Edwin Hayes was educated in the Dublin Society’s Schools, having grown up in Dublin also. He was greatly inspired by the quays and the docks of Dublin, which he happened to live next to.
In 1842, Hayes first exhibited his work at the Royal Hibernian Academy and then in 1855 at the Royal Academy for the next forty-nine years. In 1860, Edwin became an associate at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and then a member in 1863. He was eventually elected an associate of the RHA and a full member in 1871.