Indistinct chatter since 2006

Open Dublin

October 22, 2006

This weekend played host to the inaugural "Open Dublin" weekend, which saw many of the rarer architecture delights of Dublin opened up - for free - to the public. This was organised by the Irish Architecture Institute and proved a very interesting weekend, if not without its faults.

I anticipated most the opening of Liberty Hall's rooftop balcony to the public. Somebody once claimed to hate the Eiffel Tower so much that they ate lunch it it everyday; it being the only place in Paris from where it couldn't be seen. It's much the same in Dublin with Liberty Hall except that it has never managed to endear itself to anybody, really, nor become a beloved landmark. Indeed, SIPTU (the owners) announced on the first day of Open Dublin that they are seeking permission to demolish it and rebuild.

About time.

We queued for about 45 minutes to reach the top. Like the Empire State, there were one or two staging areas on the way up which required us to wait in chaotic fashion; at a whopping 17 stories Liberty Hall should not exactly be the logistical challenge that is the Empire State. You'd imagine that sending up 5 or 6 people directly to the roof every few minutes would have been enough, but oh no...

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With views like that you'd think all would be forgiven when we reached the top, but we were told we had only 4 minutes. Four minutes. FOUR MINUTES.

However, there was still time to spot some things:

  • how close the mountains are to the city
  • the number of domes in Dublin
  • the mess that is the line from Connolly Station to Pearse Station.

And...time to take the below shot. Maybe all is forgiven.

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The only other major thing I got to was City Hall. Somehow I'd never been here (sure I didn't even know where it was a few months ago, much to the amusement of some), but it's well worth seeing. The architect in charge of the restoration gave a guided tour, from the main lobby (open all the time to the public) to the meeting rooms right through to the basement.

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Well worth seeing, as is the museum of Dublin history downstairs.

We did try to get the free boat tour of the docklands but owing to a mis-print in the manual we had the day wrong. That highlights how organisation could be improved next time. Lots of very good events on but severely limited places on some - you had to ring ahead but the number was eternally busy and come Saturday morning the mailbox was full! - and the short time on Liberty Hall marred it just a little bit.

And I'm told the penthouse on the quays was spectacular....but I was busy Sunday.

© Trevor Johnston 2021