Culture & The Arts

Since our inception, King’s Inns has built up a significant cultural, heritage, legal and art collection of books, paintings, sculptures, fine art prints, manuscripts and other materials, some of which were donated and/or left in our care.

King’s Inns continues to invest in this area through many creative, cultural, conservation and restoration programmes we manage internally and externally with our neighbours on Henrietta Street, legal partners and the wider society.

Below is a selection of projects currently in place at King’s Inns. Please note, more information to be added to this page over the coming months. 

Creative Residency 

The Creative Residency is a new and exciting partnership that commenced in 2019 between King’s Inns and Dublin City Council Culture Company. Together, the programme seeks to sustain an artist in the creation of new work, rooted within King’s Inns and the extraordinary and historic environment of Henrietta Street, where both organisations are based. 

Through the residency, the selected artist will be encouraged to develop and explore the theme of art and law with reference to the King’s Inns and the residency should result in a creative response to be hosted by King’s Inns. 

More information about this project can be found here

Celebrating a Century 

This event series is spearheaded by King’s Inns with support from The Bar of Ireland, the Law Society of Ireland and the Irish Women Lawyers Association.

2019 is the centenary year of the enactment of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, 1919 which enabled women to join the legal, accountancy and veterinary professions, and also take up senior roles within the civil service for the first time. Over 100 years ago, in December 1919, the first piece of equal opportunities legislation entered the statute book.

‘Celebrating a Century’ is a commemoration programme that will recognise the impact this Act has had on society over the last 100 years and set the scene for the next generations. 

More details can be found here.

In Plain Sight 

Part of the Celebrating a Century series, King’s Inns in collaboration with The Bar of Ireland launched the joint ‘In Plain Sight’ Portraiture initiative in November 2021.

In Plain Sight seeks to celebrate the achievements and enhance the visibility of women in the field of law that demonstrated significant leadership, influence and contribution to legal practice and education.

We aim to achieve this by commissioning additional portraiture of female subjects that will hang in the buildings at The Bar of Ireland and King’s Inns, as appropriate, in plain sight.

Learn more about this initiative here.

Culture Night 

Culture Night is an annual all–island public event that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. On Culture Night, arts and cultural organisations and venues of all shapes and sizes, including the National Cultural Institutions, extend their opening hours to allow for increased access to the public. Special and unique events and workshops are specifically programmed at participating locations and everything is available free of charge.

Culture Night has grown from a relatively small scale cultural event staged only in Dublin in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is, with some 400,000 people visiting museums, galleries, historic houses, artists’ studios and cultural centres across the island. The initiative has captured both the public imagination and the enthusiasm of artists and cultural organisations.

King’s Inns is delighted to participate in this event by opening up the Dining Hall for free guided tours of our great Georgian building. King’s Inns also works with our neighbours on Henrietta Street and in the Grangegorman area to promote other events in our culture quarters.

More details about our Culture Night activities can be found here

Library Conservation Restoration Project  

Here at King’s Inns we are dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage placed in our care, which has been built up over the centuries. Among our collection are thousands of books, covering a range of subject matters, some dating as far back as the 14th century, in varying states of preservation. 

A lot of maintenance is involved in taking care of these books and the costs involved are considerable and ongoing. It would be easier and less expensive for us to send out our damaged books and replace the binding entirely using cheap, new materials. However this action would compromise the integrity and the historical context of the books, not to mention completely stripping them of their original aesthetic beauty. 

King’s Inns wishes to operate from a conservation standpoint. What this means is that we wish to restore books from our heritage collection using a conservation book binder. This specialised binding process ensures that wherever possible, as much of the original binding is kept and used, integrating it into any new binding elements required. 

Check out our Library Conservation Restoration pages for more details about this project. 

Print Series 

King’s Inns has featured in many great nineteen century prints as one of the iconic buildings of Dublin. In the modern era, The Honorable Society of King’s Inns has specially commissioned artists such as Robert Ballagh, David Evans, Stephen Woulfe Flanagan, Michael Craig and recently John Short to realise visual impressions of external and internal views of the Inns and the courtroom settings where some of our graduates work as practising Barristers, court officials and Judges. 

Details about our current Print Series by John Short can be found here

View available prints for sale here

Cover to Canvas Library Exhibition 

In early 2015, visual artists were invited to research and respond to our book collections and surroundings. Volumes rarely seen, written in many languages, covering a vast array of subjects. Spines, covers, paper, texts, illustrations, doors, shelves, architecture… The points of inspiration were countless and the result is as beautiful, eclectic and culturally diverse as the books themselves.

The artists immersed themselves in the research and their creativity flowed over the period of time they had to create their response to our library. Fourteen artists have created 22 unique pieces of art for our exhibition, ranging in disciplines from illustration to portraiture, photography to collage and textile, to name but a few.

Read more about the exhibition here