Dublin is renowned for its historic buildings and lovely architecture. During October you can get behind those facades during Open House weekend, this year October 7th-9th. Run by the Irish Architecture Foundation, all the tours and entries to buildings are free; it’s just a matter of getting hold of a listing (online) and deciding where to go.
This year’s theme is The Architecture of Change with a focus on Irish architects and also how good design can positively affect society. The reconstruction of Temple Bar from rundown mess slated to become a bus station to the lively cultural hub it is today is one focus of the weekend. Under the umbrella title Open Space, there are walking tours, cycle tours and boat tours through the city looking at both historic and modern buildings. Some of it may be a bit specialized for us non-architects, but really looking at the buildings that make up a city and thinking about why and how the spaces and places we live in have come about can never be boring.
If that all sounds a bit too teacherly and no-fun, the Open House weekend is also just a really good excuse for sticky-beaking behind all those usually closed doors. On the Saturday evening at 8pm, all the buildings on historic Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square will turn on their lights for an hour in homage to the lively residential areas these once were before businesses moved in and turned it all into office space. It should be dramatic, historic, and I think possibly quite moving.