special Art tours of National Gallery of Ireland, Thursday evenings 6-8pm, available for pre-booked groups

Special Evening-time Tours of National Gallery of Ireland, in central Dublin  the unique How to Read a Painting tour,  is a highly accessible, fascinating  introduction, revealing some of the “mysteries” of reading ideas and symbols in old master paintings.

Gabriel Metsu

As the tour title suggests, we make aspects of paintings art historians are trained to think about accessible to non-specialists, giving you some key conceptual tools to know & understand more about art.


The tour features lively, guided discussion as it explores symbolism and iconography, (both religious iconography and secular symbolism)  and how artists create meaning in art- using not just tokens, allegory and symbols, but everything from light to landscape, and from gesture to perspective.  All our emphasis is on making these ideas accessible, enjoyable and fun.


Come and find out exactly why this tour is the subject of scores of rave reviews by visitors from Ireland and around the world. We think you’ll never look at pictures the same way again.


Summary of key information again:  We will resume public tours, open to all in the summer months.  But in the meanwhile, the tour is available to book by prior arrangement for pre-booked groups.

For those bringing a work group of colleagues, the discussion and visual “problem solving” elements of the workshops make them ideal as team-builders.   We’ve also entertained school and college groups, groups of friends from book clubs, tourists, writers, academics.  Across the board reviews means this tour has become among the highest-rated cultural activities on TripAdvisor’s Dublin listings.  

Practicalities:  arranging dates & fees. Once you have emailed and arranged a confirmed date with us: we meet Thursday evenings 5.55pm, and then tour from 6-8pm.  Meet point is inside the foyer inside the Claire Street entrance of the National Gallery of Ireland.  email us on dublindecoded@gmail.com to arrange a date for your group. Prices start at €100 for a private group tour.  (Our simple, transparent fee structure means €100 for the first 1-4 people and then €10 per/person thereafter.)

Arran Art at NGI14 w Dublin Decoded

If you want to hear about our other scheduled tours, (open to everyone) the best way is to join the monthly newsletter, alerting you when these tours go ahead.  Obviously, we’ll never share your information or email with anyone.  To subscribe to monthly newsletter, go here.

Info on booking any of our other 7 tours as a private custom tour:  All our tours can also be booked for a custom, pre-booked groups, such a school, language college, work  or book club social outing.   Unless extra admission costs apply  our fee structure is very simple, Prices are €100 for the first 1-5 people combined, then just €10 per/person after.    For those bringing a work group of colleagues, the discussion and visual “problem solving” elements of the workshops make them ideal as team-builders.

To inquire about a date, please send an email to dublindecoded@gmail.com  stating 1- the title of your preferred tour, 2- your approximate numbers, and 3- preferred date or dates.  Thank you.


You can see our many rave reviews on the TripAdvisor website.    Our website Dublin Decoded Tours  has details of this tour & all our tours in general description.

Arran Art at NGI11 w Dublin Decoded

4 thoughts on “special Art tours of National Gallery of Ireland, Thursday evenings 6-8pm, available for pre-booked groups

  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


    1. 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!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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.


If you've enjoyed the piece above, please leave a comment, love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s