Dublin Castle: Lower Courtyard

The Chapel Royal from the Lower Courtyard, Dublin. Although the history of the castle goes back to medieval times, the main reminder of this is the crenellated Record Tower towards the right here, which dates to about 1228. The key buildings speak largely of the centuries of British rule that followed, when Dublin was the seat of the government of Ireland. From 1560, when the castle became the Viceregal residence, it was the backdrop for all important state occasions.

The Chapel Royal itself was built in 1807-14, in "an elegant Perpendicular Gothic design with florid classical figurative ornament" (Casey 50), by Francis Johnston (1760-1829). An information plaque there explains that this "exceptional example" of early Gothic Revival architecture served as the King's Chapel in Ireland, and also that of the Viceroy and his workforce. Inside it has splendid oak galleries, and the stained glass windows show the coats of arms of the men who held Viceregal office, right up to the very last Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, FitzAlan-Howard, who held office from 1921-22.

Dublin Castle: Principal Courtyard

Left: Bedford Tower. Right: Entry to the State Apartments opposite.

In the Upper Castle Yard is Bedford Tower, or the "guard house and offices" built to the design of Arthur Jones Nevill (d.1771) and completed by Thomas Eyre (d.1772): "Its villa-like character is offset by the addition of a tall Jonesian tower, and by bold flanking rusticated arches of considerable style and aplomb" (Casey 32). Another information plaque explains that this was "occupied successively by the Dean of the Chapel Royal, the Second Secretary, the Master of Ceremonies and the Viceroy's aide-de-camps."

The state apartments opposite were where the Lord Lieutenants lived and entertained their guests, and they are still used for official engagements. Nevill was responsible for the neo-classical portico, which was rebuilt in 1826 (Casey 351), and has since been restored. As indicated above, the Castle remained the seat of government in Ireland all through the Victorian period and indeed until 1922 when this part of Ireland achieved independence.

Photographs, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on all the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


Casey, Christine. Dublin: The City between the Grand and Royal Canals. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005.

Dictionary of Irish Architects. Irish Architectural Archive. Web. 3 September 2018.

Created 27 August 2018