Sun Mountain Blog

The Multi-colored Doors of Dublin

People who love to travel aren’t likely to mention doors much.  After all, when people visit a different country or state, the last thing they intend to do is look at all the different doors in the area.  A door is a door, right?

Not in Dublin.

Many tourists don’t initially realize what’s going on with the doors, but it’s hard to miss after passing door after door, each one a different color and adorned with various accents.  Because it isn’t something most people are used to seeing, eventually they realize that there’s something different about Dublin’s doors.  No two doors are alike, and many a picture has been taken of these doors to make fascinating collages.  Indeed, in 1970 a tourism office in New York created a collage of these doors and used it as a way to draw people in.  It worked.  Even if they didn’t actually go to Dublin, plenty of people asked for a copy of the image.

But why are all the doors a different color?  Why does each door have a different accent, such as unique knockers, window designs, door handles, and more?  The story, like so many stories, has become a bit muddled over the years, but the general consensus has to do with a little bit of drink and the wrong house.

In the 1700s, all the doors along the rows of houses were the same.  Men coming home might stop in to have a pint – or two or three.  In the end, they would come home just a bit (or maybe very) drunk, and because the doors all looked the same, a man might mistake another’s house for his own.  Over time, annoyed with the mistakes, the women began to paint the doors a different color and do everything they could to make the men understand that this particular house was his.

Whether or not this is the real story, the tradition stuck and now Dublin is filled with doors of every color.  Orange, red, pale blue, green, yellow, white, purple, sapphire, even colors like magenta or doors covered in patterns.  They can be adorned with elaborate door knockers, handles, arched windows, varying locations for mail slots, and much more.  It makes for an interesting experience – don’t be surprised to see dozens of tourists clicking away on their cameras at each door.

The next time you need a little inspiration for the sort of door you want, take a look at some of Dublin’s doors!