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1884 – National Museum & Library, Kildare St., Dublin

Architect: T.N. Deane & Son

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Designed as part of the same scheme as the National Library, the building has recently being undergoing complete restoration inside and out. The elevation to Kildare Street is now cleaned and repaired showing the brilliance of the sandstone detailing. A much bigger building than the Library, its vast street frontage has a rhythm of large round headed windows illuminated the exhibit areas. The building suffers from having its secondary entrance and facade on Kildare Place obscured by a partition wall to the rear of Government Buildings. Like the Library, the corners of the building are expressed using pavilions to frame the composition.

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The interior of the building is very impressive with a large entrance hall rotunda and a magnificent central exhibition hall with decorative ironwork and impressive majolica door surrounds. The central gallery has a balcony level and impressive staircases. Originally the south facade onto Kildare Place was designed in the basis that Kildare Place would be eventually a larger public space.

Originally part of this scheme was the addition of a dramatic portico to the west front of Leinster House.

The building’s most impressive feature is the entrance rotunda. Internally this space leads up an impressive staircase to the magnificent reading room with its vast vaulted ceiling.

The exterior of the building is characterised by its array of columns and pilasters in the Corinthian Order and the rotunda with its open verandah and corner pavilions framing the composition. The Library has suffered over time with the original Mountcharles sandstone replaced after serious erosion.