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NCAD Past & Present

We know it today as the National College of Art & Design, but for over 200 years this was the location of John Power & Sons world-famous John’s Lane whiskey distillery.

Founded in 1791, in its Victorian-era heyday the distillery was a technological marvel, right at the forefront of whiskey production and process innovation in the British Isles. The distillery continued to operate right into the 20th century but fell victim to the inexorable decline of the product from the 1940s onwards and finally closed in 1975.

In 1981 the distillery was converted to the campus of National College of Art & Design (NCAD), Ireland’s premier design college. While new buildings and uses occupy much of the site, there are plenty of reminders of its past use to explore and enjoy including former stills, the 19thC engine room and more.

Past and Present: NCAD and Old Powers Distillery Tour is a walking tour through the campus past 10 locations with panels describing the past and current uses: one site, two very different stories.

You start at ‘Grey Square’ off Thomas Street: pick up a guide at the entrance and explore. And drop into the fabulous ‘Luncheonette’ for a coffee and treat afterwards.

More details on NCAD at

NCAD Past and Present


100 Thomas Street


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