The Water Colour Society of Ireland was founded in 1870 in Lismore, Co Waterford and in the following year held its first exhibition in the courthouse there.
From 1871 to 1890 further exhibtions were held at various locations but in 1891 they were moved permanently to Dublin.
The Society's present title was adopted in 1888.
The stated objective of the Society is :
"to promote and develop nationally the use and appreciation of watercolour and associated media among artists,
students and the general public."