Walk through the streets of Ireland’s capital and you’ll see them around every bend. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, each broadcasting its own distinct personality to the world. Some are lavish — flamboyant almost — draped in sprawling vines or festooned with festive wreaths and flowers. Others are quiet, tucked between faded brick columns and decorated with only a thin varnish. Some mark the gateways to major city institutions while most represent nothing more than an everyday passageway.
But no matter the style, each seems to have a story to tell, at least if you’ll take the time to listen.
These are the doors of Dublin, the simple and beautiful entryways found around the Irish capital. Images of the city’s doors are curated and compiled by Eleanor Costello, a photographer who was born and raised in Dublin.
Growing up in the Irish hub, Eleanor was always fascinated by the city’s creative culture. Dubliners are known worldwide for their humor and friendliness, for their refusal to take themselves too seriously — and most are storytellers of one form or another. Whether they’re hanging paintings in one of the city’s many galleries, playing folk tunes at a local pub, or drafting a book of short stories, the people of her home city recognize the importance of tapping into their creativity. Eleanor has spent long periods of time away from home — she spent a year in Boston following graduation and has been living in Cambridge, England, for the past nine months. But whenever she returns, she enjoys a newfound appreciation for the city’s creative spirit.
At school, Eleanor studied the History of Art and Architecture, where her attention to detail and color soon became intertwined with her passion for photography. She was active on Instagram and other online creative communities, delighted by how others used their individual style to capture scenes from around Ireland and the rest of the world. Every photographer had their own eye, she observed, and the best shots transport you into the moment they experienced behind the camera.
With her own photos, Eleanor aimed to capture what she loved most about each location. For her, that often dealt with the local architecture. While developing her style, she was exploring cities like Dublin and Boston, historic red-brick towns that offer a unique mix of the old and the new, and she started simply meandering through the city streets, training her lens on scenes or details that caught her eye.
She rarely planned her shots; rather, she would explore and click the shutter when inspiration struck. If my Instagram photo is better than the fun I had in the moment, she said, something has gone wrong.
While at university, Eleanor began following an Instagram account that featured various doors along the streets of New York City. At the time, she was studying Irish architecture and had been noticing doors of different architectural styles all across Dublin. As Eleanor began capturing more and more of these unique gateways, she soon realized she had enough of a collection to follow in the footsteps of the Doors of New York account.
Thus, @thedoorsofdublin was born.
Now with over 500 posts, the account continues to seek out the beauty contained on the unassuming doorsteps of the city. It has amassed a following of 28,000, more than four times that of the NYC account Eleanor originally drew inspiration from. Over the years, she’s also seen a growth in the amount of interaction she receives on each photo. The account has transformed into a community of artists, photographers, and everyday citizens who appreciate the details and character of the city she calls home.
Though her project covers an ostensibly simple subject, Eleanor is able to reveal a new side of Dublin to her viewers. She features the grandeur of the city’s Georgian squares at times, but she also aims to highlight the details of the more run-down parts of town — the peeling or faded paint, the plants taking over certain buildings. Where she used to glance quickly, seeing nothing but a dilapidated old townhouse, she now notices a city that’s diverse and vibrant, if a little rough around the edges.
Her photography has forced her to slow down and look around — and she hopes her viewers do the same.