Places to visit: Historical

James Joyce Tower

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

The James Joyce Tower on Sandycove Point is one of a series of fifteen similar Martello towers built around Dublin in 1804 to counter the threat of an invasion by Napoleon. The design was based on that of a tower on Cape Mortella in Corsica which had resisted a British attack in 1794.

The Tower is about forty feet high with walls eight feet thick. There was a single entrance ten feet above the ground which could only be approached by ladder. On top of the tower was a gun deck with a carriage on a swivel. Its eighteen pounder cannon had a range of about a mile.

In 1904 the tower was demilitarised and put up for rent at £8 a year by the War Department. The first tenant was Oliver St John Gogarty, a medical student and budding poet, who moved in in August and invited the twenty-two-year-old James Joyce to join him. Joyce was slow to take up the invitation and did not arrive at the tower until 9 September, by which time their friendship had cooled. They were joined by Samuel Chenevix Trench, an Oxford friend of Gogarty’s.

Joyce’s stay was brief. He was chased out of the tower on the night of 14 September and never returned. A month later he left Ireland for a literary career in Europe. The first chapter of his famous novel “Ulysses”, published in 1922, was set in the tower with characters based on himself and his companions. As a result, the tower became his monument, despite the fact that Gogarty had been the tenant and that it had been visited over the years by many celebrated Irish personalities.

The tower was bought in 1954 by the architect Michael Scott. With the help of a gift of money from the filmmaker John Huston, he and his friends set up the James Joyce Museum which was opened on 16 June 1962 by Sylvia Beach, the first publisher of Ulysses. Over the years the museum collection has grown, thanks to the generosity of many donors. In 1978, an exhibition hall was added to the building and a new entrance was put in at ground level.

At one stage, it seemed that the James Joyce Tower and Museum would cease to exist, as the resources necessary to keep it open were no longer available. Thankfully, the people of Sandycove and Glasthule were not prepared to let such a catastrophe occur. An organisation of volunteers, the ‘Friends of Joyce Tower Society’, was formed with the objective of keeping the tower and its museum open. With the support of Fáilte Ireland (the tower’s current custodian), the Society now operates the tower.

Open Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.

www.joycetower.ie

James Joyce Museum, Sandycove Point, Sandycove, Co. Dublin.

Tel: 01 280 9265

Admission free; donations welcomed.

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol

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

Kilmainham Gaol is one of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe and its history is relevant to some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s emergence as a modern nation from the 1780’s to the 1920’s. Attractions at this splendidly atmospheric site include a major exhibition detailing the political and penal history of the prison and its restoration. The tour of the prison (which is outstanding) includes an audio-visual show.

When the Gaol was first built, public hangings took place at the front of the Gaol. There was no segregation of prisoners; men, women and children were incarcerated up to five in each cell, with only a single candle for light and heat, most of their time being spent in the cold and the dark. The cells were roughly 28 square meters in size.

Children were sometimes arrested for petty theft, the youngest said to be a seven year-old child, while many of the adult prisoners were transported to Australia. Remarkably, for an age that prided itself on a protective attitude for the ‘weaker sex’, the conditions for women prisoners were worse than for men. An official 1809 report  observed that male prisoners were supplied with iron bedsteads while females ‘lay on straw on the flags in the cells and common halls.’ Half a century later there was little improvement.

Between 1796 and 1924, Kilmainham Gaol was a place where, apart from Daniel O’Connell and Michael Collins, every significant Irish nationalist leader of both the constitutional and physical force traditions was incarcerated. Thus, its history as an institution is intimately linked with the story of the Irish nationalism.

The majority of the Irish leaders in the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were imprisoned there. It also housed prisoners during the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) and many of the anti-treaty forces during the civil war period. Charles Stewart Parnell was imprisoned here, along with most of his parliamentary colleagues, when he signed the Kilmainham Treaty with William Gladstone.

Kilmainham Gaol was decommissioned as a prison by the Irish Free State government in 1924. Seen principally as a symbol of oppression, there was no interest in its preservation as a monument to the struggle for national independence. The jail’s potential function as a focus for national memory was complicated by the fact that the first four republican prisoners executed by the Free State government during the Irish Civil War were shot in the prison yard.

The site now houses a museum on the history of Irish nationalism and offers excellent guided tours of the building. An art gallery on the top floor exhibits paintings, sculptures and jewellery of prisoners incarcerated in prisons all over contemporary Ireland.

[Thanks to Wikipedia for the above information]

The main exhibition at Kilmainham Gaol Museum tells the story of the social and political history of the prison. Three main themes are explored on the different levels of the exhibition space: the social history of Kilmainham Gaol and Irish prisons in the 1800s, the history of Irish nationalism and republicanism, 1796-1924, and the restoration of Kilmainham Gaol in the 1960s.

The ground floor exhibition tells the story of Kilmainham from the perspective of the ordinary prisoner. A prison register for the Gaol shows the crimes for which men, women and children were imprisoned, ranging from violent assault to stealing apples from an orchard. Visitors can see the small wooden box used by convict John Sheahan to carry his possessions to Australia in 1842. A Victorian-era Gandolfi camera, used to capture prisoner ‘mugshots’, is also on display.

Rebellion, nationalism and the path to independence are the themes of the exhibition on the first floor, which deals with Irish political history from the 1798 rebellion up until the end of the Irish Civil War in 1924. Objects on display include Robert Emmet’s proclamation of a provisional government of Ireland in 1803, the last letter written by Charles Stewart Parnell and scapulars taken from the body of Michael Collins following his assassination in 1922.

The ‘Last Words’ section displays the last letters and personal belongings of the fourteen leaders of the Easter Rising executed at Kilmainham Gaol in May 1916. The final floor of the exhibition tells the extraordinary story of a group of volunteers who rescued Kilmainham Gaol from near ruin in the 1960s and restored it.

Kilmainham Gaol is accessible only via a guided tour. The venue is extremely busy in the peak tourist season and as most visitors book online the tours can be completely booked out. It is therefore essential to book your tour online in the peak season. People often turn up in July and August ready to queue, only to find that the venue is totally booked out.   

Opening hours  
October to March:  9.30 am – 5.15 pm
April & May: 9.30 am – 5.45 pm
June, July & August: 9.30 am – 6.15 pm
September: 9.30 am – 5.45 pm
Closed 24-26 December

A superb souvenir booklet called “A history of Kilmainham Gaol” used to be available in the shop for the bargain price of €5 and was a “must buy” at that price. Sadly, the updated price is €10.

www.kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie/

www.heritageireland.ie

Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 453 5984.

Adults €8 (online price); concessions.

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 www.openhousedublin.com/ for full details.

www.kingsinns.ie

www.buildingsofireland.ie

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 event.desk@oireachtas.ie 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.

www.oireachtas.ie

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.

www.littlemuseum.ie

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 – www.littlemuseum.ie/the-green-mile).

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.

www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie

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.

www.wikipedia.org

www.dublincity.ie

Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

National Museum Archaeology

National Museum (Archaeology)

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

The National Museum (Archaeology) is the national repository for all archaeological objects found in Ireland. It is home to over two million artefacts. See outstanding examples of Celtic and Medieval art, such as the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard. Admire the finest collection of prehistoric gold artefacts in Europe.

Permanent collections at the Museum:
The Treasury
Ór – Ireland’s Gold
Prehistoric Ireland
Kingship and Sacrifice
Viking Ireland
Medieval Ireland 1150 – 1550
Ancient Egypt
Ceramics and Glass from Ancient Cyprus

Temporary Exhibitions at the Museum:
Clontarf 1014: Brian Boru and the Battle for Dublin – the Battle of Clontarf was fought a thousand years ago, on Good Friday (23rd April), 1014.  Popular perception sees the battle as a great victory where the Christian king of Ireland, Brian Boru, defeated the pagan Vikings and drove them out of Ireland. But is this correct? The exhibition explodes myths and presents the evidence we have for what actually happened at Clontarf, what led up to the battle and what resulted from it.

Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage – Glendalough is one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites.  The story of St Kevin became intertwined with landscape, buildings and objects as Christianity transformed medieval Ireland. Twenty-six objects which have never been exhibited before celebrate this special place.

Colmcille: Sacred objects of a Saint – 1500 years of devotion – Shrines of objects associated with saints were revered in the medieval period. These objects (“relics”) were held in containers known as reliquaries. This exhibition celebrates one of Ireland’s three patron saints through a selection of famous artefacts associated with him. These objects are enigmatic treasures, many of which were made over 1000 years ago. This exhibition also celebrates the remarkable story of their survival.

Open Tues-Sat: 10.00 am-5.00 pm; Sun & Mon: 1.00 pm–5.00 pm.
Open on Bank Holiday Mondays.
Closed Good Friday, 25 Dec.

www.museum.ie

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 677 7444.

Admission free.

National Museum Collins Barracks

National Museum (Collins Barracks)

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

The National Museum (Collins Barracks) houses the  national Decorative Arts and History collection, charting Ireland’s economic, social, political and  military progress through the ages. Displays range from silver, Asian Art, ceramic and glassware pieces to weaponry, furniture, and examples of folk life and costume.

A very interesting complex of buildings in its own right, the museum at Collins Barracks is extensive and warrants at least a half-day visit. A full day’s outing for visitors to Dublin could include an initial tour of the superbly atmospheric Kilmainham Gaol (only ten minutes away from Collins Barracks), followed by lunch in Brambles Café (on site at the National Museum), and concluding with a leisurely afternoon taking in the attractions listed below.

2022 permanent exhibitions include:

  • A Dubliner’s Collection of Asian Art – The Albert Bender Exhibition (a highly important Asian art collection given to the National Museum during the 1930s by the great Irish-American Albert Bender)
  • The Asgard – discover the historic Asgard yacht, learn about the 1914 Howth gun running episode and the Irish Volunteers, and meet Erskine Childers and Roger Casement
  • Reconstructed Rooms: Four Centuries of Furnishings
  • Eileen Gray – Regarded as one of the most influential 20th Century designers and architects, Eileen Gray (an Irish woman) was renowned in France as a designer in lacquer furniture and interiors. She began to experiment with architectural forms in the late 1920s. Hers was a new approach to shape, line, the use of colour, materials and textures; and the human sensibility of her work continues to inspire designers today.
  • The Way We Wore (250 years of Irish clothing and jewellery)
  • Out of Storage – this double-height gallery is designed to give the visitor an impression of the range of artefacts in the reserve collections of the National Museum. The 500 pieces displayed were chosen to reflect the collecting policies of the Museum through the years.
  • Irish Silver – this exhibition traces the development of the silversmith’s craft from the early 17th Century to the present day. It addresses the evolution of design and examines the mining, assaying, and crafting of this precious metal. It also illustrates the various uses of silver – religious, domestic and ceremonial – and by means of vignettes seeks to place the objects in their historical and economic context.
  • Reconstructed Rooms: Four centuries of furnishings from the Georgian era to contemporary Irish furniture design
  • Curator’s Choice: 25 special objects from the Museum’s collections chosen by the Museum’s own curators. Particularly noteworthy are the Fonthill Vase (the earliest documented piece of Chinese porcelain in Europe),  a 2,000 year old Japanese ceremonial bell , and the decorative gauntlets worn by King William at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
  • Airgead – 1,000 Years of Irish Coins & Currency
  • Irish Country Furniture – this exhibition displays the furniture typically found in the traditional rural Irish home (including a re-construction of a country kitchen). It shows a range of styles from different areas of the country, the functional nature of each piece, and the skill of native Irish craftsmen. The display also highlights the evolution and development of traditional furniture and furnishings as Ireland’s social and economic circumstances changed through the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Soldiers  & Chiefs (The Irish at War at Home & Abroad, 1550-2001). This very extensive exhibition uses original artefacts, letters, replicas and audio accounts to show the influence of Irish military participation over the centuries in a host of wars, both at home and abroad.
  • Irish wars 1919 to 1923 – An online exhibition which explores a selection of the newly displayed objects which feature in the Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition. The exhibition covers such themes as civil disobedience, imprisonment, hunger strike, propaganda, women in warfare and the effects of the conflict on civilian populations.
  • Down to Earth – Exploring Ireland’s Geology: An exhibition that tells the story of how scientists have developed their understanding of our planet over the last 175 years. The museum is the holder of a vast geological collection yet little of it has been seen by Museum audiences in over fifty years. A partnership with Geological Survey Ireland is bringing these precious samples back into public display and includes real mineral specimens collected in nineteenth-century Ireland and observed through the lens of modern science. 

Current temporary exhibitions:

  • Contemporary Collection of Design & Craft – an exhibition illustrating the best of Irish contemporary craft and design from both home and abroad
  • 21st Century Irish Craft – an exhibition showcasing the best of Irish ceramics, glass, furniture, wood turning, jewellery, accessories and silverware
  • Recovered voices: the Stories of the Irish at War, 1914-15 (About 21,000 Irishmen were already serving in the British Army when war broke out in 1914. ‘Recovered Voices’ explores what happened to them and the other 47,000 who joined in the first few years of the war. From the lush green fields of France in the summer of 1914, through that first Christmas in the trenches, to the sun dried beaches of Turkey in 1915, this exhibition unveils the complexity of Ireland’s part in World War One).
  • Ib Jorgensen:  A Fashion Retrospective – From the 1950s to the 1990s, Jorgensen was one of Ireland’s leading fashion designers, attracting a clientele from amongst the wealthiest and most stylish women in the country.
  • Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising – Available as a virtual show only. The exhibition explores the background to the 1916 Rising and introduces the visitor to the nuances of contemporary political events – the rise of the Catholic élite; the push for Home Rule along with the counter-moves of unionism; the increasingly nationalistic  tone of the arts and cultural movements of the period; and the political growth of republicanism.
  • Alison Lowry: Hidden Truths – an artistic response to the legacy of mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries
  • Little Houses – an exhibition of artworks created through a collaborative partnership between the Stoneybatter Youth Service and the National Museum. The artworks were created by young people from the community close to Collins Barracks during the series of Lockdowns since March 2020. The exhibition is a visual record of their experiences of the pandemic and its impact on the community, and wider society.
  • Studio & State – This exhibition features for the first time Sir John Lavery’s paintings of the Treaty signatories (loaned by the Hugh Lane Gallery) next to contemporary artefacts of the time from the Museum’s own collection. Museum objects include the fountain pen reputedly used by Michael Collins to sign the original Treaty document and propaganda handbills. Studio & State explores events between July 1921, when the Truce was agreed in Dublin, and January 1922, when the Anglo-Irish Treaty was narrowly ratified in Dáil Éireann.  The negotiations for and signing of the Treaty were crystallising moments for Ireland in the twentieth century. The Treaty was both a vehicle of peace as well as a catalyst for civil war. Sir John Lavery’s paintings provide an unparalleled record of this pivotal moment.

Open Tues-Sat: 10.00 am-5.00 pm
Open Sun & Mon: 1.00 pm-5.00 pm
Closed Good Friday and 25 December. Open Christmas Eve 10.00 am-12.00 pm.

www.museum.ie

Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7.

Tel: 01 677 7444.

Free admission.

Click here to consult the calendar of special events

Newbridge House

Newbridge House and Farm

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

Newbridge House is a fine unchanged Georgian house (1752) set in a 360 acre demesne. The house contains most of the original furniture. There is a fine Red Drawing Room, a Museum of Curiosities, and ornate plasterwork. Newbridge House remained in the hands of the Cobbe Family until 1985 when it was purchased by Dublin County Council.

Newbridge is noted for its unique collection of Irish furniture, the Cobbe Collection of Old Master portraits and landscapes as well as family pictures, all of which can be seen on the tour.

Situated in 365 acres of complete Georgian Parkland, Newbridge House was home to the Cobbe family for over 270 years. ​In 1717 Charles Cobbe (1686-1765) came to Ireland, the first member of the family to do so. Cobbe was born and educated at Winchester before joining the clergy. In Ireland, his ecclesiastical career was successful. He became Bishop of Kildare, then Dean of Christchurch and finally Archbishop of Dublin.

He commissioned James Gibbs, to design a plan for the rebuilding of Newbridge House. The old Stuart house on site was replaced by the handsome Summer Villa which stands today. Begun in 1742, the building lasted five years and was overseen by the Irish architect George Semple. The Archbishop’s second son, Thomas, extended and refurbished the house, leaving a significant mark on Newbridge.

In 1985 the family sold the premises and entered into a rare agreement with Dublin County Council whereby the family would leave its original furniture in situ, in order to retain the top floor as a holiday home, while the demesne would be cared for by the Council. This agreement is not known to exist anywhere else in the Republic of Ireland.

The Cabinet of Curiosities or Ark is the Cobbe family museum which dates back to the 1760’s. It was started by Thomas and Lady Betty who had a taste for the exotica, collecting shells and coral. The original display cases, which were relocated to the UK many years ago, are probably the earliest complete museum furniture to survive in Britain and Ireland. The display cases in Newbridge House are replicas of these originals. Ostrich eggs from 1756, fossils, Chinese exhibits, taxidermy and Captain Cook memorabilia are among the chattels on display in the museum and are all original to the period.

The Red Drawing Room houses a selection of paintings from the Cobbe Collection. Master paintings including Italian Portraits and Dutch landscapes. From this collection sprang two previously unidentified portraits, one of which has since been established as the most authentic portrait of Shakespeare taken from life. ​

Also on this site is an 18th Century working farm with a courtyard, extensive buildings, and pastures.

Opening Hours:
October 1st to March 31st –
Guided house tours at 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.

April 1st to September 30th –
Guided house tours at 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm daily

Newbridge Farm and Farm Discovery Trail

October 1st to March 31st –
Closed on Mondays
Open from 9.30 am with last entry at 3.30 pm.
Farm Shop and Coach House Cafe open daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

April 1st to September 30th –
​Open from 9.30 am daily with last entry at 5.00 pm
Farm Shop and Coach House Cafe open daily from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm

Tours may be unavailable in Oct and Dec due to Halloween/Christmas events – phone to double check.
Closed December 24-January 3.

www.newbridgehouseandfarm.com

Newbridge House & Farm, Hearse Road, Donabate, Co. Dublin.

Tel: 01 843 6534.

Farm & House Adults €10; concessions. (Farm only Adults €7.50; House only Adults €10).