Historic Houses DUBLIN, IRELAND

Farmleigh House

Built in the late 18th century, Farmleigh was purchased by Edward Cecil Guinness, a great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, in 1873. After the death of Benjamin Guinness in 1992 it was bought by the government in 1999 and is now the State Guest House. When not in use for visiting Royalty and Dignitaries it is open to the public.It is a fine example of Georgian-Victorian architecture. The 78 acre estate includes a Sunken Garden, the Walled Garden and a Clock Tower. The Benjamin Iveagh Library was amassed during the lifetime of the 3rd Earl of Iveagh, Benjamin Guinness (1937-1992). The collection amounts to over 5000 items and includes many highly collectable Irish books and manuscripts and some of the finest examples of Irish bookbinding from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The collection was donated to Marsh’s Library by the Guinness family but will continue to be held at Farmleigh in the care of the Office of Public Works. (Bus 37 from Aston Quay to Peck’s Lane - every 20 mins / walked back through Phoenix Park to Dublin zoo and then got the hop-on-hop-off back to the centre)

Iveagh House, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Our tour was led by a retired senior member of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. Iveagh house was designed in 1736 by Richard Castle. In 1862 Benjamin Guinness bought nos 80 and 81 and remodelled them, adding a Portland stone façade. The interior of the building is hugely elaborate and decorative, with a staircase and ballroom lined with alabaster. The staircase also has ornate ironwork, marble columns and circular roof lights. The building was donated to the Irish state by Benjamin Guinness's grandson Rupert in 1939, and was renamed Iveagh House. The gardens to the rear were given to the University College, Dublin but have since been transferred to the Office of Public Works for use as public gardens.

Mansion House 

Our tour, led by a past Mayor, around the home of the Lord Mayors of Dublin since 1715 included the historic Oak Room, Dining Room and other public rooms. The Mansion House has been the venue for hosting many of the city’s historic events and the journey to Irish Independence. The building plays an important part in the civic life of Dublin with visiting Dignitaries including Queen Victoria and Nelson Mandela. Many important civic events here include the granting of the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin.

Royal Society of Antiquities

Over 200 years old, this is the home of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. It was built as part of the development of Merrion Square by the Fitzwilliam estate in the early 1790's in the typical long and narrow plot format. The plasterwork was undertaken by Andrew Callnan and is particularly fine in the first-floor front room. The property, together with the recently restored Georgian gardens and mews represents a rare survival of a complete Dublin townhouse complex, extending from the square at the front to the through to the stable lane behind the mews to the rear. Our tour was led by the current President of the Royal Society of Antiquities.

Keogh Naughton Centre, O’Connell House

O'Connell House is linked to the Notre Dame University of Indiana, USA. It is characteristic of late 18th century Dublin Georgian buildings being a three- bay, four-storey-over-basement redbrick building adhering to the classical rules of symmetry and simplicity. Saint Patrick’s Chapel is the quiet heart of the O’Connell House. Its dominant feature is the magnificent stained glass window based on an unexecuted drawing from the Harry Clarke studio. The house was home to the famous early nineteenth century Irish Catholic political leader, Daniel O’Connell, for most of his life. Daniel O’Connell, famously known as ‘The Liberator’, was a leader in the battle for Catholic Emancipation and was instrumental in the 1829 law which allowed Irish Catholics to sit in Parliament and hold high office.
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