Dublins art galleries an artists stroll

Welcome to this month’s Oil Painting Blog for Beginners, An Artists Stroll Around Dublin’s Art Galleries *

With summer officially underway, I thought you might like to follow me on my favourite Saturday morning stroll around Dublin’s art galleries.

Now, given that the studio is working at full capacity at the minute, I haven’t had the pleasure of doing this route in quite some time, so before taking the trip do checkout, opening times, prices and summer exhibitions!

So Let’s Begin with a couple of Pre-Gallery Stops

I generally park in Jervis Street car park on level 3 or 4. They usually have some great daily rates in or around €13 with easy access to and from the Quays.

Once parked, I’ll head to Panem Café & Bakery, 21-22 Ormand Quay Lower, for breakfast. Depending on the mood, it will either be a bowl of their organic porridge and poached prunes, which while sounds odd, is lovely, or their apple and custard croissant, along with a black Americano coffee or two, depending on time!

Thereafter, I’ll retrace my steps to K&M Evans Art Store, 5/6 Meetinghouse Lane, Mary’s Abbey, Dublin, D07 YP89, to stock up on art supplies.

It’s tricky to find the first time, so I have included the Eircode. They close at 4pm on Saturdays. If you do manage to find it, make sure to ask for the 10% student discount!

National Gallery of Ireland

Then, I’ll head across the River Liffey, to the National Gallery of Ireland located on Merrion Square, West, Dublin.

The route I take is across the Millennium Bridge, through Temple Bar along Eustace Street, up Georges Street, left along Exchequer Street, on to Wicklow Street, turning right onto Grafton Street and then left onto Annes Street, left onto Dawson Street and finally a right on to Nassau Street.

Normally, I go in the new millennium entrance located on Nassau Street.

First, I’ll check out their Gallery shop for new postcards, catalogues, and books.

Thereafter, I’ll head up to Rooms 1 – 5, New Millennium Wing to view their European Art (1850 – 1950).

The paintings get moved around quite a bit during the year. For example, sometimes you will find William John Leech’s – A Convent Garden, Brittany, an all-time favourite of mine, here, whereas other times, you may find it hanging in Rooms 14 – 17 – Irish Art.

A Convent Garden - in the National Gallery of Ireland Dublin

But do expect to see artworks by artists such as Bonnard, Monet, Picasso, Münter, Renoir, Soutine, Orpen and their latest acquisition ‘La Vie des Champs’ by Cezanne.

paintings to see at the national gallery of Ireland Dublin
La Vie des Champs Paul Cezanne - National Gallery of Ireland

Next, I’ll go for a stroll around the gallery. I won’t visit every painting on display. But you should find artworks that you will like and that will take you from the 15th and 16th Italian Renaissance to the various art movements of the 20th Century including works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Turner, Ruben, Velazquez, Brueghel the younger, Mantegna, Uccello, Fra Angelico, Reynolds, Boucher, Fragonard, Yeats, Nolde, Jellett and some of the following: –

some of the art at the National Gallery of Ireland Dublin

Finally, I’ll check out what exhibitions the gallery has on!

Past exhibitions, which were all excellent, included Canaletto, Sorolla, Giacometti and Turner.

Current exhibitions, which I hope to visit over the next few weeks, include: –

Lavina Fontana

Lavina Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker

(06 May – 27 August 2023 – Beit Wing –Ticketed Event)

A ground-breaking artist of her time, late sixteenth-century Bolognese artist Fontana is widely considered to be the first woman artist to achieve professional success beyond the confines of a court or a convent.

Fontana was the first woman to manage her own workshop, and the first woman to paint public altarpieces and female nudes. She maintained an active career, painting for many illustrious patrons, while also taking on the role of wife and mother.”

(National Gallery of Ireland – Curator Dr. Aoife Brady)[1]

ballet dancers Edgar Degas National Gallery art gallery Dublin

Pastel Revealed

(25 February – 05 June 2023 – Print Room – Free Event)

This exhibition “showcases a number of skilled practitioners from both Ireland and abroad, and highlights how the pastel technique has changed over time, with talents such as Edgar Degas in France having raised it to the rank of painting.

 Works by artists Rosalba Carriera, Hugh Douglas Hamilton, Jean-Francois Millet, Edgar Degas, Maurice Marinot, Harry Kernoff, and Brian Bourke are included.”

(National Gallery of Ireland – Curators Niamh MacNally & Adrian Le Harivel)

Make sure to check out the gallery’s yearly membership deals which also have many little perks associated with them and might just save you a few quid over the year!

Also, make sure to keep an eye out for the following future exhibitions, including: –


If you find yourself in Dublin on a Sunday and it’s not raining do check out Merrion Art: Open Air Art Gallery. You’ll find me on stall 112-113, just follow the brass numbers on the path, stop by and say hello.

So, when you have exhausted yourself in the National Gallery of Ireland, we’ll head to our next stop.

Oriel Gallery

I usually head for the Oriel Gallery at 17 Clare Street, who represent artists past and present, including Liam O’Neill, David Coyne, Paul Henry, Yeats and Markey Robinson. If the door is closed, just ring the bell, artwork is spread over a number of floors.

The Oriel Gallery Dublin art gallery

Trinity Gallery

A few doors down, you can stop off at the Trinity Gallery, 17 Clare Street. It’s a wonderful gallery, established by Imelda Collins and Loretto Meagher, who represent some great artists, that you might like to check out, including Ann Flynn, Arthur Maderson, Brenda Malley, Brian Bollard, Henry McGrane, John Morris, Mark O’ Neill, Martin Mooney, Paddy Lennon and Trudie Mooney.

Now a well-earned pit stop…

By this stage, you might like a quick pit stop or indeed a long lazy lunch – so, if I’m on my own I might first tip into Eason’s, Nassau Street or a great favourite – Hodges and Figgis, Dawson Street for a newspaper or book.

Then, I usually head to Dunne & Crescenzi, 16 Fredrick Street.

This place, along with the bar counter in Fade Street Social’s weekend tapas bar was a lifeline after better half, Gareth, passed away. We used to eat out a lot in Dublin, and when you become one instead of two, it takes quite of bit of getting used to! Most restaurants, back in the day, used to look at me and say – ‘One?, for One?’ and then I’d go and just die on the spot and say ‘Yes, just one!’

However, with Dunne & Crescenzi – the maître d, no matter how busy the place was, would always squeeze me in, and make me feel welcomed and cared for – which was just brilliant!

Normally, I’ll order their starter of buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto and a side of roasted baby potatoes with rosemary, along with a pot of green tea.
If there is room left – I’ll order their Affogato – a vanilla ice cream with an espresso coffee.

In Fade Street, I used to order a sort of duck plate and hazelnut and chocolate dessert. But I don’t think either are currently on their menu, both were very good.

Another place, I recently ate in, was Café en Seine, 40 Dawson Street. I just had the fish and chips which was lovely, but what I was really delighted with, was their bowl of curry sauce on the side.

If you have kids in tow, Milano’s or Carlucci’s, both on Dawson Street, should be all-round crowd pleasers.

Regarding children, I don’t think you will enjoy the private galleries with them. Especially, if they are fed up it will just leave you stressed out! The National Gallery of Ireland, usually have great children’s art workshops and I think they might prefer the likes of the Dead Zoo, the Natural History Museum (check out their bog bodies) and the lovely children’s playground in Merrion Square Park.

Okay, let’s continue our artist’s stroll with 3 art galleries.…

Next on the list, across the road from Dunne & Crescenzi, you will find three galleries, the Doorway Gallery, the Design Yard and Gormley’s Art Gallery.

Generally, you will have to ring the doorbell for The Doorway Gallery, but make sure you do.

It’s a lovely bright gallery, supporting Irish-born and international artists, including Francisco Bartus, Kate Began, James Brohan, Brian Gallagher, Debbie Chapman and Padraig McCaul. Also, check out their website for their current solo artist exhibitions, which are all really good.

Design Yard

Design Yard, displays works by artists who focus on jewellery and the applied arts including sculpture, wall pieces, glass, wood, silver, bronze and ceramics.

Last on the street, is Gormley’s Art Gallery, probably my favourite gallery in Dublin. One of the reasons why I love this place some much, is they have always welcomed me in, regardless of my appearance, which could often be very old clothes covered in paint, dirt and garden soil, where, I might decide just on a whim to call in, if passing by.

The gallery is spread over 3 floors with a sculpture yard to the rear.

It specialises in contemporary art by Irish and International artists such as Warhol, Banksy, Hirst and Lichtenstein. Currently, their website lists a host of well-known exhibiting artists including Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Grayson Perry, Joan Miro and Sean Scully.

The gallery also hosts various exhibitions, including the Mary and Ben Dunne Collection – An exhibition of Exceptional Irish Art, which I mentioned previously, in our Roderic O’Conor Art Blog and their most recent exhibition was Metallic Skulls by Irish contemporary artist Gordon Harris.

After that, I’ll head across to both the Duke Street Gallery, 17 Duke Street and the Solomon Fine Art Gallery, Balfe Street – just beside the Westbury Hotel.

Other galleries and art auction houses

Other galleries and art auction houses (when they have a works for a new auction on display), that are in the vicinity which you might like to visit include, the: –

An early bird stop for food…

Nice places to eat or stop off at, in this location, include Sole restaurant, 18 William Street or the Market Bar, L’Gueuleton or Fade Street Social all on Fade Street. I understand that the café at the Chester Beatty library is also very good.

For a real art feast, to really get in the mood, you could try out ‘Art Afternoon Tea’ at The Merrion Hotel, where they create miniature treats inspired by the works of J.B. Yeats, William Scott, Louis Le Brocquy and others.

The Merrion Hotel is also home to an important 19th and 20th contemporary Irish and European Art Collection which includes works by O’Conor, Henry, Jellett, Lavery, Leech and Swanzy. They also provide an audio guide where guests can learn about the artworks.


Sol Art Gallery

If I have enough time and it’s a weekday, I’ll head to Sol Art Gallery at the Times Building on D’Olier Street. This is a family-owned gallery who represent well known artists such as Norman Teeling, Paul James, Fergus Ryan, Aidan Harte, Luis Bivar and Francis O’Toole.

Hugh Lane Gallery

Some Saturdays, instead of the National Gallery of Ireland, I’ll visit the Hugh Lane Gallery, Parnell Square N.
The Gallery was founded in 1908 by Sir Hugh Lane and his supporters. It holds an extensive collection which focuses on Irish, French, English and Italian art and includes works by favourites such as Degas, Carot, Morisot, Boudin, Manet and some of the following:-

art to look for at the Hugh Lane art gallery
tea in the garden Walter Osbourne Hugh Lane gallery

The gallery is also home to a full recreation of Francis Bacons’ studio which is not to be missed.

studio of Francis Bacon Hugh Lane Gallery

They normally have a great programme of afternoon talks and in the winter months, various art learning programmes. So do check out their website. Their book shop and café are pretty good too.

Just outside, if you want a luxurious treat, you can try a three-course lunch or a surprise tasting menu at Chapter One restaurant. I did both pre-Covid and enjoyed them both very much.

Last, on the list if you are in this location, a must is a stop off at Chapters Book Store – a favourite haunt of mine which I’m delighted to see has since re-opened.

That’s it, folks. If you would like to try your hand at learning to paint a piece that’s hanging in the National Gallery of Ireland and for you to compare with your own work, we have you covered as these are a few of the paintings we teach here at the studio in our workshops: –

studies we teach in the oil painting workshops

Feel free to check out our 4-week oil painting workshops and our Saturday morning Oil Painting for Beginners Workshop.

Until next month, where we will be taking a look at ‘Colour Mixing – How to Get your Brightest Oil Painting Colours’.

Wishing you nothing but the very best of wishes.
May 2023

* As always, I am not affiliated with any brands, stores, publishers or persons I may or may not mention and your use of any of these products, links information and the like are your own risk and it’s up to you to do your research/homework before you use them. This is just my opinion and experience.

[1] Barry, Dr. A, National Gallery of Ireland, Lavina Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker (Online) https://www.nationalgallery.ie/art-and-artists/exhibitions/lavinia-fontana-trailblazer-rule-breaker; accessed 23/05/2023.

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