South View of the Custom House Dublin

Oblique view of the southern façade of the Custom House, Dublin, from across the Liffey. Several boats, each carrying passengers, are travelling along the river. Two empty boats are docked at the quayside. Near the Custom House and further downriver are several ships.

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – South View of the Custom House Dublin.
  • Instructions to binder – Title

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Engravings
Subject(s) Architecture, Cities and towns, Transportation
Geographical Location
  • Custom House - Named locality
  • Dublin - Town or city
  • Dublin - County
  • Leinster - Province
Keywords(s) Boats, Harbours, Passengers, People, Rivers, Sculpture, Shields, Ships
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 8.2 cm x 14.5 cm
Published / created 1807

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A View of ancient and modern Dublin
Note John Ferrar
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opp. title page
Source copy National Library of Ireland Jp 5350
Alternative source

This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

The customhouse in Essex-street was built in 1707, and was then considered a grand and convenient building. In seventy years it fell into a ruinous situation, and the trade of the kingdom requiring one much more extensive, the foundation of the new one was laid in 1781, and opened for business November 7, 1791. Whoever promoted that work was a friend to his country—The custom-house of Dublin—will remain a striking and beautiful monument of national spirit, of national taste // and ingenuity, until the hand of all-dissolving time shall lay it in ruins. Every loves of the fine arts must admire the great skill of the ingenious architect, James Gandon, Esq; who planned the design, and conducted the execution; the beauty and correctness of which would require a fuller detail than our limits can spare. It is three hundred and seventy-five feet in extent, and two-hundred and nine feet in, depth, having the singular advantage of four fronts variously designed. The front towards the river is composed of pavillions at each end, joined to arcades, and united to the centre. The order is Doric, and is finished with an entablature, and a bold projecting cornice. The centre is enriched with a group of figures representing Ireland and England embracing, and holding in their hands the emblems of peace and liberty; they are seated on a naval car, drawn by sea-horses, followed by a fleet of merchant ships from different nations. On the right of Britannia is Neptune driving away Envy and Discord. On the attic story are placed four allegorical statues, alluding to Industry, Commerce, Navigation and Riches. The pavillions are terminated with the arms of Ireland, in a shield decorated with fruit and flowers, supported by the lion and unicorn, forming a group of massive or- // nament. A magnificent dome, one hundred and twenty-five feet high, rises in the centre, with a pedestal, holding a female statue of Commerce. This dome is a considerable ornament to the eastern part of Dublin, and appears to good advantage viewed from Molesworth-street through Frederick-street. The keystones of the arches are decorated with colossal heads, emblematic of the principal rivers in Ireland, and the countries through which they flow; and are executed in a bold and masterly stile by Mr. Edward Smyth, a native. Over the central columns of the north front, are four statues representing Europe, Asia, Africa, America, in a very chaste and good style, by Mr. Joseph Banks of London. The south front is entirely of Portland stone, the other three are of white mountain granite. The great staircase, with its Ionic colonnade, is greatly and deservedly admired, uniting taste with grandeur, and possessing novelty of design. The long room is seventy feet by sixty-five, and thirty feet high. The simple arrangement of all its interior parts, with the numerous offices, is judiciously made, and well adapted to their various purposes, contributing to the general and happy effect of light and shade, which harmonizes the whole. The mansions of the two // chief commissioners of the revenue, the two secretaries, the offices, stores, &c. are contained in the building, and form an agreeable assemblage of striking and well contrasted architecture. The estimate of this great public edifice was 163,363l. to which numerous and unforeseen incidents must be added, with the expence of furnishing the offices, and the total expence was about 255,000l. Never was money better expended for the public welfare, for the nation’s honour. [pp. 50-53]
South View of the Custom House Dublin