With Christmas fast approaching the team at Irish Design Shop, in conjunction with the Merrion Square Network are busy organising another year of Christmas on the Square. The event now in its second year will showcase some Ireland's top designers, makers and artisan food producers along with a variety of other treats in three of the Merrion Square most prestigious buildings. As myself and Katie are new to the IDS team so we set off to investigate these beautiful buildings in the heart of Georgian Dublin for ourselves. Here's a taster of some of the delights we found.
Our first stop was 45 Merrion Square, the headquarters of The Architectural Archive of Ireland. Built in 1795 and the largest terraced house on the square it makes quite an impression. The Archive collect and preserve material of every kind relating to the architecture of the entire island of Ireland, and make it available to the public. Through the massive front door and into a impressive foyer displaying architectural models . Beyond the foyer and onto the Archive Reading Rooms and Architecture Gallery, which will host cocktail making by our sponsors at Hennessy. Up the stairs to the piana nobile, a trio of connecting rooms with high ceilings, panelled walls, cornicing and grand fireplaces. These rooms will house our 22 craft stalls for the day and will be festively decorated by our neighbours, Appassionata.
Next stop was 22 Merrion Square, The College of Anaesthetists Ireland. Today the building is regraded as a leading training body in the field of anaesthesia, intensive care and pain medicine, but we have something else in mind for the day. Denise Johnston, guided us to the first floor Gilamartin Room, a room of old-school grandeur and where the ICA will perform cake decorating demonstrations on the day. Down the stylish wooden staircase, lit with florescent lights, lies a stylish marble floored basement room in stark juxtaposition to the grandeur of above. This airy contemporary space will be home to our 10 artisan food producers. Tasty treats will be available for the likes of Cocoa Atelier, Hansel and Gretel bakery and The Scullery.
Our last stop was across the park to 63 Merrion Square, The Royal Society of Antiquaries and I really felt we left the best for last. This building hasn't been restored to the level of the others and this added to it's charm. Mounted in the entrance hall is a massive stags head. From the intricate moulding ceiling hangs a simple Georgian lantern. The meeting rooms situated on the first floor, overlook Merrion Square to the front and a restored Georgian garden to the rear. Their marble fireplaces, elaborate ceiling decorations and tall, shuttered windows all reflect their former status as the main reception spaces of the house. We plan to house a pop-up café from our friends and neighbours Coppa, from the R.H.A Gallery, in these rooms lined with books and journals on Irish history, antiquities and archaeological published in Ireland, Great Britain and beyond.
Join us on November 30th for a day of festive fun. Whether you are looking to get all those Christmas gifts out of the way early or a chance to explore Georgian Dublin's hidden gems, Christmas on the Square has it all.
Blog post by: Anne-Marie Nelligan and Katie Gilligan