Fill your heart with art at Ireland’s National Gallery

National Gallery of Ireland Grand Gallery

One thing all visitors should consider when visiting Ireland is its great history, and how the different cultures have integrated to create the vibrant country we have today. Connect with great works of art and discover the stories behind them through a guided tour of the National Gallery of Ireland.

National Gallery of Ireland Grand Gallery

Whether your interest in art is passing or passionate, an afternoon spent at the National Gallery of Ireland will entertain and inspire.  

The Gallery’s collection of European and Irish fine art, spanning the early Renaissance to the present day, includes over 16,300 works.

A great place to start an art adventure is a major exhibition that will showcase works by 50 Irish artists who are exploring the relationship between people and the natural world.

Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art (13 April – 7 July) will exhibit celebrated artists such as George Barret, Paul Henry and Jack B. Yeats, alongside contemporary practitioners like Dorothy Cross, Willie Doherty, Kathy Prendergast and Sean Scully, encompassing a range of artistic media, from oil painting to video.

National Gallery of Ireland people

Travel is the theme of two further fascinating exhibitions, Nathaniel Hone: Travels of a Landscape Artist, which runs to December, and Voyage of Italy: Italian Travel Guides (16 March – 1 September) which showcases travel guidebooks dating from the 1500s to the 1800s, relating to Italian cities of the ‘grand tour’.

As well as the impressive permanent collection, the Gallery hosts a programme of special exhibitions throughout the year. Running to the end of June is Making their Mark: Irish Painter-Etchers & the Etching Revival, a wonderful gathering of etchings from important public collections, by both renowned and lesser known artists, including Walter Sickert, Estella Solomons, Walter Osborne, Myra Hughes and Roderic O’Conor.

The Gallery’s Highlights tour, which explores some of the key works in the permanent collection, is just one of a number of free tours that are tailored to a variety of interests and offer different approaches to art appreciation.

National Gallery of Ireland Shaw Room

The Mindfulness tour proceeds at a gentle pace, allowing a close inspection and connection with each work and ending with reflection in silence and stillness.

LGBTQI+-themed tours take a new perspective, exploring the history of gender and sexual identity through works that are connected to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.

Sundays are family days at the Gallery, with free drop-in workshops in the Maples and Calder Creative Space and a family-friendly tour that makes the artworks fun and engaging for kids.

Housed in a magnificent Georgian building, the National Gallery of Ireland is a haven of tranquillity in Dublin city and a great place to come face to face with fabulous fine art.

You can find out about more great places to visit in Ireland at

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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling