Did I hear it right? Yes, I believe I was in the oldest house in Dublin the other day. They said that it was 351 years old! It was in a sorry state of repair but wow, it was incredible to get in, just to have a look. It was open to the public during the Open House Dublin Weekend, an event which is organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation with over 100 tours, events and workshops exploring the rich architectural heritage of Dublin.
The house was at 9/9A Aungier Street. It looks pretty insignificant on the outside but the internal structure, except for the ground floor shop, is virtually unchanged since it was built in 1664. It has its original staircase, roof structure, medieval-style timber framing, 17th Century plan and remnants of original paint and plaster finishes which predate Georgian Dublin by over half a century!
Now, when I say unchanged, I mean the original material is still there but just hanging on by a thread. To be honest, I was amazed that we were let in at all, the place was in tatters, ancient old lathes and hairy plaster, rickety floorboards, holes in the walls, holes in the floor – as you can see from the photos above – it needed a bit more than a lick of paint! But it was great, we loved it. Relics of a bygone age. And the fireplaces – they had gone through a fair few changes over the years – but you could still see bits of the originals. (An aside – wouldn’t that be a good idea – to do a series of paintings of old fireplaces!) Oh wait, I’ve already begun that series, my solo exhibition “Diaspora” at the Olivier Cornet Gallery featured the first ten fireplaces… Next March, I’ll have more of them in an exhibition in An Gailearaí in Gweedore, Co. Donegal.
Your comments are always welcome. Were you ever in an older house? Click on the little brown speech bubble up at the top right of this post and put your comment there. Thanks, eoin