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“Bang for the Buck”
Review of City Hall

City Hall
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US$12.63*
and up
The Dublin City Walking Tour
Ranked #74 of 556 things to do in Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: 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.
Reviewed 2 July 2014

Immerse yourself in a quick, enjoyable review of Dublin's city hall. Start upstairs with the rotunda's depiction of the highlights of Dublin's history pictorially. Head downstairs for a self-guided tour of fascinating artifacts and mini film clips easy to digest and imagine times past. The minimal entrance fee well serves this worthy site visit.

Thank kirishlassDenver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DublinCityHall, Public Relations Manager at City Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 5 May 2017

Thanks for your review, glad you enjoyed the exhibition :)

Ciara

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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108 - 112 of 246 reviews

Reviewed 23 April 2014

Interior of the City Hall is truly stunning - huge entrance hall under the beautiful dome. Entrance to the Rotunda is free, but there's also a little museum downstairs with an exhibition about history of the City Hall. I've paid 2 euros for entrance and I regret it - it was boring, mostly text with some short movies displayed on the screens and only few artefacts. It wasn't worth the price. I deffinitely won't go to see the exhibition again.

Thank Paulina_Pleskot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2014

It's right next to Dublin Castle, so you might as well pop on over for a quick visit. There's no charge to enter the building. I was more impressed with the rotunda and the floor mosaic of the Dublin City Coat of Arms. The dome over the rotunda is supported by 12 Corinthian columns and has 12 circular windows at the base of it. It's very striking with the beautiful gold leaf design all around it. There's a very beautifully designed glass-covered oculus in the middle of the dome that lights up the room. It shines brightly on the beautiful floor mosaic of the Coat of Arms. The city's motto is very interesting as well. The Latin translation is: "Happy the city where citizens obey." I really like the shamrock border and the flowers. It celebrates the country as well as the city. A very nice touch.

1  Thank KarenV87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2013

I visited here during culture night and wasn't quite sure what to expect. They had quite a few poster boards with historical information about Dublin. I am not certain if this was just for the event or always there, but it was quite interesting.

The building itself is beautiful with tile and mosaic floors and a beautiful dome. There is also nice stonework throughout and statues.

My visit was rather quick as it was quite crowded for culture night but I was glad that I did decide to drop in as it was impressive.

Thank MSL_Dub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2013

We only visited here as we had entrance included in our Dublin passes the exhibit wasn't too interesting other than the few ceremonial items such as the city swords the mace, the ceremonial robes and the city seals. I don't think we'd of payed the entrance fee otherwise but we enjoyed a flying visit snapped a few pics and moved on upstairs to see the impressive hall so an enjoyable visit probably so because it was included in our passes so defiantly stop by if you have the passes.

Thank Ristyface
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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