It’s the seventh year of Open House Dublin. The weekend-long festival, run by the Irish Architecture Foundation, celebrates Dublin’s architecture with a huge programme of free events covering everything from social housing to swank hotels, from 18th century buildings to projects completed just this year. There are nearly 100 buildings on offer, as well as a full programme of tours, talks, exhibitions, and events aimed at kids.
There’s absolutely no way to see everything unless you’ve mastered time-travel. Like, zero, and you need to allow for getting around the city and a few queues too, so a bit of strategic planning is rewarded if you’re hoping to see more than a couple of things. Some of the buildings and tours are available only through pre-booking, but don’t be bummed out if these are all gone – it’s more about capacity than some secret indicator of the best bits. Many of the highlights require no pre-booking: just turn up and queue on the day.
As strategies go, one obvious approach is to head for the buildings you usually can’t access. At the very least, you’re satisfying curiosity. The programme changes every year too, so some will turn out to be bona fide limited-time offers even if you might get a second chance at others. Mostly, though, you’ll get to see behind the façade and the public spaces, to look at how the residents or staff might see the building, and to get a feel for how the architecture works as a whole.
Here’s a suggestion for a whole weekend of buildings you probably haven’t been inside, and with no need to pre-book.