Give us Five – with Volunteer Aoife Rickard!

Open House Dublin Volunteer Aoife Rickard shares her top five Dublin buildings and why...

1.Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market (Parke Neville, 1884).

This Dublin City Council building really stands out from its surroundings with its red and yellow brickwork and some wonderfully ornate detailing. I love that great effort was made to make it a feast for the eyes, as well as being functional. The façade is adorned with produce varying from carrots to lobster, and pineapples! It’s worth taking the time to walk around the arcade of arches, looking up to make discoveries for yourself – as well as taking the tour inside, of course!

Celery detail, Fruit & Vegetable Market

Entrance detail, Fruit & Vegetable Market

Pineapple detail, Fruit & Vegetable Market

2. US Embassy, (John M. Johansen, 1964).

While it bears no resemblance to any of its surroundings, this embassy has always been ‘part of the Ballsbridge furniture’ for me. I’ve liked and disliked it, but it’s undeniably a visually interesting, distinctive building, as it kind of ‘crowns’ the junction of Elgin and Pembroke Roads. Its truncated triangle windows and cylindrical form vaguely remind me of a beehive, and I’m sure its quiet exterior belies a busy interior!

3. Roe & Co. Distillery, (RKD Architects, 1948).

One of several regenerated buildings in this part of the city, its tall, panelled window frontage, and the copper still that it frames, draw you in – there are not one, but two good reasons to visit Roe & Co.! Its recent transformation – on the outside, at least – hasn’t been radical, but has been very effective. The finished article helps to lend a real elegance to its surroundings. Worth taking a look at it in its street context, too.

Roe & Co.

4. Heuston Station, (1850).

Train stations can be places you don’t really look at – you’re racing through to catch your train, or are too busy thinking about the journey ahead to pay any attention to the surroundings. So, it’s refreshing to get this opportunity to stop and take a good look at Dublin’s main city terminus, Heuston Station; to consider its grand, symmetrical, columned façade and find out how the building came into being. After you’ve stopped to ‘smell the coffee’ so to speak, you can drop in to the station and sit down with a cup to further admire it! 

Heuston Station.

5. Busáras – Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, (Michael Scott, 1952).

I’ve yet to actually travel anywhere from Busáras, but I’ve passed it countless times. My feelings about the building –  said to have “announced the arrival of International Modernism in Ireland” – have been mixed. I’ve always really liked its wavy, copper-green, cantilevered, concrete canopy (a shelter for boarding passengers), but wasn’t so sure about the rest of it. And then I visited some of the upper floors as part of Open House Dublin a few years ago. What an unexpected treat on the inside! From the wooden ship-like interior features of the offices, to its (unfortunately, not public) airy restaurant with colourful mosaic work, and the views out across the city from its balconies. If you haven’t visited yet, make this year the year that you do!

Bus Áras, balcony.

Bus Áras, ceiling detail.

All Images © Aoife Rickard.


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Lobster Detail – Fruit & Vegetable Market