The Founders
& Board of Trustees

The Founders

Ron McDonnell was the fourth generation of a family who were involved in the antique profession from the mid 19th Century.  Together with his wife, Doreen, he built up a successful Dublin based antique business, with a truly international reputation.  He was a true expert on the art and furniture of Ireland, particularly of the 18th Century.  Ron and Doreen were vitally interested in Ireland’s heritage and cultural patrimony and in its conservation and preservation. Ron died in April 1993 followed by his wife Doreen in August 1994.  Before her death, Doreen assigned the ownership of Tara’s Palace to the Trustees under a deed of Trust.  The Palace was dedicated to the children of Ireland and the celebration of the spirit of childhood and was to be used by the Trustees for charitable purposes for the benefit of the children of Ireland.

Tara’s Palace as seen today is the realization of the dream of Ron and Doreen McDonnell.  It combined three important elements of their lives.

  • Their knowledge and love of the antique as they were connoisseurs and dealers of long standing
  • Their interest in 18th Century architecture, art and conservation in which they had given generously to many projects and particularly Malahide Castle.
  • Their lifelong personal devotion to charity and particularly to helping children and creating opportunity for the less fortunate in our society.

As a result of the founding generosity and vision of Ron and Doreen Mc Donnell Tara’s Palace is now a permanent resource dedicated to supporting, entertaining and delighting generations of children as their legacy to children’s charities.

The Trustees

The board of Trustees were originally invited to accept trusteeship by Ron and Doreen Mc Donnell.  Since then the original board have co-opted or replaced Trustees as necessary to maintain an active board of 8 to 10 members.  All the Trustees are volunteers and serve without remuneration or fees.


* Founding Trustee

Honorary President – Jane Williams* (Offaly and Dublin)
Chairman – Matt Mc Nulty* (Donegal & Dublin)
Vice Chairman – Cedric Christie (Dublin)
Secretary – Mary Mehigan * (Dublin)
Treasurer – Jenny Johnston (Dublin)


* Founding Trustee

The Hon. Desmond Guinness* (Kildare)
Ms Anne Matthews (Meath & Dublin)
Ms Kathleen Watkins* (Dublin & Donegal)
Mrs Cottie O Reilly* (London and Cork)
Mr Tony O Rourke
Mrs Marie Henry

Former Trustees

* Founding Trustee
Ron and Doreen Mc Donnell* (decd.)
Jack Bennett* (decd.)
Dr. James White* (decd.)
Daithi Hanly* (decd.)


Of Interest

Model Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

One of the world’s rarest and most sought after cars, a Testa Rossa (not this one!), was sold at auction in August 2011 for $16.4m. This model by Burago is 1:18 scale. Exhibition

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A pair of blue and white vases from the time of K’ang-hsi, emperor of China 1654-1722, Tara’s Palace. 

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Christmas Miniatures

Our Miniature Christmas Shop made by Dolls Houses at Blackrock    

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Ivory Miniatures

The Ivory Room in Tara’s Palace features miniature antique ivory furniture from Goa in India and some pieces made by French prisoners of war in the Napoleonic period.

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Come and See for yourself the limited edition miniature Gullivers Travels on display in the Tara’s Palace Library.

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The Smallest Doll in the World

The doll itself measures about 1.3cm in height. The arms and legs are jointed and moveable.  

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Come and See the latest additions to the Tara’s Palace Library.  

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