Forgotten Stories

Once prominent in Irish life, the vicereines and their legacies are largely overlooked, but the faces of these women have now been afforded a place on the walls of Dublin Castle, writes Myles Campbell

Forgotten Stories

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Arts Lives and Exhibitions


Almost a century after the last viceroys of Ireland left the country, portraits of their wives, the vicereines, will be on display at Dublin Castle. Uncovering the stories of the women behind the paintings reveals activists, artists and advocates who touched almost every facet of Irish life – campaigning to develop hospitals, helping relieve poverty, and promoting artists and artisans are just some of the initiatives pioneered by the vicereines. In 1843, the serving viceroy of Ireland, Thomas, Earl de Grey, set out to create a gallery of portraits of his predecessors at Dublin Castle. Surveying that gallery more than twenty years later, Charles Dickens offered a judgement on the value of its collection. ‘A study of these portraits,’ he wrote, ‘is full of profit, and in these faces we might almost read the story of the government of the country. For here are clever, and weak, and cunning faces…

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