About 14 Henrietta Street
14 Henrietta Street is a historic house museum which charts the multifaceted use of the building through the lives of its inhabitants. It is located in North Dublin, Ireland.
History of 14 Henrietta Street
14 Henrietta Street was built in the 1740s, and its exterior is a classic Georgian style: examples of similar architecture can be found across Dublin. The 18th century was a period of economic boom in Ireland, as Dublin became the second city of the empire and the wealthy arrived. The house was first occupied by Lord Richard Molesworth and his family: the whole five-story house would have been for the one family and their household, and the interior was designed to separate public, private and domestic spheres. Subsequent owners were of similar social status: predominantly members of the Anglo-Irish gentry and their family who wanted a suitably grand house to reflect their social status.
This changed in the 1800s, when those with more professional, blue collar occupations began to buy up property like Henrietta Street. The house became a place of work, and slightly more functional than decorative.
The house changed purpose again in following the Great Famine. The population of Dublin had increased rapidly, and landlords began to buy up big houses like those on Henrietta Street to rent out in flats (or tenements) to families. 14 Henrietta Street was bought in 1876 and rented out initially as 4 separate apartments
By the time of the 1911, over 100 people lived in 14 Henrietta Street: it was squalid, cramped and dirty. It remained a tenement building until 1976, when the last tenants left: the building was crumbling.
Dublin City Council bought the house in 2000 and restored it into the building that can be visited today.
14 Henrietta Street today
The house opened to the public in September 2018: access is by guided tour only. The guides have some good stories (or legends!) about former residents and the house itself that are worth listening out for. There are several steep sets of stairs and the tour involves standing up for a long time.
Rooms have been restored to their appearance in different periods, and particularly poignant are the rooms divided up into tenement dwellings, complete with some of the belongings that would have filled the space donated by ex-residents.
Getting to 14 Henrietta Street
14 Henrietta Street is easily accessible on foot from central Dublin – it is a couple of roads up from Parnell Street, and close to the Hugh Lane Gallery. There are several bus routes which stop close by: the nearest Luas stop is Dominik (Green line).