Legal museum plan for Kilmainham courthouse

 

THE COURTS Service has confirmed its intention to renovate and convert the recently closed Kilmainham courthouse in Dublin into an Irish legal history museum and educational centre.

A spokesman for the body said it had talked with the Office of Public Works regarding the proposal and had requested that a feasibility study be carried out to ascertain the suitability of the building for such a purpose and the extent of the works that would be required to complete it.

“It is hoped this planned facility will attract many visitors and enhance our schools programme, which accommodates thousands of students each year with tours, talks and educational packs, all of which help demystify the courts process,” the spokesman said.

The Courts Service said it hopes the new museum can be linked to the adjacent Kilmainham Gaol via the historic tunnel used to transport prisoners in the past.

Local politicians and individuals connected to the gaol last week indicated they would like to see the courthouse used to extend the gaol museum with the centenary of the 1916 Rising approaching.

However, Damien Cassidy, chairman of the board of trustees of Kilmainham Gaol, said he had no objections to the legal museum proposal, so long as the historic courtroom remained untouched.

“All we want is to make sure that courtroom is left untouched as it is sacrosanct in Irish history because of its association with such historical and political figures as the Invincibles, the Fenians and the 1916 Volunteers,” Mr Cassidy said.

The courthouse, which has operated since 1820, closed for business last week with the Courts Service saying it was no longer suitable for the many needs of court users in the present day.

Business from the court has been transferred into city centre locations and to the new Blanchardstown Courthouse.