From the start, Dolce Vita Salon has been known as a place for men and women to come together to celebrate their femininity.
In the 1920s, it was home to an Irish bar where the owner was a famous opera singer, and it was there that the legendary actress Eva Marie Curiel would meet the man she would become pregnant with her son, Robert.
The salon also featured an annual dance, a charity fundraising event and a monthly dinner for the elderly.
But for generations, Dolciva has been the home of a secret tradition.
It has been run for decades by a woman named Eileen Collins.
It was her idea to open the first Dolce Vita Salon in the early 1960s, when she had a friend in her 20s.
Collins, who was a member of the Irish American community, was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War, and she felt the time was right to start a new, less controversial salon in a city that was now reeling from the riots of 1968.
“I wanted to open a new salon in Dublin,” she says.
“I thought that Dublin was an appropriate place for a new place.”
It was a big decision.
Collins had been living in Paris, where she worked for years, before moving to Dublin in the 1970s, to become an advocate for women’s rights.
In 1975, the city’s then mayor, Michael D Higgins, said he would consider opening a new Dolcevita Salon, but in a statement he said the city would only consider opening it if it had “an established and active community of DolceVita patrons, a small but growing number of who are women and who would otherwise be excluded from the salon”.
Collins says she and her husband knew this would not be the case.
“We had to go to the local council,” she explains.
“The council didn’t want to do it.
We had to appeal to the police.
I had a meeting with the then secretary of the council.
They said, ‘You can’t open this new salon’.
I was in tears.
We said, `This is our home, this is where we are, we’re not going to abandon it’.”
The city council rejected Collins’ application, and instead set up the first salon in 1972.
Collins decided to open Dolce Vitae Salon in 1978, with the help of a fellow Dubliner, Margaret Collins.
Dolciva is now open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Its new owner, Joanne Collins, says the name is derived from the Greek word for wine.
“People in Dublin can go into any salon and find a wine that they like,” she explained.
“That’s the name of the place.”