The National Gallery of Ireland is a national cultural institution devoted to the collection and care of fine art dating from c1300-c1950. Comprising some 13,000 paintings, drawings, watercolours, miniatures, prints, sculpture and objets d'art, the institution's extensive holdings include masterpieces by many of the most celebrated figures in the history of western European art from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, including the most representative collection of historic Irish art. Funded by the State, the Gallery provides free access to its public 361 days a year.
The National Gallery is cognisant of the pace of modern society that is challenging Irish museums with new audiences emerging, the outcome of an improved economy, education and an increasingly mobile public searching for new experiences. The new awareness of the importance of tourism to Ireland is causing heritage institution like the Gallery to develop services in line with twenty-first century practices and in so doing to participate fully in the social, cultural and economic life of the country. Impacting on this is extra leisure time, the growth often active younger population, the expanding 'families' sector of the market and the desire, not alone of working people, but of older people, including grandparents, to make more worthwhile use of their free time.
The Gallery is responding to this by focusing on a visitor-centred approach that views the provision and display of a world class collection together with excellence of service and operation as the goal of the institution. It has absorbed interactive IT technology as an integral part of its operation. The institution provides access to a wide range of learning opportunities that enables those with abilities and disabilities to maximize the potential of the collections and services. As Ireland is becoming an increasingly multicultural society in which the make-up of the population is more culturally diverse than ever before, the Gallery is responding by providing an extended range of visitor services that takes into account the need for multilingual floor plans, information leaflets, audio guide support and a diversity of programming that caters to the wider needs of Irish society.
As the treasure house of an irreplaceable national and international cultural resource, the National Gallery of Ireland is in a prime position to "display, conserve, manage, interpret and develop the national collection, enhance enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts and enrich the cultural, artistic and intellectual life of present and future generations".