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History and Architecture

The original museum building was designed by Cork architects Thomas Newenham Deane and his son Thomas Manly Deane.

Located on Kildare Street, it is today the home of the archaeological collections of the National Museum of Ireland and an architectural landmark.

It is built in the Victorian Palladian style and has been compared with the Altes Museum in Berlin, designed by Karl Schinkel in the 1820s. Neo-classical influences can be seen in the colonnaded entrance and the domed rotunda, which rises to a height of 20 metres, and is modelled on the Pantheon in Rome.

Within the rotunda, classical columns - made of marble quarried in counties Cork, Kilkenny, Galway, Limerick and Armagh - mirror the entrance.

In the great centre court, a balcony is supported by rows of slender cast-iron columns with elaborate capitals and bases decorated with groups of cherubs. On the balcony, further rows of plain columns and attractive openwork spandrels support the roof.

Don't forget to look down!

Splendid mosaic floors depict scenes from classical mythology, of which the zodiac design in the rotunda is especially popular with visitors. The rest of the interior is richly decorated with motifs that recall the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome.

Particularly lavish are the majolica fireplaces and door surrounds manufactured by Burmantofts Pottery of Leeds, England, and the richly carved wooden doors by William Milligan of Dublin and Carlo Cambi of Siena, Italy.

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Kildare St,
Dublin 2,
D02 FH48

+353 1 677 7444