A Brief History
The famous conductor Sir John Barbaroli (1899 -1970) once said “good music will never be as popular as it could and deserves to be until a proper Concert Hall is built in Dublin”. In 1981 the long-standing dream of many Irish music lovers was realised when President Hillery opened the National Concert Hall on Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2 on the 9th September.
The renowned acoustics expert Dr. V. L. Jordan of Copenhagen oversaw the acoustic arrangement of the new concert hall. He is best known for his work at the Sydney Opera House, the New York Met, the New York State Theatre and concert halls in Oslo and Stockholm. The current organ was built and installed by Kenneth Jones & Associates of Bray, Co. Wicklow in 1991. It is housed in a renaissance-style organ case that is in sympathy with the architecture of the hall.
The chandelier which dominates the John Field Room, the second performance space available at the National Concert Hall is the largest ever designed and produced by Waterford Crystal and was installed in May 1985.
The history of Earlsfort Terrace, where The National Concert Hall is based, dates back to 1865 when it was originally known as the Exhibition Palace. The stone structure and glass and steel Winter Garden proved expensive to run and was later dismantled to be replaced by the Royal University of Ireland. In 1908 it was again replaced to become The National University of Ireland.
In 1970, when the university extended their departments to a new campus off-site, it was proposed that the Earlsfort Terrace site should be used to build The National Concert Hall. In 1974, the Government announced plans for the National Concert Hall to be located on Earlsfort Terrace and it opened its doors in that capacity on the 9th of September in 1981.