Georgian Dublin: The Irish Landmark Trust

dublin georgian mews

I remember when I first read about the Irish Landmark Trust, even thought I cannot recall when or in what publication I saw the article, thinking its existence a most excellent idea. The Irish Landmark Trust (from now on, for simplicity sake, referred to as the ILT) says its raison d’être is threefold: to save, share and sustain. The ILT’s website explains that it’s a: ‘ not for profit organization that saves interesting, unusual and architecturally important properties throughout the island of Ireland. To ensure these properties have a sustainable future, they are given a new lease of life as self-catering holiday homes’.

irish landmark trust mews

Dublin has a smorgasbord of beautiful Georgian buildings but the opportunity to look around any of them seems as rare as pandas who are proficient at pilates. So, when I heard that the ILT’s two Dublin properties were open to the public, the weekend before last, as part of Heritage Week I hot-footed it into the city centre to have a wander around both of them. The Dublin properties are a Georgian townhouse in Eustace Street in the Temple Bar area and a mews cum stables at 63 Fitzwilliam Lane to the rear of one of Merrion Square’s elegant townhouses. They were both properly lovely but my favourite and the one I am going to write about was the pleasingly pretty mews house.

dublin stable and mews

According to an ILT leaflet the mews dates from 1792/1793 and remains little altered since then. You enter it through a cavernous roofed area where coaches were garaged back in the day when horse-drawn and not horsepowered was the way to navigate the city. The rest of the ground floor area is given over to the stables replete with dark wooden horse stalls; interestingly these stables are still in occasional use, as mounted gardai (police) sometimes rest their horses there for an hour or so when they are on duty nearby. The living area is upstairs and it is now a charming three bed-roomed space but in days of yore much of it would have been used to store bedding and fodder for the horses with just a small amount available as living accommodation for the coachman and his family.

irish landmark trust mews house

The property is tastefully decorated, much of it painted in soft chalky colours, the furniture is homely and it feels like a calm welcoming oasis where the clash and clang of urban life is far distant. From the rear windows you can see the back of the main house and its garden which is laid out in a 19th century style. The ILT believe that the entire is one of very few Dublin Georgian properties that remains totally intact and in single ownership.

dublin mews house

The mews is a gem of place which per the ILT’s website is available to rent from €500 for a weekend. This seems excellent value given that the it sleeps six people. The ILT have another seventeen restored properties dotted about Ireland which are also available as self catering holiday accommodation.

mews house - irish landmark trust

I loved that I had the opportunity to have a peek into Dublin’s architectural past. Heritage Week is now over but the ILT’s properties will be open again (along with other architecturally interesting spaces) from the 4th to the 6th October as part of the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Open House Dublin.

UPDATE: Today the 30th October 2013 is Open Day at the Merrion Mews – all are welcome between 8.30 am and 7.30pm


Filed under Dublin, Ireland, Travel

36 responses to “Georgian Dublin: The Irish Landmark Trust

  1. Gorgeous looking places! I believe there’s an English version of the Landmark Trust too. A remarkable property in Richmond, Yorkshire (Culloden Tower) is rented out too. It’s not cheap but an amazing building.

  2. How lovely, I love historic properties. We have something similar to ILT in NYC Landmark Preservation, they designate parts of neighborhoods and homes as historic and they are protected and regulated. I love the home you featured it’s charming and beautiful. I am bookmarking the site if I come to ireland I would love to rent the home instead of staying in a hotel.

    • Me too, I love historic properties. I really liked the pretty mews and I agree staying somewhere like it has to be so much nicer than saying in a hotel. I am going to google the NYC Landmark Preservation to have a look at their properties.

  3. How fun to take a peek inside…it looks very homey and welcoming.

  4. The colors and the furnishings are lovely!

  5. I wish I had been on this tour with you. What a great idea/concept for preserving historic landmark buildings. Are you going to enter the Open House Dublin photo competition for the October dates? I love these photos; they are all winners but it’s the wrong weekend for the competition :(.

  6. Thank you for writing so wonderful a piece about our work. We really love your piece about Merrion Mews. We’d love to talk to you about your images – they’re terrific. If you’re happy to do so – we’re at 01 6704733.

  7. what a lovely trip around the past! thank you for that.

    and “pandas proficient at pilates” is definitely the Line of the Day.


  8. Dear B, the ILT have come up with a great concept. Also, the property you visited is beautiful and so are your photographs illustrating it! 🙂

  9. Beautiful place, wonderful pictures–I want to stay there! But my absolute favorite part was your witty metaphor: “as rare as pandas who are proficient at pilates” (and coincidentally, this past weekend my father and I kept up a running joke about pilates–he worked at an airport, and always read the word as “flyers of airplanes;” therefore he was always bamboozled about why it kept cropping up in the strangest places).

  10. So tastefully decorated. These look like peaceful places.

  11. I’m glad to discover the ILT through your post, and I now feel the need for a self-catering holiday coming on…

  12. Dear B, the property looks gorgeous and the furniture is too cute! Reading your posts and looking at your pictures, I can tell how much effort your government puts into preserving your country’s treasures.
    Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for mine and it is such a shame because Italy is a museum under the open sky.

    • Dear Francesca,

      If only! I am afraid that it’s not the government who are doing the preserving in this case, the Irish Landmark Trust is an independent charity They may get some funds from the government but I don’t actually know if they do or not.

      I love that you describe Italy as a museum under the open sky, it’s such an evocative phrase and so very true.

      Best wishes from B 😉

  13. beautycalyptique

    it’s been a busy week for me so I tagged the email notification to return on a more quiet day.

    this is such a lovely post, and such lovely pictures. I hope you wore your biker jacket?

    for me as your reader it was ever so wonderful to peek into another country’s culture, another way to preserve the heritage.
    in germany for instance, there is that thing called Denkmalschutz. it’s like a seal of protection for historical buildings. if a building is considered Denkmalschutz-worthy it can get pretty expensive for the (lucky) owners to keep in good nick. some buildings belong to the state, others are in private hand. and some are hotels indeed, some are turned institutions (I studied in an old, D-Schutz protected observatory which was lovely yet windy in winter because the university couldn’t always afford the specific costly window frames).
    and in russia, we don’t like our heritage until it’s nearly gone. then we sit around and weep bitterly and try to fix it. but it’s that constant “new is better than old” thing that haunts us. not a lot of people understand the importance of heritage. we tend to be ashamed of it for whatever reason.

    but anyway, I digress. I really just wanted to say how enjoyable this cosy place on the web is. please keep it up! it’s like really visiting dublin in person *dreamy look*

    • Thank you so much for tagging the email notification of this post and then coming back to read in what was a busy week for you.

      I am sorry for the delayed reply but at the moment I have no broadband in my new home so getting on to the blog is a movable feast at the moment.

      It’s interesting how countries deal with heritage in different ways. I think there was in the past a bit of ‘new is better than old’ thinking here in Ireland and often pretty cottages where let go to ruin when the owners moved into shinny new houses next to them. And sadly decades ago bits of Georgian Dublin were demolished. Thankfully there is now a greater appreciation of heritage and greater effort is put into preservation but funds are often lacking.

      I enjoyed reading how things are done in Germany.

      Good night and *waving towards Berlin*

  14. How I’d love to go on such a tour! Glad you take us along when *you* go!!

  15. Such lovely pictures. I love all that turquoise, especially the doors in the first picture. Thank you for sharing them.

  16. Hello there.

    If you want to visit again or if any or your readers are interested, there is an Open Day in the Merrion Mews next Wednesday October 30th from 8.30am-7.30pm. All are very welcome to visit and explore this property!


  17. Hiya! Aoife from IADT here, came across the link for this on the ILT site, the photos are gorgeous! Go you!

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