Round Hall Ablutions Averted, 1808

From Saunders’s Newsletter, 22 October 1808:

“The alterations now making in the New Courts upon the Inns Quay, consist of raising the floor of the great hall up to the level of the platform at the great entrance, which has been somewhat lowered in order to meet the newly raised floor and by this alteration there will not be any descent from the great entrance into the hall, and the ascent from thence into each of the four courts will only be by two risers instead of five… the eastern and western extremes from the courts have been altered, and interior porches built to repel the great gust of wind which occasionally used to make its way into the great hall… of these alterations there have been various opinions commendations and objections but in our Law Courts a difference of opinion is always to be expected ‘for here’s the foundation of much litigation.‘”

It appears that the decision to raise the floor was caused by the publication earlier that year of Carr’s ‘The Stranger in Ireland’, which says of the original Round Hall:

“[T]he area at first conveyed to my mind the idea of an Imperial Roman bath, from which the water had been emptied.”

The above painting of the Baths of Caracalla shows the type of premises Carr must have been referring to. It looks quite charming in Italian light, but might be a little chilly in our perpetual Irish winter.

The speedy action of the Benchers served to pre-empt generations of Round Hall-related puns about ‘making a splash’, ‘cleaning up’ and ‘it’ll all come out in the wash.’ Not to mention the risk of some over-excited young members of the Bar filling the whole thing up as a joke!

Picture credit

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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