Leinster House

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Leinster House
Meeting room of the Dáil
Merrion Square

Leinster House ( Irish Teach Laighean ) is the former ducal palace in Dublin , where the parliament of the Irish Republic (then still the Irish Free State ) has met since 1922 . Until 1922, the Leinster House was the meeting place for the Royal Dublin Society . The Dublin Spring Show and the Dublin Horse Show were held on the property of the house towards Merrion Square.

In the late 18th century, the Leinster House (then called Kildare House ) was the official town residence of the Earl of Kildare (namely the Fitzgerald family). He had it built from 1745 to 1748 - on purpose - on the "simpler" south side of the river, while the rest of the aristocracy owned houses in the northern part (especially on Parnell Square and Mountjoy Square) of the city. As the Earl had foreseen, in the decades that followed, Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square south of the River Liffey became the preferred residential area of ​​the aristocrats, who sold most of their more northerly homes, which eventually decayed and ended up as slums.

No other aristocratic building in Dublin could match the Leinster House in terms of size and furnishings. When the Earl got the title Duke of Leinster , the house got its current name. The first two floors of the Leinster House served as the template for the floors and the house itself for the stone exterior of the White House in Washington, DC

Due to the Act of Union , Dublin lost its own parliament and many aristocrats sold their houses in the city to move to London . The Duke of Leinster then sold the Leinster House to the Royal Dublin Society. Two new wings were added towards the end of the 19th century to house the National Library of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty gave Ireland again an official government of its own, that of the Irish Free State. The provisional government under WT Cosgrave was now looking for a temporary meeting place where the meetings of the upper and lower houses could take place. Initial plans were for the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham , but this was still under the rule of the British Army. Since the withdrawal of the army could not be realized within the available time of a few weeks, it was decided in December 1922 to rent the lecture hall of the Royal Dublin Society in Leinster House temporarily for the meetings of the lower house .

In 1924 the plan to convert the Royal Hospital into a parliament building was abandoned due to financial problems. Instead, Leinster House was bought, which was to be expanded in the future. The Senate (upper house) was housed in the ballroom and other wings of the neighboring Royal College of Science were used as government buildings. The remainder of the Royal College of Science building was completely taken over in 1990 - at that time it had already been merged with University College Dublin - and converted into a modern government building. Both the National Library and the National Museum are still in wings of the Leinster House that are not connected to the government complex. Although there were repeated plans to build a new parliament building (e.g. in Phoenix Park or the Custom House ), the government stayed in Leinster House to this day.

In 2000, additional extensions were completed to create enough work space for the 166 members of the lower house, the 60 members of the Senate, the press and other staff.

A number of monuments stand (or stood) around Leinster House. The front of Kildare Street was originally dominated by a large statue of Queen Victoria , built in 1904. The statue was removed in 1947 and rebuilt in Sydney in the 1990s . On the side facing Merrion Square is a triangular monument with three main characters of Irish independence: Arthur Griffith , Michael Collins and Kevin O'Higgins . Another statue honors Prince Albert , husband of Queen Victoria, who held his major Irish exhibition on the property in the 1850s.

Web links

Commons : Leinster House  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

This text is based in part on a translation of the article w: en: Leinster House from the English Wikipedia, version dated August 1, 2005.

Coordinates: 53 ° 20 ′ 26 ″  N , 6 ° 15 ′ 15 ″  W.