Exploring Art at the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin: Exhibitions, Collections and Visitor Guide

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I’m about to take you on a virtual tour of one of Dublin’s most prestigious art institutions – the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery. This is a place where contemporary art meets rich history, and every visit is a unique experience.

We’ll explore the gallery’s impressive collection, showcasing works from both established and emerging Irish artists. Plus, we’ll delve into the Academy’s history, tracing its roots back to the 18th century.

So, if you’re an art lover or just curious about Dublin’s cultural scene, stick around. This spotlight on the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery is just for you.

History of the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery Dublin

Stepping back in time. The Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery traces its roots to the late 18th century. It’s a historic institution founded in 1823 by a legislative act. The Academy’s initial primary focus was promoting fine arts through education.

A key aspect of its rich chronicle is the Charlemont House. It’s a significant reference point in the Academy’s timeline. Serving initially as the gallery’s premises, it became an integral part of the Academy’s history. From 1916 up to present day, the Charlemont House has taken on numerous roles, often transforming into various artistic spaces to accommodate the Academy’s evolving needs.

The 20th century brought several revolutions to the Academy. It’s the period when the gallery became a leading space for contemporary arts in Dublin. The Royal Hibernian Academy was then considered a hub that nurtured budding talent and a forum for influential art dialogues. Recognising its pivotal role, I’d like to point out that album sales in the mid-1900s catalysed the Academy’s status as an essential art hub in Ireland.

Walking along the Academy’s timeline, you might stumble upon an important point – the 1985 fire incident. Largely destructive, the incident led to considerable loss of archival material but it did not deter the Academy’s spirit. Swift restoration followed the unfortunate event, keeping the institution’s commitment to Irish art alive and thriving.

Revival and Transformation

Fast forward to the 21st century, the Academy underwent significant transformation while preserving its heritage. Its aim morphed towards encompassing more contemporary art forms and experimenting with emerging trends.

From being a classic institute advocating arts education, to evolving into a dynamic gallery promoting modern art, the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery stands testament to Dublin’s rich art panorama. It’s a confluence where seasoned artists brush shoulders with young visionaries. Delving into the Academy’s history, we not only glance at its evolution but also the evolving art culture in Dublin.

Our journey continues as we venture forward, exploring the gallery’s salient aspects and delving into its contribution to Ireland’s art scene.

Exhibitions at the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery Dublin

One of the defining features of the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery in Dublin is undoubtedly its exhibitions. The exhibitions here are the heartbeat of the gallery, hosting a panoramic range of shows that reflect the constantly evolving notion of ‘contemporary’ in the art scene. I will be providing a close look at the ongoing exhibitions and a nod to the past ones that have shaped the gallery’s reputation.

Ongoing exhibitions

The gallery’s portfolio of ongoing exhibitions showcases a dazzling array of modern and contemporary art styles. There’s a continuous cycle of new, innovative works being featured, representing both established and emerging Irish artists, as well as international contributors. From large installation pieces that challenge conventions to powerful photography works casting a lens on society, these exhibitions at the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery provide an immersive experience for the art aficionados.

One of the current highlights includes a retrospective show featuring the works of acclaimed artist Jane O’Malley: it’s a powerful exploration of her use of shapes, textures, and colours to tell stories and evoke emotions. This collection also represents her works spanning several decades. It’s a brilliant portrayal of her versatility, talent, and immense contribution to the arts.

Also in full swing is an exhibition showcasing abstract sculptures created by the talented young sculptor, Mark McLoughlin, signifying the Academy’s commitment to promoting new talent.

Past exhibitions

Casting a look back, the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery has seen some remarkable past exhibitions. One worth mentioning was the “Emerging Artists” exhibition, a platform for up-and-coming artists that played a significant role in shaping Dublin’s vibrant contemporary arts culture.

Another highlight from yesteryears is the “Great Art of the Ages” exhibition which put on display classical works predating the establishment of the Gallery. This inclusion of the classics alongside contemporary pieces emphasised the eclectic and inclusive nature of the gallery.

Over the years, these exhibitions, amongst many others, served not just as a platform for artists to showcase their talents but as a bridge between art, its creators, and the audience, fostering an inspiring and engaging cultural dialogue. They solidified the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery’s standing as a torchbearer for the arts in Dublin and a heartbeat in the body of Ireland’s rich cultural narrative.

Collections at the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery Dublin

Beyond the ever-evolving exhibitions, the heart of the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery lies in its impressive art collections. It’s a treasure trove of creative expression that spans various eras and genres, therefore becoming an indomitable part of Dublin’s art heritage. The collections – inclusive of painting, sculpture, and photography – ensure that there’s something for everyone here.

Painting Collection

The painting collection at the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery is a vibrant mix of the old and new. With works from renowned artists such as William Orpen and Jack B. Yeats, it’s a journey through the transformative world of Irish art. Similarly, continuous additions from emerging artists keep the spirit of evolution alive, making it a reflection of how art captures changing times.

Visitors can find a vast array of styles – from modernist depictions to impressionistic landscapes, each painting tells a distinct story. These eclectic works exemplify the diversity and dynamism of the Irish art scene, a testament to its constant state of flux and evolution.

Sculpture Collection

When it comes to the sculpture collection, the gallery doesn’t skimp either. Showcasing a broad spectrum of forms and materials, it’s a playground for those who find their passion in three dimensions of art. Artists like Patrick O’Reilly and Rowan Gillespie, with their inventive expressions, challenge traditional assumptions about sculpture. Their abstract pieces force viewers to rethink the norms, pushing the boundaries of what art can be.

From small, intricate pieces that fit in the palm of your hand to large, commanding installations, the collection tantalises the viewer’s senses, reminding them of the tactile and physical nature of art.

Photography Collection

Not to be overlooked, the photography collection at the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery packs a punch with its diverse range of subject matters and techniques. Featuring legendary work from prominent creators like John Minihan and David Farrell, it encourages viewers to see the world through different lenses.

With images capturing moments in history, evocative portraits and stunning landscapes – the depth, variation and artistic vision represented in this collection is staggering. Equally uplifting are the contemporary entries from aspiring photographers, continuing the tradition of documenting life’s realities and artistic inspiration.

The Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, without a doubt, contributes significantly to the city’s rich and vibrant arts scene, not just through its exhibitions but also in its myriad collections which demonstrate how art can transcend all barriers. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or a curious onlooker, there’s always something that will pique your interest at the Gallery.

Education and Outreach Programs at the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery Dublin

A significant aspect of the Royal Hibernian Gallery’s mission is utilising art as a learning resource and fostering community engagement through educational outreach initiatives. Catering to a wide audience, these programmes give participants an opportunity to discover, engage and create.

Art workshops

Art workshops at the Royal Hibernian Academy are a hive of creativity. Sessions are designed around ongoing exhibitions, often inspired by the works of emerging and established artists. Participants from beginners to practising artists can explore different techniques, materials, and concepts under the guidance of professional artists and educators alike.

Workshops are conducted throughout the year covering various disciplines such as painting, sculpture, and even photography, making them the perfect setting to develop skills. These workshops are a testament to the gallery’s commitment to creating an environment that facilitates learning and fosters creativity.

School Programmes

School programmes at the gallery exist to inspire the next generation of artists, drawing pupils into the exciting world of contemporary art. These initiatives cater to different school levels, from primary to secondary, with carefully designed curriculums to pique students’ interest and encourage critical thinking.

Seeing first-hand, the works of both emerging and established artists offers pupils a precious opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the visual arts world. To augment the learning experience, interactive sessions boost engagement and ensure that the trip is not just informative but also entertaining.

Community Engagement Initiatives

Recognising the power of art to nurture dialogue, the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery organizes numerous outreach programmes focusing on community engagement. From artist talks to panel discussions and film screenings, these initiatives aim to stimulate critical discourse, build connections, and frame art as an accessible medium for all.

These events often bring together artists, scholars, and art enthusiasts to discuss contemporary issues, explore new ideas, and share perspectives. Without a doubt, these are the initiatives that keep the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery at the forefront of Dublin’s vibrant art scene.

Through these educational and outreach programs, the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery breaks down the perception that contemporary art is only for a select few, opening it up to the entire community, one art enthusiast at a time.

Visitor Information

Personal interaction with art is a privilege that can be educational, emotional, and even transformative. To facilitate your trip to the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, I’ll guide you on what to expect and how to prepare for a visit.

Location and Contact Details

Strategically located at 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2, the gallery is highly accessible and a must not miss for art enthusiasts. For specific queries or clarifications, feel free to reach out to their friendly staff at info@rhagallery.ie or call them at + 353 1 6612558. They’re incredibly responsive, and you can count on them for timely and helpful feedback.

Opening Hours and Admission Fees

Figuring out when to visit? The gallery is welcoming visitors from Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-5pm, and on Sunday from 12pm-5pm. But do note – they’re closed on Mondays. What’s even more fascinating is that general admission to the main gallery is free of charge. However, some exhibitions may require an admission fee, so it’s advisable to keep up-to-date by visiting their official website at rhagallery.ie.

Days Time
Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday Closed

Facilities and Amenities

The Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery is not just renowned for its vast collection of art pieces – it’s also known for its hospitable environment. They have fully equipped their building with disabled access and bathroom facilities, offering comfort and convenience to every visitor. If you feel peckish during your visit, an onsite café provides top-notch refreshments. Finally, don’t forget to pop into their gift shop – a treasure trove of art books, unique gifts, and souvenirs – the perfect finish to your cultural day out.

Moving forward, we’ll delve into the gallery’s impressive collections and their significance. Not only boasting years of history, but they’re also a testament to Ireland’s rich artistic heritage which continues to evolve even today.


I’ve found the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery Dublin to be a true gem, with its impressive exhibitions and collections that reflect Ireland’s artistic heritage. The gallery’s commitment to education and community engagement is commendable. It’s not just about the art on display, but also about the people who visit and the connections they make. The accessibility and amenities offered by the gallery ensure a comfortable visit for everyone. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery is a must-visit destination in Dublin. It’s a place where art, education and community converge, offering a unique and enriching experience. So why wait? Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the world of Irish art.

What is the main focus of the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery?

The Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery primarily focuses on exhibitions and collections, along with education and outreach programmes that use art as a learning resource and community engagement tool.

Where is the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery located?

The Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery is located in Dublin. More specific location and contact details can be found within the main body of the article.

What are the opening hours and admission fees of the gallery?

The opening hours and admission fees of the gallery vary. For the most accurate information, you are advised to check the respective section of the article.

What facilities and amenities does the gallery offer?

The gallery is highly accessible and offers a hospitable environment. It has facilities for disabled access and bathrooms, an onsite café, and a gift shop.

What collections does the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery showcase?

The gallery showcases an impressive collection that represents the rich artistic heritage of Ireland. More details about the collections can be found in the subsequent section of the article.

Olivia Sinclair

Olivia Sinclair

Olivia is the founder of The Dublin Buzz, believing that you don't need to spend big in Dublin to have a great time. She began with a weekly free event newsletter to showcase some of the great things to do for free in Dublin each week.