The four courts (Irish: Na Ceithre Cúirteanna [1] ) is Ireland’s main courts building located on the Inn’s Quay in Dublin. Four Courts is the site of the Supreme Court, denHigh Court and the Dublin Circuit Court. Until 2010 the building also housed the Central Criminal Court.

Building Gandon

The work is based on the design of Thomas Cooley for the Public Records Office of Ireland, began in 1776. After his death in 1784 renowned architect James Gandon was appointed to finish the building, which we recognize today as the Four Courts. It was built between 1786 and 1796, while the final touches to the arcade and wings was completed in 1802. [2] The countries have previously been used by the King’s Inns. The building originally housed the four courts of Chancery, King’s Bench, Exchequer and Common Pleas, hence the name of the building. A major revision of the judiciary in the late nineteenth century saw these courts merged into a new High Court of Ireland, but the building has retained its historical name. The judiciary remained until 1924, when the new Irish Free State introduced a new court structure, replacing the High Court of Ireland, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and Lord Chancellor of Ireland with a Supreme Court led by Chief Justice and the High Court of Justice, headed by President of the High Court.1961 words “justice” was dropped from the names of two courts in late reestablished a result of the adoption of the 1937 Constitution.

Four Courts in the 1916 Easter Rising

Four Courts and surrounding areas held by the Commandant Ned Daly 1st Battalion during the Easter Rising in 1916. Some of the most intense fighting of Easter Week took place in the Church Street / North King Street / North Brunswick Street area. At the end of the week Four Courts building became the headquarters of the 1st Battalion.

The destruction in the Civil War

On 14 April 1922 the courts complex was occupied by forces opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which is led by Rory O’Connor. On June 27, the new national army attacked the building to remove the rebels, on the orders of Defense Secretary Richard Mulcahy approved President Dáil Éireann Arthur Griffith. [3] This led to a week of fighting in Dublin. In the process of shelling the historic building was destroyed. The west wing of the building obliterated in a huge explosion, destroying the Irish Public Record Office at the rear of the building. Almost a thousand years of archives were destroyed by this.

O’Connor forces accused of mining records office, but those present, who included future Prime Minister Seán Lemass, said that although they had used the archive as a store of ammunition, they had not deliberately broken it. They suggest that the explosion was caused by an accidental detonation of munitions store during the fighting. [3]

Resume 1932

For a decade, the old judiciary (until 1924), then the new Free State court system, was based on the old Viceregal Apartments in Dublin Castle. In 1932, a rebuilt and remodeled Four Courts was opened. But much of the decorative interior of the original building had disappeared, and in the absence of documentary archives (some of whom had been in the Public Records Office and others who were among the large amount of legal records also lost), and also because the new State has not the funds were highly decorative interior is not replaced. Two side wings were built farther away from the river to undo the problems caused by too narrow paths outside the building. But this change, and the removal of chimney stacks, has removed some of the architectural unity and effect planned by Gandon in 1796.

In the early 1990s, when Chief Justice suggested building a new purpose-built building for the Supreme Court, while other courts on site . Currently, however, remains the highest court in the Four Courts.

Criminal Courts move

Prior to 2010, both civilian and serious attempts were heard in the Four Courts as also was the site of the Court of Criminal Appeal. With the opening of a new criminal courts complex in January 2010 – the Criminal Courts of Justice next to the Phoenix Park – all criminal cases were transferred there. [4] [5] The four courts remain in use for civil matters. [4] The Court of Criminal Appeal moved also to the new building, but it also sometimes sits in the Four Courts.

See also

  • The courts in Ireland
  • The law of Ireland


  1. Jump up ^ Michal Boleslav Mechura (10 December 2006). “Uimhreacha Na Gaeilge” (PDF) (in Irish). p. 12. Retrieved 19 May 2011. Original historical use of the plural form: the use of the singular form is a relatively new habit. Even in the early twentieth speakers century had the choice to use the plural form, too, and many relics of use seen in the current situation, in particular in its own name: na Ceithre Cuirteanna, for example, said, although na Ceithre Chuirt would be more accurate according to the current language rules .
  2. Jump up ^ Maurice Craig: Dublin 1660-1860, page 243
  3. ^ Jump up to: ab “Republic – the fight for Irish independence 1918 – 1923” Charles Townshend ISBN 978-0-141-03004-3
  4. ^ Jump up to: ab New order in court as € 140m legal ‘Pantheon’ opens doors, Dearbhail McDonald, Irish Independent, November 24, 2009
  5. Jump up ^ The first case set new criminal courts, Carol Coulter, The Irish Times November 24, 2009