Open House Cork is going from strength to strength

From Páirc Uí Chaoimh to a tour of Cork city pubs, Rose Martin looks at options for the Open House event, which aims to encourage the people of the Rebel City to appreciate their built heritage.

OPEN House Cork is going from strength to strength with a long list of venues for the public to enjoy this year, over the bank holiday weekend.

Let’s face it — we all love looking through windows at how other people live, but for this weekend, doors are thrown open for us to see the most beautiful modern builds, grand old dames of city architecture, renovations, commercial buildings and more to confirm the role great art and design has in our lives.

And the timing is great — a three-day weekend allows everyone get out and see the range of events on show in the city — from sketching on McCurtain Street, to walking the city quay walls, to discussing the work and approach of young architects, to looking at the industrial remains of one of the city’s biggest employers.

And for the normally art-phobic sports fan in the family, there’s the opportunity to walk around the glittering Pairc Uí Chaoimh with its architect, David Flannery of Scott Tallon Walker.

Mixed in with the solid architectural and historical items is an interesting mix of workshops, installations, art and even a walking tour of our city’s pubs, (yes indeed), over a jam-packed weekend.

Everything on the Open House weekend programme is free — most events area on a a first-come-first-served basis and a number of the workshops and exhibitions run over the weekend. Those venues that have limited access, or where a big response is expected, are available to book by a very democratic lottery process — just mail and finger’s crossed you’ll secure a place.

There’s always a concept with the Open House idea, (which is a worldwide event) and this year Cork has chosen, ‘The Changing City’ as a theme. As its stated aim, Open House stems from a single idea — to showcase outstanding architecture for everyone to experience.

Buildings that aren’t usually accessible to the public open their doors for one weekend only, with tours provided by expert guides like an architect or an individual very familiar with the particular building.

This year, the pub tour should be great fun, with Tom Spalding and Gareth O’Callaghan plotting a walk around some of the city’s most curious, most beautiful and historically important drinking haunt. Its should be a laugh, and there will be stops for refreshments along the way — normally the tours take less than a half hour, but expect this one to take a little longer. And don’t miss the chance to tour UCC with Willie Carey of O’Donnell Tuomey, a Stirling Prize winning practice, whose Glucksman is just one of the highlights on the tour.

Another delightful idea is the sketching tour of MacCurtain St with Jim Harrison, on Sunday, where he’ll share the skill of getting perspective right in architectural drawing. No experience necessary here but participants should learn a lot about the buildings on the street too, as they draw.

All of the tour guides, be they be artists, historians or architects, will share their insights and experiences and will be open to discussion on the buildings in question, so the visits should be an engaging experience for everyone involved.

Tours should last about 30 minutes and you can just show up, (early) to get a place. Booking is essential for some locations, but you can get more information o:


Twitter:@OpenHouseCork #OHCork

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