The Restoration and Reinstatement of Front Gate at Trinity

12 June 2014

A newly restored Front Gate has been reinstated this week at Trinity College Dublin.

The Front Gate was erected in the early 1870s as part of on-going refurbishment that took place in the College, replacing the original 1759 gates.

The gate is made of oak and has high relief, high fielded diamond shaped panelling that is very distinctive. It was originally constructed from European Oak with inner linings to panels that are constructed in pine.

The Front Gate was commonly referred to as the Great Gates in College documents, and formed the start of the principal ceremonial route in all formal and official occasions. This tradition has continued to the present day. While the small gate is opened for continuous pedestrian access during the day, the main gate is fully opened on ceremonial occasions and for visiting dignitaries such as the President of Ireland or visiting international heads of states.

Trinity’s Front Gate was severely damaged when struck by a car on the morning of April 2nd, 2014.

It was subsequently taken down by craftsmen from the Trinity College Buildings Maintenance Department and brought to the joinery workshops of Dunwoody & Dobson, specialist heritage building contractors.  There, matching timber was sourced and the damaged sections of framing and panels were repaired or replaced. The original door frames are being replaced with new oak posts re-made to the same design.  Repairs were modified to restore the gate as closely as possible to its original construction.


The surface finish of the remaining timber was stripped back to bare wood and the whole of the gate will be French polished to complete the process of restoration.

The supervision of the restoration was overseen by a combination of in house conservation expertise from both Trinity’s Estates and Facilities Department and the Conservation Architect Paul Arnold.

Front Gate was re-erected during this week by craftsmen from Messrs Dunwoody & Dobson. Thus the tradition that has existed of a timber gated entrance to the oldest College in Ireland will continue into the future. 

Media Contact

Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn, College Press Officer | | 01 896 2310 / 087 995 8014 (out of office hours)

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