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Architecture of Ireland

Irish Architecture - Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle

Much of Ireland's oldest remaining architecture is either church or castle architecture. One of the most notable early Christian sights being Skellig Michael (600s), which is situated on an island off the coast of Ireland. Most of the other architecture from this time, and even as late as the 1700s has fallen into ruins. Nearly everywhere in the country stone walls, buildings, and bases are left standing, but few are complete structures.

Some old castles and churches have been restored, the most impressive of which include Bunratty Castle in County Claire (1200-1300s; rebuilt in the 1900s). Among the early churches including St Canice's Cathedral (1200s) in Kilkenny, St Mary's (1100s) in Limerick, and Rock of Cashel (1100-1200s) in County Munster, all of which are in the Romanesque style. Later Gothic churches include Christ Church Cathedral (1000-1400s) and Saint Patrick's Cathedral (1100-1300s), both in Dublin.

Irish Architecture - Castle Trim
Castle Trim

In the 1700s the Palladian style, which was essentially a combination of classicism and baroque, entered Ireland. The Leinster House (Parliament) in Dublin is one of the better examples from this time as is the Castletown House (1722) in County Kildare. This style developed into the Georgian style by the late 1700s; the Four Courts (1786-1796) in Dublin and the capital's custom house are in this sub-classification of neo-classicism.

Most of the architecture from the 1800s was in the Victorian style including the National Museum of Ireland. Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral (1865-1879) in Cork was also built during this time, but in a more neo-Gothic style. The 1900s and 2000s welcomed modern architecture into Ireland as concrete, glass, and other building materials improved upon during the Industrial Revolution were used. The Busaras (the central bus station) in Dublin is a good example of the use of these materials.

This page was last updated: March, 2013