Stair Hall

Explore the story of some key moments in the history of Ireland that shaped the role of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Explore the story of some key moments in the history of Ireland that shaped the role of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

When

  • Open daily for castle tours

Ticketing information

Explore the Stair Hall as part of a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Stair Hall was constructed in 1797, originally shown as a spiral staircase in the designs created by the architect Matthew Furze.

The cantilevered stone stair is balanced by the weight of the wall above each step, and is supported by the step below it, making it look like the whole staircase floats.

The stone staircase leads up to the early 20th-century living quarters of the house, used by the Secretary of State and other important visitors, and the Royal Corridor.

Highlights of Stair Hall

Satirical prints and political cartoons

The current display of 18th and 19th-century prints includes depictions of important historical events including the Act of Union between England and Ireland, the Great Famine of the 1840s, and the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

French window

To the north a French window gives access to the courtyard. This is of the 19th century; however the threshold step would indicate it was built in 1797 to be a doorway.

It continues to be used as a luggage door, through which visitors’ cases and trunks can be discreetly carried in or out.

Portrait of Duke of Abercorn

Unionist Politician and soldier, James Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, was the first and longest serving Governor of Northern Ireland. He remained in post from 1922 until 1945 and turned down the offer of the governor generalship of Canada in 1931.

Abercorn presented this copy of a portrait by John A. A. Berrie to Hillsborough Castle in 1946. He was the last non-royal to be awarded the Order of Saint Patrick, and he is depicted wearing this honour along with the Order of the Garter.

Painting, 'James Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, 1st Governor of Northern Ireland', after John Archibald Alexander Berrie, oil painting.
Visitors enjoying the State Drawing Room in Hillsborough Castle. A young couple are in the foreground sat on a 2-seater sofa, seemingly enjoying the views around them. The rest of the group are spread around the room; a HRP Explainer stands in the background.
Things to see

Discover contemporary Irish art from the collection of HRH The Prince of Wales in this elegant family space.

Open daily for castle tours

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

A guide shows a group of visitors the Throne Room in the State Rooms at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Two red and gold thrones sit at one end of the room and the walls are lined with green silk damask and the walls are lined with historical artwork.
Tours and talks Things to see

Discover elegant State Rooms still used by the royal family on a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle.

Open daily

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Two young girls look at a replica of a diamond silver tiara on a red display pillow in a historic room.
Things to see

Explore this stylish setting for Georgian entertainment, where Her Majesty The Queen still hosts dinners.

Open daily for castle tours

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

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