Dublin Castle is the central meeting venue during the Presidency and is a major tourist site in the Irish capital, with attractions including the Medieval Tower, the Chester Beatty Library and the State Apartments. The Castle has a rich history: it has featured at many key junctures in Ireland’s past and continues to play an important role in Irish life.
In the 930s a Viking fortress stood on the site where Dublin Castle now stands. The Normans invaded Dublin in 1169, and in 1204 King John of England commanded the construction of a stronger and more secure castle for the defence of the city. Dublin Castle served as the centre of colonial administration from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Much of the castle was destroyed in a fire in 1684 and rebuilding works replaced the medieval structure with more stately accommodation.
After the Act of Union of 1800, the castle’s role declined in importance and it was mainly used by government departments, the army and the police. After The War of Independence and the subsequent signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, Dublin Castle was formally handed over in January 1922 to military commander Michael Collins, as the representative of the new Irish Government. The castle survived the devastation of the Irish Civil War, and its first official use in the Irish Free State was the inauguration of Douglas Hyde as the first President of Ireland in St. Patrick's Hall on 25th June 1938.
Since then Dublin Castle has formed the backdrop to some of the most pivotal moments in modern Irish history. It has been the venue for the inauguration of Presidents of the Irish Republic and for entertaining Heads of State, such as the State Dinner held in honour of Queen Elizabeth II during her successful visit to Ireland in 2011. It regularly hosts gatherings of leaders of business, industry and government. It has also served as the venue for key events during successive Irish EU Presidencies since 1975.
Dublin Castle worked with Certification Europe to achieve ISO Standard certification for both Sustainable Event Management and Environment al Management.
Take a virtual tour of Dublin Castle.
Click here for our illustrated guide to the restaraunts, bars, cafes and pubs near Dublin Castle.
Farmleigh is on a 32 hectare estate situated in the north-west of Dublin's Phoenix Park. Originally a small Georgian house built in the late 18th century, Farmleigh was purchased in 1873 by Edward Cecil Guinness, a great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, founder of the brewery.. Substantially renovated, by the early 20th century the house had all the requisites for gracious living and stylish entertainment. Its eclectic interior ranges from classical Jacobean to Louis XV, Louis XVI and Georgian styles.
Farmleigh was purchased by the Irish Government from the Guinness family in 1999, and after further restoration it assumed its new formal role as accommodation for visiting dignitaries and guests of the nation, and as a venue for high level government meetings. The house and grounds are also open free of charge for the enjoyment of the public.
Castletown House was built in the Palladian style in the 18th century for William Connolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland at the time. In 1994 the house was transferred to the State and is now managed by the Office of Public Works. Through restoration, conservation, acquisition of parkland and development of visitor facilities, it seeks to preserve for future generations one of the most important houses in Ireland.
The British administration in Ireland built the imposing complex of Government Buildings on Upper Merrion Street for two new government departments, as well as the Royal College of Science. Fortuitously the complex was completed in March 1922, and was available immediately to be used by the new Irish Free State government. In more recent times, the building has been converted and entirely refurbished to form modern accommodation for a number of departments, including the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), the Department of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General.
The Royal Hospital Kilmainham is the finest 17th century building in Ireland. It was founded in 1684 by James Butler, Duke of Ormonde and Viceroy to Charles II, as a home for retired soldiers. It continued in that role for almost 250 years. The building’s style is based on Les Invalides in Paris. The building and its grounds were restored by the government in 1984 and opened as the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 1991.
The site of Loughlinstown House was originally occupied by a medieval castle. The current house was built by Sir William Domvile, the Attorney General, in the 17th century. The property came into the possession of the Irish Government in the early 1970s. It is now leased to the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound). Eurofound is a European Union body, which specialises in the area of EU policy to contribute to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe. Eurofound's role is to provide information, advice and expertise – on living and working conditions, industrial relations and managing change in Europe – for key actors in the field of EU social policy on the basis of comparative information, research and analysis.
The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Co. Dublin were founded in 1795 by the Dublin Society (now the Royal Dublin Society), with the aim of advancing the study of plants for medicine, agriculture and other purposes, and opened to the public in 1800. The gardens were handed over to the state in the late 1800s and have continued to be a centre for botanical and horticultural research and training. The National Herbarium houses a large collection of dried plant specimens. The gardens also contain over 300 endangered species from around the world, six of which are already extinct in the wild.