Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bertie's Office

I was approaching Government Buildings, in Dublin, from Fitzwilliam Lane, when it struck me that I was seeing an unusual but interesting view of the buildings. There they were, in the distance, vying with the rear end of some Georgian buildings and the renovated entrails of the "back lane". They looked less imposing but more at home.

Anyway, it was a change from the usual view presented to the tourists where the front arch towers over you and the main building is safely ensconced behind its massive railings and automatic gates.

The building took 18 years to complete, from 1904 to 1922. The engineering college occupied the central domed section from 1911 and the complex was conveniently completed in 1922, just in time for the new Executive of an independent Ireland and several new Government Departments to move in.

It was originally intended that the wings of the building would house the existing British Government Departments of Agriculture and Local Government. The figures below the urns hold scrolls to this effect.

The buildings are now occupied by the Taoiseach's (Prime Minister's) Department in the centre section, the Department of Finance in "South Block" - the left wing as you face the building - and the Attorney General's Office in "North Block" on the right.

The centre section was extensively renovated in 1989-90, after the UCD College of Engineering moved out of town to the Belfield campus. You can catch up on the full story here

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