The buildings of Dublin Castle form two quadrangles called the Upper and Lower Yards.
THE UPPER YARD OF DUBLIN CASTEL
The Upper, 280 feet by 130, contains
- the lord-lieutenant's apartments, which occupy the whole of the south and part of the east sides;
- the council-chamber and offices connected with it;
- the apartments and offices of the chief secretary, and of several of the officers of the household;
- and the apartments of the master of the ceremonies, and of the aides de camp of the viceroy.
The entrance into this court is on the north side by a massive gateway towards the east end, ornamented by a figure of Justice above the arch; and towards the west end is a corresponding gateway, which is not used, ornamented by a figure of Fortitude; both by Van Nost.
The approach to the vice-regal apartments is under a colonnade on the south side, leading into a large hall, and thence by a fine staircase to the state apartments, containing the presence-chamber and the ballroom; in the former is the throne of gilt carved work, under a canopy of crimson velvet richly ornamented with gold lace; the latter, which, since the institution of the order of St. Patrick, has been called St. Patrick's Hall, has its walls decorated with paintings, and the ceiling, which is panelled in three compartments, has in the centre a full-length portrait of George III., supported by Liberty and Justice, with various allegorical devices.
Between the gateways, on the north side of the court, are the apartments of the dean of the chapel royal and the chamberlain, a range of building ornamented with Ionic columns rising from a rusticated basement and supporting a cornice and pediment, above which is the Bedford Tower, embellished with Corinthian pillars and surmounted by a lofty dome, from the summit of which the royal standard is displayed on days of state.
In the eastern side of the Upper Yard, is the council-chamber, a large but plain apartment, in which the lord-lieutenants are publicly sworn into office, and where the privy council holds its sittings.
- The privy council consists of the lord-primate, the lord-chancellor, the chief justices, and a number of prelates, noblemen, public functionaries, and others nominated by the King.
- This body exercises a judicial authority, especially in ecclesiastical matters, as a court of final resort, the duties of which are discharged by a committee selected from among the legal functionaries who are members of it.
THE LOWER YARD OF DUBLIN CASTLE
The Lower Yard is an irregular area, 250 feet long and 220 feet wide; in it are
- the treasury buildings, of antiquated style and rapidly decaying;
- the ordnance department, a modern brick building; and
- the office of the quartermaster-general,
- besides which are the stables, riding- house, and the official residence of the master of the horse.
To the east of the Record Tower is the Castle chapel, rebuilt at an expense of £42,000, principally after a design by Johnston, and opened in 1814; it is an elegant structure, in the later style of English architecture.
- The interior is lighted on each side by six windows of elegant design, enriched with tracery and embellished with stained glass: the east window, which is of large dimensions and of beautiful design, is of stained glass, representing our Saviour before Pilate, and the four Evangelists in compartments, with an exquisite group of Faith, Hope, and Charity; it was purchased on the continent and presented to the chapel by Lord Whitworth, during his vice-royalty.
SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)
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