Clarion Hotel Dublin Liffey Valley
Liffey Valley Complex
Phone: (353) 1 6258000
Fax: (353) 1 6258010
Arts & Museums
Kilmainham Gaol is one of Ireland's most important buildings. It was designed in an attempt to improve the quality of the penal system, and in the belief that prisons should be hygienic and well-ventilated. It is also, however, a 'panopticon', emphasizing the importance of surveillance at all times, and as a result the Gaol earned itself a notorious reputation. Inmates included rebels from the Easter Rising in 1916; most notably Eamon de Valera, the last prisoner to be freed under the Free State, who went on to become President of Ireland. Now the place has been converted into a museum. Guided tours provide the only access to the prison. An exhibition in the main hall and a video also outline the history of this controversial building.
In 1991, the restored site of the Royal Hospital was officially opened as the Irish Museum of Modern Art. This splendid 17th-century building is now the venue for some superb exhibitions, and conducts a number of educational and community-oriented projects. Free guided tours are available and these include visits to the chapel, banqueting hall and the beautifully restored baroque garden. Admission is free.
This beautifully restored 17th century building is the oldest military barracks in Europe. As if that isn't enough, Collins Barracks also acts as the second site of the National Museum in Dublin, housing the institution's collections of decorative art. Of particular note are the collections of Irish silverware and furniture, while an exhibition entitled "The Way We Wore" provides a fascinating insight into fashion through the ages. Collins Barracks is also often home to interesting touring exhibitions, and is only a short stroll from the newly revitalized Smithfield area. Entry is free.
Remembered as one of the pioneers of Irish literature, James Joyce has yet another achievement to his credit. The house used in his work 'The Dead', has become a landmark of historical importance. The house is now open to the public who can imagine the characters of this musical that also opened off-Broadway in 1998. An art gallery has been introduced into this house to exhibit works of known and unknown artists and to promote creative talent in Dublin.
If whiskey is your poison, get ready to indulge to your heart's content. After the educational tour of the distillery, and your careful attention to the historical overview, retire to the in-house pub and make a little whiskey history of your own. There's also a restaurant with fixed price menus for lunch and dinner.
This building was previously owned by the Church of Ireland and was the Synod Hall right up until 1983. The Medieval Trust now supports the Dublinia exhibition, which aims to cover Dublin's early history, starting with the arrival of the Vikings in 1170 and ending with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539. Start the tour in the basement with an audio-tape, taking you through life-size reconstructions, depicting major events, including the Black Death, the rebellion of Silken Thomas, and the United Irishmen uprising. Upstairs features a huge model of Dublin in about 1500. Also of note, in the Great Hall, is a multi-screen presentation on medieval Dublin.
This newly-established Bridge Gallery offers a range of contemporary art for sale at apparently affordable prices. Located in a spacious 18th-century Georgian building, the gallery prides itself on its authentic yet relaxed atmosphere. Whether or not the Irish public take to the idea remains to be seen, but if you're looking for a unique gift in an age of mass-production, it's certainly worth a visit. Upcoming exhibitions include a new collection of ceramics by Dublin artist, Paddy Maloney.
This non profit venue is the only gallery in Ireland devoted exclusively to photography. It holds around ten exhibitions a year and hosts work by both Irish and international photographers. The building's glass façade is one of the finest examples of contemporary architecture in the city. It also offers a variety of seminars and workshops. Spread over four floors, the gallery is also an excellent source of photographic gifts, books and cards. The shop has an excellent selection of original prints from Irish and international photographers and the stock changes regularly.
Located in a restored Georgian House in Temple Bar, this non-profit library and archive features the only major specialist collection of manuscript and recorded music by contemporary Irish composers. Included in the collection are some 3000 scores and 5000 recordings, while the centre's comprehensive database can also be accessed by visitors. A wide variety of specialist publications and CDs can be purchased at the reception area.
Located on the rather downmarket Capel Street, this bright and airy gallery has been in existence for over thirty years and is owned and managed by the Irish artist Gerald Davis. The gallery exhibits a variety of new Irish work, and artists such as Patrick Cahill, Patrick Viale, Mary Hennessey, George Oakley and Olivia Hayes have all had solo exhibitions here. It's certainly well worth a visit.
You'll have to wander slightly off the beaten track to find this small city centre gallery. The Kavanagh was one of the first contemporary galleries to take advantage of the cheap rents in Temple Bar before its current incarnation as Dublin's official cultural quarter. The gallery is now located across the river, just behind the luxurious Morrison Hotel. Kevin Kavanagh is usually there himself and it's definitely worth having a chat with this artistic pioneer. Hosting several exhibitions a year, gallery artists have included Michael Boran, Colin Martin and Alison Pilkington.
City Hall was first built as the Royal Exchange and was completed in 1779. It was taken over by Dublin Corporation in 1852 and now houses the Dublin City Archives. This collection records the activities of the municipal government of Dublin from the 12th century to the present. It contains a significant number of medieval documents such as the White Book and the Chain Book of Dublin. The Archive also includes a series of Assembly Rolls from 1447 to 1741, inscribed on parchment. Those wishing to conduct research should make an appointment with the head archivist.