LIMERICK COURTHOUSE

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The city court-house was erected in 1763, at an expense of £700 only: it is 60 feet by 30, fronted with hewn stone, with a rustic gateway. The Exchange, erected in 1778 at an expense of £1500, is one of the chief ornaments of the old town; the front is of hewn stone, and is adorned with seven Tuscan columns connected by a handsome balustrade. The council-chamber is a fine room of the Ionic order; and there are various convenient municipal offices. The county court-house, on Merchants'-quay, an elegant structure, completed in 1810, at an expense of £12,000, is a quadrangular building of hewn stone, with a portico, supported by four lofty pillars, and surrounded by a light iron balustrade: it contains civil and criminal courts, jury-rooms, and other offices.

The city gaol, in the old town, is a gloomy quadrangular edifice, with which the old county gaol is now united; but the buildings do not admit of proper classification, or sufficient means of employment. Yet, notwithstanding these disadvantages, it is remarkably well regulated, orderly, and clean. The new county gaol, which occupies a remarkably favourable situation on the south-east side of the city, was completed in 1821, at an expense of £23,000, and £2000 more was afterwards expended on additions: it has a noble castellated appearance, and its internal construction and arrangement are exceedingly well contrived. The grand entrance is composed of hewn stone, and is of the Doric order. In the centre is a polygonal tower, 60 feet high, containing on successive stories the governor's residence, the committee-room, a chapel, and an hospital, and having round the second story an arcade commanding the several yards. Five rays of buildings diverge from this tower, forming ten wards, each communicating by a cast-iron bridge with the chapel, and containing in the whole 22 apartments for debtors, and 103 cells for criminals. Between the wall immediately surrounding these and the outer wall is a space containing two tread-wheels, the female prison, various offices, and some ornamented plots. The whole is supplied with excellent water from two springs.

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