THE NATIONAL GALLERY of Ireland is to undergo its most extensive refurbishment since it first opened in 1864.
An estimated 300 construction and specialist jobs will be created during the multi-million facelift, which will be completed over the next three years and will cost an estimated €20 million.
Minister for Arts, Hertiage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan said the extensive refurbishment will mean Ireland has a world-class national gallery by the end of 2015.
The majority of the funding is to come from the State with the remainder coming from the National Gallery.
In a statement, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin noted that the gallery will be fully reopened in pristine condition in time for the 1916 centenary.
State-of-the-art climate, heating, lighting and security systems will be installed and the Dargan and Milltown wings, which are considered the historic core of the gallery, will be completely refurbished.
Some spaces in the gallery which date back to the Victorian era and which have never been seen by the public are to be reopened.
Dr Olive Braden of the National Gallery of Ireland emphasised the importance of Ireland’s arts, saying:
Arts and cultural heritage are our greatest assets and an important natural resource of the Irish people. It is fitting that the fabric of these historic buildings be upgraded to world class gallery standards.