The doors of some of the region’s most intriguing and historic buildings will open to the public free during OpenHouseLimerick (OHL) 2015.
Ardnacrusha Power Station, Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick Circuit Courthouse, the Quaker Meeting House in Ballinacurra, St. John’s Church in Knockainey and Glin Castle – the ancestral home of the FitzGerald clan – are amongst more than 20 buildings opening to the public, some for the first time, during the fourth annual initiative from Friday 9th October to Sunday 11th October.
Open House was established in London in 1992 as an initiative to show first-rate architecture to the public, stirring an interest for urban built heritage. Limerick is a member organisation of the Open House Worldwide Family, which also includes London, New York, Helsinki, Melbourne and Rome, as well as the Irish cities of Belfast, Dublin and Cork.
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick Sailors’ Home, Georgian-era Fort Shannon villa in Glin, McKerns Printing Works on Glentworth Street and the recently redeveloped Markets Field will also be opening to the public as part of this year’s initiative, which is hosted by the OpenHouseLimerick Committee.
As well as featuring tours of more than 20 buildings of all types and periods, OpenHouseLimerick will also include a bus tour, walking tours and children’s workshops. The Value of Architecture is the theme of OpenHouseLimerick 2015.
“Through our participation in this exciting architectural festival, we are looking to give the people of Limerick the opportunity to explore and engage with the architecture of their city and county,” commented Deirdre Kelly, Architect (dk architects) and Chairperson of the LimerickOpenHouse Committee.
“Many of the buildings are not normally open to the public, such as private residences and workplaces, and this is a rare opportunity for wider access. All buildings will be staffed by volunteers and tours will be guided by professional architects and historians,” she added.
Ms. Kelly paid tribute the building owners, architects, guides, stewards, participating organisations, and public and private funders who are supporting this year’s OpenHouseLimerick this year.
OpenHouseLimerick 2015 will be launched on Friday 9th October at 6.00pm at the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) with a discussion about how Limerick values its modern buildings, what their future should be and what status should they be ascribed. The discussion panel will be chaired by Limerick Architect Richard Rice and will feature Grainne Shaffrey, architect, urban designer, principal of Shaffrey Associates Architects and Vice President of the RIAI; Dr. Stephen Kinsella, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Limerick; Merritt Bucholz, founding Professor and Head of the School of Architecture at the University of Limerick and Director at Bucholz McEvoy Architects and Pat Ruane, graduate from the School of Architecture UCD and Cork City Council Architectural Conservation Officer.
Buildings opening their doors to the public on Saturday 10th October include Sarsfield Barracks, Lord Edward St. (10am, 90min walking tour with Michael Deegan); McKerns Printing Works, Glentworth St. (10am–12:30pm, last entry 12pm); Chamber of Commerce, 96 O’Connell St. (10am–5pm, 50min tours at 11, 12 & 1 by Michael Conroy, architect. Last entry 4.30pm); IMPACT Regional HQ, Roxboro Rd. (11am tour, 30min tour); The Red Tech, O’Connell Av. (12–3.00pm, tours every hour with Stephen Fallon, architect); Limerick Circuit Courthouse, Merchants Quay (12:45 & 1:30pm tours); North Facing, Thomondgate (2–5pm, last entry 4.30pm); St. Mary’s Cathedral (2–5pm, pre-book only); The Hunt Museum, Rutland St. (12 & 2pm tours); 21 Lower Harstonge Street (2–5pm, last entry 4.30pm); Limerick Sailors’ Home, O’Curry St. (2–5pm, last entry 4.30pm); and 5 Greenview Close, Monaleen (3–5pm, last entry 4.30pm). Due to the popularly of some of the buildings in previous years and to limit members of the public being disappointed on the weekend, number of the buildings are Pre-Book access only, the booking will go live on the 2nd of October through www.OpenHouseLimerick.ie.
For the first time, OpenHouseLimerick will profile some of the key Limerick’s regeneration projects. Architect Seamus Hanrahan’s guided bus tour includes Cliona Park, Colivet Court, Opera Centre, Thomond Weir and more on Saturday, 10th October.
Also on Saturday at 2.00pm, the history of the King’s Island through three of the oldest graveyards spanning different religions and centuries will be the subject of 90-minute walking tour with historians Dr. Matthew Potter & Sharon Slater of Limerick Museum and Archives.
Limerick’s rich modernist built heritage, including Ranks, Sadlier’s Fish Shop, GPO, BT Telephone Exchange and Theatre Royal, will be the subject of a walking tour with architect Peter Carroll of A2 Architects, it will start from Central Buildings, O’Connell St., at 2.00pm.
UL’s School of Architecture (SAUL) presents Arch Film Screenings – a selection of films highlighting both Irish and international architects at FabLab, Rutland St., from 10.00am to 4.00pm.
Architect Morgan Flynn of Aglet Architecture will host ‘Under Your Feet’, a 1-hour walking tour exploring the forgotten architectural heritage and everyday life of the city including bootscrapers and coal hole covers. The tour commences from Fab Lab at 11.00am.
FabLab also hosts Tensegrity Workshops for children aged 10 to 15 years from 12 midday to 2.00pm (pre-book only). Workshop participants will be able to build their own tensegrities, comprising strong and light structures made of struts and cables arranged such that the structure retains a 3D shape without the struts touching.
Meanwhile, Architect Sean Collins will host Ar-Kid-Tecture for children aged 5 or more at The Hunt Museum, Rutland St., from 2.00pm to 4.00pm (pre-book only by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org). The innovative kids’ workshop will seek to encourage children to explore and participate in the built environment by using their creativity, imagination and wacky material.
Buildings opening their doors to the public on Sunday October 11th include Markets Field (11:30am–2:30pm, last entry 2pm); Quaker Meeting House, Southville Gardens, Ballinacurra (12.30–4.30pm, regular tours with Brian Grubb, architect); Fort Shannon, Glin (10am–3pm pre-book only), Glin Castle (2–5pm, pre-book only); Ardnacrusha Power Station, Castlebanks (11am–2pm, pre-book only); Ross, Killaloe (12–3pm, regular Tours with Barbara Carr, architect); Knockainey Church RC (2–5pm, last entry 4.30pm); St. John’s Church, Knockainey (2–5pm, regular Tours by Historical & Conservation Society).
“This year’s line-up offers a wide range of options from the historical to the modern. The private residences give an opportunity to see how a house be it Georgian, Victorian, 1950’s or 1990’s which thought looks similar to its neighbours, once you step across the threshold you see the power of good modern architecture and how it can transform a space,” commented Patricia Geraghty, Architect and Project Coordinator OpenHouseLimerick.
“The venue would not be possible without the volunteers. People can volunteer to be part of the event at www.volunteer.ie,” added Ms. Geraghty.
OpenHouseLimerick 2015 funders include Irish Design 2015, Limerick Marketing, Limerick Arts Office, Alan Hart Construction Services Ltd., HEALY Partners Architects, O’Kelly Brothers, RIAI, Rogerson Reddan, SAUL, Smith Demolition and The Leahy Reidy Consortium. Sponsors include Dennehy Reidy Associates and Power Associates.
Supporters of this year’s initiative include Limerick 2020, Collins Building & Civil Engineering Limerick Ltd., Gerry Lombard, Furniture & Product Design, Martins Construction, Nautic Building Co Ltd., PUNCH Consulting Engineers, Roadselm Construction Ltd. Meanwhile, OpenHouseLimerick Friends include Christ Church, Fab Lab Limerick, The Hunt Museum, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick’s Life, Limerick School of Art & Design, Volunteer Centre Limerick, MidWest Limes McMahons, SIG Roofing and PJ Murphy Woodworking.
All OpenHouseLimerick 2015 tours are free of charge and operate on a first come basis. Times may be subject to change and members of the public are advised to check www.OpenHouseLimerick.ie and Twitter (@OHLimerick) for updates. For ‘pre-book only’ venues, visit the venue page on www.OpenHouseLimerick.ie.