Follow in the footsteps of top Cork architects

Eve Kelliher gets set to hit the Open House trail.

Here's a prime opportunity to take a fresh look at our streetscape as well as indulge in a spot of time travel.

The fourth Open House Cork weekend runs from next Friday, October 4, until Sunday, October 6, and will offer the chance to get out there and explore the city’s heritage.

This festival takes place in 40 cities across the world, celebrating the best architecture these urban landscapes have to offer.

The series of talks, tours and exhibitions held in buildings all over the city will showcase the rich and varying architecture of Cork.

All of the events are completely free, and mostly available on a first come, first served basis.

Each building and event is staffed with a number of guides who are happy to greet and assist you.

Building tours are usually led by the architect or an individual very familiar with the building. They will share their knowledge and insight, but are keen to chat too and welcome your questions. Tours will generally last about 30 minutes.

Take for example the Frank Murphy Trail. Conor English, author of the forthcoming book Cork’s Modern Architect, the Work of Frank Murphy, will lead a series of events centred on the work of this renowned architect, modernist and progressive conservation campaigner.

Frank Murphy concentrated for much of his career on the 20th-century ecclesiastical designs, schools, offices and factories of Cork.

Guided tours

Get up close and personal with his work by joining the guided external tour at the former Cork Distillers bottling plant — distinctive for its riot of colour, mosaics and cast sculptural concrete. “In 1960 Cork Distillers wanted to create an image of a modern company that had facilities to rival their then Dublin competitors,” said Mr English.

The project had an impressive pairing: an ambitious Cork client matched equally with a homegrown determined architect

The meeting point for this tour is the gate of Distillery Fields Complex, UCC, North Mall, on Sunday, October 6, at 12pm.

Frank Murphy contributed enormously to Cork City’s mid-century everyday buildings, from shopfronts to office blocks — see for yourself by following the sticker trail on buildings in the city centre, highlighting some of Murphy’s work, which includes Maynes Pharmacy, No 1 South Mall and No 8 South Mall.

In addition, a lecture on Frank Murphy’s work will be jointly delivered by Conor English and Frank’s son Peter, also an architect, at Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street, Cork, at 3pm on Sunday, October 6.

Meanwhile an exhibition charts the entire chronology of Murphy’s architecture (1939-1993) from striking modernism like Thompson’s Bakery on MacCurtain Street (1966) to the sensitive restoration of Skiddy’s Almshouse (1975).

This exhibition opens on Monday at Cork City Library, Grand Parade, and runs until October 5.

As well as the above, Open House Cork has a host of other enticing events, see for more details of events or @OpenHouseCork on Twitter, or see or or email

More in this section

News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up