The OPW welcomes “OPW185” Exhibition to Rathfarnham Castle

1 November 16

On 15th October 1831 – 185 years ago – an Act of Parliament in Westminster established the Office of Public Works [OPW]. The Act was entitled Public Works [Ireland] Act, 1831 and was subtitled – An Act for the Extension and Promotion of Public Works in Ireland.

To mark this anniversary, the Office of Public Works has put together an exhibition that will be displayed at Rathfarnham Castle until 28th February 2017.

The OPW185 Exhibition attempts to demonstrate the breadth of public works and services carried out by generations of OPW staff over the 185 years. The range and breadth of this work includes the design, construction, maintenance and management of piers, harbours, roads, coast guard stations, schools, barracks, garda stations, housing, asylums, office accommodation, bridges, canals, courthouses, mines, quarries, prisons, railways, drainage, sewerage and water works and post offices. The work of the organisation also includes the provision of furniture and artworks, conserving and interpreting heritage sites, maintaining war graves, providing flood risk management and provision of visitor facilities.

A Timeline has been designed that is 18.5 metres long, which illustrates the Government Acts that have directed the work of the OPW; the main events in each decade; significant projects; the Chairmen of the Commissioners of Public Works and world events impacting on Ireland.

The items and artefacts exhibited were all proposed, submitted or loaned by OPW staff, both current and retired, following a process of staff engagement in June/July 2016. These items/artefacts have been categorized loosely in relation to the tasks involved, such as Drawing, Measuring, Conserving etc. Illustrated short stories/reminiscences of OPW staff are also included.

A catalogue of selected files held by the National Archives relating to the OPW has been lodged on the OPW website It is hoped that this exhibition will stimulate interest in the social history surrounding the provision of public works and the work of the OPW.

For more information, please contact OPW Press Office on 046 942 6517.


Notes to Editors:

Listing Information

Exhibition:           OPW185

Location:             Rathfarnham Castle, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14

Dates:                  Open until 28 February 2017

Times:                 Wednesday to Sunday & Public Holidays:      10.30 – 17.00

                            (last admission 16.15)



Admission is free.

Follow OPW @opwireland