How to arrange a Tour of the Houses of the Oireachtas
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The history of Leinster House - the building that now houses the National Parliament of Ireland - evolved in stages.
In 1815, Augustus Frederick, the third Duke of Leinster, sold the mansion to the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) for £10,000 and a yearly rent of £600 which was later redeemed. The purpose of the society was to improve the wretched conditions of the people.
Many important public institutions of the present day owe their origins to the RDS:
The Society made extensive additions to the house, most notably the lecture theatre, later to become the Dáil Chamber.
A number of historic events took place in Leinster House. The first balloon ascent in Ireland was made in July 1783 by Richard Crosbie from Leinster Lawn. The Great Industrial Exhibition was opened on Leinster Lawn on 12 May 1853.
After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Government secured a part of Leinster House for parliamentary use. The entire building was acquired by the State in 1924.
Today, Leinster House is the seat of the two Houses of the Oireachtas (National Parliament), comprising Dáil Éireann (the House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate).
The purpose which it now serves may put off to some distant time the "unhappy day" referred to in the inscription on the foundation stone, which in translation from the original Latin reads:
Tithe an Oireachtas
See also Bibliographical Note.
* There is some evidence to suggest that the word "parliament" may have been in use as early as 1234-35, but the earliest known Irish parliament for which there is a definitive record met on 18 June 1264 at Castledermot, County Kildare.