Four Courts dome could host café after restoration

A senior architect with the Office of Public Works (OPW) has suggested opening the dome of Dublin’s Four Courts building to the public.

The OPW is currently in the process of restoring the historic dome of the 18th Century courthouse. The major restoration project is expected to finish in 2016.

John Cahill, senior architect of the OPW Architectural Conservation Service, has told The Irish Times that the large space inside the dome could be converted to hold an exhibition space or a café and restaurant.

Mr Cahill said: “I’ve suggested it might make a very interesting café, people could come up and get a view of Dublin. They could call it Above the Law and see how many people thought they were.”

He added: “It might actually be quite well-frequented.”

Pictured: Dublin’s Four Courts on fire during the Civil War

The courthouse dome is an iconic part of Dublin’s skyline which appeared on Irish banknotes before the introduction of the euro.

It was shattered during shelling in the Irish Civil War but later restored by T. J. Byrne, principal architect of the OPW at the time. The dome was rebuilt with reinforced concrete, which laser scanning shows is now being corroded by steel inside the dome.

Mr Cahill said: “The reconstructed dome was made from concrete, constructed in a single pour over 36 hours, and it’s that concrete that’s now giving us problems.”

The restoration project has cost more than €1 million so far.

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