The chapel has bits and pieces from many different areas, each given or commissioned very specifically. The inside is entirely plastered, with very intricate, beautiful details- there is a lot to look at. The stucco work was done by Michael Stapleton (u - 1844) a master stuccodore of the time. He was very well recognized, and the son of another important stuccodore, George Stapleton. He not only worked on the Chapel Royal, but also on buildings at Trinity College, who paid him regularly. He is even recorded as being a part of the "nobility and gentry" in 1829, after having been classified as part of the "merchants and traders" for most of his professional life. The carved wood is Irish oak, and was carved by Richard Stewart. Other pieces include an pipe organ (still working) which was given by Queen Victoria in 1861, and stained glass from France imported in 1813 by viceroy Lord Whitworth. The Chapel was quite lovely. It had a very peaceful feeling to it. The amount of detail all around is simply astounding. While it may not be as large and grand as some of the other places we saw, it still had the very quiet, thoughtful feel of the other churches, and the sheer amount of small detail made up for the small size.
Our tour guide, Miles, led us through the different rooms of the castle, most of which are various parlors for entertaining dignitaries. Like the Chapel, there is an amazing quantity of plaster molding all over the castle, especially on the ceilings, and bits and pieces imported from all over Ireland. The crystal chandeliers, which hang in nearly every room, are from Waterford, while the bright, handmade carpets were commissioned from Killybegs. The Portrait Gallery, home of the order of St. Partick, is home to the standards of all the families awarded this honor. Overall, this entire palace is full of symbols and pieces of Irish history. Nearly every bit of art and decoration in the castle has some message for the viewer, about Ireland or the relations between Ireland and Britain when they were created. I thought this was fascinating, as it is another example of extremely politicized art. Rulers have a long history of using works of art to send messages to their fellow politicians or subjects, and this building is no exception to the trend.
We then had the honor of being invited to the Fulbright Commissions Awards Reception, to honor the graduate students who had earned the Fulbright prizes. This took place at the Ambassador's residence in Phoenix Park, which is a gorgeous place. The food was good, the company was lovely, and location was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The evening was just lovely, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, while meeting some of the most influential people in the Fulbright organization.