Last weekend saw the annual return of Open House Dublin, offering the public entry for one weekend only – to some of the city’s most historical and elusive buildings.
Celebrating its tenth birthday, this year’s Open House tackled a hard issue, exploring the idea of ‘This place we call home’, in light of the city’s recurring housing crisis which they have called “Dublin’s most pressing problem”.
Through an extensive programme of talks, tours, exhibitions and discussion, the festival aims to explore what kind of Dublin we would like to live in, and to highlight the buildings of Dublin that have altered our vision of the city, shaped how we live, and might inspire new ways of living for the future, focusing on domesticity and urban space.
The guided tours featured a strong architectural and historical focus, with the tours carried out either by the architects, or someone with a close relationship to the buildings, offering insights on how buildings were constructed, purposed, and lived in.
We took a look around 9/9a Aungier Street which, nestled between neighbouring shops, is an unassuming historical monument hidden behind a contemporary front. Once past the front door, the building reveals itself as a house built in 1664, and for the most part, untouched.
9/9a Aungier Street sits at the top of Dublin’s oldest and most intact domestic structures, retaining inside an original staircase, roof structure, medieval-style timber-framing, 17th-century plan and remnants of original paint and plaster finishes which pre-date Georgian Dublin by over half a century.
The visit to 9/9a was a visit to a living reminder of a Dublin that once was, but is no more. The building, an elite 17th century development, was known as ‘the jewel in the crown of Aungier Street’. Queues outside the building were an illustration of how much interest the open day had generated among people. When asked what he was hoping to get out of the afternoon, 25 year old visitor David replied simply and enigmatically: “Inspiration.”
Also on offer for the weekend were open days at a multitude of hidden gems, like the Airbnb European HQ, Temple Bar’s Central Bank, Leinster House and a walking tour of Ballymun, amongst over a hundred others.
You can have a quick look from inside 9/9a Aungier Street below, in our slide show, which is narrated by structural conservationist Sonny Goodson and structural engineer Lisa Eddin.