Fade Street Dublin – Shining a Light on Innovation for over 300 Years


Fade Street Dublin – Shining a Light on Innovation for over 300 Years

Fade Street – Creative Quarter Dublin

“Fade Street Dublin, shining a light on innovation for over 300 years” Now that’s some title and a big statement to make, but hopefully by the time you’ve read this post you’ll understand why in my opinion it’s true. Perhaps you’ll feel the same way and look at Fade Street in an even brighter ‘light’ than you once did (see what I did there).

So let’s begin with the name, Fade Street. Named after one of Dublin’s most prominent bankers in the south of the city, Mr. Joseph Francis Fade who died in 1748. His bank was at 34-36 Thomas Street back in the 18th Century, exactly where the well-known Frawley’s Department Store used to be before it closed its doors in 2007. It had been open since 1892, so that was an end of an era in itself.
Anyway Joseph Fade’s will, dated Feb 13th 1747, was extremely generous. He left monies and luxuries to family, friends and businesses around the city. Fade’s generosity was seen in such light that two streets were named after him, Joseph Lane (it has since been demolished) and Fade Street. Now you could say that’s where the Fade Street innovation begins, naming a street after a banker, but you’d be wrong, because it started with the South City Markets.
In 1704 a site was set for ‘Castle Market’. It included Exchequer Street, Drury Street and Fade Street. In 1783 Castle Market reopened with butchers; stalls and slaughterhouses that stretched back from Fade Street to South William Street. The buzz of the markets on Fade Street provided employment for those who worked there, and fresh meat produce for those who shopped there.
In around 1870 Wakeley & Wheeler a London Silversmiths opened a factory at 13 – 14 Fade Street. As a specifically built factory, it was kitted out with the latest in silversmithing equipment. The business was sold to John Alwright and Jock Marshall in 1929 and it still exists today, 137 years later and the only one of it’s kind in Ireland. Making, doing and innovation still alive. (see more HERE)
The street was widened in 1880 and all seemed to be going well until a fire destroyed the markets 1892. Thankfully it was rebuilt and is the ‘George’s Street Arcade’ we know today.

Around the same time, Fade Street was going through a transformation from a street of tenement buildings to markets and stalls. Dublin was starting to see the light, and by this I mean electricity. Now if I asked you which street had one of the first Dublin Electric Light Company electricity stations, could you guess? It’s all in the context and yes you guessed it! Fade Street had one of the first electricity stations in Dublin city, now that’s a shining light of innovation!

Original equipment at Pigeon House plant


Let’s jump a little forward now, well a hundred years or so to the early 1980’s and in steps David Marshall. Fresh off the plane home from London as one of Vidal Sassoon’s youngest ever Managers, David had his sight set on a styling Dublin. His creative mind led him to Fade Street where in 1982 he set up his first salon and the David Marshall Academy of Hairdressing. David helped to create a path for today’s Dublin Creative Quarter with his innovation.

From the noughties onwards Fade Street really begins to take shape into the creative and innovative street we know today.
Declan O’Regan innovatively spices up Fade Street with Hogan’s, offering a fresh vibe to the drinking and clubbing scene in Dublin. Some years later Declan introduces us to L’Gueuleton, renowned on Dublin’s French Food scene, and then opens up ‘The Bar with No Name’ otherwise known as the ‘Snail Bar’ or just ‘No-Name Bar’ … its lack of name and ‘secrecy’ did the trick and got Dublin’s socialites talking and visiting.

Not too long later celebrity restaurateur Jay Bourke (Pygmalion, The Globe/Rí Rá) and Electric Picnic founder John Reynolds transform the one-time slaughterhouse into The Market Bar. The Market Bar is still going strong, in fact it only recently opened a sister bar called Idlewild right next door.
… But that’s jumping a little ahead. Back to the early 2010’s and step up Dylan McGrath, renowned ‘creative genius’ and Michelin starred chef. Dylan opens Fade Street Social within the same building that were once tenement buildings. This huge space now houses the main Fade Street Social Restaurant, the Tapas Bar and the Fade Street Social Cocktail Bar otherwise known as the Wintergarden. Breaking down the barriers of ‘fine dining’ and high prices with creativity, innovation, high quality and affordability, Fade Street Social has been a driving force cementing and maintaining Fade Street as one of the most creative and innovative streets in Dublin.


Fade Street Dublin Ireland fadestsocial

In the years since Fade Street Social opened its doors, Fade Street has welcomed the innovative and sustainable living encouraging Rothar Café, a community driven space where you fix your bike if it’s broken, buy a bike if you can’t fix it, and enjoy a coffee while you contemplate both.

Fade Street has welcomed Duck, Dublin’s very own Hong Kong BBQ meat deli. Using bullet ovens to cook their duck, chicken and pork meats in a traditional way with traditional spices and flavours, Duck offers unique tastes ready to go.

And we could never forget The R.A.G.E (The Record Spot) who opened its doors to game players and vinyl lovers from around the world. Founded by Nicholas Di Maio who offers customers a unique and innovative way to both shop for those retro games you loved, you can play before you buy. Or search for that vinyl album you miss, there are listening booths to listen to albums before you buy. Innovative and forward thinking.

From lifestyle and style to food and drink, Fade Street is indeed a shining light in innovation in Dublin. Do you agree?

Fade Street Dublin Ireland


Written by our guest blogger – Edwina from www.thelifeofstuff.com

Edwina is the Founder of The Life of Stuff and a Freelance Writer. The Life of Stuff is an Irish pop culture, travel and lifestyle blog that was established in 2012.

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Fade Street Social, Dublin Restaurant by Dylan McGrath
Fade Street Social, Dublin Restaurant by Dylan McGrath