The first courthouse on the Washington St site was built in 1836. It is believed that this original Courthouse was designed by the brothers GR and James Pain.
This building was destroyed by fire on Good Friday, March 27th, 1891 and with it much of the City’s official records which were stored in the City Treasure and Sheriff’s office. All that remained was the portico and façade on Washington Street.
The present courthouse is a Neo- Classical courthouse with Corinthian detail. It was rebuilt in 1895 by William Hill architect and Samuel Hill building contractor. It was originally designed with an open courtyard to its centre in which the bar room was located, providing the barristers immediate access to the two main courtrooms.
The building has remained largely unaltered since that time until April 2003 when the current refurbishment began. The project took 20 months to complete at a total cost of €26 million and was re-opened in 2005.
Where ever possible the original architecture of the building has been retained and carefully restored. This includes the courtroom furniture, upholstery, fireplaces and decorative plaster. The highlight of this building is the skyline dome, which has been completely restored, re-fenestrated and re clad externally in copper.
This building is considered to be one of the best examples of Neo-Classical public architecture in Ireland and one of the most important buildings in the city both from and architectural and social history perspective.
Guided tours at 11.45am, 12.30pm, 1.15pm and 2pm.
Booking is essential on www.corkheritageopenday.ie/events