My last day in Ireland was spent in Dublin. By happenstance Open House Dublin (OHD) was occurring that day and I was able to check out some local built heritage sites. Open House Dublin is very similar to Doors Open days which allow people to tour buildings which are often closed to the general public and learn about the history of these sites.
Open House Dublin is free and is sponsored by the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF). The 2013 OHD event featured 100 buildings and many of the sites featured tours by an architect or someone very familiar with the building’s architecture. The IAF is a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the value of architecture to the general public. Open House tours which explain the significance of local built heritage is a great way
to interest people in architecture and local heritage.
One of the sites I visited as part of OHD was the Tyrone House which is currently home to the
|In Tyrone House Courtyard|
Department of Education and Skills. The building was the first stand alone stone house in Dublin. A number of the original stonework, plaster ceilings, marble fireplaces, and mahogany woodwork is still in the structure. The tour guide did an excellent job of contextualizing the building and speaking to the numerous modifications that had occurred in the building since it’s construction in the mid 1700s.
The Tyrone House site also a number of interesting modern art features and additional buildings that were not included in the tour. The Department of Education and Skills built a replica of the Tyrone building on the site — possibly to create a symmetrical appearance of the grounds — this newer building was not included in the tour but the guide to speak to the aims of the Department to maintain the heritage of the site.
I also visited the former Charlemont House. This building dates from 1775 and is currently home to the Dublin City Gallery which is a museum for modern art. The Charlemont House is limestone faced building set back from the street. The main floor of the House has been renovated extensively to accommodate a gallery space. The upstairs portions of the building apparently retain some of the original fireplaces and detailing however because of a storage issue that area wasn’t accessible during my visit. The tour at this site was fairly brief and not nearly as detailed as the one at Tyrone House.
Overall my experience during the Open House Dublin event was a positive one. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable about their respective sites and it was an interesting opportunity to explore parts of Dublin that aren’t tourist destinations and that aren’t always open to the public.