Open House Galway launches architectural festival

The inaugural Open House Galway programme was launched along with details of the city’s first architectural festival. The event, in partnership with the Irish Architecture Foundation, takes place from October 16 to 18. By selecting some of the city’s best examples of quality design, Open House aims to enthuse and engage the public in the built environment. Guided tours will be provided by the architect of each participating building.

From a luxurious penthouse in Lough Atalia, a restored Victorian residence in Taylor’s Hill, and a timber frame house in Newcastle, to the dramatic refurbishment of the Druid Theatre and the sensitive renovation of the Augustinian Church, Open House Galway has something for everybody in terms of challenging and exciting architectural design.

The design of the Marine Institute, Oranmore draws its inspiration from the sea itself, while An Teach Breac at the Western Regional Fisheries Board, is designed to take full advantage of its spectacular location overlooking the Salmon Weir. City Point, the newest and tallest building in Galway, as well as one of the oldest, Mutton Island Lighthouse, offer a unique opportunity to view first hand, the span of architectural design in Galway. Visit the tiny Bon Secours Hospital Chapel, featuring the liturgical cycle in stained glass, or check out the Custom House Extension, designed to showcase part of Galway’s rich archaeological past.

“Whether the design incorporates modern green technologies or elements of an earlier historical site, architects are constantly stretching themselves creatively and Open House Galway offers a wonderful opportunity to experience their innovative designs,” said Patrick McCabe, chairman of the steering group organising Open House Galway.

An additional element of Open House will be an architect-guided tour of NUI Galway, beginning at the historic Quadrangle and ending at the Cairnes Business School. Children are also being catered for through free workshops in the City Museum, where they will be invited to compare their modern homes with those of the old Claddagh and helped to build models of Claddagh cottages.

Natalie Weadick, director of the Irish Architecture Foundation said: “I am delighted that Galway is the first city outside Dublin to take on the Open House initiative. This new addition is an indication that there is a need and an interest from the public to engage with their built environment. It is a great initiative for raising awareness among the citizens of Galway about the value of the architecture that surrounds them.”

Meanwhile, architects worldwide are competing in the Open House Galway Ideas competition, to design a building for the redevelopment of the Centre Pier in Galway Harbour, with more than 200 entries registered. An exhibition of the entries and the winning design will be on display at the Centre Pier building during Open House Galway weekend and members of the public are invited to vote for their favorite design.

All Open House events are free of charge and only a small number will require pre-booking. A full programme of events, as well as pre-booking facilities, is available at


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