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City Hall

City Hall Exhibition Centre Dame Street | Cork Hill, Dublin D02 NP93, Ireland
+353 1 222 2204
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Dublin Historical Walking Tour
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City Hall was built between 1769 and 1779. The build took ten years to complete. When they decided to build City Hall a competition was advertised and 62 submissions were made. The winner of this Competition was Thomas Cooley, a young architect from London. At the time, James Gandon would have been the primary architect in Dublin, but his designs came second in the competition. Thomas Cooley was also tendered to build the Four Courts, however at 44 years of age, he fell ill and died and therefore James Gandon became the primary architect in the building of the Four Courts. If you look to the ceiling you will see that there is a stained glass dome, initially this was meant to be left open, in the same vein as the Pantheon, however given that we are in Ireland and it rains so often, they decided to cover it in. The stone work was done by a German man called Simon Vierpyl, and the stuccodore responsible for the gilded work was a man called Charles Thorpe. Initially when City Hall was built, it was built as The Royal Exchange. This was where you would have come to exchange Irish Punt into English Sterling. This was where merchants and guildsmen gathered to discuss their trading affairs. If you look out the West door onto Castle Street, that was where the banks were located and if you look out the windows to the east, where the trading happened. Over by the Olympia Theatre was where debts were collected. This really was an epicentre of trade in Dublin for the later part of the 18th Century. The Wide Streets Commission used the building in the late 1780s and 1790s to meet to discuss the planning of the city. If you walk around the outer ring of the Rotunda, you will notice that there is a distinct echo, this was done intentionally. When Thomas Cooley was designing the building, he designed it so that the echo would muffle private conversations that were had when walking around the room. Upstairs, in what are now the Council Chambers, there were coffee rooms. Coffee House Culture in the Dublin in the 18th and 19th Century was quite popular. Coffee was a luxury item and therefore very expensive to buy, and this made it very fashionable in those days. In 1800 the Act of Union was introduced and this had a devastating effect on the economy in Dublin, and by 1827 the currency was amalgamated. The building fell into disuse and was then rented out. This was actually where O’Connell gave his first public address on the Act of Union and it is one of his most famous addresses. In 1852 this building was bought by Dublin City Council, and they had partitions put up for privacy. Since then, in 1998- 2000 Dublin City Council restored the building to it’s original state as part of a refurbishment plan for the millennium.
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  • Very good48%
  • Average20%
  • Poor2%
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Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:00
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
LOCATION
City Hall Exhibition Centre Dame Street | Cork Hill, Dublin D02 NP93, Ireland
South City Centre
CONTACT
Website
+353 1 222 2204
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Reviews (214)
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1 - 10 of 124 reviews

Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

We didn't expect this free exhibition to be so good! It's free and you go through the cafe to get in. There is lots of information about the history of Belfast and it gives a good background into the history of the city. Definitely worth...More

Thank EstherHosking
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded today

Hi Esther, Thanks for taking the time to review City Hall, glad you enjoyed your visit with us! Ciara

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

It marked the introduction of the Neo-Classical style of architecture to Ireland. Its dome is supported by 12 columns and has 12 elegant circular windows. Impressive building. Didn't spend much time inside as I was a mission to see other things and I just happened...More

Thank Linda B
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Hi Linda, Thanks for taking the time to give us a review! Glad you enjoyed your visit :) Ciara

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This free exhibit, just outside of Dublin Castle, is interesting and nicely organized with storyboards and artifacts of city government.

Thank Betty P
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Hi Betty, Thanks for your review :) Ciara

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Apart from the impressive city mace and swords, visiting City Hall is just reading information panels and watching the odd video. Dublin's history is fascinating but a few artefacts would have made it easier to comprehend. I didn't get a chance to see the (supposedly)...More

Thank geographyguy_11
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Hi Geographyguy_11, Thanks for taking the time to review City Hall. We appreciate your feedback and will make our guests aware that the Rotunda closes shortly. I'm sorry you missed out on seeing the main Hall but I hope you enjoyed your trip to Dublin...More

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Easy to stop and see the exhibition and get good historic introduction to Dublin. Centrally located. Entrance is free.

Thank A S H
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Thanks for your review, glad you enjoyed your stop! Ciara

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Close to the Dublin's Castle, this place is worth to visit at it's own, as eye catching hall and exhibition at down level.

Thank Peter M
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thanks for your review, Peter! Glad you enjoyed your visit with us, Ciara

Reviewed 3 July 2017

We just found this as we exited Dublin Castle. Great exhibit in the basement. The rotunda is gorgeous and is a lovely place to sit, rest and contemplate.

Thank Meghan S
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 4 July 2017

Thanks for reviewing us, Meghan :) glad you enjoyed your visit! Ciara

Reviewed 22 June 2017

The Dublin City Hall is free to enter, and it has a beautiful rotunda, along with paintings on the walls and mosaics on the floor. There are also statues of Irish historical figures. In addition to being enjoyable to look around, we appreciated the chance...More

Thank SnowyShasta
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 23 June 2017

Thanks for your review! Ciara

Reviewed 17 June 2017

We visited here on the recommendation of a family friend.The building itself from an architectural point of view is stunning,the timeline display downstairs is very informative and gave us a great insight into Dublin's rich history. Theres also a great coffee shop down there as...More

Thank pfc302
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2017

Thanks for your review, pfc302! Delighted to hear you enjoyed your visit with us. Ciara

Reviewed 19 May 2017

Not a lot to see for a tourist. But you can stop in and look around for a few minutes. Good location in the historic area with lots of food traffic.

Thank 2005-travel-lover
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 23 May 2017

Thanks for your review :) Ciara

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Questions & Answers
MichelleMoore84
21 January 2017|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from DublinCityHall | Property representative |
It can take anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour depending on how much information you're interested in. We also have a free exhibition in the basedment :) Thanks, Ciara
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