Cork – City Hall, a limestone structure which replaced the old City Hall
Image by infomatique
One of the most splendid buildings of Cork is it’s City Hall, a limestone structure which replaced the old City Hall, destroyed by British troops on 11th December 1920 in a event called ‘The burning of Cork’, which took place during the country’s War of Independence. The foundation stone of the new City Hall, which was build at the same place as the old building, was laid by the Executive Council of the State, Mr. de Valera, on 9 July 1932.
The complete cost of this new building was provided by the British Government in the 1930s as a gesture of reconciliation. The City Hall consists of three sections, two wings comprising the Municipal Offices and an assembly hall, capable of seating up to 1,300 people. In March 1935 the first staff members of a few departments of the city administration moved into the western wing of the building. The first council meeting was held in City Hall on the 24th April 1935. The building was then officially opened by the Irish President on 8th September 1936.
Cork City is an important European example of eighteenth century architecture, which has a very typical Georgian style. Therefore Cork City Hall was designed and built in the classical style. It is an imposing and dignified structure and, with its long main front dominating the river, immediately attracts attention due to the excellence of its proportion and the simplicity of its treatment.
The facades are of dressed limestone from the Little Island Quarries. In connection with the stone work, which is a feature of the structure, one may perhaps specifically refer to the columns of the Doric order that grace the main and subsidiary porticos. The main entrance to the offices is through a marble-paved vestibule leading to the main staircase. The stairs are of polished marble and the balustrade of ornamentally hammered wrought iron.
On the first floor over the entrance are the principal departments which form the Lord Mayor’s suite. The Council Chamber on the opposite side of the corridor is approached through a lobby. It is well designed, being both lofty and spacious. It receives natural light from an ornamental dome. Galleries have been provided for distinguished visitors and the general public. Here much freedom has been displayed both in the decorative and plaster work and in the balustrade, with the walls being paneled in mahogany. The furniture of the council chamber is also of mahogany made to the architect’s specifications.