Architectural Styles

Buildings are generally classified according to their principal function or activity. Public buildings include those for public assembly, where people gather for social or recreational activities. They also include building for public order and safety such as courthouses and jails. They usually incorporate formal architectural detail which defines their purpose.

Country houses were the domestic dwellings of the upper classes and landed gentry. They were designed in important architectural styles reflecting the status of their owners.

The classical architectural style is influenced by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Neo-classicism was a style of the late eighteenth century characterised by its regularity and uniformity closely resembling classical antiquity. Within these styles were the classical orders of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian which distinguished the type of column and entablature used. Many of the buildings discussed here display examples of these styles with the courthouses of Carlow and Bagenalstown modelled on the antique.

The gothic revival style was an architectural movement of the late Georgian and Victorian eras that sought to revive medieval forms in distinction to the classical styles that were prevalent at the time. The most striking examples of the gothic revival style are Ducketts Grove and Carlow Cathedral.

St. Patrick's College, Carlow is built in the form of a large country house. It is one of the earlier Catholic colleges founded in Ireland following the relaxation of the Penal Laws. Bishop James Keefe made the decision to establish a college in 1782 and Bishop Daniel Delany brought it to completion. Fr. Henry Staunton was the first president of the college. It is situated on land purchased in the eighteenth century. The Catholic cathedral occupies an adjacent plot. A central granite porch with a cornice is flanked by two bays. Flanking those are advanced ends of three bays each. One of the internal stone staircases is by Thomas Cobden.

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