The Hugh Lane Gallery serves as Dublin's museum of modern art and was the first of its kind in the world. It was founded in 1908 by none other than Hugh Lane, an Irish art dealer who died on the RMS Lusitania. The collection moved to the Charlemont House in 1933. This handsome dark grey Neo-classical mansion was built by famed Scottish architect Sir William Chambers.
Today the collection of the Hugh Lane Gallery numbers more than 2,000. The focus is on Irish artists, but famous foreigners represented include Rodin, Manet, Monet, and Degas. The Stained Glass Room is a unique look at the revived art of glass staining. Many Irish artists have dabbled in the medium. It's interesting to see Modernist stained glass, especially after the biblical scenes that you're sure to have seen in Ireland's historic churches.
The highlight of the Hugh Lane Gallery's collection is the Francis Bacon Studio. Born in 1909, Bacon was one of Ireland's greatest artists and a pioneer in 20th century art. His work is often grotesque and brutal. In 1998 his studio was painstakingly moved and reconstructed in the Gallery. The studio and accompanying video offers fascinating insight into Bacon's life and art, as well as several of his paintings.
The museum is worth a visit for the Francis Bacon Studio alone, but the entire collection is nothing to scoff at. Temporary exhibitions are often fascinating as well. Best of all, it's free. You can easily spend a few hours here. This is a must for any lover of art. There's also a cafe and bookstore, if you get hungry or want a souvenir.
Location: Charlemont House, Parnell Square North
Telephone: +353 01 222 5550
Hours: Open 10:00-18:00 Tuesday through Thursday; 10:00-17:00 Friday and Saturday; and 11:00-17:00 Sunday.
Admission: Free admission.