The Bottom Line
- Wide variety of paintings and sculpture on display.
- Famous artists on display include Caravaggio, Picasso, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet and Goya.
- Free entry.
- Very good facilities for disabled visitors.
- Physical layout of gallery can be confusing.
- National Gallery opened 1868 in Merrion Square and houses important collection of Western European art.
- More than 11,000 pieces of art arranged for display in 54 galleries.
- Caravaggio's "The Taking of Christ" was long thought not to be an original.
Guide Review - National Gallery of Ireland (Merrion Square, Dublin)
Opened to the public in 1864, the National Gallery of Ireland in Merrion Square is one of the often overlooked treasures of Dublin. Several extensions (1903, 1968 and 2002) provided additional space for the constantly growing collections in now 54 galleries. Taking all the 11,000 plus works of art in would take considerable time, so most visitors will have to make do with the highlights. Which can be hard to locate due to the sometimes confusing layout.
Among the often promoted highlights of the National Gallery are works by Caravaggio ("The Taking of Christ" is a fairly recent discovery), Canova, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Poussin, Monet, Velasquez, Picasso, Goya and John B. Yeats as well as Jack B. Yeats. Part of the collection was actually bequeathed to Ireland by George Bernhard Shaw - so pictures, busts and statues of the writer are also prominently featured.
Upon entering the National Gallery be sure to pick up a leaflet with a floor plan. Guided tours are available for free on the weekends. Disabled visitors are very well catered for and should contact the information booth for facilities like wheelchairs, tactile picture sets and braille guides.
And make sure not to miss my favorite paintings:
- "The Opening of the Sixth Seal" by Francis Danby (Room 17) - doom and gloom has never looked better;
- "The Sick Call" by Matthew Lawless (Room 18) and
- "The Fisherman's Mother" by Helen Mabel Trevor (Room 19) - this mesmerizing portrait appears to be almost three-dimensional.