National Portrait Collection


The origins of the National Portrait Collection date back to 1875. Over the years the collection has been developed with additions of paintings, drawings, watercolours and sculpture depicting prominent Irish individuals who have contributed to the civic, social, and cultural life of the nation. Since 1998, generously supported by Irish Life & Permanent, the Collection has been enhanced by a series of commissioned portraits of prominent figures from contemporary Irish life. The annual Portrait Prize, launched in 2014, has further contributed to the growth of this significant collection.

New display

Kim Haughton (b. 1974), J.P. Donleavy, 2015. © Kim Haughton.

New Perspectives: Portraits

To complement our New Perspectives exhibition, a new display of portraits acquired over the past decade is on view in Room 23. This free display features familiar favourites, including Gareth Reid’s portrait of Graham Norton, as well as works on view for the first time, such as Jane Bowen’s portrait of Sinéad O’Connor.

Free entry, but visitors must book a free general admission ticket in advance.

New addition to the collection

Photographic diptych portrait of Edna O'Brien by Mandy O'Neill

Portrait of Edna O'Brien, by Mandy O'Neill

A new portrait commission by the winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize 2018.

Read more about this portrait

Enter the Zurich Portrait Prize 2021

Call for entries

Enter our annual portraiture competition before 23 June 2021.

Find out more