Charm and Merit

The market house in the centre of Dunlavin, County Wicklow The building dates from 1743 when constructed for local landlord Robert Tynte who was keen to improve the economic prospects of the town. Entirely of granite, the market house is cruciform in shape, the base rising up to a cylindrical tower topped with fluted dome; each of the four corners is occupied by Doric colonnades. Originally the arches around the building were open, but these have since been filled in and today it serves as a library. The market house’s design was attributed by the Knight of Glin to Richard Castle, but Maurice Craig begged to differ, declaring ‘it seems to me for all its charm and merit too clumsy to be the work of an academically accomplished designer.’

5 comments on “Charm and Merit

  1. Mark McLean says:

    But the windows!

  2. Derek O' Neill says:

    It also served as a court house for the petite assizes during what period, I am not sure .
    There was a massacre of the local rebels from Dunlavin on the green situated in front of the local Catholic Church after the 1798 Rebellion in the area. Could they have been tried there? The “Dock” is still insitu in the building .

  3. Andrew McCarthy says:

    The unusual pediment gables with straight ends on the building’s narrow sides remind me of the pediment Richard Castle built at Ballyhaise, which leaps straight upward with hardly any forward projection, and the way he treated the front facade at Powerscourt, where a blocking course rises from the upper balustrade and runs directly above the pediment.

  4. Brenndan Glass says:

    The ribbed design of the dome copies that of Wren’s original drawing and the Great Model for St. Pauls. This design was not used on the finished building. Wren bequeathed half of his drawings to All Souls Oxford so they would have probably gone there in the mid 1720’s. Who ever designed the Dunlavin dome may have had sight of the drawing or the Great Model. It is possible that Richard Castle at least saw the great model, when acquainting himself with British architecture in London 1725-7/8.

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