Lonely Planet Writer

Take a peek inside some of Dublin's most iconic buildings this weekend for Open House

Visitors to Dublin this weekend are in for a treat. Over 90 of the city’s most iconic and intriguing buildings open their doors to visitors, in the annual Open House Exhibition. All tours are free and given by professionals. For a small number of buildings a lottery system operates with tickets allocated, but for the vast majority you can just arrive, and have a good snoop around.

Here are six  buildings with guided tours where you can turn up on the day:

National Library of Ireland

Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Tours:  Saturday 2- 5 pm

The National Library dates from 1890. Open House Dublin
The National Library dates from 1890. Image by Open House

The National Library of Ireland building, beside the Irish parliament on Kildare Street, was built in 1890 and is considered a national treasure. The Cork-born architect Thomas Deane was  inspired by the suggestions of its first librarian, William Archer and constructed the library in a Victorian Palladian style with its grand neoclassical colonnades and rotunda.

Iveagh Trust Museum Flat

Iveagh Trust Buildings, Patrick Street, Dublin 8
Tours: Saturday 11  – 4 pm, Sunday 12 – 4 pm

Nellie Molloy's flat was turned into a museum after her death in 2002. Open House Dublin
Nellie Molloy’s flat was turned into a museum after her death in 2002. Image by Eugene Langan

For more than 120 years The Iveagh Trust has offered affordable housing to people on low incomes in Dublin, and the red brick Victorian building has become an iconic piece of the architecture of the city. Nellie Molloy lived in the flats all her life, before passing away at the age of 95 in 2002. On her death, the flat was purchased by the Iveagh Trust and preserved exactly as she had kept it through her life – with no bathroom or running water.  Nellie wanted to live the same way  as her parents had in the flat back in 1915. Her dresses and her holy water remain there for visitors to see.

Wholesale Fruit & Vegetable Market

Mary’s Lane, Dublin 7
Tours: Saturday 11 – 5 pm, Sunday 12 –  5 pm

The Fruit and Vegetable market will open during the day this weekend.
The fruit and vegetable market will open during the day this weekend. Image by David Soanes

This covered market was built in 1881 and is still in use as a fruit and veg market in the early hours every morning. The original design by city engineer Parke Neville was completed after Neville’s death by his successor, Spencer Harty. On the exterior, the charming terracotta label stops between arches each depict a different fish, fruit, or vegetable.

Airbnb

8 Hanover Quay, Dublin 2
Tours: Saturday 11 – 5 pm, Sunday 12 –  5 pm

Meeting rooms that are replicas of listings on the Airbnb platform
Meeting rooms that are replicas of listings on the Airbnb platform Image by Donal Murphy

Derelict until recently, the new Airbnb warehouse has been carefully and faithfully restored and renovated.  A building of architectural and historical interest, it was in another lifetime home to Dublin Trawling Ice & Cold Storage from 1865 to the 1950s and the Raleigh Bicycle Factory from 1954 to 1980. Meeting rooms are replicas of listings on the Airbnb platform, with a few iconic Irish inclusions.

Casino Marino

Cherrymount Crescent, off the Malahide Road, Marino, Dublin 3
Tours: Saturday 11 – 5 pm, Sunday 12 –  5 pm

The Casino measures only fifty feet square.
The Casino measures only fifty feet square. Image by Tourism Ireland

Widely regarded as the most important neo-classical building in Ireland, the Casino measures only fifty feet square and is also considered Ireland’s miniature 18th-century architectural masterpiece. It was designed in 1759 as a garden temple for James Caulfield, 1st Earl of Charlemont, by Sir William Chambers, one of the finest architects of the time. The Casino, meaning small house, contains 16 finely decorated rooms, rich in subtlety and design.

Irish Architectural Archive

45 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
Tours: Saturday, 11 – 5 pm

The Georgian townhouse with double frontage of red brick.
The Georgian townhouse with its double frontage of red brick. Image by David Hayes

Founded in 1976, the Irish Architectural Archive is located in an impressive Georgian townhouse with has a double frontage of red brick and a fine Doric doorcase. The house was restored to its original plan in 2003, and updated for use as a best-practice archive facility. While in the archive take the opportunity to view the latest exhibition in the Architecture Gallery.