RHA Gallery, original home

This plaque marks the site of the original home of the Royal Hibernian Academy, at 35 Abbey Street.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

The RHA was founded in August 1823 and from 1825 to 1916 had its home at 35 Abbey Street. The building was designed by the architect Francis Johnson, the second President of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

As architect to the Board of Works from 1805, Francis Johnson worked on several of Dublin’s major public buildings, including the Chapel Royal and Record Tower in Dublin Castle, the vice-regal lodge (now Arás an Uachtárain) in the Phoenix Park, and the GPO and Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street.

Johnson was a great support of the Academy and designed and paid for the gallery building himself; it cost around £15,000. He laid the first stone in a ceremony on 29 April 1824, and the first annual exhibition opened in the gallery on 23 April 1826.

Built in the neo-Classical style as a four-bay, three-storey building, the building was destroyed in 1916 but the front façade was retained and largely rebuilt around 1920. For many years it was the premises of CIE Travel.

The plaque was unveiled by Cllr Vincent Jackson and the President of the RHA, Dr Abigail O’Brien, on 6 October 2023.