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Posts Tagged ‘College Green’

On February 27 1864, The Nation newspaper reported on a ‘ingrate and dishonouring act’ carried out by Dublin Corporation, when the Corporation decided upon Prince Albert, and not Henry Grattan, for the prime statue location at College Green. The paper ran a selection of extracts from other papers across the island, which all slammed the decision, with the Wexford People noting that “thirty-two against fourteen decided that Henry Grattan might go seek a place elsewhere, and that Prince Albert should be the choice of Ireland.”

By December of 1865, The Nation was boasting that the planned “German invasion” of College Green,in the form of a statue to Prince Albert, was no more. There had been protests against the statue, for example a meeting at the Rotunda which saw Fenians take the stage. The Lord Mayor had read a letter from the Duke of Leinster in Council which proposed that the Prince Albert Statue Committee erect their monument to Albert in the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society House. “The idea that Prince Albert’s statue would ever be raised in College Green was manifestly as hopeless and wild as a design to move the Hill of Howth” the paper stated, and the planned “desecration” of College Green, an area historically associated with Henry Grattan and his Irish Volunteers, had been averted. “The husband of the famine Queen” was not to have pride of place on College Green.

Albert's statue in Dublin today, on Leinster Lawn.

Today, Prince Albert’s statue is one of the last ‘imperial’ statues in the city to survive. In the city of exploding statues, Albert today sits hidden in the grounds of Leinster House, right by the Natural History Museum’s walls, with few Dubs aware of his presence. College Green would become home to John Henry Foley’s statue of Grattan, a statue unveiled on January 6 1875. At that unveiling A.M Sullivan spoke of how “this is an age where in other lands principles are abroad teaching class to war upon class. Come hither, Irish men…..behold the figure of a man who born in the highest sphere of society, had a heart that felt for the poorest cottager on an Irish hillside.”

The Irish Times report on the unveiling of the statue noted that the position was perfect for a monument to Grattan, alongside Parliament and facing his alma mater. “His statue has been placed on the only site in Ireland that was worthy of the man, fronting equally two buildings with which his name will be forever most gloriously associated.”

Leinster Lawn, home to Prince Albert today, was of course also once home to Queen Victoria. The figures from the base of her monument are today in Dublin Castle, and will be examined here soon, but Victoria herself would end up in Australia, removed from Leinster Lawn in 1947 and placed in storage for several decades.

The removal of Queen Victoria.

In a 2005 letter to The Irish Times, MM Ireland wrote a letter in response to one stating the statue of Victoria should be returned to Dublin and placed alongside Prince Albert on Leinster Lawn once more.

“I do not know whether the Australians bought Queen Victoria’s statue from us, when it was found to be surplus to our requirements, but we should certainly let them have Prince Albert for nothing.”

It’s difficult to imagine a situation where Prince Albert’s statue would have survived following independence were it placed at College Green. King William of Orange, who sat at College Green for so many years upon his horse, was blown up in the 1940s. Today, that spot is occupied by Irish nationalist Thomas Davis.

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Some beautiful scenes of Dublin in the early 1930s. Skip to 06:51 minutes in. College Green, Trinity College, O’Connell Street, Nelson’s Pillar, the GPO, the Four Courts and the Liffey all make an appearance.

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Writing a piece on the modern disappearance of Liberty Lane, got me thinking about other streets and alleys in Dublin that have since changed beyond recognition.

For hundreds of years, it was possible for Dubliners to cross from College Green to Fleet Street via Turnstile Lane and Alley.

The map below, kindly reproduced with Pat Liddy’s permission, shows in the bottom left side how this was possible.

Temple Bar, 1760s. 'Temple Bar - Dublin. An Illustrated History', Pat Liddy, (Dublin, 1992), p. 32

In the 1780s, Turnstile Lane was widened considerably and renamed Fosters Place after John Foster (1740 – 1828), the last speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Turnstile Alley was renamed Parliament Row c. 1775. A narrow alleyway still linked the two but this was finally closed in 1928 due to the construction of the Bank Armoury.

Parliament Row today. Nothing more than a Car Park entrance and a bottle bank.

The Irishman’s Diary in The Irish Times on May 30, 1928 noted that “the closing of the passage at the ‘back of the bank’ … is causing much inconvenience to the many busy people who found it a short cut”.

Another view of the modern Parliament Row.

The modern map of Temple Bar below illustrates just how much has changed not least the blocking off of Turnstile Lane and Alley.  The cobbled Fosters Place is now most familiar to Dubliners for its Starbucks, taxi rank and new Wax Museum while Parliament Row has nothing much to boast for except a Car Park entrance and bottle bank.

Temple Bar, 1990s. 'Temple Bar - Dublin. An Illustrated History', Pat Liddy, (Dublin, 1992), p. 67

Fosters Place today. The road that swings right used to once lead to Fleet Street.


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Shakes on Dame Street

You’ll be waiting, but it’s worth it.

The Dime Bar milkshake, what an idea. Straight from the heavens, from the A4 sketch-pad of God himself surely. Delicious and (probably not at all) nutritious, and a steal at €2.99. I’ve bought dodgy pints on Dame Street for more than that in the past, and this is a steal.

At first, I was quite dismissive of the idea of a ‘milkshake bar’ opening up in the centre of town, a novelty at best I thought. It was only when passing early on Monday (1pm is ‘early’ to me) that I ventured in for a look.

Ahead of me, a business man in a suit, or eh…a slick dressing mod. Behind me, an old lady and her Marks and Spencers bags. Behind her, a couple of kids spending a summer roaming around town I imagine. A varied bunch. The staff? As sweet as the milkshakes, and not daunted at all by the workload lining up before them.

Your man in front goes for the Oreo, I go for the Dime Bar, and the lady behind me opts for the Galaxy. A posh one obviously. To kill the time, I grab a leaflet.

After Eight
Aero Mint
Buourbon Biscuit
Jammie Dodger
Skittles (I’m as confused as you)
Jelly Tots
Weetabix

These are just the ones that caught my eye. I won’t be trying the Weetabix offer, granted- but Skittles or Starbursts? Tempting.

At €2.99 for a regular shake, or €3.50 for a large offering, it’s not breaking the bank. There’s a student discount too, which is always nice. The option of Soya milk and ice-cream is there for those of you who are into that lark.

The place is open until 11pm some nights according to their Facebook, meaning you’ve no excuse. I expect to be put on a drip soon.

Shakes Milkshake Bar is open now.

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The bronze statue of Henry Grattan has been keeping an eye over the front gates of Trinity College since January 1876. Designed by John Henry Foley, a Dubliner, the spot where the statue stands was originally chosen as a site for the Prince Albert Memorial, but through the efforts of the late A. M. Sullivan, author of the “Story of Ireland,” it was reserved for Grattan’s statue, while the other was changed to the lawn of the Royal Dublin Society.

To either side of the statue’s front,  are two of the original four gas lamp standards, decorated with carved Hippocampus i.e. Sea Horses. It is believed that the other two lamps were removed in the mid 20th century but their current whereabouts are unknown. Interestingly, Grattan’s bridge which links Parliament Street and Capel Street is also furnished with beautiful Hippocampus’ lamp ornaments.

If anyone has any information on the missing two lamposts, can help me date the following photographs or can provide any more historic images of the statue, get in touch.

1870s. Before the sea horse lamps were introduced

Late 19th century.

Late 19th century?

Side view. Late 19th Century.

A quiet scene. Late 19th century?

Rear view. Early 1900s?

Early 1900s.

Busy street scene. Early 1900s?

Side view. Early 1900s?

Early 20th Century.

Early 20th Century.

View from 1924 (Notice the little 'YMCA' sheds)

1961 (Notice two sea horse lamposts removed)

2009, Suffocated by trees. (Picture - GrahamH)

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