Clones Courthouse

Is it any wonder that the renowned novelist James Joyce occasionally found inspiration for his writing in an Irish courthouse?

Heritage Trail: The Courthouse

press play for the courthouse clones


In the days before television and radio, the curious onlooker could discover a rich source of compelling drama in the petty sessions at courthouses such as Clones.

Back in 1842, when it was built, Clones Courthouse would have witnessed all kinds of cases. Led from the Bridewell (which were the buildings beside the Courthouse most recently occupied by the late Seamus McCabe All-Ireland Handball Champion) to the dock in the courtroom, prisoners might face any one of a huge variety of charges, from stealing to assault. The punishments meted out would seem harsh to us today. It is thought that Clones Courthouse was designed by the County Surveyor for Monaghan, Edward Forrest, in the standard style for courthouses of the period. Considered to be of significant architectural heritage value, it represents a particular kind of petty sessions house that was common in the Georgian era, with a five-bay elevation and a hipped slate roof.

The double-height courtroom has some interesting features, such as the timber panelled furniture and galleries, a judge's canopy and a ceiling cornice. There are also marble, stone and tiled chimney pieces in the rooms used by the judges and counsels. The Courthouse heard its last case in 2013.

Clones Drama Group and Clones Film Festival use the building for performance and film projection. The building is also used by various groups for a range of educational and social endeavours.