Dublin has some beautiful, majestic and electric-colored doors that stop and dazzle passersby. On our recent trip to Ireland, we found a multitude of different colors on a variety of entranceways that turned a outing from our lodging in Rathmines to the city center into a pleasant trek of door-watching.
One of my favorite things about traveling to the small cities throughout Europe is ogling the old wooden doors: some bare, some with their peeling paint or glossy finishes, some dressed up with fancy door knockers of all kinds or with hinges that harken back to another era.
In Ireland, the doors had a different twist. They were dressed in all the colors of the rainbow and then some, and provided a little magic to the otherwise monotone streets of neutral-tone brick buildings.
In some of the neighborhoods it gave a little personality to an otherwise homogenous landscape. When searching for the origins of these colorful entrances, I found that is exactly why residents as far back as the 1700s began to paint their doors.
According to the Irish Culture and Customs website, it started in 1700 when Dublin residents who felt confined by the strict Georgian architectural requirements on their residences started using the doors and transom windows to express their individuality or to make their properties stand out. “In order to set themselves apart, the former residents of Georgian Dublin painted their front doors whatever color they fancied, added ornate knockers, elegant fanlights above the door, and wrought iron boot scrapers near the entrance,” says Bridget Haggerty in her article, “Whose behind the doors of Dublin?”
The beautiful doors reminded me of my mother’s door back in Abita Springs, Louisiana painted a bright hue of pink that never fails to warm my heart when I visit. (It also reminded me of how much I miss her since I have been traveling abroad and living in Croatia.) The yellow and purple doors I saw standing next to one another on a street in the city center were reminiscent of the bold colors of my alma mater Louisiana State University.
Our doors often offer windows into our personalities, our hearts and our tastes. Some people like to blend in, to keep their door in the style of their home. Some like a dignified entrance and use distinguished colors and brass-plated door knockers. Others like the glitzy, cut glass doors which reflect the light and illuminate the home. Colorful doors provide a way to give your house a little spark of cheerfulness and personality. It’s also a way to add some charm to your old battered wooden door, especially if the door needs restaining (I speak from experience).
Besides the penchant for colorful doors, Dubliners definitely have a way of brightening up their streets and storefronts with colorful colors, flowers, lights and personality.
It sure makes a long walk into a city more interesting and appealing. At least that’s what it seemed to do in Dublin.
I think it’s an open and shut case.