DUBLIN - There are many colourful stories and tales about when and why the doors of this city’s lovely Georgian townhomes began to be painted a myriad of vibrant colours, but the one I like most involves two of Dublin’s eccentric writers, George Moore and Oliver St John Gogarty.
According to legend, the two writers were neighbours in Ely Place, where all the doors at the time (18th century) were painted the same colour — black. However, because Gogarty routinely got drunk and knocked on Moore’s door late at night, the latter painted his a bright red so Gogarty could distinguish the correct door to know at. Incensed, Gogarty retaliated by painting his a different colour and the whole street, and then the city, soon followed suit, leaving tourists with lots of colourful doors to photograph.
Above: The doors and their frames attract a lot of tourist attention.
Historians dispute the Moore/Gogarty legend because, apparently, Moore was abstemious, drinking only a little wine with dinner, and was repelled by displays of public drunkenness. But hey, I’m not going to let facts get in the way of a good story.
No matter, Dublin’s landmark doors remain the most photographed in the world. But on closer inspection, one is equally fascinated by their elaborate frames and ornate knockers.
Above: The doors in Merrion Square are some of the loveliest.
One of the greatest concentrations of Georgian townhomes and their painted doors is in the fashionable Merrion Square district, close to Ireland’s Houses of Parliament.
Fitzwilliam Square, located in the south of Central Dublin, Baggot Street and Lesson Street are other locations where there are plenty of painted doors to be photographed.
Above: No one knows exactly how many painted doors there are in Dublin.
While no one seems to know exactly how many painted doors there are in Dublin, there are more painted red than any other colour.
In recent years, many of the old Georgian homes have been bought and turned into law offices or hotels — the fabulous 5-star Merrion Hotel on Upper Merrion Street is a combination of four townhomes from the 1700s. The first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, was born in Mornington House, where the hotel’s famed Cellar Bar in now located.
So, when you go to Dublin, make sure you take your camera because it will open some doors.