Explore how we live together with architecture at Open House Dublin

Explore How We Live Together With Architecture At Open House Dublin
Dr Dervla MacManus in Kilmainham Mill at the launch of Open House Dublin 2023. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
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Proudly presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation, Open House Dublin is a free festival of architecture with over 150 guided tours and events taking place between October 7th and 15th across the city and county.

Open House Dublin delights in and debates the everyday and energetic exchange between Dublin and the people who build it. Dublin is a city and county built of rooms, buildings, streets, railways, pitches, parks and more.


Together, these built parts of Dublin shape and guide the public and private lives of nearly one and a half million people.

In turn, Dublin is formed and changed by millions of individual imaginations, conversations, and ordinary, daily actions in the city, towns, and rural areas that together make up this diverse county.

Through tours, talks, exhibitions, workshops, podcasts and more, Open House Dublin will reveal how Dublin and people reflect and depend on each other. When it comes to Dublin, we are in it, together.

The principle of coming together is especially relevant for this year’s festival where, for the first time, all four local authorities are contributing buildings, knowledge, talent, and resources to opening up Dublin city and county to the public as never before.


Detail of Castletymon Library brickwork. Photo: Courtesy of South Dublin County Council

A new highlight of Open House Dublin 2023 is a series of tours and activities taking place in Tallaght, South Dublin.

Building tours will take you inside the 100-year-old Rathcoole Courthouse and sophisticated Castletymon Library. For an in-depth look at the development of Tallaght’s core, join a walking tour that visits the Civic Theatre, Civic Chamber, innovation quarter, Tallaght Stadium and more.

For families, there will be a creative family workshop on sustainability at Think Big Space and guided family walks called ‘Architreks’ for young people to explore and discover their local area.


As well as guided tours, the full suite of eight Architrek booklets are available to download from openhousedublin.com for year-round exploring with family and friends.


Fernhill Park Experience. Photo: Courtesy of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Open House Junior events in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown include a biodiversity scavenger hunt and Fernhill Park augmented reality game.


Grown-ups can attend panel discussions on the Future of Sustainable Transport and Public Space and the ever popular How to be Energy Smart at Home. Visit the Dún Laoghaire Baths or take a tour of Shanganagh Castle Estate, the largest social, affordable and cost rental housing scheme in the country.

Meanwhile, Open House Dublin in Fingal concentrates on the area’s stunning heritage buildings, conservation work, and cultural development.

There are expert-led tours of recent conservations to Malahide Castle and the extensive Victorian glasshouses at Ardgillan Castle, near Balbriggan. Free tours of Newbridge House in Donabate, currently undergoing conservation works, are also available.

Topping off the Fingal offerings is a tour of the much anticipated Swords Cultural Quarter under development. This tour includes recent conservation to Swords Castle and current works at Swords Carnegie Library.


Ardgillan glasshouse. Photo: Courtesy of Fingal County Council
Ardgillan glasshouse. Photo: Courtesy of Fingal County Council

Dublin city will host a packed programme of building, walking, cycling, and boat tours, exhibitions and films.

Highlights include guided tours inside Kilmainham Mill, along with tours of exemplary public housing projects and intimate tours of private homes designed by leading Irish architects. Join a walking tour of Housing at the Heart of the City, the Bohemian Way, the Docklands, or an Irish language tour of Parnell Square.

Children will enjoy workshops on imagining dream neighbourhoods, animation, creative writing, Lego building, sketching and tile making, and there will be a special children’s exhibition, Reimagining the Iveagh Markets, at the Tivoli event space in the Liberties.

These are all part of Open House Junior, a weekend dedicated to tours, workshops and activities for children and families, running on October 7th-8th across the city and county.

Flipbook animation workshop at IMMA. Photo by Joseph Orr
Flipbook animation workshop at IMMA. Photo: Joseph Orr

As a vibrant cultural festival, Open House Dublin reflects the human desire to get together to experience something extraordinary. Dublin is a city of stories.

Our stories are part of who we are and what Dublin is, was and might become. When we gather, we draw together our experiences of living in this built environment and our imaginations and ambitions for the kind of city and society we want to live in.

New programming this year focuses on living in the city, from child’s play to elderhood and everything in between.

A new series of weekday discussions in Temple Bar welcomes hosts and Dubliners to pull up a chair and join stimulating conversations and speculations on Dublin as an ‘open city’ over a shared lunch.

Reimagining Elderhood workshop with Ailbhe Cunningham in Cork. Photo by Shane Serrano
Reimagining Elderhood workshop with Ailbhe Cunningham in Cork. Photo; Shane Serrano

Self Organised Architecture’s Reimagining Elderhood exhibition and film screenings take place at 2 Curved Street throughout the festival. This project brought architects and communities together in Balbriggan, Belfast, and Cork to look at how housing options and public space can be made more hospitable to older people.

Equality and inclusion is an important factor in how people experience and create the built environment. This is highlighted in a workshop on what housing for the queer community might look like and a talk by Dervla MacManus on gender equity in Irish architecture.

This year’s focus on lived experience and the future of the city animates a special evening event on October 14th called Cities Have Feelings.

Through conversation and film, Finn Williams, City Architect of Malmö and artist, poet and broadcaster Rhael ‘LionHeart’ Cape from London will unearth how emotional, physical and social connections between people and their cities are formed and sustained.

Hosted by Open House Dublin, this event is part of the New Now Next series, a partnership between the Irish Architecture Foundation and Arup that presents a season of live talks disseminating new ideas that are relevant now and for the future of architecture and society.

Rhael 'LionHeart' Cape. Photo: Jolade Olusanya
Rhael 'LionHeart' Cape. Photo: Jolade Olusanya

The Irish Architecture Foundation is a member of both the Open House Worldwide network and Open House Europe, a three-year European Commission-funded initiative for learning and exchange across 12 European open house organisations.

As such, the IAF will host volunteers from Bilbao, Brno, Lisbon and Milan to help deliver this year’s Open House Dublin festival. With a focus on sustainability in 2023, Open House Europe invites a broader togetherness and ambition for the future - of Dublin, of Europe, and of our shared planet.

All Open House Dublin events are free. Tickets for pre-book events are limited.

Full details of the programme, including drop-in events and remaining tickets, can be found at openhousedublin.com.

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