The large size and fine fittings of the Royal exchange, with carved capitals by Simon Vierpyl, and plasterwork by the leading stuccodore Charles Thorpe, reflect the standing and prestige of Dublin in the 18th Century. The neo-classical building contains a central entrance hall or Rotunda, with a large dome supported by twelve columns which is surrounded by an ambulatory where the merchants strolled and discussed business meetings.
City government had originally been located in the mediæval Tholstel one quarter of a mile away, and before that on the Thingmount, where Suffolk Street now runs.
In the 1850s, the City Corporation bought the Royal Exchange and converted it for use by city government. The changes included partitions around the ambulatory, the construction of a new staircase from the Rotunda to the upper floors and the sub-division of the vaults for storage. On the 30th September 1852 the Royal Exchange was renamed City Hall at the first meeting of Dublin City Council held there. A series of frescos was later added, representing the regions of Ireland.
The building was restored to its eighteenth century appearance at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and Dublin City Council has won awards for the conservation of this historic building.
Most Dublin City Council staff are located in the relatively new and controversial Civic Offices, built on the site of a national monument, the Viking city foundations on Wood Quay.
Dublin Corporation itself was renamed in the early 2000s' as Dublin City Council, previously the name of the assembly of councillors only. Council meetings take place in City Hall.