special evening & afternoon tours of National Gallery, Dublin, Thursdays evenings 23rd & 30th Oct.

Special unique Evening-time and afternoon, Tours of National Gallery,  1-2 Thursday evenings each month-  this “How to Read a Painting tour, called inspirational by many visitors,  is a highly accessible, fascinating and fun introduction to the great “mystery”  of reading subjects and symbols in Art.   We aim to make the things trained art historians think about, accessible and “user-friendly” to all.  The tour and tour features lively guided discussion.  It explores the supposed mysterious and arcane world of symbolism and iconography, but makes them available and accessible to all.

  Read more below the booking details, You can also see the many rave reviews on the TripAdvisor website.  Please note:  Dublin Decoded runs more like a “private” cultural walking club in the quieter off-peak months, although we still do one or two of these tours each month. So if you want to hear about the next scheduled (non-private)  How to Read a Painting Tour the best way is to join the monthly newsletter, alerting you when tours are going ahead.  Obviously, we’ll never share your information or email with anyone.  To subscribe to newsletter, go here.

Alternatively it’s possible to request this tour (indeed most of our tours)  for any pre-booked group.  This is a fun alternative to the theatre or dinner and we find, increasingly popular with our guests.  You may also find it surprisingly economical especially for any group of 5 people or more.   (€20 p/p and less for larger groups)   For those thinking of bringing a work group of colleagues, the discussion and visual “problem solving” element of the workshops make them ideal as team-builders, as well as a pleasure for our guests.

Note that our default dates for How to Read a Painting Tours is usually on Thursday evenings 6-8pm,   (Also available some Monday afternoons 2.15-4.15pm, by request, (or weekends by very special request)  Fees only €20 p/p, or €15 concession.  You don’t need any background in art or art history (that’s our job)   All are welcome, you can come solo or in a pair or group, and you can pay on arrival, but you must book ahead.


This popular workshop – How to Read a Painting-  aims to make the things trained art historians think about, accessible and user-friendly to all.  The tour and tour features lively discussion.  It explores symbolism and iconography, looks at both religious iconography and secular symbolism and explores in general how artists create meaning in art, using not just tokens and symbols, but also everything from light to landscape, from gesture to perspective.  You’ll never look at pictures the same way again.

Gabriel Metsu


Arran Art at NGI9 w Dublin Decoded

Arran Art at NGI14 w Dublin Decoded

Summary of key information again:  Tour available Thursday evenings  6-8pm:  Afternoon tours also available on occasion (both scheduled and available by request for groups on some Tuesdays afternoons also.   Tuesday tours run at the earlier time of 2.15 -4.30pm,   The fee per person is €20p/p.  The tour can also be booked for a custom, pre-booked group, such a school, language college, work  or book club social outing.    Just send an email to dublindecoded@gmail.com   stating numbers and preferred tour and preferred dates.  Thank you.

Arran Art at NGI11 w Dublin Decoded

Our blog Dublin Decoded Tours  has details of this tour & all our tours in general description.

You can also see notice of individual tour  dates for History, Art, Architecture, and sociable walking tours of Dublin announced on the Dublin Decoded Facebook page.

4 thoughts on “special evening & afternoon tours of National Gallery, Dublin, Thursdays evenings 23rd & 30th Oct.

  1. Arran is the best tourist guide you can have if you are in Dublin thanks to his deep knowledge of history, art, architecture… and nightlife!
    When my friends and me visited the National Gallery of Dublin led by Arran, he let us establish a feeling with paintings and painters because of the passion he put in illustrating the meaning of pictures, the message that authors intended to convey through them and his ability in describing the techniques and the effects made with light and colors.
    If you analyze paintings helped by Arran you can discover hidden meanings and find interesting details which you do not find if you look them by yourself.
    Arran is passionate about what he shows and you can understand it by the way he talks.
    Allowing tourists to discover Dubliners beauties is not only a job for him, it’s a vocation.
    Our guided tour was made great by all this!
    The secret to understand and appreciate the pictures even if you are not expert in the field?
    Observe every details and ask yourself simple questions!
    Thank you Arran and see you next time!!
    Milano – Italy

    • Hi Luca, I’m delighted you enjoyed the tour and that you got some useful ideas to take away from the whole experience. I’m also thrilled you remembered my idea about “asking ourselves “:simple questions” “, I think that’s a big part of building good habits when we look at Art, and part of the secret of beginning to build a deeper understanding, when we come face to face with some “mysterious” or difficult/obscure” masterpiece from the past.
      Anyway, thanks very much for all the kind words. Hope all is well back in Italy!
      -Arran – @ | Dublin Decoded. |

  2. People who live in big cities and lead a frenetic life, usually, have little time to stop to admire and to understand the art.
    That’s a pity.
    It’s very useful and comforting to meet a guide, like you, who can give us, in a short time, the first tools to approach this amazing world.
    Well done Arran!


    • Many thanks for your kind words Luca. I couldn’t agree with you more- as you say, our lives are so frantic these days it’s hard to find the time to stop, look, admire and enjoy the city around us. And that’s a shame of course. Not just because of what art and buildings can teach us about the past, but because we miss a lot of beauty also. :) However, I think I’m “preaching to the converted” here! as I sense a kindred spirit. :) Thanks again, for your kind and perceptive comment. Warm regards- Arran.

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