The Mansion House is one of the oldest and historically most significant buildings in Dublin city. It’s one of the top 10 historical Dublin places.It has been the home for the Lord Mayor since 1715, and since its construction over 3 centuries ago, the Mansion House has seen a lot of political changes, times of turmoil and times of prosperity. Many notable figures have graced the rooms here with their presence.
This small but majestic house is located on Dawson Street in the heart of Dublin. This mansion is a popular spot for tourists and quite a few citywide tour plans include this site in their itinerary. Here are some significant facts about the town house. A visit to this mansion should be among your list of things to do in Dublin because of its significance to the town and to the people of Ireland. It is always a wonderful experience to explore a building that has been around for centuries, and the Mansion House is the perfect example of such a construction. It has out-survived all the singular residential buildings of its time.
The Highlights of Mansion House
Perhaps the most iconic thing about the Mansion House is the famed Round Room. This round room is the historic chamber where the first Dail of Ireland assembled on 21 January, 1919. This is a historic occasion for the Irish people, so much so, that the even was commemorated on its fiftieth anniversary, on 1969, when another joint session was conducted in the same room. This event was addressed by the President of Ireland of that time. Visiting this house is certainly one of the best things to do in Dublin.
History of Mansion House
There are countless pieces of art depicting various occasions and events being held in the Mansion House. The house was built by Joshua Dawson in 1710. He was a wealthy merchant, after whose name, later the street was named as well. After five years of its construction, the house was purchased by Dublin Corporation. It has ever since then assigned as the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. The house has been the center of a lot of turmoil as recently as 2006, when the loyalist paramilitary threatened the entire Dublin population by announcing that they had planted a bomb in the Mansion House, followed by thorough search of the house and its many halls.
The Council had actually bought the house for about £3,500, which is the equivalent of about half a million euros today. Before the house was purchased and designated as the Mayor’s mansion, mayors would be given an annual allowance of one hundred pounds to rent a house for entertaining. The purchase was conducted in a very peculiar manner: as the Dublin Corporation included 40 shillings as an annual rent. There was also an agreement that they would, at Christmas, provide Joshua Dawson with two fat capons, which are male hens as well as a loaf of double-refined sugar weighing six pounds. The bargain was struck when Dawson agreed that a reception room would be constructed. This room would later be known as Oak Room and it would house coat of arms of all the mayors.
There are some very significant reasons why the Mansion House is significant
- It is the only mayoral residence in Ireland that is still being used for the purpose it was built to fulfill. All other Irish mayor houses are now being used for other purposes. Some have evolved into museums while some other buildings have fallen.
- It is the oldest mayoral residence in Ireland, and Britain combined. The mayor residence of Britain is also very old, but the establishment of Mansion House predates it by fifteen years.
- It is the oldest house in Dublin that is free-standing. It has not only survived the trials of time, but the building is still in good condition. It is not showing any signs of degradation and it is being maintained in very good conditions.
- The Round Room is by itself, an iconic place for Irish history because it was the site for the inaugural meeting of Dail Eireann in 1919.
- The Oak Room is a room lined with oak wood panels, and top of those panels, the oak room contains the coats of arms of all the Lord Mayors of Dublin. Every new Lord Mayor would install his coat of arms until Daniel O’Connell who became mayor in 1841. He was also the first Roman Catholic lord mayor of Dublin.
- Architecture: The design of this house is in lieu with quite a few buildings which were actually built later. The choice of a Baroque design with a forecourt, and the classical theme of façade was made by Joshua Dawson himself. It is speculated that this choice of design themes possibly even modelled the Buckingham Palace.
- The Mansion House has hosted some great personalities over the years. Some of the most prominent include Mother Teresa and even the band U2. Who, according to Mayor Christy Burke, have actually visited the Mansion House more than once. Back in 1976, the house also hosted the Manchester Utd football team.
- The artwork of the Mansion House is also significant. There is not only the collection of coat of arms in the Oak Room, but there is a large collection of portraits of previous mayors, and some prominent Earls and Dukes on display all over the house.
Mansion House Tours
As part of the 300 year celebrations The Mansion House are opening for guided tours on the last Saturday of the summer months with tours on the hour from 14:00 to 17:00. These tours will take place on:
- Saturday 30th May
- Saturday 27th June
- Saturday 25th July
- Saturday 29th August
- Saturday 26th September