Places to visit: Historical

Áras an Uachtaráin

Áras an Uachtaráin

Now the Residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin, started as a modest brick house for the Phoenix Park Chief Ranger in 1751. It was subsequently acquired as an “occasional residence” for the Lords Lieutenants and gradually evolved to a large mansion. After Ireland gained independence, it was occupied by three Governors General between 1922 and 1937, prior to the first president Dr Douglas Hyde taking up residence there.

19th century architects Francis Johnston, Jacob Owen and Decimus Burton, and more recently, Raymond McGrath, as well as stuccodores Michael Stapleton and Bartholomew Cramillion, contributed to its gradual expansion, gardens and interiors.

Open Saturdays only. Guided tour provided.
Summer: 10.15 am-4.00 pm
Winter: 10.30 am-3.30 pm
Usually closed for 2-3 Saturdays over the Christmas/New Year period.

Tickets are issued at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre on Saturdays on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance bookings are not permitted.

www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/arasanuachtarain/

Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 6770095

Admission free.

 

Arbour Hill Cemetery

Arbour Hill Military Cemetery **

The military cemetery at Arbour Hill is the last resting place of 14 of the executed leaders of the insurrection of 1916. Among those buried there are Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Major John Mc Bride. The leaders were executed in Kilmainham and then their bodies were transported to Arbour Hill, where they were buried.

The graves are located under a low mound on a terrace of Wicklow granite in what was once the old prison yard. The gravesite is surrounded by a limestone wall on which their names are inscribed in Irish and English. On the prison wall opposite the gravesite is a plaque with the names of other people who gave their lives in 1916.

The adjoining Church of the Sacred Heart, which is the prison chapel for Arbour Hill prison, is maintained by the Department of Defence. At the rear of the church lies the old cemetery, where lie the remains of British military personnel who died in the Dublin area in the 19th and early 20th century.

A doorway beside the 1916 memorial gives access to the Irish United Nations Veterans Association house and memorial garden.

Arbour Hill is located at the rear of the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, which currently houses an exhibition of 1916 related material.

Open all year
Mon-Fri 8.00 am-4.00 pm
Sat 11.00 am-4.00 pm
Sun 9.30 am-4.00 pm

www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/arbourhillcemetery/

Rear of National Museum, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7.

Tel: 01 821 3021.

Admission free.

Bank of Ireland / House of Lords

Bank of Ireland (House of Lords)

Visit the former Irish Houses of Parliament. This was the world’s first purpose-built two-chamber parliament house. Built in 1729, the building was purchased in 1803 by the Bank of Ireland (in the wake of the Irish Parliament’s abolition in 1801).

Access may not be allowed to the House of Lords Chamber if the area is closed for a private function.

There is a guided tour on Tuesdays only at 10.30 am.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Houses_of_Parliament

College Green, Dublin 2.

Tel: 07 662 39350

Admission free.

Casino Marino Wiki

Casino Marino ***

The Casino (meaning “small house”) was designed by Sir William Chambers in the late eighteenth-century as a pleasure house for James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont. It is widely acknowledged as the most important example of neoclassical architecture in Ireland.

One of only a handful of buildings in Ireland designed by Chambers, the most celebrated architect of his time, the Casino is full of architectural tricks, devices, and secrets. Although it looks like a one-room Greek temple from the outside, there are actually three floors and sixteen finely decorated rooms hidden inside.

The Casino is the last remaining building of Lord Charlemont’s once-spectacular demesne at Marino in Dublin which, until the late nineteenth century, extended from modern-day Collins Avenue south to Marino Mart in Fairview. The story of the demesne and the Casino itself is told through maps, models, images, and letters on display throughout the building.

The House is accessed via guided tours only. Tours are on the hour every hour. [Private tours can also be booked; these run every hour on the half-hour].

The Casino is open seven days a week from March 16th to October 31st.
Open 10.00 am-5.00 pm (March, April, May, October)
Open 10.00 am–6.00 pm (June, July, August, September)

www.casinomarino.ie

www.heritageireland.ie

Casino Marino, Cherrymount Crescent, Malahide Road, Marino, Dublin 3.

Tel: 01 833 1618.

Adults €7; concessions. Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month.

A new exhibition, “Tunnel Vision”, tells the story of a series of secret tunnels constructed by James Caulfeild, the purpose of which is not clearly understood. It is now known that the tunnels were used by 1921 revolutionaries (including Michael Collins) for shooting practice. Visitors can access the tunnels as part of the regular House tour on Thur-Sat only (from April 13th onwards).

Custom House

Custom House

A masterpiece of European neo-classicism, the building of a new Custom House for Dublin was the idea of John Beresford, who became first commissioner of revenue for Ireland in 1780. In 1781 he appointed James Gandon as architect, after Thomas Cooley, the original architect on the project, had died. This was Gandon’s first large scale commission.

The new Custom House was unpopular with Dublin Corporation and some city merchants who complained that it moved the axis of the city, would leave little room for shipping, and was being built on what at the time was a swamp. Purchase of land was delayed and proved exorbitant. The project was dogged by protests. 

When it was completed and opened for business on 7 November 1791, it cost £200,000 to build.  The four facades of the building are decorated with coats-of-arms and ornamental sculptures (by Edward Smyth) representing Ireland’s rivers. Another artist, Henry Banks, was responsible for the statue on the dome. 

As the port of Dublin moved further downriver, the building’s original use for collecting custom duties became obsolete, and it was used as the headquarters of local government in Ireland. During the Irish War of Independence in 1921, the Irish Republican Army burnt down the Custom House, in an attempt to disrupt British rule in Ireland. Gandon’s original interior was completely destroyed in the fire and the central dome collapsed. A large quantity of irreplaceable historical records were also destroyed in the fire.

After the Anglo-Irish Treaty, it was restored by the Irish Free State government. Further restoration was done in the 1980s.

For quite a few years, the Custom House Visitor Centre was closed but it re-opened in March 2017. Current exhibitions are:

  • The Custom House and 1916 – the story of staff dismissed for participating in the Rising, Bureau of Military History statements regarding prisoners held in the Custom House after the Rising, and activity in the area of the Custom house during the Rising
  • The development of scientific meteorology in Ireland with a special focus on the weather of Easter Week 1916 and the weather on the 25th of May 1921, when the Custom House was attacked
  • Gandon – the story of the architect, James Gandon, and the construction of the Custom House
  • The Custom House Fire of 1921 and the subsequent restoration.

Open Thursday, Friday: 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm
Open Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays: 11.30 am –  4.30 pm

www.archiseek.com

www.housing.gov.ie

Custom Quay, Dublin 1

Tel: 01-888 2000

Admission free

[Historical summary provided by Wikipedia]

Dalkey Castle

Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre

Dalkey Castle is one of the seven fortified town houses/castles of Dalkey. The castles  were built to store goods off-loaded in Dalkey during the Middle Ages, when Dalkey acted as the port for Dublin. From the mid-1300s to the late 1500s, large Anglo-Norman ships could not access Dublin, as the river Liffey was silted up. But they could anchor safely in the deep waters of Dalkey Sound. The castles all had defensive features to protect goods from being plundered. These are all still visible on the site.

On site you will find a medieval castle/fortified townhouse, an early Christian Church, a state of the art Heritage Centre, and a Writers’ Gallery with portraits and interactive screens featuring the work of 45 writers and creative artists. Climb to the battlements for panoramic views of sea and mountains. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the early Christian Church and Graveyard, dedicated to Saint Begnet. Browse the interactive time line from early Christian through Viking, Medieval, Victorian and modern times.

Guided living history tours – Professional actors bring history to life with a fun theatre performance as part of the guided tour. Travel back in time and be enthralled by the work of the Archer, the Cook and the travelling Barber-Surgeon. Actors from Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company involve you in their lives, their work and their stories. It is wise to book the tour in advance online (Adults €9; concessions). Entry to the Heritage Centre is included in the guided tour price.

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 10.00 am-5.00 pm
Sat-Sun 11.00 am-5.00 pm
Closing time variable: open till 6.00 pm in the high season
Closed Tuesdays

See the Centre’s website for details of other events such as guided literary walks and low season offerings.

www.dalkeycastle.com

Tel: 01 285 8366.

Castle Street, Dalkey, Co. Dublin.

Adults €9; concessions.

Drimnagh Castle

Drimnagh Castle

This feudal stronghold is the only remaining castle in Ireland surrounded by a flooded moat. You can visit the restored great hall, the battlement tower, the stable, the coach house, and the formal 17th Century  gardens.

Open Mon-Thur 9.00 am-4.00 pm; Fri 9.00 am-1.00 pm. Weekends by appointment.

www.drimnaghcastle.org

Long Mile Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12.

Tel: 01 450 2530.

Adults €4.50; concessions.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle *****

Dublin Castle operated in the past (for 700 years) as a military fortress, a prison, a treasury, the courts of law and the seat of English administration in Ireland.

The State Apartments dominate the south range of the Great Courtyard. They were built as the residential and public quarters of the Viceregal Court and were the seat of the executive and focus of fashionable and extravagant social life. Today the Apartments are the venue for Ireland’s Presidencies of the European Union, for Presidential inaugurations and for prestigious functions.

The Undercroft is sited at lower ground floor level in the Lower Castle Yard, opposite the Chapel Royal. The city walls join the Castle at this point. Here, the archway allowed small feeder boats to land provisions at the postern gate, from larger boats moored on the Liffey. The double archway and postern gate are still visible. Also on view here is the Viking defence bank, within the butt of the Norman Powder Tower. The original Tower was five stories high – the top storey being occupied by the Lord Deputy during the 16th century.

The Chapel Royal is a gothic revival building designed by Francis Johnston. It is famous for its vaulting, its particularly fine plaster decoration and carved oaks and galleries. Admission to the Chapel Royal is free.

A guided tour of the State Apartments, the medieval undercroft and the Chapel Royal is available (Adults €10 for a  guided tour or €7 for a self-guided visit; concessions). Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month. The tour is about 70 minutes long.

The State Apartments, the Undercroft and the Chapel Royal are open seven days a week from 9.45 am to 5.45 pm (last admission 5.15 pm).

Also on this site, in the Revenue Museum one can experience a unique window on the many and varied activities of the Revenue Commissioners, from tax collection to customs controls, over several centuries. In addition to exhibits old and new, the Museum (located in the Crypt of the Chapel Royal) contains audio-visual displays and instructive video games. See if you can find hidden contraband or guess the parts of a house that were subject to tax in days gone by.

Among the many exhibits are the first set of Exchequer Returns for Saorstát Éireann, a poitín still, a stamp duty machine, examples of counterfeit goods and endangered species seized at ports and airports, early computer technology, and a wide range of beautiful measuring instruments. All of these are housed in the atmospheric crypt of the Chapel Royal. Open on weekdays from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Admission free. For more information about the Revenue Museum, phone: (01) 8635 601.

The Garda Museum and Archives are located at the Record Tower, Dublin Castle. Here visitors will find an interesting exhibition about the history of An Garda Síochána and information on policing in Ireland before 1922.   The museum exhibits include photographs and documents outlining the history and development of policing in Ireland in the 19th/20th centuries.  Admission to the Museum is free but is by appointment only (phone 01-6669998).

All attractions on this site are closed Good Friday,  25-27 December & 1 January.

www.dublincastle.ie

www.revenue.ie

www.garda.ie

Dame Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-645 8813

Dublin City Hall

Dublin City Hall

Dublin City Hall was built between 1769 and 1779 (designed by Thomas Cooley). It is the headquarters of Dublin City Council and is the place where the Lord Mayor and City Councillors hold meetings to discuss present and future plans for Dublin.

City Hall was originally built as the Royal Exchange and was used by the merchants of Dublin as a financial centre until Dublin Corporation bought the building in 1851. It was renovated and re-opened in 1852. The building underwent a major refurbishment programme in 1998-2000 and has been restored to its former 18th century glory.

Situated in an historic quarter of Dublin, City Hall is neighbour to Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle. The vaults of the Hall house an exhibition entitled “The Story of the Capital”, a comprehensive account of the city’s history.

Noteworthy features of the building are the magnificent Hall and Rotunda (an elegant space with a circular dome, like a small-scale version of similar buildings in Rome); statues of Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Davis, Henry Grattan, Charles Lucas and Thomas Drummond; and a set of twelve paintings representing scenes from the history and mythology of the city. There is a detailed brochure available in the lobby explaining the various art works.

 

Open Mon–Sat: 10.00 am-5.15 pm.
Closed Sun, Bank Holidays, St Patrick’s Day, Good Friday, 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan.

Normally a self-conducted tour. Tours for groups take place by prior arrangement.

www.dublincity.ie/dublincityhall

Dame Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 222 2204.

Admission free.

Dublin Civic Trust

Dublin Civic Trust

Dublin Civic Trust’s former headquarters is the only surviving Georgian building on historic Castle Street. Now fully restored to its former glory, this handsome merchant town house and shop is one of the last buildings of its type and period in Dublin to remain intact, and was until recently home to the Dublin Civic Trust’s offices and exhibition centre. No. 4 Castle Street is now in private hands.

Established in 1992 as an educational trust with charitable status, the Trust is an independent organisation that works to recognise and protect the city’s architectural heritage. It is dedicated to the principles of building identification, sensitive repair with minimal intervention, and the appropriate use of the city’s historic building stock.

Through conservation courses and seminars, the Trust educates the public about the resource value of period buildings. It promotes best practice for the repair and maintenance of historic buildings. It campaigns for the sensitive development and enhancement of Dublin’s historic city core in a manner that maximises the unique and irreplaceable resource value of Dublin’s historic building stock, streets and spaces.

The Trust produces major policy documents and undertakes consultancy work. It publishes the popular “Period Houses, A Conservation Guidance Manual”. Its series of books on the secondary streets of Dublin is also well regarded.

Since its establishment, the Trust has engaged in many projects relating to the built heritage of the city, including:

  • Recording structures on many of Dublin’s principal and secondary streets, such as Henrietta Street, Capel Street, Dawson Street and Aungier Street
  • Completely restoring five historic buildings (some in danger of demolition) through the Trust’s Revolving Fund; and reinstating additional buildings in conjunction with Dublin City Council
  • Compiling Architectural Conservation Area policies/inventories for Dublin City Council – O’Connell Street & Environs, and Thomas Street & Environs in the Liberties
  • Publishing historical and advisory leaflets on building typologies particular to residential streets in the Liberties area, and hosting lectures about caring for period homes
  • Publishing many inventory and policy documents on built heritage (e.g. an Inventory of Dublin Historic Street Paving and Furniture)
  • An evaluation of the historic core of Dublin as defined by its Georgian squares and major connecting commercial streets, commissioned by Dublin City Business Association.

Current projects of importance include an action plan for historic Thomas Street in The Liberties for Dublin City Council, with an emphasis on maximising its historic building stock; a study of the gable-fronted house tradition in Dublin of the 17th and early 18th centuries; and assessing options for saving a stretch of historic streetscape of North King Street that closes the vista of the north side of Smithfield.

Dublin Civic Trust regularly publishes books, pamphlets and information leaflets on the built heritage of Dublin. Its popular series of books on the secondary streets of Dublin brings the reader through the origins of each street, the history and architecture of their historic building stock, a full building inventory, and a vision for improvement. Other publications focus on specific topics of historical and architectural interest. You can buy these online.

Between 1992 and 2000, the Trust restored a number of historic buildings in the city – some of which were proposed for demolition – through the mechanism of a Building Conservation Revolving Fund. The Fund proved to be an innovative and cost effective method of saving and restoring endangered historic buildings in the city.

In total, five properties were restored by the Trust (Number 10 and 11 South Frederick Street, No. 21 Aungier Street, No. 4 Castle Street). The Trust was instrumental in saving further properties in conjunction with Dublin City Council such as the former City Weights and Measures on Harry Street and the rare mews buildings of Numbers 14 and 15 St. Stephen’s Green. The positive effects of the Fund went well beyond individual buildings, stimulating further improvements in key city centre streets such as South Frederick Street and Andrew Street.

For more information about the Revolving Fund, see www.dublincivictrust.ie/revolving-fund.php

To read a detailed account of the restoration of No. 4 Castle Street, see http://www.dublincivictrust.ie/more-about-us.php

www.dublincivictrust.ie

18 Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin 7

Tel: 01 8749 681