A Tour of Georgian Dublin

Along with my Interior Design work and running this blog, I am also on the committee of The Interiors Association, the professional body in Ireland representing Interior Architects, Designers and Stylists.

Last Saturday we organised a private tour of some of Dublin’s most famous Georgian landmarks.

We began in Henrietta Street, a street originally developed by Luke Gardiner in 1720. Henrietta Street was one of Dublin’s earliest Georgian streets and home to some of Dublin’s wealthiest gentry.

Henrietta Street today image via infomatique on flickr

It was a very prestigious address of it’s time, but unfortunately by the early 1900’s, the wealthy had moved out to suburbs, and the immense red brick Georgian homes became filthy disease ridden slums and home to thousands of Dublin’s poor.


By 1911 over 835 people lived in 15 houses on Henrietta Street alone.


A typical family home in 1913. Entire families lived in rooms like this all over the city. This room is in a tenement dwelling in Francis Street, Dublin Image courtesy of The National Archives

14 Henrietta Street_Emerald Interior Design

Number 14 Henrietta Street is an undisturbed tenement property, virtually unchanged since 1913.  The Dublin Tenement Experience: Living the Lockout gives a glimpse of what life was like in Dublin 100 years ago and shows the impact the events of 1913 had on the families living through the lockout.

Image courtesy of @dublintenement

The Dublin Tenement Experience: Living the Lockout is an innovative new visitor experience to commemorate the centenary of the 1913 Lockout. The whole Experience includes a slideshow and information to learn more about the lives of those living during the lockout.  The highlight of the tour is a stunning piece of theatre by ANU Productions who give you a real sense of the living conditions and atmosphere of a tenement home during those momentous events of 1913. The event runs until Saturday 31st August and definitely worth a visit.

IA Summer Tour Henrietta Street

Then it was up a few doors to the home of The Honorable Society of King’s Inns. The two worlds couldn’t be more different!  The King’s Inns was founded in 1541 and is the oldest institution of legal education in Ireland and headquarters of the Benchers and the School of Law. Originally based in The Four Courts, architect James Gandon was commissioned by the benchers in 1800 to design a new building for the Society on Henrietta Street.

The King's Inns

The library building dating back to 1926 was designed by Frederick Darley and contains a truly magnificent reading room and balcony.

King's Inn Library_emerald interior design

Library King's Inns

plaster ceiling detail on King's Inn

Our final stop before crossing south of the Liffey was to Na Píobairí Uilleann to learn a little bit about the history and making of Uilleann pipes in Ireland.

We were even treated to a little recital 🙂

Uilleann Pipes

Then after a leisurely (and very yummy) lunch we made our way to Number 29 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, home of the ESB Georgian House museum.

Mrs Olivia Beatty, the widow of a prominent Dublin wine merchant was resident in Number Twenty Nine in 1794. The house has been beautifully restored to depict what life would have been like for Mrs Beatty and her family. From the basement to the attic, all rooms have been furnished with original artefacts giving an insight into life for the fortunate who lived in such an elegant town house, and the less fortunate who worked in them.

Drawing Room

Dining Room

Governess Room

House Keepers Room

Unfortunately photography was not allowed in Number 29 so all images are courtesy of ESB Georgian Museum.

Of course all this architecture is thirsty work so it was back to another great institution of Dublin for some well deserved refreshments.

IA summer tour_emerald interior design

Some of the buildings we visited are not generally open to the public, but if you are in Dublin I recommend you pay a visit to 14 Henrietta Street, and 29 Lower Fitzwilliam Street.  Also if you have a interest in Irish traditional music, a visit to The Pipers Parlour would be a must.

About Karen

My name is Karen Hughes and I'm an Interior Designer from Dublin, Ireland. I’m passionate about design and I started this blog as a way to connect with others just as passionate as myself. I tend to ramble on about all sorts of things, projects I’m working on, people, places and things that inspire me (and some that don’t). So put the kettle on, get comfy and settle in. I hope you enjoy your visit and don't forget to say hello. Visit my website to find out more about my services and view my work.