Exhibitions

Current and Past Exhibitions at the Castle are Listed Below

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.

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

20 June – 20 September 2017
State Apartments, Apollo Room

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, 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.
Admission is free.

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.