Interest in our recent post of the stonework of the Lafayette Building and others like it show that Dubliners are always interested in the former lives of the buildings of Dublin. Another building with an interesting historical feature is The Patriots Inn pub in Kilmainham. A more than decent pub, it sits in a fine historic location, with the Royal Hospital and Kilmainham Gaol among its neighbours. There has been an inn located on the site since the 1790s, historically enjoying both the custom of workers of Kilmainham Gaol and those of the Great Southern and Western Railway.
The pub is one of the last buildings in Dublin to boast an insurance firemark upon it:
Before the establishment of a public fire service, insurance companies offered protection to premises marked by a ‘firemark’. These were essentially emblems (usually of lead) which displayed a company logo and insurance number. Before the establishment of a public fire service, no premises was covered until a firemark was in place.
In his history of the Cork fire service, For Whom The Bells Tolled, Pat Poland noted that:
The firemark served a number of purposes: it marked the property so it was obvious to all that the building was covered by insurance, it acted as an advertisement for the insurance company, and it let firemen responding to a call in no doubt as to which particular building was insured with their office.
There are very few such firemarks left to be seen in the city today. There is perhaps a joke to be made somewhere in the fact that from earlier this year, a €500+ call-out charge has come with a ring to the Dublin Fire Brigade!