Iustitia, Lady Justice, Dublin Castle

Iustitia, more commonly known as Lady Justice, situated over one of the gates that gives access to the central courtyard of Dublin Castle.

The statue was erected by the British authorities in 1751 and was sculpted by Van Nost. Its design was a source of outrage and amusement for many in Dublin city, for it betrays many of the characteristics that statues of this type normally exhibit.

Lady Justice is often pictured blindfolded, so as to be blind to discrimination. Here she is fully able to see. Her scales, normally depicted as being perfectly leveled are actually tilted to the Revenue office. The sword she carries, which frequently points downwards (though not always), is held upright and she gazes at it with a smile on her face.

Her position on the building is what drew most attention to the statue. While statues of this kind can be found on government buildings all over the world, the majority of these statues faces out over the city and it’s people. Only in Dublin castle does she face inward to the courtyard, turning her back on the people of the city. This obscure positioning of the statue gave rise to the saying: “The Statue of Justice, mark well her station, her face to the castle and her arse to the nation!”

The gateway she stands on is to one side of the Bedford Tower, the central point of the north facade of the courtyard. This is acknowledged as presenting one of the most beautiful architectural compositions in Dublin, reflecting the serene architecture of the Renaissance.

Dublin castle has been in continuous occupation since it was built in 1204, and it undoubtedly played a pivotal role in Irish history.

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