Sited in the now unpromising suburb of Marino, the Casino is probably the finest piece of Neoclassical architecture in Ireland. It’s located on Cherrymount Crescent, just off the Malahide Road. The building was commissioned by James Caulfield, the first Earl of Charlemont, shortly after returning from eight years on the Grand Tour. Seeking to recreate an Italianate park with a casino (“little house” in Italian) as its focus, emphasizing the fine views of Dublin Bay that his estate then enjoyed, Charlemont turned to Sir William Chambers, the architect of Somerset House in London (Chambers also designed the earl’s new townhouse at around the same time, now the Hugh Lane Gallery). Started in 1757, construction of the Casino lasted nearly twenty years and cost £20,000 sterling (equivalent to about €5 million today), depleting the estate to such a degree that the second Earl was obliged to sell off his father’s precious library and collection of art and antiquities.
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