I’ve always loved this striking work by Harry Clarke, ‘The Last Hour of the Night’. Dating back to 1922, this image from the celebrated stained-glass artist and illustrator shows the ruins of the revolution in Dublin. The General Post Office, Four Courts and Custom House are all shown destroyed and in flames, while to the right a miserable Dublin tenement can be seen. While many talk about independence as heralding a new era for the city and nation, Clarke showed that Dublin lay in ruins, and that the shocking poverty of the city was unavoidable.
The work served as frontispiece to Patrick Abercrombie’s Dublin of the Future: The New Town Plan (1922) This very interesting work, published under the auspices of the Civics Institute of Ireland, put forward a number of proposals for the city. Originally aimed for publication in 1914, by 1922 the work would include detail of the destruction caused to Dublin during the Easter Rising and later Civil War fighting. It is available to read in full here.
Few towns but have suffered a change, physical and psychological, during these intervening years of war, trade boom and subsequent depression : but Dublin has added the double tragedy of war and civil war within her gates. Of her six glorious buildings in the Renaissance manner only three remain—Post Office, Custom House and Four Courts at intervals of years pr months have been destroyed ;her greatest street has been twice bombarded and part once renewed.