The Casino at Marino, Dublin

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The Casino at Marino was designed by Scottish architect Sir William Chambers for James Caulfield, the 1st Earl of Charlemont. It was started in the late 1750s and finished around 1775. It is a small but perfect example of Neo-Classical architecture in the gardens of the now demolished Marino House. Chambers was prouod of his work, never completed building due to work commitments in England.

The rather odd (by Irish standards) name ‘Casino Marino’ is derived from Italian which literally translates to ‘The small house by the small sea’. Sightly pretentious, yes, but that was the taste of the time. Regarded by many as the most important Neo-Classical building in Ireland, the Casino is only fifty feet square to the outer columns, taking the form of a Greek Cross with a pair of columns framing each projecting elevation. Seen from the outside, the building has the appearance of a single-roomed structure, with a large panelled door on the north elevation and a single large window on each of the other elevations. It’s all an illusion, however – the Casino actually has 16 rooms on three floors. Only two of the panels in the front door open, and the panes of glass in the windows are subtly curved, disguising the partitioning which allows what looks like a single window to serve several separate rooms. The curves also serve to act as one-way-mirrors – you can see out of the front window looking towards Dublin and the mountains, but if you try to look in, you just see reflections of the sky and garden. Inside is full of mouldings based on Roman and Greek mythology, with lots of other architectural tricks.

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.