Category: The Four Courts Building

A Day in the Four Courts, 1890

From Irish Society (Dublin), 8 November 1890:



For those who cannot spare time for a corporeal visit to the Temple of Justice, let them come with me now in spirit, and I will be their guide, philosopher, and friend in an imaginary personally-conducted tour through the noble pile of buildings in Inns Quay, which forms the material home and domicile of Irish law.

Let us be at the courts by a quarter to eleven of the clock, and read more

The Four Courts as a Sightseeing Destination, 1816-1919

The interior of the Four Courts might not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of a tourist destination, but once upon a time it was unmissable for sightseers visiting Dublin. J & W Gregory’s ‘Picture of Dublin’ (1816) describes the ‘new’ Courts of Justice as ‘one grand pile of excellent architecture’ and the read more

The Dome(s) of the Four Courts, 1785-2020

The original Record Office designed for the Four Courts site by Thomas Cooley did not include a dome, but Cooley’s early death in 1784 coincided with an official decision to expand his design to include the Irish Four Courts, previously situate at Christchurch. His successor James Gandon achieved this by incorporating a central hall at the front of Cooley’s partly built pile, and crowning it with not one but two domes, one on top of the other, with a void between containing a large read more

Manager of Four Courts Coffee Room Prosecuted for Adulterating Spirits, 1921

From the Dublin Evening Telegraph, 7 April 1921:

Today in the Northern Police Court, before Mr Lupton KC, Mr John Barror, Coffee Room Bar, Four Courts, was summoned, at the suit of Mr Tannam, Inspector of Food, for having, on the 15th February last, sold him four glasses of whiskey adulterated by the addition of 4 percent of water.

Mr W J Sheridan, solicitor, for defendant, said he admitted the fact.  His client was totally unable to account for it.  He got his whisky from Jameson’s.  read more

No Palles: Health Crisis in Court 3, 1877

When cleaning out the cesspit below the Court of Exchequer in 1854, no one seems to have thought that it might refill even before future barristers conceived in that year had emerged from their chrysalis of devilling.

Certainly not Christopher Palles, when he took on the job of Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer at the ridiculously young age of 42. In 1874, everyone was more concerned with the general Liffey stench and, in any event, Palles was perfectly healthy.

The death of at least one previous read more

Letting off Steam: Heating Problems in Court 2, 1860

From the Irish Times, 17 January 1860:


Previous to the commencement of the business of the court, Mr Serjeant Fitzgibbon complained of the constant steam that was coming up from the pipes underneath the table close to which the gentlemen of the inner bar were obliged to stand. He declared it was equal to a warm bath, and was likely to be attended read more

Down by the (neglected) Four Courts Gardens, 1904

From the Freeman’s Journal, 2 December 1904:

“FOUR COURTS GARDENS: Sir – Having had occasion to visit the Four Courts I sauntered round the new buildings, and as I reached the rere opposite to the police offices I was forcibly struck with the neglect and apathy of the surroundings. Here there is a considerable extent of high, uncut, tufted grass, over which is scattered dirty papers etc. If these grass plots were, as they ought to be, kept as similar plots surrounding the read more

A Most Offensive Stench: Court 3, 1831-54

No one was ever quite sure what lay below the Four Courts, other than the following: the Dominican monks of the Priory of St Saviour’s were reputed to have installed an extensive network of subterranean passages, and a hidden river, the Bradogue, flowed underground from Constitution Hill to Ormond Quay, its exact route shrouded in mystery.

Whether due to this secret tributary, the smell of Anna Livia herself, or something awry in the sanitary arrangements, all four of the Four Courts were read more

Life-Threatening Law Library Lavatories, 1874

From the Freeman’s Journal, 18 June 1874:

“The life of a barrister practising in the Four Courts is imperilled by two distinct sets of circumstances. In the first place there is in summer the all-pervading Liffey stench. In the second place there is all the year round the noisesome den known as the Library. The Library is the place where barristers work up their cases, and it is also the place where it is understood that attorneys will find the barristers whom they want. During read more

Round Hall Ablutions Averted, 1808

From Saunders’s Newsletter, 22 October 1808:

“The alterations now making in the New Courts upon the Inns Quay, consist of raising the floor of the great hall up to the level of the platform at the great entrance, which has been somewhat lowered in order to meet the newly raised floor and by this alteration there will not be any descent from the great entrance into the hall, and the ascent from thence into each of the four courts will only be by two risers instead of five… read more