In 1929 the Waldorf barbershop opened in the heart of Dublin city and it has been providing the finest haircuts to the men of this fair city ever since.
The original Waldorf was located on the site now occupied by the Westin hotel. The proprietor was a man named Thomas J. O’Byrne. Mr. O’Byrne was a journeyman barber who worked on board the Cunard Line regularly travelling to New York where he saw the most up to date trends and techniques in barbershops in New York during the 1920’s.
The Waldorf that we know and love is the second shop that O’Byrne opened. The shop was called the Waldorf Adare and was originally part of Kildare House, an up market men’s clothes shop. This shop had a unique design and layout never before seen in Dublin. Mr. O’Byrne had such a specific vision of how the shop should look that it took three years to complete. The shop finally opened 1946 and was styled on The modern barbershops of 1940s New York.
During this time Dublin had a reputation for being a party town and was regularly visited by American G. I.s on shore leave.
As times changed so did the Waldorf, during the 1960’s a modernisation plan was initiated in Dublin. Barbershops were loosing popularity with the rise of the hippy movement and the tendency for men to grow their hair long.
As a result the Waldorf faded into the background and it wasn’t until 1995 when father and daughter team Liam and Linda Finnegan discovered the Waldorf and set about returning the store to it’s former glory. They also wanted to ensure that people understood that the Waldorf is a 1940s barbershop and not a 1940s themed barbershop. Below is a documentary looking at Liam and Linda and how they worked to restore the Waldorf.
Over the years many people have made their way to the Waldorf to get pampered, from lord mayors to celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Johnny Knoxville.
Since Liam and Linda took over the shop has gone from strength to strength. A regular stop for members of Dublin’s Rockabilly scene and with the rise of the vintage fashion scene and shows like Mad Men the desire to have a smart hair style means in Dublin there is only one place to go.