Oscar Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row in 1854. All the houses along the Eastern side of Westland Row, the side on which Wilde was born, are now owned by Trinity College. However, the facades of the buildings have undergone restorations and there have also been structural alterations to the buildings in order to adapt them to academic use. These buildings are linked at the rear with the Hamilton Building and the Biotechnology Institute by an attractively designed enclosed street.
The Provost and the Board of Trinity College have supported the preservation of the internal structure of 21 Westland Row, ensuring that when refurbishments do take place, that they remain faithful to the 1850s period style in order to commemorate the achievements of Oscar Wilde as one of the university's most famous students. In this way, the house also celebrates the lives of Oscar's parents, Sir William Wilde and Jane Wilde (née Elgee) who, between them, played key roles in the intellectual milieu of Ireland in the nineteenth century.
21 Westland Row is a terraced house and part of a large development which would appear to date from the 1830s and 1840s. The plan is a standard one, found in many similarly terraced houses from the period. The ground floor level consists of an entrance hall, a staircase hall and two reception rooms. The front reception room was normally the office or work room and the dining room was normally to the back. Unusually, for a building of this kind, large interconnecting doors are present between the front and back room. On the first floor level there are two reception rooms with interconnecting doors. Therefore, it can be assumed that the front room would have served as the drawing room, while the back room would have been the family sitting room. The house is 21'6" wide and 35'6" deep, and it contains a basement and four floors above.