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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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Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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
Write a ReviewReviews (239)
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1 - 10 of 137 reviews

Reviewed 2 days ago

Walked into the Dublin City Hall on our way from Dublin Castle. Great building with very nice exhibit area.

Thank JimmyJackk
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Just visited City Hall today with my mother and we were thoroughly impressed! The young man working in the cafe was so friendly and helpful! And gave such wonderful service! The exhibition is very worthwhile and so interesting! We would thoroughly recommend anyone to visit...More

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

Hi Jason, Thank you for taking the time to write such a kind review, we really appreciate the feedback and I'm glad you and your mother enjoyed your experience with us! I'll be sure to pass on your review to our café staff. Ciara

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This hidden gem has the added merit of being free! The basement has been converted into a very interesting historical glimpse.

Thank F5822OZdavidb
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Hi David. Thanks for taking the time to review City Hall Dublin, I'm glad you enjoyed our free exhibition 'The Story of the Capital'. Ciara

Reviewed 10 December 2017

Almost missed this wonderful old building just down the road from The Castle. The Rotunda is beautiful but not set up to show it at its best. The History of the City museum in the basement was fascinating even if the staff seemed a bit...More

Thank uccharlie
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 11 December 2017

Thank you for taking the time to review City Hall, Charlie. I'm so sorry that your experience with us was disappointing with regard to the staff interactions and the cafe closure. Your feedback is so valuable and we will make a conscious effort to notify...More

Reviewed 11 November 2017 via mobile

Great free exhibition on the history of Dublin. Good informative exhibits. The videos are a bit long but good.

Thank Ian J
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 13 November 2017

Thanks for your review, Ian! Glad you enjoyed the exhibition :) Ciara

Reviewed 6 November 2017

Absolutely stunning building steeped in history, really informative in the downstairs tour area and you get a free gift if you go in with a Dublin pass!

Thank FlynnEst1985
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 7 November 2017

Hi FlynnEst1985, Thanks for your review of City Hall and the free exhibition, The Story of The Capital! Glad you enjoyed it :) Ciara

Reviewed 12 October 2017 via mobile

Located in the city centre, a fine opportunity to catch a free glimpse of Dublin’s city roots and heritage. Being naturally inquisitive, I ventured into the cafe area to find out more about what there is for visitors to see. Never did sample the cafe...More

Thank Henry C
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 13 October 2017

Hi Henry, Thank you so much for your review, you've really captured the essence of City Hall. Ciara

Reviewed 1 October 2017

Large fabulous interior beautiful decorated ideal for huminest weddings great tourist attraction lovely exterior

Thank goy359
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2017

Thanks for your review Goy359! Ciara

Reviewed 29 September 2017

The interior was great for the architecture. The exterior is classic that show the importance of the City and the British period. Well worth the time. Wish I had spent more time there.

Thank cdhcch
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2017

Thanks for your review Cdhcch, glad you enjoyed the neoclassical architecture :) Ciara

Reviewed 18 September 2017

Immediately you are taken aback by the stunning interior. There is also a free exhibition downstairs which is very informative and well worth a visit. Best of all the City Hall is free to get in. Note; It's not open on Sunday's

Thank Gareth_H25
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2017

Thanks for your review Gareth! Glad you enjoyed the free exhibition, The Story of the Capital :) Ciara

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Ask a question
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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