Limerick opens doors to Places and Spaces

This weekend, the doors of some of Limerick's most intriguing and historic buildings will open to the public for free during the 2nd annual OpenHouseLimerick (OHL) from 18-20th October.

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Publish Date: Wednesday 16th October 2013

This weekend, the doors of some of Limerick's most intriguing and historic buildings will open to the public, some for the first time.

The Dominican Biblical Institute on Lower Cecil Street, the UL Graduate Medical School, De Valera Cottage in Bruree and St. Mary's Cathedral (the City’s oldest building are amongst more than 30 buildings scheduled to be opened to the public for free during the 2nd annual OpenHouseLimerick (OHL) from 18-20th October.

The Quaker House at Punches Cross, the newly constructed Southill Older Persons Apartments and the Munster Council GAA Headquarters at Castletroy will also be opening to the public for the first time as part of the initiative which is hosted by the Limerick OpenHouse Committee in partnership with the Irish Architecture Foundation. The theme of this year’s OHL is ‘Places and Spaces’.

Limerick is a member organisation of the Open House Worldwide Family which also includes London, New York, Helsinki, Melbourne, Slovenia and Irish locations in Dublin and Galway. Open House was first established in London in 1992 as an initiative to show first-rate architecture to the general public, stirring an interest for urban built heritage.

Committee Chairperson Margaret McEvoy described OpenHouseLimerick as "an architectural festival comprising tours of more than 30 buildings of all types and periods, lectures, walking and cycling tours and children’s activities".

She continued: "OpenHouse is a simple but powerful concept: showcasing outstanding architecture for all to experience, completely free of charge to the public Through our participation in this initiative we are looking to give the people of Limerick the opportunity to explore and engage with the architecture of their city and county. Many of Limerick's most significant and interesting buildings will be open to the public for free, ranging from private houses and education buildings, to historic landmarks and modern office spaces."

"All buildings will be staffed by volunteers and tours will be guided by professional architects and historians. 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. Most OpenHouseLimerick tours and events will operate strictly on a first come first served basis, so just turn up during the listed opening times and join the next available tour," Ms. McEvoy added.

Commenting on the background to OHL, Event Coordinator Sinéad Hanrahan commented: "OHL's inaugural event in October 2012 was a huge success, with over 2500 people attending visits, tours and workshops. The idea of OHL is to engage the people of Limerick with their city. Much of the feedback we received in 2012 was that the initiative provided an opportunity for Limerick’s inhabitants to explore the built environment around them and occupy their community. We look forward to introducing even greater numbers of people to the architectural delights that the City and County have to offer next week."

Other Limerick buildings opening their doors during the OHL weekend include Limerick City Gallery of Art, Fanningstown Castle in Adare, Station House Patrickswell, Deloitte Ireland’s offices in Charlotte Quay, Cooleen in Monaleen, Limerick Chamber of Commerce on O’Connell Street, and Abington Church in Murroe.

The Hunt Museum will also open its doors on Saturday 19October (2-3pm) and Sunday 20 October (2-3pm) during which members of the public will be able to discover the architectural stories, nooks and crannies the collection has to offer.

For children, Limerick City Gallery of Art will host a Junior Open House event enabling families to explore the Gallery together by creating their own art forms inspired by the collection, the surroundings of the People’s Park. The event for children (aged 4-10) takes place on Saturday, 19th October from 12pm-1pm.

Meanwhile, Limerick-based artist Kate Stoica will host an innovative kids’ workshop entitled 'Ar-Kid-Tecture' at Hunt Museum on Sunday 20thth October from 2.30pm-4.30pm. Children will discover architecture by building a city through arts and crafts. This fun session will encourage children to explore and participate in the built environment by using their creativity, imagination and wacky materials. The event is for children aged 6 and over and must be pre-booked via education@huntmuseum.com.

Elsewhere, an event called 'Chutes & Towers' will be held at HQ, located at the corner of Henry Street and Lower Cecil Street, on Saturday 19th October from 10am- 12pm. Architect Caelan Bristow will help children (aged 8-12) to create a large installation of tunnels, chutes, chambers and towers through which balls and toy vehicles can travel.

Caelan will also host a family treasure trail that will begin at the OpenHouse Office (51 O’Connell Street) at 2.30pm on Saturday 19th October. The one-hour Archi-Trail will see participants solving mystery clues to discover architectural curiosities in the city centre and record their adventure in a special clue booklet. Participants will meet at the end of their exploration to receive a reward.

Tours are organised by the participating institutions in cooperation with The Architects Department of Limerick City Council along with Limerick County Council, Limerick Arts Office and The Office of Limerick Regeneration, in cooperation with the Open House Limerick Committee.

For more on OpenHouseLimerick 2013 from 18th-20th October visit www.openhouselimerick.ie.

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