Four Courts dome needs extensive repairs

The dome of the Four Courts in Dublin is in a parlous state and will soon be surrounded by scaffolding so that meticulous repairs can be carried out, the OPW revealed yesterday.

Two years ago, a section of one of the Corinthian capitals at the top of the 24 columns supporting the dome fell on to the roof below. Exploratory investigations showed that this collapse was caused by the rusting of a steel angle above it.

Wearing the requisite hard-hats, high-vis jackets and lumberjack boots, Minister of State at the OPW Brian Hayes, and John McMahon, the commissioner in charge of State property, yesterday climbed the first set of scaffolding to inspect the dome.

Senior OPW architect John Cahill pointed to the melange of repairs that had been carried out in the 1920s – following the bombardment of the Four Courts by Free State forces in 1922 – and again in the 1940s when structural problems resurfaced.

A ring of steel inserted in the 1920s when the dome was rebuilt had rusted quickly and concrete was used to cover it up. Rust has now reappeared, with the weight of the dome bearing down on the capitals below and cracking their delicate, carved Portland stone. Source: The Irish Times.