Founded in 1864, the National Gallery of Ireland holds works spanning the 13th to 21st century. In addition to its comprehensive collection of Irish art, including paintings by Jack B. Yeats (brother of poet W.B. Yeats), the gallery also has pieces by European artists such as Rembrandt, Titian, Goya, and Picasso.
One of Dublin’s premier museums, the National Gallery of Ireland is a common stop on hop-on hop-off city bus tours. Visitors can explore the permanent collection independently or with a tour guide. Free guided tours, which cover topics such as collection highlights and baroque art, take place on select dates. Family-friendly tours are scheduled occasionally, as are free drop-in talks.
The museum also hosts temporary exhibits, which in the past have focused on the works of German expressionist Emil Nolde and on Irish-American artist Sean Scully.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Gallery of Ireland is a must for fine-art lovers.
- A café and gallery shop can be found in the museum’s Millennium Wing.
- Sunday is family day at the museum, with kid-friendly tours and drop-in activities.
- The National Gallery of Ireland is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The National Gallery of Ireland is situated on Merrion Square West in Dublin city center, not far from Trinity College. Ride the Luas Green Line tram to Dawson Street and walk 5–10 minutes from there. Alternatively, ride the Dart suburban train to Pearse Station, which is a 5-minute walk away. Several Dublin bus routes (including 4, 7, 8, 39a, and 46a) have stops nearby.
When to Get There
The National Gallery of Ireland is busiest during the peak summer months of July and August, with weekend afternoons (1pm–3pm) attracting the largest crowds. Try coming in the morning or on Thursday evenings, when the gallery stays open until 9pm.
Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ
Perhaps the most famous work in the National Gallery’s collection is Caravaggio’s early 17th-century masterpiece, The Taking of Christ, which depicts Judas’ betrayal and the arrest of Jesus Christ. This painting hung in a Dublin Jesuit house for decades before being recognized in the late 20th century by a conservator from the museum as Caravaggio’s lost masterpiece.