Pictured here is the Four Courts situated on Inns Quay overlooking the River Liffey in North Central Dublin. It would be one of Dublin's most iconic buildings with its unique drum and shallow dome a noticeable part of the city skyline from many places.
The building is Irelands main court house, being home to the Dublin circuit court, the high court and the Supreme court. It was also home to the central criminal court until 2010 when a new criminal court was built in nearby Parkgate street.
The original designs of this building were by Thomas Cooley who designed it as the Public Records office of Ireland. After his death, the work passed to James Gandon, and the four courts is considered one of Gandon's greatest projects in the city, along with the Customs House and the Kings Inns.
Constructed between 1776 and 1786, its Neoclassical design has long been a much loved architectural icon in Dublin's landscape. When built the complex contained the courts of Chancery, King's Bench, Exchequer and Common Pleas which gave rise to the name of the Four Courts, but even though the courts system in Ireland has changed a number of times since, the name has remained.
The most eye catching element of the building is the central drum and shallow dome which is visible from many areas of the city center and is very prominent from many angles as you look down the river Liffey. At 64 feet wide, it is easy to spot and even featured on the old Irish 20 punt note before the introduction of the euro.
Before the dome stands an impressive portico with Corinthian columns. Standing atop this are three sculptures. Moses in the center with Mercy and Wisdom standing on either side. These sculptures are by Edward Smyth.
Like many of Dublin's finest buildings, the Four Courts saw great destruction due to the ravages of war. In 1922 the Irish civil war struck after the signing of the Anglo Irish agreement in 1921. This caused a split in the Irish Nationalist movement and those that opposed it took the four courts as their military headquarters in April of the following year. It became the HQ for those known as the rebels.
The Irish army began the bombardment of the courts on June 28th, and this marked the onset of the Irish civil war. The ensuing fires and artillery attacks on the building all but destroyed Gandon's original structure and it was essentially demolished. The worst loss incurred was that of the Records office housed here, and it is said that during the devastation, irreplaceable records of Irish history rained down on surrounding streets, still smoldering from the fires.
The drum however did survive and a team of architects spent 10 years rebuilding the iconic building. The Corinthian columns surrounding the drum had been shattered in the onslaught. It was found that because they stood independent of the dome and had been carved on all sides that they could be removed and rotated so that the damaged parts faced inwards, exposing to street view the still finely carved details from what was the back of them. The dome was rebuilt using cast concrete.
Although what we see from the outside today is perfectly true to Gandon's original designs, the interior of the building is what suffered most. Numerous statues and carvings of judges and famous lawyers were lost forever, and the detailed stucco work inside the dome has never been replaced.
Despite its violent history, the building still stands today as one of the finest on the River Liffey and is one well loved by Dubliners and visitors alike.
Some features of the building are very specific to Gandons work, and feature in many of his great buildings. Like the Customs House and the Kings Inns, the building features a dome, and blind arch windows. All were originally built facing water too, although the canal lock facing the Kings Inn has since been filled in and become a park.
Thanks for looking!
Critiques | Translate
cornejo (43007) 2013-12-23 9:46
Hi Noel, very good photograph of this beautiful and interesting winter view of this part of the city near the river, beautifully captured in this beautiful image with good sharpness, depth, light and color. Very good and interesting job well done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Good night and happy week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
rigoletto (34279) 2013-12-23 10:13
hi noel. i had read from the scripts in malgo's version, it is impossible to make a frontal view of this building, as there is a high wall over there. nevertheless, i like this diagonal perspective, giving a good depth. the top of the structure is interesting: it looks like a huge sphere sitting on stonehenge :P
carlo62 (49299) 2013-12-23 11:27
bellissimo lungo fiume, belle le architetture che si affacciano sull'acqua con le leggere sfumature dei riflessi.
Mi sto innamorando di questa città, dovrò visitarla un giorno.
SnapRJW (31629) 2013-12-23 11:40
Hello Noel - I am all behind with my critiquing so please forgive me for skipping straight to this one. My compliments on the quality here. I'm looking at it on the beta version and the detailing is quite fantastic. An excellent time of year to take this shot as the leafless trees tone in beautifully with the stonework and we can see through the delicate branches quite well. Lovely soft light and a fine composition and a shot to be proud of.
We both send our warmest wishes to you and yours for Christmas. Rosemary
fabbs99 (17167) 2013-12-23 19:48
Spectacular view of the The Four Courts on the Liffey . Nice image, sharp with good details, well saturated colors and nice composition. Well done.TFS.
Corry (4508) 2013-12-23 20:30
Une très belle perspective sur ces bâtiments et son énorme coupole avec une belle lumière qui éclaire sa façade. La rivière donne de la profondeur à l'image. Bien fait.
delpeoples (58356) 2013-12-23 22:38
Gidday dear Noel
Just aswell that I saw this as I was about to post almost the exact same POV in B&W (only exception being that as a short-a*se you can see the concrete wall running along the river ;)). And this one puts mine to shame. Again the slight bokeh effect gives this a really artistic bent, the colours are magnificent and the lack of leaves on the trees in front of the Four Court give us a much better view of the architecture. The depth of field is superb, again detailing the bridge nicely in the far right.
I've already wishes you a happy Christmas, so won't over do it, suffice to say that I hope Santy gives you something nice for your camera bag.
Slainte, buon natale, nollaig shona
jjcordier (79297) 2013-12-23 22:46
Une fois encore, un remarquable ensemble note-photo, parfaitement dans l'esprit de TE.
Bonnes fêtes de fin d'année.
krzychu30 (15512) 2013-12-24 0:10
the building looks really impressive when it comes to its size and beautiful when it comes to its architecture.
Probably it´s one of just few POV´s to capture it in whole its glory.Well done my friend!The river in the FG makes lovely scenery for the Four Courts building.
Wish You a Merry Christmas!
Subhogen (4067) 2013-12-24 1:49
What a setting for these old age architectural beauties.
Very good composition and well chosen POV to take this photo.
Magnificent architecture and location, I simple love it. You are correct the dome is the most beautiful part and it acts as an attractive focal point in your photo. Sad to hear the structure has faced such devastation but happy to read about the restoration efforts and the fact that it is still standing. Good inclusion of the bridge it adds to the old world mood of the photo. Excellent natural colors and clarity. Shared with such an informative note tracing the building from its origin to present times makes the photo all the more enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.
ourania (46364) 2013-12-24 2:11
a wonderful sweeping perspective that carries so much interest for the viewer. The architecture unfolds in a very attractive way, details and textures offer a fine impression of vividness. The light and the colours have exquisite quality. The atmosphere is romantic and delightful. I really like that I now know this important building from various points of view, its aspect and history have become so familiar. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a very Merry Christmas,
snunney (100154) 2013-12-24 2:24
What a splendid riverside perspective with the court building rightly given pride of place at the forefront. The light is very appealing bringing out the colours and detail in the architecture to great effect. Ideal sharpness.
pajaran (61268) 2013-12-24 2:28
Interesantan i dobar tekst o staroj arhitekturi ...
Dobra kompozicija i perspektiva, lepa panorama.
Dobar rad, lepo pokazano mesto i arhitektura, lepe boje.
Lep trenutak sa svetlom koje je istaklo lepotu arhitekture.
Imajte lep i uspesan dan, sve najbolje.
An interesting and good article on the old architecture ...
Good composition and perspective, beautiful panorama.
Good work, nice place and demonstrated architecture, beautiful colors.
A nice moment with the light that is pointed out the beauty of the architecture.
Have a nice and successful day, all the best.
aleXundar (1256) 2013-12-24 2:53
It is just spectacular! The diagonal created by the buildings in midst of blues, is wonderful. Great pov with excellent details.
Wishing you a very happy Christmas,
photoray (13981) 2013-12-24 7:05
Very appealing panorama view of the Four Courts next to the rippling Liffey and distant arch bridge.
The architecture is impressive Romanesque from the romantic period, especially the central drum and ornate columns.
The timing of the seasons helps also, with the trees leafless to reveal the architectural details.
Warm regards and Cheers,
npecanhuk (75502) 2013-12-24 15:03
Hi! Very attractive urban environment and truly beautiful picture, with excellent sharpness, exposure, colors, horizontal format, chosen pov and composition! TFS! Merry Christmas! Neyvan
omid266 (6746) 2013-12-25 7:20
سلام نوئل عزیز
بسیار عالی بود
Salam Noel ,
Very well done !
All is OK in this foto ,
Good Luck !
Happy your Christmas ***
Omid ^ I.R.I
Miguel82 (27646) 2013-12-26 8:21
A wonderful shot, the four courts nearby Liffey river in North central Dublin, excellent resolution, good dof and pov, a remarkable monument, thanks, have a nice day
- Copyright: Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) (31464)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-12-21
- Categories: Daily Life, Ceremony, Architecture, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 60D
- Exposure: f/9.0, 1/80 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2013-12-23 9:07