Current and Past Exhibitions at the Castle are Listed Below


Splendour & Scandal: The Office of Arms at Dublin Castle

29 June 2020 – 24 January 2021

State Apartments Galleries

The Office of Arms was, and in some senses still is, the oldest office of state in Ireland. It was established in 1552 as the Office of Ulster King of Arms, the heraldic authority for the island of Ireland and for almost 400 years it granted coats of arms to individuals, places and organisations; it maintained family trees and arbitrated on the rights of inheritance; and it stage-managed the pomp and ceremony of the State. In 1943, it became the last office to be handed over by the British Government to the Irish State, which had gained its independence in 1922. Reconstituted as the Genealogical Office, and later as the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland, it continues its centuries-old heraldic work to this day, as part of the National Library of Ireland.

For some time before and after its reconstitution, the Office was known colloquially and simply as ‘the Office of Arms’ and the majority of its work remained the same either side of the 1943 demarcation. This exhibition explores its story as a single entity, looking at aspects of its history during the 150 years in which it was physically located within the walls of Dublin Castle, from 1831 to 1981. These range from the role of the Office in the organisation of state ceremonial and pageantry to its links with the disappearance of the Irish Crown Jewels; from its involvement in crafting the identities of the two states that emerged on the island of Ireland in the 1920s, to its larger role in Irish genealogy and diplomacy in the mid-twentieth century.

The exhibition is included in your entry ticket to the State Apartments.

A version of the exhibition is available online for those unable to visit in person at the current time.

Click on the links below to view the exhibition items in each of the four rooms.

Room 1: The Minerva Room

Room 2: The King’s Room

Room 3: The Arts & Sciences Room

Room 4: The Queen’s Room


8 July 2020 – 11 October 2020

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

This Pop-Up Museum explores 100 years of women’s participation in politics and public life in Ireland. The exhibition shines a spotlight on the stories of very familiar and less well known women, who have contributed significantly to Irish political and public life over the past century – on the challenges they faced and the obstacles they overcame. It is told with films, interviews, interactives, objects and information panels, and looks at the individual lives of women elected to the Oireachtas over the period 1918 to 2016.

The exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to encourage people of all ages to reflect upon the journey that this country has taken, particularly over the past century. Highlighting all that has been achieved in the area of women’s participation in political life over the period, the exhibition also aims to raise awareness of the considerable work remaining to be done, and will encourage discussion, debate and analysis as part of the ongoing exploration of our more recent history. The exhibition is an initiative of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme. It is hosted by the Office of Public Works at Dublin Castle and is curated by Dr Sinéad McCoole.

Please click the link below for information on events associated with the exhibition:
Women in Politics Events Programme

100 Years of Women in Politics and Public Life | Objects in Focus




25 October 2019 – 16 February 2020

State Apartments Galleries

In 1763 Lady Betty Cobbe and her husband began a purchasing a splendid dessert and dinner service of Worcester porcelain for Newbridge House. At around 400 pieces, it would be one of the largest on record from an 18th-century British porcelain factory. Most unusually, it possessed sets of matching Worcester porcelain handles fitted with Dublin cutlery.

Throughout the following century the numbers in the service dwindled, and only 145 pieces remained in 1914. In a house valuation of that year, these were among the most valuable of the Cobbe family heirlooms and a little later, during the Irish War of Independence, they were dispatched to London and sold in 41 lots. The service was thus lost to the house and to the minds of the continuing family. A chance happening upon a London sale in 1986, offering one knife and fork ‘from the Cobbe service’, initiated the research that both uncovered the former existence of the service and inspired a thirty-year process of reassembling it.

This exhibition will showcase some of the most beautiful pieces of the Cobbe service at Dublin Castle for the first time.


24 October 2019 – 7 January 2020

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) announces the Ireland Glass Biennale 2019; a juried exhibition of work from some of the world’s most innovative glass artists, designers and craft practitioners. Through showcasing the excellence of contemporary glass practice, the Irish Glass Biennale(IGB) aspires to further the public’s understanding of the creative potential of glass and to act as a catalyst for cultural activities which centre around glass.

The IGB was curated through an open-call process and direct invitation. The final selection was made by a panel of three expert jurors:

  • Reino Liefkes, Senior Curator and Head of Ceramics and Glass, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England
  • Diane C. Wright, Curator of Glass and Decorative Arts at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, United States
  • Paula Stokes, Artist and Co-Founder of the METHOD gallery, Seattle, United States

IGB is co-funded by the NCAD and Creative Europe as part of a Creative Europe project: Imagining Sustainable Glass Network Europe (ISGNE). This EU funded project includes four partners in the UK, Germany, Latvia and Ireland, and engages with 33 associated organisations in nineteen European countries. This ambitious four year project, culminating in 2021, has initiated a dynamic schedule of cultural events, workshops, exhibitions and publications revolving around glass and its endless possibilities within the context of intangible cultures, design, visual and applied arts.

For more information please go to: irelandglassbiennale.org 



26 September 2019 – 1 December 2019

Wedgwood Room, State Apartments

The Trial is a compelling multi-screen visual art installation on healthcare and human rights in the Irish criminal justice system.

Directed and produced by visual artist Sinead McCann, The Trial is a collaborative artwork made with five men from the Bridge Project Dublin 8, who have lived prison experience, and draws on historical research by UCD historians Catherine Cox and Fiachra Byrne.

The Trial is a four-screen video installation with a running time of 22 minutes. Three characters – Tommy, Charlie, Neilí – tell real stories of those who were held and worked in Irish penal institutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It focuses on experiences of solitary confinement, separation from family when in prison, mental and physical wellbeing in prison and childhood experiences of detention in St Patrick’s Institution, Dublin.


24 August 2019 – 29 September 2019

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which in 1969 launched the second wave of the Gay Rights movement. Pathfinders is an on-going national and cross-border project to create an archive of photographic portraits of the pioneer activists within the LGBTQI movement in Ireland.

The recent political advances made nationally suggested a need to revisit the aspirations of those early pioneers, whose voices are not often recognised, and sometimes ignored, within the discourses of the current generation, caught up as they often are in the euphoria of social recognition and equality.

Having personally experienced the once unimaginable advances of the LGBTQ movement, I have also witnessed the naked hatred and ignorance the movement had to overcome in order to find its voice. In the current political atmosphere, I find an ever-greater significance in the words “Lest we forget”. 

To these courageous pioneers I aim to give a visibility in recognition of their invaluable contributions. Pathfinders is my testimony to their achievements.

Paul Connell .


12 April 2019 – 22 September 2019

State Apartments Galleries

Isolated on the Western fringes of Europe it took time before the influence of early 20th century European developments in art reached these shores. This exhibition explores the development of modernism in Ireland beginning in 1920, a period of political turmoil in this country and ends in the modern Ireland of 1960. It will contrast the traditional ‘Irish School of painting’ of the male dominated RHA favoured by de Valera and the new Irish Government to that of the European influenced art that was being championed by women artists such as Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone and Norah McGuinness amongst others through the Dublin Painters Society and the IELA exhibitions.

The exhibition, which has been curated by David Britton, gives the public a unique opportunity to view paintings and sculptures that have been drawn exclusively from private Irish collections with many of the works on exhibition in Dublin for the very first time in over 60 years. The exhibition contains 45 works by such artists as Roderic O’Conor, Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry, Sean Keating, Sir John Lavery Gerard Dillon, John Luke, Nano Reid and William Scott to name but a few.



14 June 2019 – 31July 2019

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

Celebrating the children of Ireland, The Ark presents a portrait exhibition of over 100 drawings by some of Ireland’s best known artists. Part of Right Here Right Now! The Ark’s Festival of Children.

Drawn from The Ark’s newly commissioned portrait collection, the exhibition places children at the centre of contemporary art-making.

The contributing artists are Brian Maguire, Blaise Smith, Conor Walton, Dorothy Smith, PJ Lynch, Una Sealy, Gabhann Dunne, Sahoko Blake, Cian McLoughlin, Kathy Tynan, Vera Klute and Alison Pilkington. The resulting art works are really beautiful! This exhibition is both powerful and beautiful.



22 February 2019 – 19 May 2019

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

Surface Matters, an exhibition of works from the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2019-20, will open on  Friday 22nd February 2019 at the Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle, hosted by the Office of Public Works. This exhibition features 24 makers selected by an independent expert panel for demonstrating excellence in craftsmanship, design quality and technical skill by international standards. PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection, which is part of the broader PORTFOLIO programme, is a biennial publication of the best of Irish contemporary design and craft in a world-class context. The publication aims to increase awareness and understanding of leading Irish makers and their current work.



Dublin Castle Gardens


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.


24 November 2018 – 24 March 2019

State Apartments Galleries

The 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.


12 November 2018 – 31 March 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.


14 December 2018 – 3 February 2019

Coach House Gallery, Dublin Castle Gardens

‘Women in Politics and Public Life, from 1918 to 2018’ – a Pop-Up Museum, explores 100 years of women’s participation in politics and public life. This exhibition shines a spotlight on the stories of very familiar and less well known women, who have contributed significantly to Irish political and public life over the past century – on the challenges they faced and the obstacles they overcame. It is told with films, interviews, interactives, objects and information panels. It looks at the individual lives of women elected in each of the era from 1918-2018.

The exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to encourage people of all ages to reflect upon the journey that this country has taken, particularly over the past 100 years. The exhibition, reflecting upon and celebrating all that has been achieved over the past 100 years but with an awareness of the considerable work remaining to be done, will encourage discussion, debate and analysis in ongoing exploration of our history.

The exhibition was curated by the historian, Sinéad McCoole, and supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the Decade of Centenaries programme. The exhibition is open from Friday 14 December 2018 – the 100th anniversary of the historic 1918 general election – until Sunday 3 February 2019 and admission is free. The exhibition will also travel to locations in Munster, Ulster and Connaught during 2019.


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.


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.


Dublin Castle Gardens


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, 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…


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…



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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.