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State Drawing Room

An elegant family space, still used for private entertaining and relaxing

An elegant family space, still used for private entertaining and relaxing

The State Drawing Room dates from around 1810, but was rebuilt in 1936 after a devastating fire in 1934 that destroyed many parts of the original building.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement here in 1985.

The present decorative scheme is based on the inter-war feminine ideal of a country house drawing room, in colours favoured by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Contemporary works by Irish artists have been chosen for the walls, including paintings belonging to King Charles III.

The French windows offer a wonderful view over the Jubilee Parterre in the gardens.

When

Open weekends


Ticketing information


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

Buy Hillsborough Castle and Gardens tickets

Highlights of the State Drawing Room

Bust of Princess Elizabeth (1946)

This bust of Queen Elizabeth II as Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, is one of at least 14 royal portraits made by Sir William Reid Dick.

Reid Dick was a Scottish sculptor, known for his public monuments, notably the statue of Franklin D Roosevelt in Grosvenor Square, London, the tombs of George V and Queen Mary in St George’s chapel at Windsor, and the statue of Lady Godiva in Coventry.

Princess Elizabeth, who was aged 20 at the time, is presented wearing a v-neck collar dress and pearl necklace. A patina (a thin film of green) has formed on the bust as the bronze has reacted with oxygen.

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; an HRP Explainer stands in the background.

Late Summer on Yew Tree Walk (2024)

Emma Spence’s painting of the Yew Tree Walk at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens depicts a more formal landscape than what is usually portrayed in her work. Spence is a mixed media artist, who lives and works in Hillsborough and much of her inspiration comes from the rural landscape around her. 

However, typical of Spence’s style is her viewpoint in this painting which, set amid the foliage of the gardens, could be that of the gardener. Spence is interested in exploring agricultural identity and farming as a way of life handed down through generations yet grounded in one place.

A woman with blonde hair in a beige jumper looks up at a painting depicting garden foliage with a Yew tree lined path and part of Hillsborough Castle appearing in the background. The painting is hung in a white frame, on the wall of an ornately decorated room inside the castle containing lots of pieces of artwork.

Landscape I by His Majesty The King

His Majesty The King is a keen landscape watercolourist. Lithographs of his paintings are sold to raise money for the Prince of Wales Charity Foundation. His paintings are displayed in the State Drawing Room alongside contemporary works by Irish artists, including pieces from his own collection.

Ceremonial key

This key was used by King George V to open the Royal College of Science in Dublin on 8th July 1911. It is cast with a York rose for the King’s former royal title, the Duke of York, alongside the Royal Crest and a GVR monogram.

The State Drawing Room transformed

The State Drawing Room is one of the newly re-presented State Rooms that you can explore on your visit to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.

Watch as our team of experts restore the room to its former glory in this short film.

EXPLORE WHAT'S ON

  • Things to see

The Gardens

Discover the ornamental lawns, meandering waterways, peaceful woodlands and picturesque glens that surround Hillsborough Castle.

  • Wednesday - Sunday
  • 10:00-17:00. Last entry one hour before closing.
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in all admission tickets (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see
  • Families

The Imaginary Menagerie

Enjoy a day out discovering our interactive play trail - the Imaginary Menagerie.

  • In line with gardens opening hours
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in all admission tickets (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

State Dining Room

Explore this stylish setting for Georgian entertainment, where Queen Elizabeth II hosted dinners.

  • Open weekends
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)
Learn more

BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

The story of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

‘The Grandest House in County Down’

Art at Hillsborough Castle

Hillsborough Castle has become a place in which to see amazing art

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