The Georgian period owes its name to a succession of King George’s (George I to George IV) who reigned from 1714 to 1830. The peace and prosperity enjoyed by the british empire at the time was expressed in a revival of classical architecture, and its arrival in Dublin saw the capital transform into a glittering Europen contender.
Domestic Georgian architecture in Dublin followed the classical principles of order, perspective and proportions. The iconic colourful doors, ornate brass knockers and delicately leaded fanlights were a little twist of creativity in an otherwise strictly observed style. Inside, elaborate plasterwork and intricately carved woodwork more than made up for the relatively plain exteriors.
For an idea of what it was like to bask in the grandeur of Georgian Dublin, or indeed serve those who basked, Number Twenty Nine Georgian House Fitzwilliam Street gives a basement to attic tour – from rat shelves (shelf structures dedicated to keeping fresh food out of rats reach) to servant bells.
Or if you fancy afternoon tea, the five star Merrion Hotel which is made up of four Grade I Listed Georgian townhouses, is a triumph in meticulous restoration. It has one of the finest art collections in Ireland to boot. The first Duke of Wellington, who commanded the allied army that defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, is said to have been born in Number 24.
Streets & Squares...
Symmetry, scale and spaciousness were the order of the day and this was facilitated by the Commission for Making Wide & Convenient Streets, which was set up in 1757 to do just that. The north side is where it all started andHenrietta Street, one of the first Georgian developments in Dublin, became a blueprint of sorts for the elegant terraces, streets and squares that followed.
A total of five townhouse-lined Georgian squares with jewels of gardens at the centre of each were completed during the period – Rutland Square (now Parnell Square) and Mountjoy Square north of the river; Merrion Square ; St Stephen’s Green and lastly Fitzwilliam Square on the south. Its garden was enclosed in an 1813 Act of Parliament that still prevails – the squares residents still hold the keys.
Georgian Dublin – A self-guided walking tour
Our free iWalk podcast on Georgian Dublin will help guide you around all the must-see locations.
The tour commences from outside the Dublin Discover Ireland Centre on Suffolk Street and takes you through the heart of the city stopping off at some of Dublin's most recognizable buildings, statues and attractions.
Learn more about Dublin's Georgian histrory and download our Georgian Guide, click here.