Athy Courthouse was built in the 1850's and was originally used as the town’s corn exchange. It was adopted for use as the town's courthouse before the end of the 19th Century.
During the War of Independence, Athy Courthouse suffered great damage due to a fire and was reopened in 1928, where it continued to house the District Court and the quarterly sessions of the Circuit Courts.
The courthouse is a detached six-bay, two-storey, Tudor Revival style building with double-pitched intersecting roofs and two-storey offices at the south end. Built in the 1850s it was originally the town’s corn exchange.
Newspaper reports of the time claimed that the Duke of Leinster was providing for the town of Athy ‘as pretty a building as any in Ireland’ to be used as a corn exchange. It was opened for business on 6th October 1857 but before long the same newspapers carried reports that ‘the ventilation of the building was very defective and the manner in which it is lighted was also objected to’. Whether the ventilation and lighting problems was the cause of the subsequent closure of the corn exchange we cannot say but within five years the building was lying idle.
The criticism was surprising given that the architect employed by the Duke of Leinster was Frederick Darley, one of Ireland'’s foremost 19th Century architects. He was responsible for the Kings Inns library in Henrietta Street, Dublin and several other important buildings including some in Trinity College and the wrought iron conservatories in the Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin. He was, at different times, architect to the Ecclesiastical Commission for the Archdioceses of Dublin and the Board of National Education.
The former Corn Exchange was adopted for use as the town’s courthouse before the end of the 19th Century. The assizes eventually returned to Athy but during the War of Independence the fine stone building with its flamboyant curved gables, dramatic tall granite chimney stacks and elliptical arched colonnades was burnt to the ground. The rebuilding of the courthouse was apparently completed sometime in 1928 under the supervision of Foley and O'Sullivan Architects. When the courthouse was re-opened it continued to house the District Court and the quarterly sessions of the Circuit Courts.
The courthouse, having received a one million poundrevamp, was officially opened by the Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, Mr. John O'Donoghue T.D. on 21st June 2001.
Athy Courthouse is supported by Naas Court Office.