The entrance hall of Iveagh House was created in 1866. It is approached through the Doric entrance portico, and this columnar theme is continued inside by two ionic screens which run across the width of the room.
The style of the room is Georgian, but no specific reference point has been chosen and decorative features of the early 1700s are mixed with ones from the 1750s and 1770s. Since the Office of Public Works took over maintenance of the building, the oak wall panelling has been painted to lighten the room.
Four 19th-century sculptures furnish the entrance hall, all purchased by Benjamin Lee Guinness at the Dublin Exhibition of 1865. To the right of the main door is The Letter, dated 1865, by Antonio Tantardini, a Milanese sculptor. At the opposite end of the room are two busts by the Roman sculptor G B Lombardi, on the left, Joy, dated 1864, and on the right, Modesty, a veiled bust, dated 1863. Opposite the main door is the most accomplished of the four subjects, The Sleeping Faun and Satyr by the American sculptress Harriet Hosmer. This was one of the most admired of the 1865 exhibits and its purchase price was £1,000.
The most interesting objects in the room are two wooden bas-relief
panels mounted on the inner wall. Though their frames date from
1866, they are the work of an 18th-century sculptor.
Two scenes from the Iliad are depicted, on the left King Priam of Troy, conducted by Hermes to the Myrmidon encampment, entreats Achilles to release the body of his slain son, Hector and on the right, 'In the Myrmidon encampment, Achilles, playing his lyre, and Patroclus, are approached by Aias and Odysseus '.
The provenance of the panels is mysterious. They may have formed part of the "...very fine high carving... " seen by Mrs Pendarves in the Bishop's first house in 1731. Or they may be fittings from the 1736 Richard Castle house - perhaps overmantels for twin fireplaces in the first floor saloon. If the latter is the case, they may have come from the workshop of John Houghton, a sculptor who worked frequently in Castle's retinue of craftsmen.