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Leinster House - Kildare Street, Dublin, Ireland
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 53° 20.447 W 006° 15.310
29U E 682733 N 5913693
Quick Description: Leinster House, since 1922, is the home of the Irish parliament - Oireachtas Éireann -, and owes its name to the Dukes of Leinster who used to live in the mansion.
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Date Posted: 12/7/2012 11:39:09 AM
Waymark Code: WMFW9T
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 4

Long Description:

The Tourist Information Dublin website tells us:

Leinster House ("Teach Laighean" in Irish) is the name of the building housing the Oireachtas, the national parliament of Ireland.

Leinster House, designed by Architect Richard Cassels, was first built in 1745–48 by James, Earl of Kildare. It was located on the unfashionable and isolated south side of the city, far from the main locations of aristocratic residences north of the Liffey. From the late eighteenth century Leinster House (then called Kildare House) was the Earl's official Dublin residence. When the Earl was made Duke of Leinster the house was renamed Leinster house.

In the history of aristocratic residences in Dublin, no other mansion matched Kildare House for its sheer size or status. Its first and second floors were used as the floor model for the White House by its Irish architect, while the house itself was used as a model for the original stone-cut White House exterior.

The 3rd Duke of Leinster sold Leinster House in 1815 to the Royal Dublin Society( the RDS). In the late 1800's, two new wings were added, to house the National Library of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland. The Natural History Museum was built on the site.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 provided for the creation of the Irish Free State and the Provisional Government sought a temporary venue for the meetings of the new Chamber of Deputies Dáil Éireann and the Senate Seanad Éireann.

Plans were made to turn Royal Hospital Kilmainham, an eighteenth century former soldiers' home in extensive parklands, into a full-time Parliament House. But it was still under the control of the British Army, and the new Governor-General of the Irish Free State was due to deliver the Speech from the Throne opening parliament within weeks, it was decided to hire the main RDS Lecture Theatre attached to Leinster House for use in December 1922 as a temporary Dáil chamber. The building was bought outright from the RDS in 1924.

A new Senate or Seanad chamber was created in Duke's old ballroom, while wings from the neighbouring Royal College of Science were taken over as used as Government Buildings.

The Oireachtas website also tells us:

The history of Leinster House - the building that now houses the National Parliament of Ireland - evolved in stages.

The house was originally known as Kildare House after James Fitzgerald, the Earl of Kildare, who commissioned it to be built between 1745-47: James Fitzgerald set out to create the stateliest of Dublin Georgian Mansions to reflect his eminent position in Irish society. It is told that the Earl had said that fashion would follow in whatever direction he led.  In succeeding, he caused an unfashionable area of the city to become a desirable one. On becoming the Duke of Leinster in 1776 (Dublin and Kildare are in the province of Leinster) the house was renamed Leinster House.

The designer of Leinster House was the architect Richard Cassels (or Castle), who was born in Hesse-Cassel in Germany about 1690. The design is characteristic of buildings of the period in Ireland and England. It has been claimed that it formed a model for the design of the White House, the residence of the President of the United States. This claim may have its origins in the career of James Hoban, who in 1792 won the competition for the design of the White House. He was an Irishman, born in Callan, County Kilkenny in 1762, and studied architecture in Dublin, and consequently, would have had an opportunity of studying the design of Leinster House.

Supporter of the United Irishmen, who advocated complete separation of Ireland from England, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, fifth son of the first Duke of Leinster, was arrested shortly before the insurrection of May 1798 and died of wounds received during his capture. No doubt it was beyond his wildest dreams that many years later the Irish Parliament would be located in his family home.

In 1815, Augustus Frederick, the third Duke of Leinster, sold the mansion to the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) for £10,000 and a yearly rent of £600 which was later redeemed. The purpose of the society was to improve the wretched conditions of the people.

Many important public institutions of the present day owe their origins to the RDS:

  • the National Botanic Gardens (Glasnevin),
  • the National College of Art and Design,
  • the Dublin Veterinary College,
  • the National Library,
  • the National Gallery,
  • and the National Museum.

The Society made extensive additions to the house, most notably the lecture theatre, later to become the Dáil Chamber.

A number of historic events took place in Leinster House. The first balloon ascent in Ireland was made in July 1783 by Richard Crosbie from Leinster Lawn. The Great Industrial Exhibition was opened on Leinster Lawn on 12 May 1853.

After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Government secured a part of Leinster House for parliamentary use. The entire building was acquired by the State in 1924.

Today, Leinster House is the seat of the two Houses of the Oireachtas (National Parliament), comprising Dáil Éireann (the House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate).

The purpose which it now serves may put off to some distant time the "unhappy day" referred to in the inscription on the foundation stone, which in translation from the original Latin reads:

The house,
of which this stone is the foundation,
James, twentieth Earl of Kildare,
caused to be erected in Molesworth's field,
in the year of our Lord 1747.
Hence learn, whenever, in some unhappy day,
you light on the ruins of so great a mansion,
of what worth he was who built it,
and how frail all things are,
when such memorials of such men cannot outlive misfortune.
By Richard Castle, Architect


Wikipedia Url: [Web Link]

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