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Kings Inns

King’s Inns

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is the oldest institution of legal education in Ireland. It was founded in 1541 during the reign of Henry VIII when the king granted the Society the lands and properties on which the Four Courts now stand but which were then occupied by a Dominican monastery. When the Four Courts were built in the 1790s, King’s Inns moved from Inn’s Quay to Constitution Hill; the eminent architect, James Gandon, who had earlier designed the Custom House and the Four Courts in Dublin, was commissioned in 1800 to design a new building for the Society on Henrietta Street. It was Gandon’s last public building in Dublin.

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns consists of benchers, barristers and students. The benchers include all the judges of the Supreme and High Courts and a number of elected barristers. King’s Inns is the headquarters of the Benchers and of the School of Law. The primary focus of the school is the training of barristers.

The School of Law is the oldest institution of professional legal education in Ireland. Its reputation is international with a long list of eminent graduates including former presidents of Ireland and of other countries, taoisigh (prime ministers), politicians and, of course, judges and barristers in practice throughout the English speaking world.

Up to 1800 the buildings at Inns Quay provided all that was needed for practice at the bar. There were chambers where barristers lived and worked, a hall for eating and drinking, a library for research, a chapel for prayer and gardens for recreation. Things changed somewhat with the move to Constitution Hill. Chambers and a chapel were to have been built but the plans were never executed. However, many of the 17th century traditions remain or are co-mingled with 21st century developments.

Guided tours are rarely available. Each October, as part of the “Open House” weekend, there is usually a tour of all the buildings. See for full details.

Constitution Hill, Dublin 7.

Tel:  01 874 4840

Leinster House

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Leinster House is the seat of the two Houses of the Oireachtas (the National Parliament): Dáil Éireann (the House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate). It was built in 1747.

Public tours are available on days when the Dáil and Seanad are not sitting (usually Mondays & Fridays). Tours begin at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 2.30 pm and 3.30 pm. You can book your tour in advance or enquire at the visitors’ entrance (on Kildare Street) 15 minutes before the tour time.  Each tour is limited to the first 30 people who arrive or have already booked a tour. Phone 01 618 3781 to make a booking.

People wishing to arrange a group tour of Leinster House can do so by contacting their local TD or Senator with full details. These tours take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 2.30 pm and 3.30 pm only if the House is sitting.

To reserve a place on one of these tours. please email with your name, address, email address and contact telephone number, or phone 01 618 3781.

Enter by the Kildare Street gate. Bring your passport or other form of identification with you. Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the tour.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 618 3781

Admission free
Photography is not allowed in Leinster House

Further detailed information about Leinster House can be obtained on the following website links –

A history of the buildings

Conservation and Restoration

A history of the Irish Parliament

Art in Leinster House

Little Museum of Dublin

Little Museum of Dublin

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Little Museum of Dublin is full of items donated by ordinary Dubliners and in a relaxed format charts the cultural and social history of Dublin in the 20th Century.

“U2: Made in Dublin”  tells the story of Ireland’s most famous band and features fan-donated musical rarities, signed albums, some great photography, a Trabant car and a Gibson Explorer. Curated by fans of the band, alongside some of Ireland’s best photographers and artists, the exhibition is a tribute to U2’s achievements and a celebration of their roots in the local music scene of the 1970s.

The Editor’s Room is a small tribute to the famous Irish Times editor, R.M. Smylie, and to the much respected “newspaper of record”, the Irish Times. The room contains Smyllie’s desk, his portable typewriter, his desk lamp and many more bits and pieces from 150 years of newspaper history.

You Say You Love Me But You Don’t Even Know Me is an exhibition which re-introduces Northern Ireland to the people of Dublin. Featuring 35 artefacts from the collections of National Museums (Northern Ireland), the exhibition explores different perspectives of ‘Irishness’ without ignoring contested elements of our complex shared history.

The Golden Age of Dublin: James Malton’s Prints of Dublin  – In the 1790s a young English draughtsman decided to create a group portrait of Dublin. James Malton’s timing was impeccable, as the second city of the British Empire was then among the most splendid in Europe. But Dublin went into a long decline after the Act of Union in 1800.

Malton died at the age of 38, and it wasn’t until many years after his death that his aqua-tint plates were coloured. Today we owe the very idea of Georgian Dublin to this remarkable artist. His work is admired by millions of people every year, yet little is known about Malton himself. This exhibition explores the life of a man whose work has become, as the Irish Times noted recently, “ubiquitous to the point of invisibility.” It is also a miniature biography of Dublin at the height of its golden age.

Open Mon–Sun & Bank Holidays 10.00 am–5.00 pm (the last tour each day is at 4.45 pm).

Closed over the Christmas holiday period.

15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

Phone 01 661 1000.

Adults €10; concessions.  Very popular guided tours available on the hour, every hour (at no extra charge). There is a tour in French every morning at 10.30 am. 

Why not avail of the Green Mile walking tour of St Stephen’s Green? The Green Mile tour tells the story of a square which has been at the centre of Irish history for hundreds of years. Every year 8.1 million people walk through the park; it has long served as a backdrop for public and private drama, as well as being the setting for many great love stories. The tour begins with a short presentation at the Museum. Participants then embark on a 60-minute walk in the company of an expert local guide. The tours take place every day at 11.30 am. Advance booking is essential (Adults €10; concessions –

Women’s History of Ireland – discover the untold story of Ireland’s influential women. Women have always played a part in Ireland’s history- but their contribution has not always been recognised. Ann Tomlin shares the fascinating role of women in Irish history. Join Ann every Tuesday at 1.00 pm, as she tells the story of Ireland’s famous female pioneers, from Mary Heath and Countess Markievicz to Maureen O’Hara and Mary Robinson.


Malahide Castle

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Malahide Castle is one of Ireland’s oldest castles dating back to the 12th Century. Set on 260 acres, the castle has been home to the Talbot family for over 800 years. The guided tour allows one to get a feel for the history of the house, and to admire the period furniture and an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings.

Malahide Castle was built by the Talbots, an English family holding the title Earls of Shrewsbury. Richard Talbot arrived in Ireland in 1174, and in 1185 he was granted the lands and harbour of Malahide by Henry II for his “war-like” services in the Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland. With the exception of a short time during the Cromwellian period, the Talbot family resided in Malahide for the next eight centuries.

The Talbots are reputed to have been a diplomatic family, carefully manoeuvring between the authority of church and state. During the eight centuries between 1185 and the 1970s, their tenure at Malahide Castle was only broken for a brief interlude between 1649 and 1660 when their lands were seized by Cromwellian soldiers.

Although the Talbots had taken the Jacobite side, their land holdings were not confiscated after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Fourteen members of the Talbot family, who had breakfasted together on the morning of the battle in the Great Hall of Malahide Castle, died on the battlefield.

The Talbots left an extraordinary legacy in Malahide and beyond. Among the family members were noted statesmen, churchmen and scholars and one great member of the family, Sir John Talbot, was immortalized in Shakespeare’s play ‘Henry VI’. Thirty individual Talbots had their seat at Malahide, from the first Lord Richard Talbot to Lord Milo Talbot, the 7th Baron, who died in 1973.

In 1975, Rose Talbot sold the castle to the Irish State, partly to fund inheritance taxes. Many of the contents had been sold in advance, leading to considerable public controversy, but private and governmental parties were able to retrieve some. Rose died in Tasmania in 2009.

The ornamental gardens adjoining the castle cover an area of about 22 acres and were largely created by Lord Milo Talbot, an enthusiastic plant collector who brought specimens from around the world to create the gardens here. In all, there are in excess of 5000 different species and varieties of plants present.  

The extensive system of pedestrian paths throughout the estate are perfect for walking and exploring the picturesque tree-lined park.

Open 7 days 9.30 am–5.30 pm
Last guided tours of castle at 4.30 pm Apr-Oct, 3.30 pm Nov-March

Closed 24-26 Dec.

Malahide, Co. Dublin.

Tel: 061-711 222

Adults €14; concessions.

Mansion House

The Mansion House is the official residence of Dublin’s Lord Mayor. It was built as a townhouse (1705) for Joshua Dawson, the developer of Dawson Street and Nassau Street. It was sold to Dublin Corporation in 1715. It is the only mayoral residence in Ireland still used for its original purpose. It is also the oldest mayoral residence in Ireland and the UK (older than London by 15 years) and it is the oldest free-standing house in Dublin.

The house is not normally not open to the public.

Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

Marsh’s Library

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Marsh’s Library, built by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713), was the first public library in Ireland. It was designed by Sir William Robinson, the Surveyor General of Ireland, and is one of the very few 18th century buildings left in Dublin that is still being used for its original purpose. Many of the collections in the Library are still kept on the shelves allocated to them by Marsh and by Elias Bouhéreau, the first librarian, when the Library was opened.

The Library was formally incorporated in 1707 by an Act of Parliament called An Act for settling and preserving a public library for ever. The Act vested the house and books in a number of religious and state dignitaries and officials and their successors as Governors and Guardians of the Library.

The interior of the library, with its beautiful dark oak bookcases each with carved and lettered gables, topped by a mitre, and the three elegant wired alcoves or ‘cages’ where the readers were locked in with rare books, remains unchanged since it was built three hundred years ago. It is a magnificent example of a 17th century scholar’s library. The library contains some 25,000 printed books relating to the 16th-18th Centuries.

Open to the public every day except Tuesday and Sunday.

Weekday opening hours (except Tuesday): 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.
Saturdays: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Closed Tuesdays, Sundays and bank holidays. Closed Dec 24-Jan 1.

For groups of visitors who book in advance, specialist tours of the library can be arranged. Educational tours are also available for primary and secondary school students.

St. Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 4543511.

Adults €5; concessions.

National Botanic Gardens

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The National Botanic Gardens is noted for its fine plant collections holding over 15,000 plant species and cultivars from a variety of habitats from all around the world. Famous for its exquisitely restored and planted glasshouses, notably the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House, both recipients of the Europa Nostra award for excellence in conservation architecture.

Visitors can enjoy such features as the Herbaceous borders, rose garden, the alpine yard, the pond area, rock garden and arboretum. Conservation plays an important role and Glasnevin is home to over 300 endangered plant species from around the world including 6 species, which are already extinct in the wild.

Free guided tours Sunday at 12.00 pm and 2.30 pm
Daily Guided Tours Monday to Saturday at 11.30 am and 3.00 pm – €5 per person
Pre-booked Guided Tours available for groups – €5 per person

Open every day except Christmas Day

WINTER opening hours (from second last Sunday of October to last Sunday in February)
Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 4.30 pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10.00 am – 4.30 pm
SUMMER opening hours (first Sunday in March to last Sunday of October)
Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10.00 am – 6.00 pm

Botanic Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

Tel: 01 8570909 and 01 8040300.

Free admission.

Car parking charge €2 for two hours. €2 per hour thereafter.

National Gallery

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

In 1852 William Dargan, the father of the Irish rail network, approached the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) with an offer to underwrite a spectacular exhibition on Leinster Lawn in Dublin, the home of the RDS at the time. Just eleven months later, the exhibition was opened in an astonishing series of pavilions for which the architect, John Benson, received a knighthood. The enthusiastic response of the visiting crowds demonstrated an active interest in the establishment of a permanent public collection.

The next ten years saw active campaigning for the funding of a new Gallery building which was designed by Francis Fowke. In January 1864, the Earl of Carlisle officially opened the National Gallery of Ireland to the public. The collection consisted of just 112 pictures, including 39 purchased in Rome in 1856 and 30 which were on loan from the National Gallery London and elsewhere.

The Gallery thrived over the years through purchases, bequests and donations. In 1901 the Countess of Milltown gifted over 200 pictures to the gallery from her house at Russborough as well as a collection of silver, furniture and books from her library. The gift was so substantial that a new extension was constructed to accommodate it.

In 1968 the gallery was extended again with designs by Frank DuBerry. This extension is today named the Beit Wing in acknowledgement of the generosity of Sir Alfred and Lady Beit who gifted 17 outstanding old master pictures to the nation in 1987. Some six years later in 1993 the Gallery became the focus of international attention when Caravaggio’s, ‘The Taking of Christ’, a painting recorded in contemporary biographies on the artist and known through copies but long believed to be lost or destroyed, was discovered in a Jesuit house of studies in Dublin. The picture remains in the gallery on indefinite loan from the Jesuit fathers.

The National Gallery houses some 15,000 paintings, sculptures, works on paper and objets d’art dating from the early thirteenth century through to the mid-twentieth century. The collection boasts an impressive range of masterpieces by artists from the major European schools of art whilst also featuring the world’s most comprehensive collection of Irish art.

You can consult the following links to get information about the national portrait collection, and highlights of the Gallery’s collection. (national portrait collection) (highlights)

Free tours of the permanent collection take place every Thursday at 6.30 pm, every Saturday at 12.30 pm, and every Sunday at 11.30 am, 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm.

Open Mon 11.00 am – 5.30 pm
Open Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 9.15 am – 5.30 pm
Open Thurs 9.15 am – 8.30 pm
Open Sun 11.00 am – 5.30 pm
Closed Good Friday and 24-26 December

Merrion Square West & Clare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 661 5133.

Admission to the permanent collection is free.

In June 2017 the Gallery re-opened to the public following a period of extensive refurbishment and modernisation of its historic wings on Merrion Square. The grand scale of the Shaw Room at entry level and the monumental galleries in the Dargan and Milltown wings now give the displays a renewed sense of space and grandeur.

The beautifully transformed spaces now feature an entirely new presentation of the celebrated permanent collection featuring master paintings by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Ruisdael, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Goya, Monet, Gris and Picasso. The Gallery is also able to once again display its prestigious collection of Irish art with works by Daniel Maclise, Roderic O’Conor, John Lavery, William Orpen, Seán Keating, Gerard Dillon, Evie Hone, Norah McGuinness, Jack B. Yeats, Louis le Brocquy and William Scott.

This multimillion-euro refurbishment project was carried out by the Office of Public Works’ Project Management Services, with architects Heneghan Peng as the Design Team Leaders.

Central to the modernisation work was the construction of a state-of-the-art underground energy centre housing vital services. Original nineteenth-century architectural features and spaces are revealed and majestic windows now open onto a spacious light-filled courtyard. The new courtyard dramatically enhances visitors’ orientation between the historic Dargan and Milltown wings. It is also the site for a dramatic sculpture, Magnus Modus, by Joseph Walsh.

The period of refurbishment also allowed for an extensive survey of the Gallery’s permanent collection. More than 450 works have undergone conservation and research. The most spectacular of these is Daniel Maclise’s The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (1854), which has been returned to the elegant surrounds of the Shaw Room in the Dargan Wing.

The refurbished galleries on Merrion Square display over 650 works of art from the permanent collection presented broadly chronologically. The Irish collections are prominent at ground level with European art on the upper level.

An integral part of Gallery is the National Portrait Collection which shows works of eminent Irishmen (Seamus Heaney, TK Whitaker, Brian Friel) and Irishwomen (Mary Robinson, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy) who have contributed to the social, historic, cultural and political life of the country. Most recent acquisitions include portraits of Tony award winning theatre director, Garry Hynes by Vera Klute a portrait of Graham Norton by Gareth Reid, commissioned as part of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2016, and a portrait of Henry Shefflin by Gerry Davis, commissioned as part of the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2016.

The Gallery complex consists of four interconnected buildings:

Dargan Wing: Designed by Francis Fowke and inaugurated in 1864, this constitutes the earliest element in the complex. Its exterior design was determined by the requirement to mirror Francis Clarendon’s elegant Natural History Museum of 1856 located directly across Leinster Lawn. The wing was named in honour of William Dargan (1799-1867), the great Irish railway magnate, who formed a ‘Dargan Committee’ to promote the establishment of a National Gallery in Dublin. A statue of Dargan stands in the front lawn of the Gallery on Merrion Square. One of the most beautiful spaces in the Dargan wing is the Shaw Room, named after George Bernard Shaw who bequeathed one third of his royalties to the National Gallery of Ireland, which, he documented as being of significant influence throughout his childhood.

Milltown Wing: Based on designs by Thomas Manley Deane, the project, which was inaugurated in 1903, was delivered by his son Thomas Newham Deane who inherited the practice from his father. The wing is named in recognition of the Countess of Milltown who presented 200 works of art comprising paintings, silver, furniture and books to the National Gallery of Ireland from her house at Russborough, Co. Wicklow (1902). Formally gifted in July, the collection arrived in 1906.

Beit Wing: Based on designs by Frank du Berry, Senior Architect at the OPW this modern addition provided not only additional galleries but also incorporated a library, lecture theatre and restaurant together with the provision of a conservation studio. It was refurbished in the 1990s by the Office of Public Works (OPW). Originally called the Modern wing, then the North wing, it was named the Beit wing in honour of the munificent gift to the Gallery (1987) of seventeen masterpieces by Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, which included works by Vermeer, Goya, Murillo, Ruisdael, Hobbema, and Velazquez.

Millennium Wing: Opened in January 2002, this wing was designed by the London-based practice, Benson & Forsyth, who were awarded the commission following an international competition. The Portland stone clad façade of this building gives directly onto Clare Street, a busy thoroughfare directly opposite Trinity College, and contrasts with the reserved elegance of the original entrance on Merrion Square.

Leprechaun Museum

National Leprechaun Museum

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The National Leprechaun Museum is a light-hearted celebration of Irish fairy tales and folklore. It covers such territory as the festivals of Samhain, Bealtaine and Lughnasa; the Tuatha Dé Danann; Cúchulainn and the Fianna; and ghosties such as the Púca and the Banshee. Exhibits include the rainbow room, a leprechaun well, the Giant’s Causeway, and the rain room.

Open daily 10.00 am-6.30 pm (last entry 5.30 pm).  In the high season tours are every 20 minutes; in the low season, tours are every hour (Mon-Fri) and every 30 minutes (weekends). Daytime tours for age 7 and upwards.

Night Time tours: Thurs, Fri & Sat at 7.00 pm and 8.00 pm. For age 18 and upwards.

Daytime tours are 45 minutes long; evening tours last 60 minutes.

Jervis Street, Dublin 1.

Tel: 01 873 3899.

Day tours – Adults €16; concessions. Night tours – Adults €18.

National Library

National Library (Kildare Street)

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The National Library (Kildare Street) houses books, prints, manuscripts, newspapers, music, ephemera and genealogical material. It is the best collection of Irish documentary heritage in the world.

There are three current exhibitions:

Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats – This exhibition has been described in The Irish Times as “one of the most important literary exhibitions yet staged internationally,” opened to unanimous acclaim on May 25, 2006. Since then, over a quarter of a million people of all ages and nationalities have delighted in the experience of this award-winning exhibition.

World War I Ireland: Exploring the Irish Experience – In summer 1914 a war broke out in Europe that would change the world forever. In Ireland, many supported the cause and joined up or travelled to serve in nursing and auxiliary services. Others objected to the war on moral, social or political grounds. By the time the conflict ended in 1918, its impact had been felt through the length and breadth of the country. The exhibition draws on the National Library’s collections of letters, diaries, recruiting posters, newspaper reports, cartoons, handbills and leaflets dating from 1914-1918. With original artefacts, first hand personal accounts and eyewitness testimony, World War Ireland brings visitors dramatically inside the lives of those who experienced the Great War.

Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again – This exhibition, which will run for three years, takes the visitor on a multi-sensory journey from Heaney’s origins through his remarkable poetic career.  The exhibition draws on the National Library’s extensive archive of Heaney documents and features Heaney’s original manuscripts as well as letters, unpublished works, diary entries, photographs, note books, and multi-media recordings. This is the first exhibition to be housed in the new Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre within Bank of Ireland’s College Green complex. Open Monday to Saturday, 10.00 am to 4. 00 pm. Last admission is 3.30 pm.

The Kildare Street exhibition areas are open Mon-Wed 9.30 am-7.45 pm; Thurs & Fri 9.30 am-4.45 pm; Sat 9.30 am-4.45 pm; Sun 1.00 pm-4.45 pm; open Bank Holiday Mondays 12 noon-5.00 pm.

For full information about current exhibitions, see

To read about occasional public tours of the Library, see

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 603 0200.

Admission free.