The Hugh Lane Gallery, in Parnell square in Dublin, not only has a great history but an exciting new future, having recreated Francis Bacon's studio in situ, which is proving to be a great tourist attraction. It also contains the Lavery paintings which are not only very beautiful but a colourful and haunting portrayal of Irelands past history including a depiction of the assinated Michael Collins. Did you know it was that Johns Lavery's wife Hazel was the face of Ireland on the old Irish pound note?
Sir Hugh Lane was the nephew of Lady Gregory who along with William Butler Yeats led the revival in Irish at the turn of the century. Well connected he amassed a valuable collection of works of art from leading impressionists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir and Degas which he bequeathed to the Irish nation, who unfortunately lost some of them to London, due to ambiguities in his will, leading to possibly the longest courtcase in Ireland which is still ongoing and unlikely to be resolved in the near future......
However the Gallery has scored a major coup in acquiring the entire Reese Mews Studio of Francis Bacon which was generously donated by his sole heir Michael Edwards. Francis Bacon was born in Dublin but lived and worked in London. 7000 items from his Reese Mews including pieces of the wall he had wiped his paintbrushes on were moved transported here from London and faithfully reconstructed at the gallery. There is a current retrospective including many previously unseen works of his at the gallery celebrating his centenary. Which is not exactly my thing, I have a soft spot for tradition but one has to be open to innovation and admire the foresight in the Huge Lane gallery in staging it, it's well worth a visit and it's free!
10 other things to do and see in the area are.....
1 Visit the Writers Museum on Parnell Square.
2 Enjoy quiet time in the Garden of Remembrance.
3 See The Moving Crib, a very Dublin Christmas tradition celebrating 50 years in 2009.
4 Take a peak at the Rotunda Maternity Hospital.
5 Enjoy the banter in Moore Street Market.
6 Check out the shopping in the ILAC centre.
7 Wander up to the infamous Black Church.
8 Take a bus out to the Botanic Gardens.
9 Visit Glasnevin Cementry burial place of Irelands greatest.
10 Have a pint in the Gravediggers Arms.
For more information on things to do and see in Dublin visit www.irelands-hidden-gems.com
or download the free iPhone city guide My Dublin by Susan Byron