Exhibitions

Current and Past Exhibitions at the Castle are Listed Below

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

RUDOLF HELTZEL: IN PRECIOUS METAL

24 November 2018 – 24 March 2019

State Apartment Galleries

Office of Public Works presents a stunning exhibition of sculptural pendants and rings by master-goldsmith Rudolf Heltzel, at the State Apartments, Dublin Castle – on tour from the National Design & Craft Gallery and Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. An icon of Irish craft and design, Rudolf Heltzel has gained an international reputation for the originality, quality and timeless aesthetic of his craftsmanship with each piece created meticulously by hand using some of the world’s oldest jewellery techniques. This exhibition will showcase many of his most ambitious and technically complex designs, presenting pieces selected from his personal archive alongside new work in three of his sculptural pendant collections – Rock Crystal, Tourmaline Butterfly and Druzy. A series of spectacular gem rings designed by Heltzel will also be presented in the exhibition.

For Heltzel, jewellery making is part of a living cultural heritage and he takes inspiration from the history, mythology and symbolism of precious metals and stones. He is renowned for pushing to the limits the design and technical skills of precious jewellery making, using traditional techniques to produce a modern aesthetic. Carefully selected unique and extraordinary precious gemstones form the basis of his stunning sculptural designs in 18ct gold, sterling silver and platinum. Settings are carefully designed to show individual stones to their best advantage. His distinctive designs are collectors’ items, with four generations owning and wearing Rudolf Heltzel.

PROCLAIMING A PRESIDENT

12 November 2018 – 20 January 2019

State Corridor, State Apartments

In June 1938, Douglas Hyde was sworn in as the first President of Ireland in St Patrick’s Hall at Dublin Castle. In November 2018, the Hall will once again be the setting for the presidential inauguration. To celebrate this event and to mark its eightieth anniversary, this exhibition looks back at the inauguration of all nine Irish presidents at Dublin Castle over the past eight decades.

Bringing together video clips from the RTÉ Archives, historical photographs and the original presidential chair used at the inauguration ceremony, it reflects the development of this important State occasion since the days of Douglas Hyde. Through the changing faces of Ireland’s presidents and the themes they championed in their inaugural addresses, it is possible to trace something of the evolution of modern Ireland. Today, we invite you to look back on that evolution through the sights and sounds involved in proclaiming a president.

Curated by Dr Myles Campbell, Collections, Research & Interpretation, Dublin Castle.

AT THE CHESTER BEATTY

Dublin Castle Gardens

GIFT OF A LIFETIME: TREASURES FROM CHESTER BEATTY’S COLLECTION

19 October 2018 – 28 April 2019

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty’s magnificent bequest, Gift of a Lifetime presents a choice selection of masterpieces from this unique collection. An internationally successful mining magnate and generous philanthropist, Beatty was one of the most prolific and discerning collectors of his generation. From his early years in New York, through his career in London and travels overseas, Beatty acquired rare books, manuscripts and decorative arts of the highest quality and rarity from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

ON A PEDESTAL

International exhibition celebrating the contemporary portrait bust presents world renowned artists at Dublin Castle

14 September 2018 – 4 November 2018

State Apartments Galleries

Portrait busts have been appearing in Western arts since classical Greek and Roman times, depicting illustrious figures such as deities, heroes, emperors and philosophers. The idea of this exhibition is to render visible the portrait bust in a 21st century way.

The exhibition brings together works from an international group of contemporary artists who explore the genre of the portrait bust in a variety of media: from wood to stone, from marble to ceramics, from stainless steel to more ephemeral materials such as sugar. The diversity of materials and techniques should appeal to both the general public as well as art lovers. A catalogue will document the works and the exhibition.

Among the invited International artists are Alessandro Mendini, Giulio Paolini, Francesco Vezzoli, Emily Young, Sir Tony Cragg and Wim Delvoye. Irish artists include Ursula Burke, Janet Mullarney and Kevin Francis Gray.

Curated by Mary Heffernan, General Manager Dublin Castle, Hélène Bremer, Dutch art historian and curator and Nuala Goodman, Milan-based Irish artist and curator.

PAST EXHIBITIONS

 

TOURING EXHIBITION – LUCIENNE DAY: LIVING DESIGN

A text + work touring exhibition, TheGallery, Arts University Bournemouth.

20 July 2018 – 15 September 2018

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

This exhibition celebrates the life and work of one of most influential designers of the post-war generation, Lucienne Day.

Lucienne Day: Living Design tells the story of Lucienne’s design career unfolding in a sequence of photographs drawn from the archives of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation. Photographs show the lead up to her career breakthrough at the Festival of Britain 1951, with her pioneering ‘contemporary’ design Calyx. They also evidence Lucienne’s prolific output of patterns for furnishing dress fabrics, table linen, carpets, wallpapers and ceramics. The exhibition includes current production of Lucienne’s designs, demonstrating the continuing vitality of her design legacy. The exhibition celebrates the centenary of Lucienne’s birth and comes to Dublin in the year of another important centenary that of women’s suffrage in the UK and Ireland.

Curated by Professor Emma Hunt and Professor Paula Day.

Read more here.

AT THE CHESTER BEATTY

Dublin Castle Gardens

MINIATURE MASTERPIECE: THE COËTIVY HOURS

9 March 2018 – 2 September 2018

The Coëtivy Hours is a masterpiece of fifteenth-century illumination. It was produced in Paris (1443-1445) for Prigent de Coëtivy, bibliophile and Admiral of France, to mark the occasion of his marriage to Marie de Rais.  A master work on a miniature scale, the exquisite artistry of the Parisian illuminators draws the viewer into each lavishly illuminated page. Read more…

ARTS OF THE BOOK

Arts of the Book, a permanent exhibition of almost 600 objects from the Library’s collections displays books from the ancient world, including the world famous Chester Beatty Love Poems (c.1160 BC), Egyptian Books of the Dead and beautifully illuminated European manuscripts. One of the highlights is the display of Western book-bindings (5th-20th century) and Old Master prints. Read more…

SACRED TRADITIONS

The Sacred Traditions Gallery on the second floor of the Chester Beatty Library exhibits the sacred texts, illuminated manuscripts and miniature paintings from the great religions and systems of belief represented in the collections – Christianity, Islam and Buddhism with smaller displays on Confucianism, Daoism, Sikhism and Jainism. Read more…

 

GEORGIAN NATIONAL COSTUME

30 May 2018 – 31 August 2018

State Corridor, State Apartments

The exhibition Georgian National Costume commemorates the centenary of the establishment of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia. Georgian national costume vividly reflects the history of Georgia, the values and cultural diversity of its people. This exhibition presents photographs of Georgian national clothing from the collection of the Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Music, Film and Choreography – The Art Palace.

The costumes range in style from the middle ages to the end of the 20th century. Many of the examples are typical of the sumptuous garments worn by Georgia’s noble and royal families. As a key processional space that was once used by lavishly attired monarchs, viceroys and nobles, but which is today at the heart of a republic, the State Corridor at Dublin Castle serves as a relevant and thought-provoking backdrop for this photographic display.

DEREK HILL AND THE VIEW FROM DONEGAL

28 May 2018 – 20 August 2018

State Apartments Galleries

Bringing together the work of major Irish and international artists such as Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry and Pablo Picasso, this exhibition explores the life and legacy of the artist and collector Derek Hill. Hill lived in Donegal from the early 1950s until his death in 2000. He left his home and collection to the people of Ireland and it is now known as the Glebe House and Gallery. For this special exhibition, part of Hill’s collection travels to Dublin from the Glebe, where it can be enjoyed in the State Apartments Galleries at Dublin Castle.

The exhibition explores Hill’s time in Italy in the 1950s, his close association with Tory island and the folk artists there, and features many of the highlights from his collection of artworks and objects. Hill’s legacy is also examined with a look at the contemporary art scene in Donegal.

CLAY/WORKS – CERAMICS IRELAND ANNUAL MEMBERS EXHIBITION

8 July 2018 – 29 July 2018

Printworks Exhbition Centre

Clay/works will feature the work of over 100 makers from the four corners of Ireland. A diverse range of ceramic work will be on show including functional, decorative, wall panels and sculptural forms.

This open submission exhibition has seen unprecedented growth in the number of makers submitting over the last five years. It will feature established makers Grainne Watts, Eleanor Swan and Klaus Hartmann alongside emerging makers like Marta Ozog, Gerardine Wisdom and Aisling McElwain. There will be something to interest everyone in this exhibition of over 250 pieces.

Free Admission.

 

COMING HOME: ART AND THE GREAT HUNGER

8 March 2018 – 30 June 2018

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger – an exhibition of the world’s largest collection of Famine-related art– is shown for the first time in Ireland. The collection, from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, constitutes a direct link to the past of almost 6.5 million Irish, and 40 million Irish-American people. The death and dispersion of 2 million people, followed by a further 2 million emigrations to the end of the century, makes this an important gesture of cultural reconnection.

The impact of the Famine is still with us. The challenge in the 21st century is to find ways to remember a past that shaped the present. Through this exhibition, both the gaps and the connections in Irish and diasporic history and memory raise important historic and contemporary issues of poverty, displacement and violence, as well as of class, gender and identity, through the lens of art. From Romanticism to post-modernism, the exhibition spans 170 years, and features work by leading Irish and Irish-American artists. The unprecedented calamity paralleled a crisis in representation. Successive generations sought to register the enormity of what happened visually, while grappling with rapid stylistic change that resisted traditional representation.

Open daily, 10am – 5pm. Admission FREE. No booking required.

School visits: To book a school visit, please email DublinCastleEducation@opw.ie, indicating your preferred time, date and number of students in your class.

MAKING MAJESTY: BUILDING AND BORROWING THE REGAL IMAGE AT DUBLIN CASTLE

25 September 2017 – 28 April 2018

State Apartments Galleries

This exhibition explores the shaping of the royal and viceregal image at Dublin Castle in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the later appropriation of that potent image in the formation of an independent Ireland. From the gilded magnificence of the Castle’s architectural surroundings and their intricately crafted furnishings, to the stately ceremonies that unfolded in and around them, the exhibition reveals the different ways in which ideas of majesty were constructed, consumed and reinvented.
Bringing together paintings, furniture, drawings and ceremonial regalia, it draws on the rich collections of institutions including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Office of Public Works and the Royal Collection Trust. The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated book of scholarly essays published by Irish Academic Press and a programme of educational events, all of which will seek to illustrate, for the first time, the Castle’s untold story of building, borrowing and making majesty.

Curated by Myles Campbell and William Derham, Collections and Research, Dublin Castle.

Click here to see our accompanying programme of lectures, events, and workshops.

BEYOND THE THREE PERFECTIONS

7 October 2017 – 5 January 2018

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

The tradition of the ‘three perfections’, unifying poetry, painting and calligraphy in a single art work captured the cultural imagination during what was the most culturally brilliant era in imperial Chinese history, the Song dynasty (960 – 1279 AD). Drawing inspiration from tradition, this exhibition brings together the poetry of President Michael D. Higgins; the sculpture of the Director of the National Art Museum of China and sculptor, Professor Wu Weishan; the calligraphic works of renowned Chinese calligrapher 
Wei Ligang and of Irish calligrapher Patty Hudak; as well as previously unseen works of the eminent Irish modern artist Patrick Scott. In this way, Beyond the Three Perfections offers a unique artistic collaboration and anchoring point to the evolving Sino-Irish relationship, for two nations each steeped in thousands of years of cultural tradition.

Curated by independent Chinese art specialist Emily de Wolfe Pettit.

CLAY/WORKS – CERAMICS IRELAND ANNUAL MEMBERS EXHIBITION

13 August 2017 – 27 August 2017

Printworks Exhibition Centre

Clay/Works will feature the work of 60-80 makers from the four corners of the country. A diverse range of ceramic work will be on show, including functional, decorative, wall panels and sculptural forms. The show provides an opportunity for all members to exhibit and features established makers including Jim Turner, Markus Jungmann, Etain Hickey and Susan Beiner, alongside emerging makers Darren Cassidy, Ann McBride and Michelle Collier. There will be something to interest everyone in this exhibition of over 250 pieces.

This year’s exhibition also marks the 40th anniversary of Ceramics Ireland, an impactful membership organisation founded in 1977.

SILENT TESTIMONY

1 July 2017 – 8 September 2017

Coach House Gallery

Silent Testimony, an exhibition of portrait paintings by Colin Davidson, reveals the stories of eighteen people who are connected by their individual experiences of loss through the Troubles – a turbulent 30-year period in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s onwards. The portraits are a powerful response which reflects on how the conflict has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on thousands of individuals – the injured, their families, the families of those who died and the wider community.

Since 2010, Davidson has become internationally renowned for his series of large-scale portraits of actors, musicians, poets and writers. While painting these familiar faces, he became increasingly preoccupied, not with their celebrity, but more with their status as human beings. This continuing exploration of ‘common humanity’ is the foundation on which Silent Testimony rests.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: AN EXHIBITION ON BEAUTY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

20 June 2017 – 31 December 2017

Wedgwood Room, State Apartments

This exhibition explores the reality of maintaining beauty standards at court in the eighteenth century. It introduces Dublin Castle as the stage on which members of – and visitors to – the viceregal court would flaunt their ability to follow and execute changing trends from London and Paris at that time. The advantages of being fashion-forward determined social status, but the personal cost was high. From toxic concoctions of lipstick to shape-enhancing corsets, this exhibition focuses on make-up, hair, hygiene and both ladies’ and men’s fashion. It shines a light on the age-old human action of presenting oneself at an occasion and asks a question that is as simple as it is elusive: if beauty is in the eye of the beholder – is it worth it?

Curated by Laura Fitzachary and Bronagh Dempsey, Tour Guides and Information Officers, Dublin Castle.

BURNING BOOKS, JUNE 1922:

THE DESTRUCTION AND RECREATION OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENTARY BOOKBINDINGS

3 April 2017 – 1 September 2017

State Apartments Galleries

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the book collector and amateur book binder Sir Edward Sullivan was shown a collection of 149 large volumes in exquisite bindings that had been stored, unnoticed, over many years in the Public Records Office in Dublin. They were in fact the Journals of the Houses of Lords and Commons of the old Irish Parliament that ceased to exist after the 1800 Act of Union. Fortunately, Sullivan made rubbings of all 149 volumes, now held by the National Library of Ireland, as the Public Records Office was destroyed by an explosion and all of the magnificent bindings perished in the flames at the onset of the Irish Civil War, in 1922.

In 1990 Philip Maddock, a book collector, inspired by the images displayed in Maurice Craig’s work Irish Book Bindings, 1600–1800, started to build up a visual database of Irish hand tools based on scans of original bindings with a view to making a digital reproduction of one of the lost Irish Parliamentary Journals. The first attempt, Commons Journal 1757, was very pretty but it was not a book. With the help of book binder Trevor Lloyd, Maddock embarked on the major project of reproducing fifteen of the Irish Parliamentary Journals, based on Sullivan’s work. Fourteen of these wonderful volumes are on display in this exhibition along with the finishing tools specially commissioned for the project, as well as examples of eighteenth-century Irish bindings and some of the printed editions of the Lords and Commons Journals in presentation bindings.

SAFETY AT SEA THROUGH WAR AND UPHEAVAL:

IRISH LIGHTS 1911-1923

28 February 2017 – 7 April 2017

Coach House, Dublin Castle Gardens

The Commissioners of Irish Lights are a maritime organisation delivering an essential safety service around the coast of Ireland, protecting the marine environment, and supporting the marine industry and coastal communities.

Using unique sources to set the scene, this exhibition reveals the story of how Irish Lights coped during the daunting events of the First World War and the Irish War of Independence and continued its mission to ensure safety at sea for all.

THE CRAWFORD AT THE CASTLE:
THREE CENTURIES OF IRISH ART FROM A NATIONAL COLLECTION

8 October 2016 – 12 February 2017

This exhibition sees the collection of the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork travel to Dublin for the first time in its near 200-year history.

A selection of 59 works of Irish art from the Crawford’s permanent collection are exhibited in both the historic State Apartments and Coach House at Dublin Castle, establishing interesting resonance between the two institutions.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE CASTLE: DUBLIN CASTLE IN 1916

6 April 2016 – 21 September 2016

This fascinating and evocative exhibition told the story of the role the Castle played during the 1916 Rising, including the attack on the Castle, the installation of the Red Cross Hospital – when the Throne Room, Drawing Room and Portrait Gallery became hospital wards – and the last days of James Connolly at the Castle before he was brought to Kilmainham Gaol to be executed.

PINNACLES, POMP & PIETY: 200 YEARS OF THE CHAPEL ROYAL AT DUBLIN CASTLE

24 September 2015 – 6 March 2016

Marking the bicentenary of the Chapel Royal, this exhibition brought together many of the original contents from the Chapel, such as furniture, silverware and historic drawings.
A beautifully illustrated book, The Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle – An Architectural History’, accompanied the exhibition. It includes essays on a diverse range of subjects from music to liturgy to the art of book binding and stained glass, and from stucco work to plate, pinnacles and carved stone. See here for more information on this publication.

PLAYING WITH TRADITION

4 June 2015 – 6 September 2015

Curated by Irish artist and designer Nuala Goodman and Mary Heffernan, OPW, this exhibition showcased a stunning collection of works, including furniture, ceramics, jewellery, clothing textiles and tableware designed by over 30 esteemed Irish and international designers such as Philip Treacy, Gaetano Pesce and Marianna Kennedy.

THE GRANARD BEQUEST

28 October 2014 – 17 May 2015

Jane Beatrice (née Mills, 1882-1972), Countess of Granard and wife of Sir Bernard Forbes, the 8th Earl of Granard, requested that some of her art works be donated to the Irish State after her death. The Granard Bequest comprises a collection of paintings, fine French furniture and clocks, oriental porcelain and other items from the original collection at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Granard residences in Paris and Longford. Since 1973, several generous additions have been made to the bequest by Lord and Lady Granard’s son, Sir Arthur Forbes, 9th Earl of Granard, who continued to donate items to Dublin Castle until his death in 1992.

ULYSSES CYLINDERS, BY DALE CHIHULY AND SEAVER LESLIE

19 June 2014 – 23 August 2014

This collaborative exhibition combined the alchemic artistry of Dale Chihuly with painter Seaver Leslie’s pen and ink drawings to create a unique collection of golden glass Cylinders. Working with Leslie’s drawings on paper, artists Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick constructed fragile glass drawings inspired by James Joyce’s novel Ulysses which Chihuly’ s studio team amalgamated into individual Cylinders of glass wrapped in gold leaf. A revelation in their simplicity, these works pay homage to an intricate narrative.

ALEC COBBE: DESIGNER, PAINTER, CONNOISSEUR

6 June 2014 – 24 September 2014

For over 40 years, Alec Cobbe has been a key figure in the understanding and presentation of historic painting collections and interiors. This exhibition touched on these and other aspects of his varied career as artist, designer, picture restorer, collector and connoisseur. Curated by Julius Bryant, it was initially presented at the Victoria & Albert Museum from December 2013 to April 2014. The exhibition at Dublin Castle included the additional feature of a room surveying Cobbe’s journey as a painter, curated by artist Woody Kim.