Saturday, July 13, 2013
Dublin Castle off Dame Street, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, was until 1922 the seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171–1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800–1922). After the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, the complex was ceremonially handed over to the newly formed Provisional Government led by Michael Collins. Dublin Castle fulfilled a number of roles through its history. Originally built as a defensive fortification for the Norman city of Dublin, it later evolved into a royal residence, resided in by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland or Viceroy of Ireland, the representative of the monarch. The second in command in the Dublin Castle administration, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, also had his offices there. Over the years parliament and law courts met at the castle before moving to new purpose-built venues. It also served as a military garrison. Upon formation of the Free State in 1922, the castle assumed for a decade the role of the Four Courts on the Liffey quays which had been badly damaged during the Civil War. It was decided in 1938 that the inauguration of the first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde would take place in the castle, and the complex has been host to this ceremony ever since. The castle is also used for hosting official State visits as well as more informal foreign affairs engagements, State banquets, and Government policy launches, as well as acting as the central base for Ireland's hosting of the European Presidency approximately every 10 years [most recently January - June 2013].
It is more than six months since I last visited Dublin Castle and I was a bit surprised by the fact that the lower castle yard looked different. Wednesday 19th December PRESS RELEASE Minister of State Brian Hayes TD today officially announced the completion of the 'Printworks Conference Centre' in the Stamping Building, Dublin Castle. This building was previously occupied by the Mahon Tribunal and has been refurbished to act as a major conference space for use during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU in 2013. The Minister said, "It gives me great pleasure to see this iconic building refurbished to such a high standard by the OPW and ready to play an important part in Ireland's EU Presidency. The works undertaken included the provision of a new podium and steps to the front of the Stamping Building, modifications to the internal spaces and the refurbishment of the old printing works for use as a state-of-the-art conference facility. I am glad that this project is both on time and on budget. It is undoubtedly an investment not just for the Presidency, but for the future of Dublin Castle." The Minister added "I am also delighted to be here today to reaffirm the commitment of Dublin Castle and OPW in implementing Sustainable Event Management and Environmental Management practices; within the venue, recycling facilities, waste separation and energy efficient lighting and equipment will be used during the Presidency. Water consumption will also be minimised through the use of monitors and sensors, with filtered tap water only being provided during meetings and in all catering."