Escaping reality – the Liberties’ obsession with escape rooms

Nowadays, there are so many forms of entertainment, whether that be technology, sports, television or hundreds of others. One new form of entertainment that seems to be becoming increasingly popular is escape rooms.  

Escape rooms involve being locked in a room and having to solve a puzzle or complete a task in order to move onto the next room.  

What may be of surprise to you is how many of these there actually are in the Dublin 8 area, with there being three fully functional escape room businesses in and around this relatively small area. 

So why are there so many of them so close together, and is it necessary to have as many as there is? 

Before answering these questions, I wanted to find out a bit more about why escape rooms are so popular and why the demand for them is only increasing, so I spoke to Ben Kirwan, a 21-year-old who used to work in another escape room in Dublin, called Endgame. 

Kirwan explained that the different audiences that they attract are a massive part of their success. 

“I worked at the front mostly and took a lot of the bookings, you would be surprised the different ages that woold come in, there was kids that would be there for like birthday parties, but I’d say most of our bookings were from workplaces and sports teams who were using it as a sort of bonding exercise.” 

Kirwan sounded convinced that the age diversity he saw in his workplace was the main reason for the success of escape rooms. He went on to say that there is “definitely a place for them in Dublin.” 

The Liberties is actually host to the number one escape room in Dublin, according to TripAdvisor, named Incognito.  

Located on Bridgefoot Street, it offers three different kinds of experiences that are suitable for all ages.  

Near enough, you can find the Clockwork escape rooms, which is located on Wellington Quay and the Escape Dublin escape rooms, located on Aungier Street, that is the first of these to be a franchise, with them also having escape rooms all over Europe.  

While they all follow the same formula, they are all different in their approach, with each of them having different themed rooms and games.  

While nobody would deny that there is a clear market for this in the city, the next question would be, is there a need to have as many as there currently are in the area? Especially when there are multiple others that are located further into the city centre.  

To get a local view on this, I spoke to Dermot McLelland, 38, a man living in Portobello to get an opinion on whether it is necessary to have these escape rooms in the Liberties area. 

McLelland did feel that there is a place for escape rooms, saying he had “been to an escape room before and it was a really good experience, I went on a work do and everyone loved it.” 

Despite this, he clearly felt the space could be better utilised. 

“I didn’t know how many there actually were to be honest, hearing that now I do think it’s a bit unnecessary to have that many of them in all honesty, I’m sure there’s other facilities that may be more useful to locals.” 

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