Just hit on some gold points in Eddie McParland’s ever-useful and comprehensive footnotes in Public Architecture in Ireland 1680 – 1760
, based on PRO files. 1738:
Dobbs prepares estimate for new arched entrance into Castle.1741:
Description of completion of Dobbs’ entrance. 1742:
Dobbs prepares estimates for rebuilding ‘that part of the … Castle … that is now Prop’d with Timber, where the Linnen Office and the Council Office Chief Secretarys Apartmt & his Offices were formerly’
etc (Revenue head office).1746:
Grant made of £752 to Arthur Jones Nevill for stables for the Horse Guard to the east of the new entrance to the Upper Yard.
So this sequence pretty much confirms the existing gates are later (bearing in mind we get Nevill's quotes for building rusticated structures comparable to the current gates later on), but still does not categorically prove who came up with the concept and/or design.
Back over on the other side of the Upper Yard again, the considerable scale of St. Patrick's Hall relative to the rest of the State Apartments is apparent from certain vantage points. When the 1820s red brick attic storey pictured below is omitted from the arcaded range in favour of the dormer roof that formerly existed here, you get some sense of the enormous size of this new-build 1740s ballroom compared with its modest context. Unfortunately, the ballroom roof we see today is not the original 1740s roof, which no doubt was steeply pitched and picturesque, but a new structure from the late 1760s. It probably has later fabric of the 1780s and 1820s too.
The largest chimneystack in Dublin Castle stands proudly above - likely a Francis Johnston rebuild of the 1820s that replaced a giant stack at the same position as seen on Tudor's 1750s print. A similar stack to the left was unfortunately demolished - the scar can be seen in the picture above.
To the rear, St. Patrick's Hall comprises the giant red Duplo brick in the centre of the unresolved sequence of utilitarian south-western facades overlooking the garden.
Waldré as chief architect proposed in the 1790s what would probably have amounted to demolishing the outside wall of St. Patrick's Hall, with the intention of creating a striking colonnade inside and a new Garden Front outside, but alas it was not to be.
In spite of the muddle going on here, this is by far the most architecturally interesting range of the Upper Yard as it stands today, retaining a substantial amount of original fabric comprising a number of interwoven layers from different periods.
St. Patrick's Hall during a knighting ceremony in 1866, with oval mirrors and gas lamp standards (which were usually dressed with climbing plants) on the north wall.
The Victorian theatre set throne canopy was regularly wheeled out for these events. I haven't yet been able to pinpoint where it is now - or indeed if it exists anymore.
Here it is again, moved to one side, during the visit of King Edward IIV and Queen Alexandra in 1903. The square mirrors were installed a few years previously.
Central to these events were a pair of thrones designed for the use of visiting monarchs and consorts and the Viceroy and Vicerine, as indicated in this fabulous scene of stark contrasts - featuring both high craftsmanship and, er, bentwood chairs. The story of Dublin Castle in a nutshell.
Given their quality compared to the other furnishings made for Dublin Castle, and the VR monogram, I suspect they were made for Victoria's visit in 1861. This rare close-up photograph shows in remarkable detail the high relief carving of the thrones, which made for a handsome pair.
The fabric is exquisite - as also features on the back of the throne canopy.
As we first highlighted here on Archiseek, in a remarkable gesture of continuity and symbolism entirely unknown to almost everyone in Ireland, one of these thrones is now the Presidential chair, on which every President has been inaugurated since Douglas Hyde in 1938. The other throne has been lost purely in a visual sense: now stained and polished, serving as the chair of the Cathaoirleach in the Seanad Chamber in Leinster House.
The crowns and royal monograms were simply removed and left rather crudely unresolved. Personally, I feel the Presidential chair requires an elegantly carved harp in high relief on the now blank monogram panel and specially commissioned vibrant green silk damask upholstery featuring a harp motif. The current plain minty covering with blue Presidential arms is in dire of replacement.
The remarkable continuity inherent in one of the few pieces of historic ceremonial furniture still in use in Ireland serving as the official Presidential chair, having been commissioned for another administration entirely and hastily adapted post-independence, is one of the enduring and most enriching qualities of the inauguration ceremony.