Dublin Design Trail


As one of the capital cities in the Northern part of the world and isolated from other European cities, Dublin in Ireland boasts outstanding design elements attached to its historic architecture and interior design.

Indonesia Design visited Dublin last summer to follow the trail of designs that have contributed to the beauty of this capital of Ireland. The Library of Trinity College, being our first destination, is a fine example of the city’s great historic landmark. It is where the famous Book of Kells, one of the world’s famous manuscripts containing the four Gospels in Latin, is kept.

Built between 1712 and 1732, the library is the country’s largest with the collections of over 200,000 books. Not to be missed is the library’s main chamber called The Long Room. This 65-metre-long chamber has a barrel-vaulted ceiling (added in 1860) and upper gallery bookcases. It is the masterpiece of Thomas Burgh, one of the Irish renowned architects who also designed a number of public buildings in Dublin including the old Customs House, the Linen Hall and the Royal Barracks.

Georgian Dublin, the term coined for this Ireland’s capital, describes historic period of the development of the city. The term is also associated with the reign of no less than four King Georges, dated back to 1714-1830. Some of the influential architects of this period were William Chambers, Robert Adam and James Wyatt. After the independence in 1922, many buildings built in this era were demolished, as they were viewed as a symbol of British rule. However, things were changed in the 1990s: the remaining Georgian buildings have eventually been preserved until today. We can still see some of the preserved Georgian Dublin on Henrietta Street, Parnell Square, and St. Stephen’s Green, among others.

Aside from its fascinating history, Dublin is also known as the house of Guinness, which was our next visit. Located at St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse, which has opened its doors since 2000, has welcomed over four million visitors worldwide. Indeed, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Europe for its historic value. Originally built as a fermentation plant in 1902, the building was designed in the style of the Chicago School of Architecture and was the first multi-storey steel framed building to be constructed in Ireland.

When this plant was no longer used, the site was revamped and became the Guinness Storehouse. The UK-based design firm Imagination, in cooperation with Dublin-based architects firm RKD, was commissioned to redesign the building. The result is the seven-floor property surrounded by a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness.

The ground floor is where we can learn the history of the founder, Arthur Guinness as well as the beer’s four ingredients namely water, barley, hops and yeast. The next floors, up to the sixth, are where visitors can get the insights into Guinness advertising featuring the famous animatronic ‘fish on a bicycle’ from their 1996 campaign. The seventh floor is where the famous Gravity Bar is located with stunning views of Dublin.

Also worth mentioning is National Museum of Ireland, one of the memorable sites we visited. The museum boasts great treasures that include meticulous gold craftsmanship from the Mesolithic to the end of the Medieval period. There are also internationally known pieces such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch and Derrynaflan Hoard. Dublin is indeed the city that Indonesia Design would like to explore more in the future, not only for its amazing history related designs but also for the fact that the visa is free of charge!

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Erza S.T.
Erza has pursued his great passion for opera and classical music for over a decade. His brainchild, the Indonesia Opera Society, has produced many classical music concerts and operas, and recently marked its 10th anniversary with a gala production. He is also a journalism lover focusing on luxury, lifestyle and travel stories, which he files from datelines around the globe.

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