The Four Courts

The Four Courts. This image appears in “Dublin Illustrated,” the magazine’s article on Ireland’s capital city. Source: The Graphic (17 August 1878): 176. Click on image to enlarge it.

Commentary from The Graphic

The noble building (or series of buildings) known as the “Four Courts” is situated, like the Custom House, on the quays. Like the Custom House, too, there is over the central portion of the structure an immense dome, light green in colour, which reminds one of an Eastern Mosque. The “Hall” beneath this dome, and from whence doors lead into the different Courts, is a scene of the greatest excitement during Term time — barristers, solicitors, and clients all carrying on their conferences while standing on the marble floor. The frontage of the Courts towards the river is exceedingly imposing. Solemn gateways, surmounted with the emblems of the Law, balustrades of stone running alon" the top of the walls, and Corinthian columns supporting the dome, all enhance the stately character of the architecture of this temple to Irish justice. The “Four Courts” were completed in the year of the Union, and cost 200,000 £. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Law Courts were removed from Dublin Castle, and there are records proving that at this time the Irish Bar, owing to the abolition of the Brehon Laws and the general insecurity of titles, had risen to great importance.

From the law reports that survive it would appear that the business of the Bar was well done. The age of Irish eloquence, the results ol a sterner time, had not arrived, but something of the purity and grace of style conspicuous in the works of Burke and Goldsmith had found its way into the Irish forum. In Henrietta Street, not a stone’s throw from the “Four Courts,” is situated the Irish School of Law, corresponding with the Temple in London, and known as the King's Inns.

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“Dublin Illustrated.” The Graphic (17 August 1878): 169-81. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of Illinois Library. Web. 14 August 2018.

Last modified 14 August 2018