Blazing a Trail For 200 Years: The Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts - The Gloss Magazine

Blazing a Trail For 200 Years: The Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts

Anyone with an interest in Irish art and culture should not miss The RHA Gallery’s bicentennial celebrations …

As the oldest artist-led visual arts organisation in Ireland, The Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts (RHA Gallery) on Dublin’s Ely Place is a familiar haunt for art lovers and enthusiasts, both amateur and professional. The world-renowned abstract painter, Sean Scully believes, “The RHA is the greatest space in Europe and I’ve seen them all.”

The RHA Gallery comprises state-of-the-art galleries, artist studios, a school, and meeting rooms for the membership of the Academy. Patrick T Murphy, the Director of the RHA Gallery, has not only overseen major exhibition programmes, but also managed the complete refurbishment of the building in Dublin’s Ely Place, which re-opened in 2009.

This year, he along with the organisation’s first female President Dr Abigail O’Brien PRHA are overseeing the gallery’s 200th birthday. This special milestone will be marked with a host of events which will provide an opportunity for visitors to engage with the gallery’s history and to celebrate its contributions to Irish art and culture.

“As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the RHA Gallery, we must remember that art is not just for the privileged few, but for all”, explains Abigail (pictured). “My vision for the gallery is to create a welcoming space that inspires and engages people from all walks of life. I hope to see more members of the public visiting the gallery, discovering new artists, and connecting with the power of art to enrich our lives and enhance our understanding of the world around us.”

One of the must-visit exhibitions is the RHA Annual Exhibition which opens on Monday, May 22. It’s Ireland’s largest and longest running open submission exhibition of visual arts, displaying paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography and architectural models, at a wide range of price points. Being selected for this exhibition is a huge opportunity for artists, (sales in excess of €550,000 were achieved in 2022) as the “RHA Annual” attracts a large public and critical audience and is a key event for collectors of all levels.

The RHA Annual is just one of a range of exciting and historic events programmed during this bicentennial year, which promises to be a highlight of the Irish cultural calendar. Other events include anniversary exhibitions, a specially commissioned book and a commemorative stamp by An Post.

Need to Know: The RHA Gallery, 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2, is open to all with no entry fee. After perusing artworks, why not visit its Margadh restaurant – perfect for lunch, dinner, wine and tasting menus. To see the full programme of bicentennial events visit

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