This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.Dublin, Ireland is such a charming city. I remember having an overnight layover there several years ago. It was dark when we flew in and we spent the night in the airport (long story). The next morning when we flew out, I remember thinking the only color I see is green! Yes, Ireland is known for being green but I noticed when I visited Dublin last spring, it was mostly gray with “pops of color”. What do they use for those pops of color? Doors of course! Here are the delightful doors of Dublin along with their story and where to find them.
Doors of Dublin
As I said, Dublin is pretty gray for the most part. Gray buildings against the usual gray concrete and then Ireland’s mostly gray skies (sunshine can be hard to come by in Ireland) make for a fairly monotone visual at times.
The Colorful Story
Just for illustration-these aren’t their actual doors 😉
The popular story on how the colorful doors came into existence surrounds two famous writers, George Moore and Oliver St John Gogarty. As the story goes, George painted his door green so that when Oliver got drunk he wouldn’t mistakenly knock on it thinking it was his own. In response, Oliver painted his door red so that George wouldn’t mistake it for his door when drunk. 🤦♀️
Well. About that…
The Black and White Story
In actuality, the true story, in a nutshell, is that the people who lived in what’s called “Georgian Dublin” had to keep the exterior of their homes in line with the fierce architectural policies. To make themselves stand out, they painted their doors different colors. This is also the time period where they added other fancy ornaments such as door knockers and fanlights.
Georgian Dublin came about from the Georgian period which began with the reign of George I in 1714 and ended with the death of George IV in 1830. Today, Georgian Dublin references both this time period and the houses in Dublin built in this style of architecture.
During the Georgian period, Dublin rose to affluence and became the second-largest city in the British Empire after London. With the rise in affluence came this elegant style of architecture.
The Doors of Dublin are an Irish icon. The interesting twist here is that they gained notoriety in New York City. Accidentally.
So, how did that happen? I’m glad you asked because, of course, I’m going to tell you!
Basically, Bob Fearon, the head of an NYC ad agency took photos of these colorful doors he found while on assignment in Dublin in 1970. The doors weren’t part of the assignment but he liked them and wanted to make a collage for himself. Upon returning to New York, he completed the collage. He then showed it to Joe Malone who owned an Irish Tourism Office on Fifth Avenue. Joe thought it would be perfect to display the collage in the window for St. Patrick’s Day. Bob agreed and the collage went up for the Irish holiday.
People passing by as they headed to the St. Patrick’s Day parade stopped to stare at the beautiful collage. This resulted in so many requests for purchase that Joe Malone commissioned it and the rest, as they say, is history. Or for millennials, it went viral! 😉
FUN FACT: Oscar Wilde even lived in one of these houses!
Discovering the Doors of Dublin
I love pretty doors and I love all things colorful. So, of course, this combination was perfect for me. I dragged my parents all over Dublin photographing these beautiful Georgian doors (and everything in between)!
The result is that I could make my own collage and make my own collage I did!
These doors can be found all over the city but with high concentrations in Fitzwilliam Square, Merrion Square, and St Stephen’s Green. All of the doors in my photos are from around Merrion Square and Fenian Street which are marked on the map below.
While they aren’t by far the biggest thing to do in Dublin, if you’re heading there and have some time, check out some of these doors. They are beautiful, colorful and have become quite a point of interest in recent years for travelers. You can even make your own version of the iconic collage!
Have you been to Dublin and seen any of these doors? Which one was your favorite? Let me know below!
‘Til next time…