culture Night, there is a queue around the corner and people are dying to uncover conspiracy truths. When it boils down to it, the Freemasons is a mens club for men who like pageantry, equality (bar the whole ‘no women’ thing) and morality. My lovely tour guide compared it to a golf club; it’s a place for men to socialise, discuss the ways of the world and, every year, Freemasons’ Dublin raises between €50, 000 – 70, 000 for various charities. Even though I’m still not entirely sure what it’s all about, it’s definitely intriguing and the inside of the building is just beautiful. Lush colours, decadent wood carvings and an intricate history to go along with all of it. A number of events by Le Cool, Young Hearts Run Free, and Ensemble have been held here so try get a look in whenever you can.
What has it got?
Entrance: The front door has about 6 – 8 steps into it but they have another entrance at number 19 Molesworth Street and it has a chairlift that will bring you up to the ground floor. If you are visiting, ring the front desk (01 – 676 1337) to let them know that you are outside and they will bring you in through number 19.
Doors: The majority of the doors are wide enough for a wheelchair and some of the doors are double doors so you will need someone to grab them for you. They are old, wooden doors so may be a bit heavy.
Ground: Carpet and stone tiles.
Stairs: There is a lift that goes to all floors and even though there are steps up to the Grand Lodge, they have moveable ramps that will bring you right up there.
Bathrooms: They do not have wheelchair bathrooms. The mens’ toilets will just about fit a wheelchair but the door to the ladies is quite narrow, measuring in at 25 inches. However, they have an in-house wheelchair which you could hop into and it fits through the doorway of the ladies’ toilet.
Spaciousness: It depends on when you visit. If you show up on Culture Night, you will be queuing for an age to get into each room but you can book private tours or attend different events there throughout the year.
Helpfulness of Staff: Amazing. Keith Stent was my tour guide and he is just a fantastic fellow. He gave me the complete history of the Freemasons, helped me with the chairlift and was just so generous with his time.
Parking: There are two wheelchair parking spots on Molesworth Street; one right outside the Hall and one across the road, outside of Buswells Hotel.
Why did it lose points? Freemasons’ Dublin lost three points because it’s very difficult to find out what access they have available online, they do not have a wheelchair bathroom and the entrance to the women’s bathroom is too narrow. HOWEVER, they put in a lot of work to get a chairlift for some of their older members and for any visitors with limited mobility. They also made sure to get moveable ramps in so that you can access every public room in the building. As long as you ring when you are outside to let them know that you need assistance, they will be there to help you in and to show you around the building. For a protected, Georgian building, they found a way to make sure the building was accessible.