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Georgian Architecture in Dublin

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
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Without doubt, Dublin is a city that wears its history on its sleeve. While wandering through its streets, you’ll spot medieval castles, gothic churches, modern offices and everything else in between, all sitting happily side by side! A tour of six of Dublin's iconic Georgian areas is sure to inspire your inner love for the city's architecture.

One of the eras that wielded the most influence on the city’s façade was the Georgian period. Spanning from 1714 to 1840 and named after the reign of the four King Georges of Great Britain and Ireland, this was a historic period of development in the city. During this time of massive architectural change, narrow medieval streets, crammed houses and wonky cobbles were replaced by the large squares and beautiful columned buildings that make up so much of the city’s landscape today.

Georgian Architecture in Dublin

Henrietta Street

Henrietta Street was the first Georgian street built in the city and has acted as a template for many developments built in the period. Lined with Georgian brick houses, the end of the street contains an entrance to the King's Inns Law Library. During the 18th century, it was a sought-after address, with some of Ireland’s wealthiest families living on the street. From upper class to working class, No. 14 became the first tenement house on Henrietta Street with up to 17 families comprising 100 people sharing the building. For those wanting to experience Georgian life, No. 14 Henrietta Street will open as The Tenement Museum in 2017; with the building remaining unaltered for over 200 years, it's the perfect time capsule of the Georgian era. 

Henrietta Street via MaxtIt 

The Five Georgian Squares

Some of the most beloved architectural relics left from this elegant era are the five Georgian Squares. Peppered around the city, each square shows off residential Georgian Dublin (look out for the distinctive semi-circular doorways) with aplomb. Two of the squares, Mountjoy and Parnell, are on the city’s northside, while the remaining three, Merrion, St. Stephen’s Green and Fitzwilliam, home to No 29. Fitzwilliam Street Lower where you can step behind the doors and get a look at what life was like in Georgian Dublin are perched on the south. Indeed, St. Stephen’s Green is probably the most well-known and popular of the five, as it sits right in the heart of the city. Its park is a regular haunt for tourists and Dubliners alike, with its beautiful, duck filled lake, ornamental gazebo and 3.5km of walkways serving as a leafy escape from bustling city life. 

Georgian Architecture in Dublin
Georgian Architecture in Dublin

College Green

After strolling around St. Stephen’s Green, you may want to take the short walk to College Green. Once a burial ground and meeting spot for the Norse kings of Dublin, today this three-sided plaza is always buzzing. It’s surrounded by some of the city’s most impressive Georgian buildings too. Look east to see Trinity College, north for Ireland’s former Parliament House (now a bank), and west to Dame Street, where you can check out numerous other imposing buildings from the era. It’s the perfect spot to stand, stare – take a selfie if the moment calls for it! – and absorb the city’s rich Georgian past. 

Trinity College

While on College Green, Trinity College’s west front is sure to lure you in. This remarkable building is the gateway to some of the city’s most exceptional Georgian treasures. Walking through the wooden and stone entrance, it opens up to the cobbled Parliament Square. The most noteworthy Georgian addition to this campus is the Long Room Library. Built between 1712 and 1732, this famous library is known for its architecture and archive, including the Book of Kells; an illuminated manuscript Gospel book produced by monks around 800 AD. On any given day the college is bustling with students and tourists soaking in all of its extraordinary history. 

Georgian Architecture in Dublin
Georgian Architecture in Dublin

O’ Connell Street

Just north of the River Liffey, in the heart of the city is Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’ Connell Street. Once a modest strip, it was redesigned during the 18th century into the grand boulevard it is today. The most famous building on the street – and perhaps in all of Ireland – is the General Post Office (GPO). Opened in 1818, this is one of the city’s most beloved Georgian structures. It also played a prominent role in Irish history as it was overtaken Irish rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising and was subsequently destroyed by fire with only the Georgian façade remaining. It has since been restored to its former glory and is undoubtedly one of the most recognised buildings in Dublin.

Number 29 Georgian House Museum 

For those looking for a glimpse inside a traditional Georgian home, then Number Twenty Nine Georgian House Museum is a must. First occupied by a widow named Olivia Beatty and her seven children in 1794, this townhouse was restored to its former Georgian glory in the late 80s and opened to the public in 1991. Visitors can now tour the house from basement to attic and get a true sense of what life as a Georgian Dubliner was like. 

Georgian Architecture in Dublin
Georgian Architecture in Dublin

Powerscourt Townhouse Centre

Fancy a spot of retail therapy? You’ve come to the right place! One of Dublin’s most beautiful shopping centres, Powerscourt Townhouse truly is a Georgian gem. Positioned near Grafton Street, this was once the pied-à-terre, office and party spot of Richard Wingfield, 3rd Viscount Powerscourt, during Parliament season. In the 1960s the building was refashioned into a speciality shopping centre and although it still retains its Georgian feel with high ceilings and decorative cornices, today it’s filled with boutiques, antique stores and trendy bars and cafés. It’s a popular place to window shop, have a slice of cake and while an afternoon away.

Those are just some of Dublin’s most iconic Georgian haunts, but as you stroll around the city, keep an eye out for plenty more architectural feats! 

Powerscourt Townhouse Centre image via Powerscourt