Around this time each year the Irish Georgian Society (IGS) run a series of talks on aspects of Ireland’s built heritage. They are invariably superb, presented by the leading authorities in the field, and- to put my own cards fully on the table- they are talks which year by year have certainly increased and expanded… Read More Irish Cities in the Georgian Era: architecture & urban morphology: from the IGS.
this Friday, the 23rd of July, we have a rare outing of our wonderful Saint Patrick’s Park to Cork Street and the Coombe tour, via Fumbally Lane, Blackpitts, Newmarket, Weavers’ Square, Ardee St, exploring several hundred years of tanning, brewing, distilling, irons works, and architectural, social and economic history.It’s a brilliant tour, it takes place… Read More Tours this Friday evening and this Sat am (23rd and 24th July)
Regular readers of our blog, or indeed visitors who often come on our tours, may well be aware that for the last 5 years or so, we’ve had the honour to design and lead many guided walking tours of Dublin’s history and architecture for the venerable Irish Georgian Society. For those however not instantly familiar… Read More 3 fab walking tours: and a chance to support the I.G.S!
It’s a huge relief, and huge pleasure, to relaunch our guided walking tours of Dublin this week. They start very soon now, with two tours of Grafton Street, next Wednesday the 12th and Friday the 14th of May. Anybody who knows about our tours will be aware we include a lot of information on architecture… Read More our city walking tours are back.
Following the success of our June and October Zoom architecture talks, we’ve decided to run a series of richly illustrated Zoom Art talks, starting just after Christmas, Tuesday 5th of January. For these talks I’m going back to my roots, so to speak, and to my first undergraduate degree and my first love. This is… Read More new, live Zoom Art talks: a perfect Treat, and perfect Christmas Gift.
In response to the Covid crisis and its many restrictions, Dublin Decoded ran our first series of online history and architecture “virtual tour-talks” using the Zoom platform, last June. The response was terrific, and we’re delighted to now announce a second series, looking at four more fascinating historical areas of Dublin.. Our talks take place… Read More Four new Zoom talks: starting tomorrow Tuesday 6th October!
After the Covid Lock-down, we are now relaunching our public walking tours, focusing on exclusively outdoor tours for July and August, with different tour routes on new dates. We’ll also be trialing new microphone and earpiece technology, to allow superior sound and allow more social distancing, to keep you safe. The extra cost of this… Read More Public Walking Tours, relaunched!
From Tuesday the 2nd of June we are thrilled to commence a new venture: our new series of five one-off, on-line history and architecture “virtual tour-talks” – five classic Dublin Streetscapes. No previous knowledge of Dublin, nor architecture or history is required. All are welcome! Talks include masterpieces of Georgian and Victorian architecture; vanished… Read More 5 online Dublin history & architecture talks, live on Zoom!
as regular readers will know, we lead some very nice, and very enjoyable walking tours in Dublin, both out and about, around the streets of the capital, often featuring visits to historic interiors too (churches, old houses, and occasional mystery destinations) These tours are themed around history and the built-history of our city; architecture and… Read More 4 fantastic art and history tours of Dublin coming up…
Many thanks to the friend who sent us this extraordinary re-discovered film footage of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) visiting Ireland back in 1900, that Queen’s last-ever visit to this country. As a recent article on the British Heritage Travel website makes clear, the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, says that “in 1939, it received “a… Read More a long lost film, and our Victorian architecture walking tour.
We completed our last tour of the year, for TBG+S, just 10 days ago, and our last public tour of the year, for our Dublin Decoded newsletter subscribers, around a month back, with our Monto tour. Now that it’s all over for another year, we thought it might be interesting to look back, enjoy and… Read More
In John Rocque’s famous 1756 map of Dublin , we can see Luke Gardiner the elder’s new Sackville St, with his “Gardiner’s Mall” in the centre. It was where O’Connell St Upper is today (Running North from Earl St to Parnell St) It did not run south of Earl St. There instead, was a much… Read More Mecklinburgh; Tyrone; Waterford; and gone – stories of change in Dublin city
Our next public walking tour, and our penultimate is coming up very soon, this Saturday: River, Port, Dock, Canal, on Saturday 20th October, 13.00-15.00 (starts 1pm) Details below. We will meet 1pm sharp at, and begin from, the Triumphal Arch outside the CHQ building in the IFSC are. Then go walking east along the river,… Read More 2 last public tours of 2018: (1) River/Canal, this Saturday 20/10 and Monto, Thurs, 8 Nov.
at 2.25pm, Thursday afternoon, 11th Oct. 2018. Our Medieval Walls walk is a complete circuit and exploration of the medieval walls of Dublin, both in a physical sense, and as an exploration of the walls in the imagination; through conversation, story and historic detail. Once a palisade of wooden stakes erected from 841 by Dublin’s… Read More A walk around Dublin’s Medieval Walls.
It is hoped this little essay and in particular some of the maps and images here help some readers gain an enhanced understanding of the development of Rutland (now Parnell) Square in the 18th century, and the central part the Lying-In hospital, philanthropy and the arts played in that development. As you see on the… Read More Visual sources for understanding Parnell (Rutland) Square & area, 1756 onward
Dublin: The Story of a City The publication of any book of drawings by Stephen Conlin is something of an event for any student of our capital city. This book is particularly welcome, bringing together as it does most of the artist’s most important Dublin drawings, made in a long career stretching well over 30… Read More Dublin: The Story of a City by Stephen Conlin and Peter Harbison, reviewed
above “the Abduction of Parolles’, Francis Wheatley (1747-1801). Private collection “Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland” at Dublin’s splendid Central Assembly House, an exhibition and a walking tour, this week! I’m delighted to be leading 4 tours for the Irish Georgian Society (IGS) over the next 3 or 4 weeks. Two of these events are architectural… Read More “Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland” at Dublin’s splendid Central Assembly House, an exhibition and a walking tour this week!
In the always excellent Dublin Inquirer newspaper this week I was delighted to read a report on how Dublin City Council (DCC) is (at last) trying to find a new use for both the beautiful old 1700s Pigeon House Hotel near Ringsend, and for the huge derelict Poolbeg power station next door. Both buildings stand… Read More Stretching the City & Into the Bay – new life for old Pigeon Hotel & former Poolbeg Power Station?
a busy April, with four, very different events.. In terms of public scheduled tours for our members and guests, this April is shaping up to be the busiest in our history, with our improved Dublin Decoded website just relaunched. And four, very different walking tours next month… 1- 11.30 morning of 08 April, Kildare to… Read More a busy April, with 4 very different events
Image credit: Guercino (1591-1666) Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph, c.1620 Oil on canvas Photo © National Gallery of Ireland. Sir Denis Mahon Bequest, National Gallery of Ireland. This Thursday afternoon at 2.30pm, Thursday 08 March, we are looking forward to our one-off visit inside the beautiful Denis Mahon Archive, located in a Georgian house… Read More inside the Sir Denis Mahon archive & the Italian Baroque, Thurs 08/03/18
A few coal hole iron covers, these particular two are on Merrion Street. There are coal-hole covers in all the older parts of Dublin. This Merrion/Fitzwilliam area has a particularly rich store of them. The majority of the most interesting are coal holes, those circular discs of cast iron capping the coal chutes, ubiquitous to… Read More Cast of Thousands
Writing recently about the lovely old cast iron coal plates which adorn the Georgian and many Victorian districts of Dublin, I found my obsession spread from coal covers to utility covers also, such as gas, water, and the like. Yes, I know, I know what you are thinking. And it’s true, I have a… Read More Utility covers..
I occasionally write about Fine Art here, but very rarely my own output. i don’t draw as much as i used to, it is more of a hobby than an obsession these days. Also, when you sometimes have to write about a towering genius like Johannes Vermeer, or any of the great Dutch, Flemish or… Read More for Ease of Navigation: a practical suggestion for architects, planners, builders & developers.
At 11.25PM, Saturday 21st October, 2017 Grangegorman could be considered the “forgotten” quarter of Dublin. Hemmed in by disused rail tracks and giant bus depots of old Broadstone, and blocked off by the high walled penal institutions of yesteryear, it kept out visitors, even forming a sort of terra incognito across two huge sections of… Read More Hugh Lane to Broadstone & Grangegorman walk, 11.30am Sat 21st Oct.
The superb exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting currently nearing the end of its run at the National Gallery of Ireland, ask and adreeses sucessfully fascinating questions about how the genre artists of the Dutch Golden Age influenced each other and spurred each other on to ever great feats of virtuosity. It has… Read More Did Vermeer use Optics in his Art?
Saturday 9th September, meeting Kildare Place, 1.30pm. Southeast Centre Gems: from Kildare Place then via a circuitous walk to No. 6 Harcourt Street. The first two-thirds of this walking tour cover some of my favourite gems and oddities in the south-east quarter of Dublin’s South Georgian Core. Forgotten educational history, and Soviet-style social realism on… Read More South-East Central historic walking tour, & visit No 6 Harcourt St old Sinn Féin HQ
We run from 1 to 4 public walking tours or other events each month. (As well as walking tours we sometimes organize talks, site visits, even treasure hunts) These events run from March/April to Oct/Nov of each year. We frequently show even experienced Dubliners places in their capital they were unaware of, various secret or… Read More Sign up to Newsletter | Judge us – read /write a review
Originally posted on Dublin Civic Trust:
Dublin Civic Trust is delighted to launch its major new building conservation project at 18 Ormond Quay Upper in the heart of the historic city on the Liffey quays. PROJECT 18ORMOND will involve a complete conservation and refurbishment of the fascinating set of buildings that comprise 18 Ormond Quay…
For picture captions, please see foot of article. Over sixty small brooks, rivers and watercourses criss-cross Dublin area, over a dozen through the city centre, including the Stein, Swan and Bradoge. In built up areas, most go unseen as they flow these days below ground. The most famous of all, rightly, is the Poddle. Not… Read More the best Poddle river…
Newmarket, the heart of the Liberties, is scheduled for development, and for huge physical change. Mill St is already transformed, while most of Sweeney Lane is a distant memory. Blackpitts and Fumbally Lane meanwhile are both full of extraordinary, half-forgotten historical connections. It is high time we explored this area, to look at its past,… Read More Blackpitts, Newmarket & around: a Liberties tour.
For those who missed it a few weeks back, one last reminder of a second chance to catch our amazing Grangegorman tour, tomorrow Wed 07 June. It starts 2.15 pm, which won’t suit everyone of course. But if you can get free, make every effort to get to buy a ticket (link below) and somehow… Read More dash to catch our Grangegorman walk tomorrow Wed 07 June.
Once again this year I’m delighted and honoured to be leading a number of summer city walking tours for the venerable Irish Georgian Society. When are they? First walk each runs on the first Wednesday afternoon of June, then the first Wednesday of July, then finally of August. All are on a Wednesday, the first… Read More summer Wednesday walks for Irish Georgian Society
Below are some images from our recent North side Dublin walking tour (the Hugh Lane to Grangegorman walk, Saturday 13th May). They were taken by one of our guests, Mike Quill, who then very kindly sent them on the following day. As you can imagine, when we saw them, we were delighted. Apart from the… Read More superb images, from a guest on a Northside Dublin walking tour.
Designed and led by educationalist and art historian Arran Henderson, this unique activity combines traditional Treasure Hunt fun with an extra art-historical twist! Our “treasures” are architectural decoration and decor “hidden in plain site” on the historic buildings of Temple Bar. As you’ll discover, they can be anything from fish; horses, lions; dragons, to swords;… Read More Family & kids’ Treasure Hunt of Temple Bar Saturday 27 May.
Grangegorman has been well described as the “Forgotten” quarter of Dublin, perhaps unsurprising given the often grim history of workhouses, asylums and fever hospitals that cover -and historically define- this area. Accordingly it’s a district many of us barely know. That’s all set to change with huge, city-shaping transformations afoot, massive new infrastructure, new transport… Read More Hugh Lane Gal to Grangegorman historic walking tour Sat 13 May, 11.30am.
Discover an amazing world of hidden art history and overlooked decorative detail in this unique double activity, full of fun and fascinating new knowledge. (See the rave reviews on Trip Advisor under our company name Dublin Decoded ) How do our unique Treasure Hunts work? Part 1 is the Treasure Hunt, where we give you… Read More Temple Bar Treasure Hunt for grown- ups, Sat 29th April 2PM
Our tour for Thursday 12 Jan – the second private Dublin Decoded tour evening of the Creating History exhibition at the National Gallery – is now booked out. It’s still possible to visit the exhibition, which is free of charge- at the NGI up to the 15th of January 2017 and a visit is highly… Read More ** Art Tour Jan 12th- now booked out **
We’ve been threatening to do this for nearly three years. We’ve been asked to do it for easily the last 4 or 5 years. Now we’ve finally gone and done it. The great Dublin Decoded tour voucher has arrived. The ultimate fun informal date event voucher. The ultimate gift for the fine arts lover, history/… Read More The great Dublin Decoded tour voucher on sale!
Please note that due to demand our our second and final tour date is now also booked out, sorry! We do however strongly recommend people visit the Creating History exhibition at the NGI which closes January 15th (2017) Admission is free. All details on the NGI website Creating History is a superb exhibition and is the… Read More Creating History – our second tour now also booked out, sorry!
Fish and horses, lions and dragons, swords and stars and hidden miniature bicycles. Temple Bar is packed with an extraordinary, often overlooked world of decorative detail. The best way to explore and discover it is to search the objects out yourself, armed with just a list of clues and a map. Oh yes, That’s right:… Read More Family & kids’ events over Christmas & New Year festival
There are 6 or 7 tickets left for our next Dublin history and architecture walk which takes place very soon, afternoon of Wednesday 26th October (2016). It starts 2.15pm, meeting at the Campanile of Trinity College. (Meet from 2.05PM, please present tickets, walk departs 2.15 sharp.) The tour goes for around 1 hour and 45… Read More South City Stroll- a Dublin Decoded mystery tour, Wed 26th Oct.
Fish and Horses, Lions and Dragons, Bicycles and Submarine Portholes. Every time you stop and look up and around in Temple Bar, you’ll see an extraordinary world of decorative detail. It’s an area packed with history and details, with incident and story. And the best way to explore it all ? ….through a Treasure Hunt!… Read More the Dublin Decoded Great Temple Bar Treasure Hunt.
Fancy an amble through the leafy area of Dublin 4, from the RDS, over the Dodder at Ballsbridge and onward to the banks of the Grand Canal? In February 1916, myself and the writer and historian Hugh Oram designed a walking route through this area of Dublin 4. The aim was to commemorate the… Read More 1916 in Ballsbridge & free self-guided walk around D4, by Dublin Decoded.
Meeting 2.15PM, outside front door Hugh Lane Gallery, (Dublin Municipal Gal) Parnell Square. Tickets should ideally be booked in advance please: here. Grangegorman has been well described as the “Forgotten” quarter of Dublin. Now that’s all set to change. With huge, city shaping transformations afoot, this is a timely moment to explore, discover and discuss… Read More Hugh Lane to Grangegorman, History & Architecture Walk- 2.15pm Tues 30th Aug.
Recently returned from a trip to Sicily. It was my fist trip back, long overdue, since I first went 21 years ago. I find myself unable to resist posting a few pictures of the beautiful places we saw. Our first 3 days were in the capital Palermo (North coast of the island). I have old… Read More Palermo, Sicily
The piece The Irish in World War One – Forgotten Heroes, was written two years ago, around the time of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, in the summer of 1914. Two years on, I’m still overawed by the the courage of the Irish and others who fought in WWI. However, some… Read More Post-Script, thinking again. (A retraction from a “Revisionist”)
The Rath (fort) of Moines of course. Moines or de Moines being an Norman baron, who built a defensive structure in these parts in the early Anglo-Norman period. His name was gradually corrupted to “Mines” Hence “Rath-mines” or simply Rathmines. Today it’s perhaps the richest and most diverse of all Dublin districts outside the historic… Read More the Rath_ of who?
Looking at Art | the Art of Looking. We’re leading a rare public edition of our legendary How to Read a Painting tour at the National Gallery of Ireland, on Thursday Evening, 14th April. The tour is a private tour, taking place with ethkind permission of the national gallery. It covers and explains ideas that… Read More “How to Read a Painting” our private evening tour at Nat Gallery Ireland, Thurs Eve, 14th April
As a guide specialising in historic art and architecture, I lead tours on 18th century Architecture, for my walking tour company Dublin Decoded, for the Irish Georgian Society, and for various other NGOs, festivals and cultural agencies. These architecture-focused excursions are highly-rated on TripAdvisor and such review platforms. meanwhile, for the last few years now,… Read More 18th century Georgian Dublin architecture tour available for Leaving Cert classes & teachers.
Originally posted on murder, mayhem & shiny things:
The ESB has decided that destroying a terrace of Georgian Houses in Dublin in the 1960s isn’t sufficient. Now the company wants to close ‘Number Twenty Nine’, the museum the opened in 1991 as as insufficient apology for the destruction of the historic fabric as the city.…
Dublin Decoded has featured on radio and in many newspapers, including the Journal (Dublin); the Dublin Inquirer; the Wall Street Journal (link here); the Financial Times and of course, Arran has also written extensively himself, most notably his well-known monthly columns in “Totally Dublin” during the 2000s, Hidden Dublin. However, it was a particular thrill… Read More Always nice to get some press. Especially this press.
Originally posted on Arran Q Henderson:
Back in 2013, I invited readers of my blog to identify this mysterious looking map, below. As many people either knew or guessed, it’s a sketch concerning Ulysses, the legendary novel routinely claimed as the best or most influential tome of 20th century literature, and written of course by James Joyce…