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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 22 October 2020

11 places to visit during Open House Dublin

Access a building that normally isn’t open to the public during this free event, which takes place from today until Sunday.

THIS WEEKEND, IMPECCABLY designed, gloriously constructed homes and buildings around Dublin will open their doors to the public for free.

It’s all for the Open House event, which is run by the Irish Architecture Foundation from 5 – 7 October. A small proportion of the buildings are already booked up, but the vast majority will be free to have a wander around.

Here, we take a look at some of the highlights. For the full list, visit the official website.

The building tours are either led by an architect who worked on that particular building, or else by an architect or person very familiar with the space, so you’ll learn a huge amount during your visit.


  • Iveagh Trust Museum Flat


The Iveagh Trust buildings were built by Sir Edward Guinness – yes, of the Guinness family – who also built the Iveagh Baths and Iveagh Markets.  They were built at a time when many Dubliners didn’t have homes with running water or heat, and this museum preserves a flat just as its owner kept it. Open Saturday 10am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4.30pm.

  • Chancery House and Garden

Chancery House, which is located next to the Four Courts, was built in 1935 and includes a four-storey block of 27 flats. This protected structure was designed by Dublin City Architects under the direction of the city’s housing architect, Herbert Simms. Take a tour on Saturday from 2 – 4.30pm.

  • The Plastic House

This home looks like an ordinary red-bricked bungalow from the outside. But inside, the space is transformed with the use of polycarbonate and steel.  Some of the original features are kept, but the effect is extremely minimalist and – dare we say it – stark. Designed by Architecture Republic. Open for pre-booked tours on Sunday 12 noon – 4.30pm.

  • The Naughton Institute: Science Gallery & CRANN

This is the Trinity College Dublin building where CRANN carries out its nanoscience research. If you’ve ever wondered what lies behind its stunning blue exterior, here’s your chance to see the state-of-the-art facilities, such as the scanning probe microscopes, and nanobio facility. You can take a tour on Saturday and Sunday 12 noon – 5.30pm. Guided tours at 12 noon and 1pm and 2pm and 3pm and 4pm and 5pm. Places are limited to 10 people per tour on a first come, first served basis.

  • The Orchard Day/Respite Centre

This centre is based in Blackrock , and is an award-winning structure. It is based in an 18th century walled kitchen garden, and is a fantastic place to visit if you’d like to see this calm space up close. It’s open for tours on Sunday from 2 – 4.30pm.

  • The Mansion House and Leinster House

The Mansion House (Skellig2008/flickr)

Located just a few minutes’ walk from each other in Dublin City Centre, these buildings are great for those with an interest in political events. The Mansion House has been the official residence of Dublin’s Lord Mayor since 1715, and is probably somewhere you walk past often but may not have seen the inside of. It’s open on Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Leinster House is the seat of the Irish Parliament, and you normally won’t get to wander in here. It’s open for pre-booked tours on Friday 2 – 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4pm.

  • Kilbarrack Fire Station

This fire station is available to view on Saturday (pre-booking) at 10.30am and 11.30am. It isn’t just a place to visit if you’ve always wanted to see inside a real fire station, but also if you’re interested in sustainability and green work practices. This station has a green action plan and does its best for the environment while also helping to save people’s lives.

  • Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall (infomatique/Flickr)

Liberty Hall is always worth a trip to see, and this is a rare opportunity to get a good look around. As Ireland’s first skyscraper, it is one of the city’s most iconic buildings, and there will be regular tours on Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 1.45pm.

  • UCD / Trinity

If you’d like to see what Dublin has to offer in terms of universities, there’s the new student centre and fitness centre at UCD (Sunday 11am – 4.30pm), designed by Fitzgerald Kavanagh and Partners, and the university’s Roebuck student housing (Sunday 12 noon – 4.30pm). Then there is Trinity, and its Provost’s House (Friday 12 noon), front square and libraries (Saturday 1pm), and stunning Loos bar (Saturday 2pm).

There will also be a number of Open Minds, Open Space, Open House Junior and Open Lens events taking place throughout the weekend, with full details on the website.

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