Since moving to Ireland three years ago, I have watched the startup scene mature and adapt to the needs of our community. The growth of new founders, small teams, freelancers, and remote workers means that more and more co-working spaces have popped up, with at least four more spectacular spaces planned to open in the next 6 months.
In the past month I have toured 20+ co-working spaces and tried to answer the question:
“What are the hot desking options in Dublin and how do they compare against each other?”
My goal is to create a resource that helps you to narrow your search down to just a few options, so that you can decide which space is best for your needs, budget, and focus. So when you get bored of 3FE and Fumbally (blasphemy, I know), or just need somewhere quiet to work at non-traditionally Irish hours, consider making use of one of Dublin’s co-working spaces.
This guide focuses on hot desking options… i.e. bringing your laptop every day and finding an open desk, but also touches on dedicated desks.
There are some factors to consider when choosing a co-working space:
Hot Desk: A desk that is available to use, space permitting. Usually there is a “hot desking area” where you can grab any available desk. You don’t store your stuff, but bring it with you each day.
Dedicated Desk: A desk that is yours and where nobody else can sit. You can usually leave your stuff here (at your own risk).
What are you willing to pay for a desk? Hot desking options in Dublin range from €200 to €350 per month. Each space has its own personality and vibe, and the more expensive options tend to market themselves as more exclusive and high-end. However, beautiful spaces like Dogpatch (€200 per month) and The Tara Building (€220 per month) offer just as much in quality of services as some of the more expensive options. In fact, these spaces seem to be an all-around better deal because they include the use of meeting rooms.
If you are bootstrapping your venture, consider a less expensive spot that has the services you need. If you are a remote worker and someone else is footing the bill, perhaps check out the pricier (but still affordable) options.
What is the focus of your venture? The answer could inform where you are best suited.
If you are a fintech company, consider Element 78, which is right in the heart of fintechlandia and can double as both a chill co-working space and a respectable place to hold meetings in an environment where someone used to working in finance may feel more traditionally comfortable.
On the tech side, Dogpatch pretty much only accepts companies that make tech their focus because they want their members to be able to learn from and help each other and harness the power of the ecosystem here.
If you are a creative, consider larger spaces like Iconic, Hucketree, or The Tara Building, or a smaller spaces like Studio 9, FGM Architects, or Space at Dublin BIC.
Where and when do you want to work? Convenience can be viewed in two different ways:
1. Location of the office
I’ve plotted Dublin’s co-working spaces on a map. As the city is pretty walkable, nothing is super far away and it really depends on where you live and where you want to work. Do you want to be in near Stephen’s Green? Try Iconic or Space. How about in the IFSC? Look at Dogpatch or Element 78. Maybe near awesome Chinese food? Look a Studio 9 and FMG. Perhaps on the Canal? Look at DoSpace and Glandore. Near TCD? Huckletree and The Tara Building! Near Guinness? Look at the GEC. Near doughnuts? Errr, why are doughnuts everywhere right now?
2. The hours that the space is available to you
Personally, I think the more important determiner is the hours that you have access to the co-working space. If you are building a company that is focused on the US or China or you are a remote worker, you are going to have to take meetings at non-traditional hours. If this applies to you, it is important for you to look at buildings with 24/7 access or something very close to it. Getting kicked out at 5:30pm every day is annoying and impractical.
Each space comes with its own set of fun perks. Some notable mentions:
- Access to network of interns (Dogpatch).
- Access to other Google for Entrepreneurs co-working spaces in any city around the world (Dogpatch). Huckletree has this as well, but for their other co-working spaces in London.
- Free beer on draught (The Tara Building, Dogpatch, Iconic, Huckletree, DoSpace). DoSpace is working on a home brew with input from members (A+, sir).
- Discounts on business services and local food options (Iconic, Dogpatch, Guinness Enterprise Centre, Glandore, Huckletree).
- Free coffee (pretty much everywhere, but brownie points for Iconic for roasting their own)!
- Showers (The Tara Building, Iconic).
- Morning meditation, yoga, and wellness services (The Tara Building, Glandore, Huckletree)
- An on-site masseuse (Huckletree, Glandore)
- An in-site barber and blow dry bar (Glandore)
- Event series (The Tara Building, Iconic, Glandore, Dogpatch, Element 78, Guinness Enterprise Centre)
- Free Breakfast (Iconic)
- Lockers (Space @DublinBIC, Huckletree, Iconic (for an extra fee))
Meeting Rooms sometimes cost extra. Wait, what?
Meeting rooms and white boards are crucial to the workings of a startup, however I noticed that some co-working spaces charge extra for use of meeting rooms, and that sometimes meeting rooms don’t have permanent white boards. Aesthetic reasons, I guess? Whiteboards aside, paying for a meeting room seems impractical and kind of like a frustrating freemium model. I would think that it can get pretty pretty expensive to have to pay for meeting rooms with any cadence of regularity. But perhaps it’s just me that likes regular, quality alone time in a meeting room with a dry erase marker and a white board?
I should note that when meeting rooms were not free, the co-working space did generally provide free breakout areas for informal meetings, such as a semi-private room or lounge.
Who is sharing the space? Why is that important? Finally, for a single worker or small team, it is important to be in a space where you can have human interaction. Anyone can work from their flat, but a benefit of a co-working space is that you get to know the other people around you. Chances are, they are working on cool stuff as well!
Every co-working space that I visited explicitly mentioned how creating community is important. At the very least, each co-working space encourages monthly drinks amongst members. There are some spaces, though, that are taking “community” to a whole new level. Some notable mentions:
- Dogpatch’s bar in The Vaults (downstairs) and on the Garden Terrace (upstairs).
- The Tara Building’s Friday drinks on their spectacular rooftop terrace, which is hidden behind a bookcase.
- Dogpatch’s First Fridays, where anyone can sign up a slot with an advisor.
- The Tara Building’s exhibition space on the ground floor, which regularly features the work of artists with gallery openings. The space doubles as morning yoga and meditation, yaas.
- Dogpatch, Iconic, Glandore, The Tara Building, the Guinness Enterprise Centre, and DoSpace regularly hosts events for their members and others in the community.
With that, check out the Slidshare, which has a write up about each space with important information. I’ve also ordered the spaces by a few factors that may make it easier for you to narrow down your options. Best of luck!
Have we missed your coworking space? Get in touch and let us know!