In the buttoned-down Dublin of the 1960s, Leeson Street and Fitzwilliam Square had a reputation for being a little more free-and-easy than most of the city’s quarters. Connecting them was Fitzwilliam Place, location of the infamous ‘Catacombs’. This was a set of connected basements where many of the city’s artistic and literary set, including Brendan Behan, regularly caroused late into the night. Around the corner, Leeson Street was becoming the epicentre of Dublin’s nightclub scene; along this, a strip of possibly-legal basement night clubs were emerging.
Not surprisingly, this bohemian edge attracted the attention of a young architect with big ambitions - and no concerns about ruffling feathers.