The Kings Inns park

The Kings Inns park

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:11 am

In the travelogue "The Book of Dublin" by Eric Whelpton (1948), he mentions on pages 109-110 that "In spite of their rather neglected condition, the gardens of the Kings Inns are not devoid of charm. There are one or two fine trees to set off the old grey buildings which are at their best seen in perspective. At intervals there are some rather crumbling statues."


It's the reference to 'statues' that intrigues me, as there is only one now, one that he mentions earlier, that of the draped female figure on a pedestal in front of the main archway on the Constitution Hill facade.... so what happened the other statues, did they crumble away?
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Postby Max » Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:34 am

Might Welpton have been refering to the caryatides 'guarding' the two main doorways? Although these are by no means 'crumbling'.
I have a couple of appointments this morning, but will see what I can dig up this afternoon.
One of the fine trees he mentions is growing through a bench.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:40 am

No he mentions the caryatides specifically elsewhere and they're definitely not crumbling

http://www.irish-architecture.com/buildings_ireland/dublin/northcity/henrietta_street/kingsinn.htm
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Postby Max » Wed Aug 27, 2003 5:04 pm

I have checked what references I have to hand and can find no mention of what these statues may have been. They are not mentioned in McCready's 'Dublin Street Names' (1892) in which he devotes a section to statues. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that they may have been statues that were once inside the building and for one reason or another put out onto the lawns.

What puzzles me is the word 'crumbling'. They must have been made of a very porous material - such as limestone - to 'crumble'. Even monuments in graveyards rarely 'crumble' - they might weather, but not 'crumble'. I have seen freestone 14th-century effigies that have laid in church yards for centuries, but they have not 'crumbled'.

I will, by the way, be spending a couple of days in the Gilbert Library early in September and will see if I can shed any more light on the subject. The answer must lie somewhere . . .
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Aug 27, 2003 5:46 pm

I've gone through any books I have here and nada.... its possible that maybe they were old statutes removed here from some other building? in much the same way as the courtyard in the RHK was used for years....

I've dropped the Inns an email anyway...
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Postby Max » Wed Aug 27, 2003 6:45 pm

Or may be the lawns were used in much the same way as the Castle court yard seems to be used today - when a scupture is on display for a few weeks and then removed and replaced by somethng else.
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Aug 27, 2003 9:06 pm

THe female figure that remains, didn't she use to to be standing in the central rotunda of the Four Courts?
Its Hibernia is'nt it...
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Aug 27, 2003 9:24 pm

Just found out that its Henrietta she's known as locally (& not Hibernia at all) due to her proximity to the famed street.

She did come from the Four Courts - in 1880 -where by that stage the poor unfortunate had become an obect of ridicule by barristers and offenders alike.
She used to hold a gas lamp, I don't know if she still does.
Mysteriously, knowbody knows where she came from originally, or why, and never appeared to represent anyone or anything.........spooky........
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Postby Max » Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:44 am

Spooky is not the word. I know I have several images of the statue in my files, but can I find them? Na daoini beaga are at obviously at work on my computer!
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Postby Max » Thu Aug 28, 2003 10:07 am

Na daoini beaga have relented and returned my images! (or could it be that I had had just filed them under 'henry' rather than 'henrietta' (the files being adjacent on 'My Computer')?
As can be seen, she is indeed holding a torch, whether this was once connected to a gas supply i know not.
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Postby GrahamH » Fri Aug 29, 2003 7:38 pm

Ah yes, there she is in all her glory.

Perhaps the statues Paul speaks of also came from the Four Courts - there were originally 8 statues lining the walls of the central rotunda, representing Mercy and Law amongst others, but these were also removed, perhaps their representations were deemed rather appropriate for the Kings Inns and hence were placed in the grounds.

Henrietta's lamp was connected in the Four Courts to a gas supply, the earliest reference to her is from 1840.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:46 pm

Henrietta's lamp is stone, I just looked..... so it must have been some wick, or they replaced her arm....

The explaination for the quote sounds feasible... I'd forgotten about those statues in the rotunda of the four courts...
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