Dublin City Hall Mural

'Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf - 1014'

The frescoes at the base of the dome of the Rotunda in City Hall were painted by James Ward, between 1915 - 1919. He was the headmaster of the Metropolitan School which is now the National College of Art and Design.

The project was initiated by Ward, who approached the Dublin City Council in 1915 with an offer to decorate the original plain paneling under the dome. The project was opposed by Councilor Sarah Harrison, herself a distinguished artist, who said that the proposed decorations were not in keeping with the 18th century interior of City Hall. The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, however, advised the City Council to accept Ward's offer and work began on the frescoes in 1914. The project was completed by 1919, and to show its appreciation of Ward's services, the City Council voted him a grant of £550.

The frescoes were restored for Dublin Corporation by Matthew Moss in 1968.

The paintings have always been described as frescoes although, in fact they are murals as they were painted onto dry stone. They are also striking examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement as it found expression in Dublin at the time. The paintings represent scenes from the early history of Dublin from the Druidical Age to the episode of Lambert Simmel in 1487 AD. Each painting measures a little over 8 feet by 4 feet and there are 8 panels representing historical and legendary scenes and 4 containing the provincial coats of arms of Ireland.

Diane Dixon
Dublin City Hall Exhibition
Dublin City Hall

5:00 pm  Arrive UL