County Laois: 19th Century Courthouses

The county has a fine collection of early 19th Century courthouses. These, where not privately supported, were financed and built by the Grand Jury, at that time the body responsible for local government. Stylistically, they generally employed a neo-Classical idiom and sometimes reveal a particular fondness for a severe reinterpretation of the Classical orders, exemplified at Mountmellick. The courthouse at Portlaoise by Richard Morrison c.1805, although not part of this survey, is also a particularly fine. However the former courthouses at Ballylynan and Rathdowney are almost vernacular in character.

Borris-in-Ossory Courthouse, Main Street, TOWNPARKS (CL. BY.), Borris-in-Ossory, County Laois

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Detached five-bay two-storey former courthouse, built c.1828. Renovated, c.1990. Interior retains original fittings to courtroom. Now in use as County Council offices. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with clay ridge tiles and nap rendered chimneystacks. Nap rendered walls with ruled and lined detail, painted, rusticated banded sandstone to ground floor end bays, panelled pilaster strips…


Ballylynan Courthouse, BALLYLYNAN, Ballylynan, County Laois

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Detached three-bay two-storey former courthouse, built c.1830, on an L-shaped plan with pair of pavilion style flanking porches and two-storey return to rear. Now in residential use. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with yellow brick chimneystacks with limestone coping, overhanging eaves on paired timber brackets and cast-iron rainwater goods. Pyramidal roofs to pavilions. Rock-hewn snecked…


Mountmellick Courthouse, O'Moore Street, TOWNPARKS (TI. BY.), Mountmellick, County Laois

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Detached three-bay two-storey pedimented neo-Classical courthouse, built 1839. Renovated c.1998. Double-pitched slate roof with nap rendered chimneystacks and cast-iron rainwater goods. Sandstone ashlar walls, channelled to ground floor, with quoins, Doric pilasters and pediment. Nap rendered and roughcast rendered to side elevations over rubble stone. Square-headed window openings with sandstone sills, sandstone lintels and two-over-two…


Stradbally Courthouse, Court House Square, STRADBALLY, Stradbally, County Laois

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Detached five-bay late-Georgian former courthouse, dated 1830, with two-storey returns to rear. Now in use as library. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with nap rendered chimneystacks, limestone coping and overhanging eaves with boarded soffits. Roughcast rendered walls, painted, with limestone plinth, quoins, stringcourse, panelled pilasters and plaques. Rusticated banded limestone to some elevations. Square-headed window…


Abbeyleix Courthouse, Stucker Hill, Stucker Hill, RATHMOYLE, Abbeyleix, County Laois

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Detached five-bay two-storey courthouse, c.1820, on a rectangular plan. Hipped slate roof with clay ridge tiles, rendered chimney stacks having corbelled stepped capping, and cast-iron rainwater goods on rendered eaves. Rendered, ruled and lined walls on chamfered plinth with rusticated quoins to corners. Square-headed central door opening approached by flight of ten cut-limestone steps, lugged…


Rathdowney Courthouse, Church Street, RATHDOWNEY, Rathdowney, County Laois

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Detached five-bay two-storey former courthouse, built c.1830, with three-bay single-storey range. Now in residential use. Double-pitched slate roof with brick chimneystacks. Coursed rubble limestone walls with ashlar quoins and projecting band to eaves. Square-headed window openings with limestone sills, limestone lintels, two-over-two timber sash windows to ground floor and replacement timber casement windows to first…


Durrow F.C.A. Hall, Chapel Street, DURROW TOWNPARKS, Durrow, County Laois

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Detached three-bay single-storey former courthouse, built c.1820, with projecting porches. Now in use as F.C.A. hall. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with clay ridge tiles and profiled cast-iron rainwater goods. Random polygonal limestone-faced walls with ashlar plinth, quoins, stringcourses and corbels to eaves. Cornice and blocking courses to entrance bays; roughcast rendered to rear elevation.…