See & Do

Historic Houses & Castles

Government Buildings

The quadrangle of Government Buildings on Upper Merrion Street in Dublin City houses several key offices of the Government of Ireland. The foundation stone was laid on these Edwardian buildings on 28th April 1904 by King Edward VII. His son King George the V officially opened the building as the Royal College of Science on the 8th July 1911. The Architects were Sir Aston Webb and Thomas Manley Dean.

Modifications were completed in March 1922, and then occupied by the new Irish Free State government. It also housed part of University College Dublin (UCD) from 1926 to 1989.

In more recent times, the building has been converted and entirely refurbished to form modern accommodation for a number of departments including the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General.

Guided tours of Government Buildings normally take place every Saturday at 10.30, 11.30 and 13.00. Each tour is approximately 30-40 minutes long. Highlights are the Taoiseach's Office, The Circular Corridor and the wood-themed conference rooms where the governing occurs. The Ceremonial staircase leads up to a luminous stained glass window, designed by Evie Hone, 'My Four Green Fields'.

Tickets are free of charge and are available on the morning of the tours from the Clare Street entrance of the National Gallery (open at 9:15 am). Advance booking is not permitted. Please note that for security reasons the National Gallery cannot offer cloakroom facilities to those visiting Government Buildings.

Tours are liable to cancellation at short notice due to Government business. The number of Tours provided each Saturday may also be subject to change at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances, so please check in advance to avoid disappointment.

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