One of the most prominent buildings on the northern banks of the River Liffey is the Custom House. Completed in 1791, it is a striking building built in the neoclassical Georgian style and was originally used to collect custom excise duties. It later became the headquarters of the local Irish government. Custom House is now used by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
Its elegant façade incorporates several significant Irish features. The fourteen keystones above the doors and windows, called the Riverine Heads, represent the thirteen main Irish rivers and the Atlantic Ocean. Intricate sculptures adorn the façade including the Irish coat of arms.
Unfortunately, during the 1921 Irish uprising, the building was badly destroyed by fire by the Irish Republican Army. Many historical records also perished in this fire, which was a great historical loss for Ireland.
Custom House underwent massive restoration by the new independent Irish Government. They endeavored to restore the building to its former glory as designed by James Gandon. Unfortunately, different stone was used for the dome structure which was originally made of Portland stone. Further restoration took place during the 1980s.
Inside Custom House is a visitor center which houses exhibits about the building's history and its architect James Gandon.
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