History of the NGI

NGI foundation stone


The beginning

An exploration of the beginnings of the National Gallery from the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853 to the grand opening of the Gallery in 1864. Find out more 
Historic photograph of the exterior of the National Gallery of Ireland

The building

The Gallery building, a purpose-built gallery space inaugurated in 1864, has frequently changed and expanded to meet the needs of the growing national collection. Find out more

Interior view of upper Dargan Wing

The collection

Over the last 150 years, the Gallery's collection has grown from one hundred artworks to over 15,000 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, objets d’art, silver and furniture, with an additional 100,000 items in the Library and Archive collections. Find out more

Louis Pedreschi, Porter in charge of the plaster casts, seated in the NGI Sculpture Hall.

The staff

Since its foundation, the Gallery's staff has been committed to the care, display and interpretation of the national collection; items from the NGI Archive reveal some interesting stories about past staff members. Find out more

Detail from Richard Thomas Moynan, 'Taking Measurements - The Artist Copying a Cast in the Hall of the National Gallery of Ireland', 1887

Public engagement

The Gallery's stimulating public programmes and extensive research resources have facilitated visitors' engagement with the Gallery's collection for many years. Find out more