Diageo Ireland has submitted plans to refurbish the curious former post office building at 109 James Street. Built by the Board of Public Works in 1893 to a design by J. Howard Pentland, the branch post office would have been one of the many services found in the heart of what was Guinnessland – the industrial behemoth of St James’s Gate Brewery. No 109 forms part of an attractive ensemble together with Nos 107 and 108, part of the redbrick Victorian streetscape that characterises James Street. Buildings along the street would have been busy offices serving the brewery, which at its height was the largest in the world.
The post office building and adjoining sorting office, is built of brick with limestone ornamentations and a handsome stone front and entrance canopy. The south entrance originally led into a public office and counter, although the internal fittings have now been removed. To the rear of the building was the sorting office, with delivery areas along the west side.
The former post office has been out of public use for many years, largely used for storage, and has gradually fallen into disrepair.
Diageo is now proposing to refurbish the building and convert it into a canteen restaurant for brewery staff. The existing canteen within the old brewery is set to be developed as part of the new Guinness Quarter development, set to transform the historic brewery site to the south of James Street in coming years. While the refurbishment, to designs by RKD Architects, won’t provide for a publicly-accessible building, it will bring welcome repairs and a new purpose to this handsome civic building.
An application to refurbish the building is currently being considered by Dublin City Council, Reg Ref: 2881/21.
Further reading: The Last Post on James’s Street by Wide & Convenient Streets