Open House Limerick draws crowds to see hidden gems

Open House Limerick was officially launched at King John's Castle on Friday by Frank McDonald, Irish Times environment editor, architect Hugh Murray and Jim Barrett, former city architect in Limerick. Picture: Alan Place
LARGE numbers of people turned out at the weekend for the chance to see some of Limerick’s most intriguing and historic buildings, several of which were open to the public for the first time.

LARGE numbers of people turned out at the weekend for the chance to see some of Limerick’s most intriguing and historic buildings, several of which were open to the public for the first time.

The second annual Open House Limerick took place over the weekend with 42 buildings opening for free as part of the initiative around the city and county.

Crowds made their way around the participating buildings, with queues forming at certain points. Tours were designed to allow people of all ages access to award-winning architecture.

Even talismanic Munster and Ireland rugby legend Paul O’Connell made a welcome appearance on Sunday, visiting the Longhouse in Annacotty and Cooleen in Castletroy.

Some of the buildings taking part in the initiative were the Dominican Biblical Institute on Lower Cecil Street, the UL Graduate Medical School, De Valera Cottage in Bruree and St. Mary’s Cathedral, the oldest building in the city.

“We had a great weekend, the sun came out and people really seemed to enjoy the entire concept,” event coordinator Sinéad Hanrahan said.

“The big success of the weekend were Sarsfield Barracks which had double the numbers we expected and Stonehouse on Clancy Strand which had a two hour wait. On Sunday, the tours of the Stirling Prize nominated Graduate Medical School were a real hit, as was Dr. David Fleming’s Campus Walking Tour of the University of Limerick,” she added.

Jim Barrett, former city architect, said the range and quality of the buildings available for viewing for the public in Limerick was “truly remarkable”.

Open House Limerick also commissioned a video from filmmaker Paddy Cahill to celebrate the weekend, which is available to view here.