Special Report
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Servicing the entrepreneurs

You don’t need your own premises or even your own equipment as long as you’ve got the right skills and ideas to build a successful business

You may have the best creative idea in the world, but it won’t come to anything if you don’t have the right place or proper equipment to produce it. For instance, the cost of setting up your own professionally kitted-out kitchen is prohibitive – even if you have a secret recipe for the tastiest cookies on the planet. Likewise, not many personalities could afford their own studio if they wanted to make a podcast. The same goes for many artists, filmmakers and health and wellness practitioners.

Fortunately, technology has caught up with quick thinkers. Now you can hire out all types of professional spaces in Ireland, whether it's a film studio, a podcast recording desk or a HSE-approved kitchen. These specialised state-of-the-art locations deliver anything from podcast studios to therapy rooms.

The Podcast Studios, founded by Alan Bennett, is a one-stop-shop for the burgeoning or established podcaster. Based on Dublin's Pearse Street, it provides three multi-kit studios with all the sound recording equipment needed for making a quality podcast file.

The studio meets the growth in demand for podcasts on a range of topics including current affairs, history, food, sports, music, and true crime. Global personalities like Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow have connected to a whole new younger generation through the medium and an estimated 73 million people regularly listen to podcasts in the USA alone, while 44 per cent of the total population have listened to a podcast at least once.


That trend is being repeated in Ireland and the Podcast Studios has played host to personalities like Alison Spittle, Maia Dunphy, Baz Ashmawy and Jason Byrne. Bennett's team also have recording booths for voice-over work, audio book recordings or music recording systems.

Bennett originally set up Headspace.org in 2014. It acted as a place to put his writing left over from a novel he’d been working on. He invited friends to post material of their own, and this personal blog quickly became a site for internet curation, featuring articles on a wide range of topics.

‘Help them tell their story’

“We work with all sorts of individuals and organisations, to help them tell their story in a professional and engaging way. And no client is too big or too small. Whether they need studio time, editing work, equipment rental, or marketing support, we can tailor a package to suit,” says Bennett.

He describes how quickly they move with the times. "We have just released a new podcast called The Behavioural Vaccine, which is all about how to change your behaviour in a time of viral infection. Each episode features comedian and organisational behaviour expert Kate Feeney, who is joined by behavioural psychologist Pádraig Walsh to explore ways that we can use this behavioural knowledge to improve our health and happiness.

“We get up every morning to make your daily journey through the internet more interesting and productive. We’re all about quality, and we support good writing and reading.”

Other regular podcasts from the studio include the Alison Spittle Show, Róisín Murphy's sessions, Heineken rugby broadcasts, Joe Rooney, Met Éireann features and The Buzz Sports Show.Thepodcaststudios.ie

Marie-Therese O’Sullivan is the owner of Hour Kitchen – a commercial kitchen rental facility providing food entrepreneurs with the kitchens and equipment to prepare and process their food products.

Based in Churchtown, Dublin, it features four commercial kitchens covering 1,400sq ft arranged for multiple users or single use. It is a great place for cooks who require HSE-approved kitchens or a base to prepare a range of cakes, take-out meals or cookery demos. It’s also ideal for large catering and multi-cooker demands.

O’Sullivan did extensive research with her husband Liam in London before they set about planning kitchens that matched their requirements. In early 2015, they secured a shell of a premises in Churchtown and a year later opened Hour Kitchen– a HSE-compliant environment to support businesses which can’t afford the huge overheads of owning their own kitchens.

“I was baking from home and needed somewhere bigger to rent and there was nowhere in Dublin, so I went to London with my husband Liam to do some research,” O’Sullivan explains. “When we returned from our fact-finding mission, we found this space nearby in Dublin and we kitted it out with top cookers and utensils to make it a perfect place for chefs or cooking demo classes.”

Business is thriving

Matthew Galvin is one of the chefs availing of the sparkling equipment and his business is thriving. He set up Oat.ie, which caters for individual take-outs, or personal clients with food allergies, and also supplies commercial outlets. He also supplies an order of nuns. His business is particularly popular during the current Covid-19 crisis, when customers want reliable, top-quality chefs preparing takeaways. oat.ie

Helen Lambe is the proud owner of the Dublin Wellness Centre. She became interested in health after a trip to India where she contracted giardia – a parasitic infection from water. After she returned home, she spent a year on antibiotics and anti-parasitics, but to no avail. She turned to homeopathy and after two weeks the symptoms she had been struggling with for more than 18 months disappeared.

That prompted her to study homeopathy and to set up the Dublin Wellness Centre, which offers therapies as well as room-hire facilities for wellness practitioners. Market response has been extremely positive and the business has had to expand into new premises on Dublin’s South William Street to cater for an expanding client base and a demand for therapy room hire.

“We have kitted out a number of studios with wooden floors, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors for yoga workshops, Pilates and so on,” she says. The aim is to create an ideal space for therapists such as counsellors, psychologists or yoga teachers to rent a room as part of a broader wellness community.

BLOCK T is a creative hub renting out individual studios, work pods and hot-desking spaces for artists, designers, freelancers and other cultural independents in its premises in Dublin 8. The building is accessible 24/7, with high-speed internet connection and a communal kitchen area. There is also special discounted access for art courses and workshops, as well as classroom hire and other opportunities. Studio rates range from €150 to €350 a month, depending on size. info@blockT.ie

Fire Station Artists’ Studios

The Fire Station Artists’ Studios provides subsidised residential studios with secure living and working spaces for professional visual artists on Dublin’s Buckingham Street.

The studios are rented for a period of between one year and two years nine months. International artists with a demonstrable connection to Ireland are welcome to apply and shorter-term residencies are also considered. Rental includes car parking, internet access, use of the digital media area and computers, as well as subsidised access to digital equipment and sculpture workshop bays and equipment. A selection committee reviews each artist’s application and makes recommendations to the board, who base their decision solely on what CV and imagery that is provided.

Artists who have availed of the studios include Marcel Vidal, a recipient of The Hennessy Craig Award for painting and Katie Watchorn, who was a recipient of a Next Generation Arts Council Award.firestation.ie

Finally, Ardmore Studios in Bray has specially equipped film sets with all the film-making equipment and lighting on hand for hire to allow budding directors make their screen debut. Ardmore provides special packages for emerging film makers as well as a suite of services dedicated to help them make it from shooting script to the big screen.