The Role of Dublin Castle

7 Apr

            This weekend I visited Dublin Castle off of Dame Street. Until 1922 the castle had been the seat of British rule in Ireland. Although it no longer serves the British monarch, it is still a government complex, which is used for the inauguration of the president of Ireland. Standing since the time of King John and the first Lords of Ireland, most of what we see of the castle today is from the 18th century. The building was built by Meiler Fitzhenry as a defense at the order of King John of England in 1204. This was some time after the Normand invasion of Ireland around 1169. The orders were for a strong castle with thick walls and good ditches for the defense of the city and the King’s treasure.

            However, the role of the castle changed later on as a residential building for the rulers of Ireland. The Chief Secretary of Ireland, the second in command of the Dublin Castle administration, also had his office there. The castle also served as a meeting place for parliament and law court until other buildings were constructed as the venues for these groups. Lastly, it served as a military garrison. Then, in 1922 when the Free State was formed the castle served as the Four Courts, housing the Supreme Court, the High Court, and the Dublin Circuit Court, but was badly damaged during the Civil War.

            The castle’s role as the host of the president’s inauguration started with the first President of Ireland Douglas Hyde in 1938. It has hosted this ceremony every since. Dublin Castle is now also used for hosting official State visits. It also hosts more informal foreign affair engagements such as State Banquets, policy launches by the government, and also as a base for the European presidency that Ireland hosts approximately every 10 years.Image

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