Interior of the Mansion House

The Oak Room

The Oak Room was built in 1715 as part of the purchase agreement with Joshua Dawson. As the name suggests, it is panelled entirely in oak, most of which is original, and the room is used today for civic receptions, exactly as intended when it was built over two hundred and eighty years ago. Each Lord Mayor adds his or her coat of arms to the walls of the Oak Room at the end of their term of office, beginning in 1841 with Daniel O'Connell. There are portraits on display here from Dublin City Council's civic collections.

On the wall behind the stage, is the man whose career was devoted to reversing the Act of Union and restoring the old Irish Parliament, Charles Stewart Parnell, founder of the Home Rule Party. This portrait was painted after Parnell's death and is an elegy for the Lost Leader, who is depicted at sunset with a ruined abbey and a Celtic Cross in the background, emphasizing the sense of bereavement and mourning.

The raised platform in front of Parnell's portrait is used for official ceremonies, such as the conferring of the Honorary Freedom of Dublin, and the modern lectern is of carved oak, with the Lord Mayor's official coat of arms on it. This is similar to the Dublin City Arms, insofar as it displays the Three Castles of Dublin on a shield. Flags are displayed on either side of the platform, usually the Irish and Dublin City flags, although the flag of the European Union may be displayed as appropriate.

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room is used both for informal and formal receptions. Most of the fittings and furnishings here are Victorian, including the chimney-piece and the panelled doors, which have cast composition figures of maidens and birds, the chandeliers and a pair of side-tables in the French style of Louis Quatorze.

One of the advantages of having large rooms in the Mansion House is that it allows us to display some of our fine collection of portraits. We have three splendid eighteenth century portraits in the drawing room, which were commissioned especially for the Mansion House. On the left of the fireplace is Viscount Townshend, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1767 to 1772. During his term of office, he secured the passage of the Octennial Act, which limited the duration of Irish Parliaments to eight years, ensuring regular elections.

On the right of the fireplace is a superb portrait of the Earl of Northumberland by the famous artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was the first President of the Royal Academy in London. Northumberland was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1763 and was very popular in this post, being renowned for his hospitality at Dublin Castle and in the Vice-Regal Lodge. After his return to England, Northumberland commissioned this portrait as a gift to the city of Dublin.

These two portraits are complemented by magnificent rococo frames, attributed to the important Dublin woodcarver, Richard Cranfield, who was the Master of the Guild of Carpenters. The frames are echoed by the mirror over the chimney-piece, with its neo-rococo frame, which is early 20th century, although the cast copper lamps on either side are Victorian. The handsome clock on the chimney-piece is by Michael Anderson of Dublin, who worked in Parliament Street between 1872 and 1927.

On the wall at the back of the room, we have a portrait of John Fane, who was the tenth Earl of Westmoreland and was appointed Lord Lieutenant in 1790. Westmoreland was a distinguished patron of architecture and is commemorated in the Dublin street which bears his name. His wife Sarah died during his term of office and she is commemorated by Sarah Bridge, which spans the River Liffey at Islandbridge. Westmoreland was recalled to London in 1795 and the Dublin City Assembly then requested him to present this portrait to the Mansion House.

The magnificent carpet in the Drawing Room is modern and was crafted in Connemara by V'soske Joyce, an Irish-Swedish firm whose work is displayed in embassies and palaces throughout the world.

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