OpenHouse 2018: The ultimate weekend of architecture in Limerick

OpenHouse Limerick opened its doors last Friday, October 19, to the public who were encouraged to explore and understand the value of a well-built environment.

The festival has taken place across Limerick city and county for the past seven years, with the theme for this year’s event being “Architecture is Community.”

Maria Donoghue, Chair Person at OpenHouse Limerick said: “Every year we have a different theme and we try to look at what the power of architecture is or what it can do.

“We try to look at it from a broader prospective instead of saying that it’s about housing or theatre spaces. Last year‘s theme was ’Architecture is story’, where people’s stories, buildings and spaces were looked at.

“But this year’s festival focused more on bringing people inside these buildings that have been built together,” Maria said.

The aim was to open up a conversation around the value of architecture and its role in the community of Limerick, as well as to show how space is used by different community groups.

“The purpose of the festival is that you get to go into buildings that you will never normally get the opportunity to, it could be private houses; large or heritage buildings.

“It brings Limerick to the people as we try to let people in behind the walls and make them seem that they are part of it,” she added.


Maria Donoghue, Chair Person at OpenHouse Limerick. Photo: Gradie Swana Ngwesa, Limerick Voice

The events included unparalleled access to private buildings, dwellings, spaces and projects across the region, provided tours and talks with architects, historians, urban designers and occupants.

A number of previously unseen venues were incorporated this year such as Gardens International on Henry Street, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the A.K. Ilen boat, docked in Limerick Dock.

The new Limerick Courthouse on Mulgrave Street and the new Glucksman Library extension at University of Limerick was also open to the public during the weekend of festivities.

Tom McGlynn, associate at Níall McLaughlin Architects presented the project “International Rugby Experience in Limerick” , which will create an iconic meeting point in the heart of O’Connell Street.

The plan will occupy a 30,000 square foot hi-tech exhibition space, bringing together a series of galleries and dynamic interactive exhibits celebrating iconic moments in the history of rugby.

This will bring up to 100 construction jobs and more permanent positions, and it has been approved by the Limerick City and County Council.


Open House is a worldwide festival celebration of contemporary architecture, urban design, and heritage.

Sponsored by Roadstone and funded by Limerick city and County Council; Culture and Arts Office;; SAUL; Irish Architecture Foundation and RIAI, and supported by Healy Partners Architects, Rogerson Reddan & Associates; Chemifloc Ltd; Cuddy QS and Joebren Const.Ltd.

“We depend solely on the generosity of our funders and sponsors as we are volunteering festival,” says Maria.

“The fact that we get a lot more people than four years ago coming to the festival and taking part to the visit means we have a better standing in gaining and achieving more funding.”

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