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Jeanie Johnson

The Four Courts

Four Courts 2
The building got the name four courts because it originally housed the four courts of Chancery, Kings Bench, Exchequer and Common Pleas. Today these courts are numbered Court 1, Court 2, Court 3 and Court 4.

 At the hub of the building is the Round Hall, 64ft in diameter, with inner and outer domes and a surround of Corinthian columns. It was once described as "both the physical and spiritual centre of the building". 6 columns support the entrance of the building and above these columns are statues of Moses, Justice, Mercy, with Authority and Wisdom flanking them on either side.

 In 1932 a rebuild and remodel of the Four Courts was done after the building suffered extensive damage during the fighting of the Civil War in 1922. Two of the columns which had been destroyed were replaced with replicas cast in artificial stone and the dome, a prominent feature of Dublin's skyline was rebuilt using reinforced concrete. The 2 side wings also had to be rebuilt as they had been completely destroyed and with them 1000 years of records also destroyed. The wings were rebuilt away from the River Liffey to accommodate for the narrowing of the pavement outside. Some of the court and the decorative interior were never replaced as the Irish state did not have the money to finish it to the high standard it once was.

 Visitors are allowed to enter the buildings although there are many restricted areas. Commonly seen are barristers in their traditional outfits discussing matters of the courts and also members of the Gardaí waiting to escort their accused to court.

The Four Courts Map