In the heart of Dublin lies a testament to 18th-century architecture, an embodiment of the city’s rich history, and a focal point for both residents and visitors alike – the City Hall. Originally known as the Royal Exchange, built between 1769 and 1779 and designed by the celebrated architect, Thomas Cooley, this majestic building stands out not just for its historical significance but its architectural prowess.
Dublin’s City Hall, formerly used by merchants as a hub for trade and discussions, now serves as the formal seat of Dublin City Council. Perched elegantly on a slope on Dame Street, at the southern end of Parliament Street, it commands a view that juxtaposes the ancient with the contemporary. Its positioning opposite a section of the Dublin Castle, once the epicenter of British governance in Ireland until 1922, is a silent nod to the intricate tapestry of Dublin’s past.
Crafted meticulously from white Portland stone sourced from a Dorset quarry, the exterior of the building glistens, beckoning observers to admire its intricate carved capitals by Simon Vierpyl and plasterwork by Charles Thorpe. The neo-classical edifice encloses a central entrance hall or Rotunda. Here, a grand dome, supported by twelve towering columns of 32 feet each, encapsulates the area. Within this, an ambulatory resonates with the echoes of merchants from yesteryears, deliberating over business dealings.
The photo of the Dublin City Hall
But for me, the City Hall is more than just an architectural marvel. It’s a canvas painted with memories of my Dublin experience. On a sunny afternoon, as rays cascaded down Dublin’s streets, I was introduced to this stately building. Sipping on of the iconic Baileys Coffee at Parliament Street, the City Hall’s majesty commanded my attention. Yet, the bustling Saturday crowd deterred my initial attempt to capture it.
Dawn, the next day, unveiled the City Hall in a new light. The tranquillity of Sunday morning, combined with the golden hues of sunrise, set the stage. The Irish flag, flanked by the Dublin and European Union banners, danced wildly, animated by the morning breeze.
With a 12mm lens in tow, I sought to encapsulate the grandeur of City Hall, before exploring Temple Bar further. It wasn’t until retouching the photo in post-processing that I noticed the painstaking attention to detail by city planners. Pay attention to the lamp posts. A subtle touch: the adjustment of lamppost heights to not distract from the building’s symmetry spoke volumes of Dublin’s architectural thought process.