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Posts Tagged ‘Dublin History’

There’s not much left by the way of pre-boom buildings on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. Row upon row of mis-matched shining steel and glass structures tower over the few remaining Victorian warehouses and enginehouses, relics of an era when Dublin’s docks bustled with industry. One warehouse that has managed to survive, a double gabled redbrick building that sits where the Samuel Beckett bridge meets the Southside boasts two unusual and very original features.

The warehouse at 30- 32 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay was built in the 1890’s and was once home to the Dublin Tropical Fruit Company, who occupied the premises for decades. It has played host to plenty of drama in its lifetime; in the mid-thirties, a young teenager fell to his death from the roof, the sixties saw a long running strike on the premises and the eighties saw a fire come close to gutting the building. On 16th April 1950, a ship named the Abraham Lincoln arrived into Dublin bearing tonnes of bananas bound for the warehouse. When the ship made port, it was discovered that its cargo of fruit was already too ripe for sale, leading the company to refuse it and the ship’s crew to dump tonnes of black skinned bananas overboard. Alexandra basin was lined with scores of people waiting for the chance to grab any that might float ashore, whilst rowboats set out from Ringsend with the aim of getting to the booty first. Gardaí struggled to maintain order as hundreds of children tried to force entry into the basin. (Irish Press, 17/4/1950.) The building later housed offices belonging to U2 and is now home to a software company.

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Representation of Anna Livia, photo credit- Simon Conway

Anyway, to the point of the piece. Over the doors of the building, hang two recognisable figures- two granite keystones representing Anna Livia and the Atlantic, replicas of which appear elsewhere along the River Liffey. Originally sculpted by the eminent (though self-effacing as some records state!) Edward Smyth, they had once adorned the archways of Carlisle Bridge, the structure that predated what we now know as O’Connell Bridge. The bridge was remodeled in the late 1870’s and the granite keystones were removed- Carlisle Bridge having had three arches with a hump rising high above the water below, Anna Livia and Atlantic were deemed too large to fit the lower elliptical arches of the bridge. The new bridge had arches which sat much lower over the water, and the keystones would need to be replaced. They were remodeled by Charles W. Harrison and the originals sculpted by Edward Smyth somehow ended up on the facade of the warehouse on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

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Representation of The Atlantic, photo credit- Simon Conway

Smyth (1749- 1812) was a sculptor and modeler who served an apprenticeship under Simon Vierpyl (Clerk of Works  for the Casino building in Marino) and later worked for a Dublin stone cutter named Henry Darley. His work was mainly ornamental, according to the Dictionary of Irish Architects, that is until Darley recommended him to one of the leading architects working in Ireland at the time, none other than James Gandon in the early 1780’s. James Gandon being one of the most sought after architects of the time, Smyth rose to prominence under his patronage and went on to sculpt some of the most recognisable features on some of Dublin’s most famous buildings. From humble beginnings he was to become a wealthy man.

The building at Sir John Rogerson's Quay, photo credit- Simon Conway

The building at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, photo credit- Simon Conway

Looking out over College Green from the roof of the Old Parliament, stand his figures of Justice, Wisdom and Liberty. His works are dotted around the Custom House; the 14 keystones representing 14 Irish rivers on the building are his, along with the Arms of Ireland- a Lion and a Unicorn standing either side of the Irish Harp. He was also responsible for work on a number of churches throughout Dublin, ornaments, statues and coats of arms at Kings Inns and you can add his name to the debate on something we’ve looked at before- who sculpted the anthropomorphic figures playing billiards and other parlour games on the windows of The Kildare Street Club? In her “This Ireland” column in the Irish Times in March 1975, Elgy Gillespie noted that it wasn’t until the 1950’s that discovery of Smyth’s keystones on the building at Sir Rogerson’s Quay was made, quoting Harold Leask (architect responsible in part for the reconstrucion of the GPO) in the Royal Society of Antiquaries Journal on their discovery. That column, and anything I’ve read on the subject, neglects to mention how the heads managed to make their way from Carlisle Bridge and onto the facade of a building on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. Another reason why, when walking around this city, you should keep your head up because who knows what you might find!

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Gang violence has featured on Come Here To Me before; with the Pinking Dindies, the Liberty Boys and the Ormond Boys of the 18th century, through the various fracas’ of the Animal Gangs and on to the Black Catholics in the 1970’s and 80’s and onwards all making an appearance. Dublin has always had its fair share of troublesome groups and there’s always plenty to write about them.

One event we haven’t yet covered that jumped out at me recently while reading John Edward Walsh’s “Rakes and Ruffians,” was a three day riot involving both the Liberty Boys and the Ormond Boys which brought Dublin to a standstill in mid- May, 1790. Accounts of Dublin from the late 18th/ early 19th century are rarely without mention of the two groups whose infamy is still regarded to this day. Injuries, maimings and deaths are all purported to have taken place in this encounter, making it one of their bloodiest.

According to J.D Herbert’s Irish Varieties, for the Last Fifty Years: Written from Recollections, the Ormond Boys were the “assistants and carriers from slaughter-houses, joined by cattle drivers from Smithfield, stable-boys, helpers, porters, and idle drunken vagabonds in the neighbourhood of Ormond Quay,” whilst the Liberty Boys were, “a set of lawless desperadoes, residing in the opposite side of the town, called the Liberty. Those were of a different breed, being chiefly unfortunate weavers without employment, some were habitual and wilful idlers, slow to labour, but quick at riot and uproar.”

Weaver’s Square, home of the Liberty Boys, from John Roque’s map of 1754. Taken from http://irishhistoricaltextiles.files.wordpress.com

The Liberty Boys notoriety spread further than Dublin, and references to them can be found in several newspaper articles from across the water, including one in the Leeds Mercury from January 1867 which refers to them as French Huguenots who have “degenerated physically.” “They are the Liberty Boys of Dublin, the dwellers in ‘The Coombe,’ or hollow sloping down to the river, famous for their lawlessness, their strikes, and their manufactures of poplin and tabbinet. They do not seem at all favourable specimens of humanity as you watch them leaning out of windows in the tall, gaunt, filthy, tumble down houses around and beyond St. Patrick’s.”

The hostility between the two gangs often led to full scale riots between upwards of 1, 000 men and these occurred several times a year, but especially in the run up to the Mayday festival. The city would be brought to a standstill, with businesses closing, the watchmen looking on in terror, as battles raged for the possession of the bridges over the Liffey. Walsh’s book reports the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Emerson as saying “it was as much as his life was worth to go among them” regarding such riots.

Essex Bridge and Ormond Quay, where the main battles took place.

The battle this piece refers to though began on May 11th 1790 and lasted several days. The riot coincided with an election in the city, although an opinion piece in the Freeman’s Journal on the Thursday of that week described the violence as wanton, saying:

“The situation of the capital on Wednesday night was dreadful in the extreme; it was shocking to civilisation, for outrage was openly and without disguise directed against the civil protection of the city. On other occasions, grievance, from sickness of trade, from injury by exportation of foreign commodities, from the high price of provision and the low rate of labour, grievances from the want of employ and a variety of other causes were usually alleged for the risings of the people, but on the present occasion, no grievance exists, and the fomenters of disorder are without such a pretension. “Down with the police” is the cry and demolish the protection of the city is the pursuit.”

“In different parts of the town, prodigious mobs of people were assembled and the avowed purpose of their tumultuous rising was declared in the vehemence of their execrations against the police. “Down with the police, five pounds for a police man’s head.” They were the shouts which filled the streets.”

“In Mary Street, no passenger could escape the shower of brick bats and paving stones intended for the police. In St. Andrew’s Street, the scene was if possible more dreadful, for the mob not content in driving the Police watchman before them proceeded to pull down the watch house in which he took refuge. .. (The Men) were obliged to fire and three of the rioters fell.”

The riot only came to a conclusion on the Thursday due to military intervention, when a “party of men on horse dispersed the rioters and stood guard for the remainder of the night which prevented more bloodshed and massacre…. The blood of the unfortunate wretches who met their unhappy fate rests at the door of those few incendiaries who stimulated by their playful insignias unthinking persons to destruction.” And people think Love Ulster was bad!

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The way we drink in Dublin has been changing over the last few years; I can’t say evolving, so much as there has been a restoration of natural order. Craft beers vie for counter space alongside Diageo products and pubs like the Black Sheep, Against the Grain and The Beerhouse have sprung up to back up the Porterhouse in breaking the Guinness monopoly. Most importantly, our brewers are starting to brew again, with Five Lamps Brewery and JW Sweetman’s to name but two.

I say ‘again’ as while for decades Guinness and later their parent company Diageo would fully monopolise brewing in Dublin, ours was once an industry that could “present an unrivalled record to the world” (Irish Independent, 05/06/1908) and this city’s brewing was said, as far back as the 17th century to be “the very marrow bone of the commonwealth of Dublin.” (http://simtec.us/dublinbrewing/history.html) The excise list for 1768 showed returns for forty three brewers in the city, with many of these large operations employing dozens of workers.

Throughout the 1800’s, with the rise of Guinness’, Dublin’s breweries either amalgamated or closed so by 1850, there were twenty breweries left, by the 1870’s, there were ten left, and by 1920, there were just four breweries including Guinness’ operating in Dublin. One of the largest breweries during this time was Watkins’ Brewery, originally founded as the Ardee Street Brewery, and later known by the title of Watkins, Jameson, Pim & Co., Ltd.

Advertisement for Watkins' Brewers. From the Aonach an Garda programme,1926.

Advertisement for Watkins’ Brewers. From the Aonach an Garda programme,1926.

A date for the foundation of the brewery is hard to ascertain, but the Irish Times, in an article on Dublin brewers (21/01/1932) reported that Watkins’ “of Ardee Street Brewery hold the record of having paid the highest excise duty of any Dublin brewer in 1766”  so its going at least that long, with the excise list naming Alderman James Taylor as the owner. By the 1820’s, the brewery at Ardee Street was the third largest in Dublin, with an output of 300 barrels per week. It was bettered only by Guinness’ with 600 barrels per week and Michael Sweetman’s with 450 barrels per week.

By 1865 the brewery was exporting over 14, 000 hogsheads or approximately six million imperial pints of stout. (Findlaters: The Story of a Dublin Merchant Family 1774-2001, chapter 4.) The brewery was dissected by Cork Street, with the brewing house and offices on its south side, and 87 dwellings for their workers on the north side, some of which exist today, as can be seen in the image below. The houses were built at at outlay of £14, 460, with rents “from 2/6 to 6/-.”  (Irish Independent, Sept. 12th, 1913.)

Watkins' Buildings, and all that remains of the brewery.

Watkins’ Buildings, and all that remains of the brewery.

The Freemans’ Journal, (12/02/1904) spoke of rumours circulating Dublin of an amalgamation of two of its more prosperous breweries, namely Watkins’ and Jameson, Pim and Co., who would move from their premises between Anne Street and Beresford Street to make way for another Jameson: John Jameson and Son, the whiskey distillers. The article also reported that the Watkins’ family had “long since disappeared, and the business now carried on by Mr. Alfred S. Darley.”

The brewery saw action (although not much) during the 1916 rising, when it was occupied by Con Colbert (a teetotaller) and a garrison of 20 men- an outpost under the direct command of Eamonn Ceannt in the South Dublin Union. The outpost was ineffective, and the volunteers eventually joined up with the Marrowbone Lane distillery garrison. It was also tragically caught up in the events of the “Battle of Dublin,” a week of clashes in Dublin from 28th June to 5th July 1922, at the start of the Civil War that saw over sixty people killed. A cooper by the name of James Clarke who worked in the brewery was shot near Gardiner’s Row on the 6th July whilst walking a friend home. He took a bullet straight to the face and died half an hour after admission to Jervis Street Hospital.

O'Connell's Dublin Ale

O’Connell’s Dublin Ale

Towards the end of the twenties, Watkins’ Jameson, Pim and Co. acquired Darcy’s Brewery and it’s trademarks, including O’Connell’s Dublin Ale, which we’ve mentioned briefly on here before. The Findlaters book acknowledges the takeover of Darcy’s brewery, and also mentions that the company owned several Dublin pubs, “which it called Taps.” In March 1937, the financial paragraph of the Irish Times announced that the firm was in voluntary liquidation. The article shows that at the time, the brewery still employed over one hundred men, and blamed rising excise and falling exports for their downturn.The Findlaters book above also says that while the company outlasted many of it’s competitors, it closed down in 1939.

watkins22

We took a look at Dublin’s air raid shelters recently, and in 1943, the brewery was subject to a high court wrangle with a High Court judge quashing a warrant issued by a district justice who, under the “Air Raid Precautions Act, 1939” demanded that the Dublin Corporation be allowed enter the brewery, by force if necessary, to build a shelter in its basement. The demand wasn’t met. After this, as the excellent Wide and Convenient Streets concur, things get a little bit hazy regarding the brewery. In September 1951, there was a large fire at the site, and by 1954, advertisements pop up in various papers offering factory premises to let. With a history spanning three centuries, the brewery seems to have gone “quietly into that good night” along with the rest of Dublin’s breweries, which we hope to cover in the near future.

* Company records sites suggest there was a “Watkins, Jameson, Pim & Co. (1976) Limited”  set up on Wed the 28th of Apr 1976 and is still in existence at 10 Ardee Street.

 

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“What will the Christmas Monster bring? Geological cataclysms? Political Catastrophe? Economic Chaos? New World Order? Great Confusion? Energy Crisis? Atomic War? End of the World?” So reads the rear of an eight page pamphlet distributed outside the GPO in the run up to the Christmas of 1973 by a group calling themselves the “Children of God.”  The leaflet heralded the arrival of the Comet Kohoutek and the group’s belief in the impending apocalypse.

Comet Kohoutek was discovered on March 7th 1973. Astronomers predicted that it would be the brightest “naked eye comet” since Halleys’ passed in 1910. Dubbed the “Comet of the Century” by the media, much like the recent Comet Ison, predictions fell well short of the mark, and rather than the spectacular show the world was promised, Kohoutek proved to be a bit of a let down, with the Wall Street Journal calling it at the time “a disappointment to sky-watchers, if not a fizzle.”

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Front page of pamphlet handed out by the Children of God at the GPO, 1974. Scanned and uploaded by CHTM!

The Children of God were a fundamentalist Christian sect founded in 1968 in California by David Brandt Berg. “Moses David” as he was known within the group, declared himself to be “God’s Prophet for this time.” The organisation had an estimated 165 “colonies” in late 1973, with a presence from London to Paris, Florence to Liverpool and from their headquarters in Dallas, Texas to Dublin, Cork and Belfast. In order to show devotion to the organisation, followers were expected to live a communal existence in their “colony,” obey communiques from their leader (known as “Mo Letters”) , adopt Biblical names and refuse to accept secular employment. Marriage was promoted amongst members, but couples were far from monogamous, and rumours of child abuse in the organisation were rife.

According to a Des Hickey article in the Sunday Independent, September 16th 1973,  a Children of God colony was active in Dublin and based themselves out of a two storey house in Rialto. There were ten members of the organisation living in the house, including a 22 year old named Zibeon, his American wife Aphia,  20 year old Parable, and his English wife Magdala. Both Zibeon and Parable were Irish, Zibeon having attended Blackrock College, before going to the North for University, though both men spoke with “indeterminate American accents.”

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Back page of same pamphlet. Scanned and uploaded by CHTM!

The month after the article was written, a bus belonging to the group (which had at one stage been used as the London Headquarters of the organisation), caught fire whilst parked on Nutley Lane in Donnybrook. “Gardaí at the time could not tell if the fire was malicious or not.” (Irish Independent, 17th October, 1973.) Given that the group were looked upon suspiciously by established churches in the country, it’s doubtful arson could be ruled out. Several religious organisations spoke out against the groups “eccentricities and questionable characteristics” (Presbyterian Church notes in the Irish Times, December 6, 1972.). A 1984 meeting in Malahide proclaimed young people were at grave risk from cults operating in Ireland, and included the Children of God (alongside the Mormons and Opus Dei) on their watch list.

Throughout the early half of the Seventies, the organisation grew to approximately one hundred members in Ireland. At one point there were 27 members, both male and female, living in a house in Clontarf. Their main work consisted of distributing/ selling literature and “rehabilitating” drug addicts and alcoholics; “converting” them and asking them to give up their worldly possessions to the organisation. Judging from the fact that the address given on the Kohoutek pamphlet published here was a P.O. Box in Fairview, it’s possible that they were living here by the end of 1973, although the organisation had also based itself in different locations around the city, including Rathmines, Portmarnock and Miltown according to the Sunday Independent, 3rd December 1978. Moses David never paid the Dublin colony a visit but did, according to the same report, issue them with upwards of 500 letters, “with instructions ranging from how to brush their teeth to what music they should listen to.”

Des Hickey, Sunday Independent, September 16th 1973

Des Hickey, Sunday Independent, September 16th 1973

The pamphlet handed out at the GPO largely contained gibberish, proclamations and counter proclamations of impending doom or salvation, warnings that the apocalypse will happen either in forty or eighty days, or as seen below, some time in 1986. Some of the more ‘interesting’ quotes:

“According to our own calculations, 1986 should be about the time of the final takeover of One World Government by a world dictator known as the “Anti-Christ” and the beginning of his reign of terror!”

“For the heat of the comet shall be sevenfold, and men shall gnaw their tongues for pain for the travail that shall come upon them when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the Earth! Thank You for the words Thou hast given their father! In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

The pamphlet also includes these two pages of useful survival tactics, along with instructions to “pray and stay close to the Lord!” The opening paragraph of these pages ends with the following line:

Are you even ready for the riots, the sabotage, the wrecking of utilities, the blowing up of your bank, the cutting off of your electricity and water, the problems of sewage and garbage disposal and food and gasoline rationing and shortages of all kinds is a state of emergency, and the brutality of martial law under the reign of terror of a military dictatorship of a dying nation that has forgotten God? What will YOU do?

Children of God Survival Tactics

Children of God Survival Tactics, click to zoom. Scanned and uploaded by CHTM!

The main focus for the group seems to have surrounded Comet Kohoutek, and reports about the organisation die out after this event, with the trail for the Children of God going cold around 1978. At the beginning of the eighties, there was apparently a small community in Mountjoy Square, but these fled the country to Argentina in 1981 under fear of another impending apocalypse proclaimed by Moses David.  A couple of newspaper reports appear in 1993, of a Dublin man taking his wife to court for custody of their daughter, whom she had taken without his knowledge to live with the Buenes Aires branch, now known as “The Family.”

This Post wouldn’t have been possible were it not for Harry Warren loaning us the pamphlet. Cheers H!

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Thursday, April 20th 1916, and with days to go until the Easter Rising, the Aud arrived in Tralee Bay, two days earlier than expected. The Rebellion was imminent, and with this in mind, Padraig Pearse along with his brother Willie made his way to Rathmines; with St. Enda’s not far away, they turned down Castlewood Avenue and into Doran’s Barbers. There they sat in silence as one after the other got their hair cut for the last time; it’s not so hard to believe that one of the brothers at least knew his fate.

 They did not speak much as they awaited their turn in the chair: but then, they never did, he remembers; and, whatever thoughts were in the minds of Patrick and Willie Pearse, the 20-year-old John had no foreboding that he was giving the brothers their last haircut.

John Doran, interviewed in the Irish Independent, March 28th, 1973.

The Pearse brothers are only a small part of the history of a business stretching back over a century. John’s brother James opened the shop on January 2nd 1912, then aged twenty four. The 1911 census lists him as a hairdresser, as it does John quoted above, fifteen when the census was taken. They were sons to Christina, (listed a widow on both the 1901 and 1911 census returns) and lived in a house on Chancery Lane, not far from Christchurch Cathedral. Their father was a hackney owner, and kept horses stabled nearby until his death sometime prior to 1901. John and James were just two of a family of thirteen.

Annual rent on the premises at Castlewood Avenue in 1912 was £52, and on opening, a haircut in the shop cost fourpence and a shave thruppence. Along with his wife, four girls and two boys, James lived above the barbers until the early 1930’s when the family moved around the corner to Oakley Road; born and reared above the shop, Jimmy and William  would go into the family business. Their father James didn’t retire until his late seventies and it wasn’t until then in 1966 and at fifty years of age that Jimmy took on the role of proprietor.

James and Willie Doran

James and Willie Doran

Jimmy, born in 1916, started cutting hair in 1930 at fourteen years old, with Willy starting at the same age five years later. Rathmines, and Castlewood Avenue was a different place then, the number 18 tram with it’s red triangle identifier passing the front door of the shop. The township of Rathmines existed as a seperate entity to Dublin City until 1930, when it was amalgamated into Dublin City Council.

I was born upstairs eighty six years ago, in 1916. I’m not a Dubliner though, I’m a Rathmines man. The oldest one around they say, though I’m not saying that. Dublin didn’t come here, to Rathmines, until the 1930’s. Rathmines Urban District Council made their own electricity until then.

Jimmy, in an interview with Rose Doyle, Irish Times, October 16th, 2002.

The tramlines were taken up in the forties, but Jimmy and the shop remained, unchanged. In the same manner as his father, Jimmy worked in the shop for sixty eight years, only retiring in 1998 and passing on the mantle to the shops current owner Robert Feighery who served his time in the Merchant Barbers, itself running for over half a century. Jimmy remained a regular visitor to the shop after retiring, dropping in a couple of times a week for a chat with the barber and his customers until his death on New Years Eve, 2010.

Doran Barbers.

Doran Barbers, estd. 1912.

The shop remains largely as Jimmy left it, with a polished wood floor, benches lining two walls, two wash basins and a large collection of historical memorabilia connected with the shop including framed electricity meter reading cards dating back to the shop’s opening, stamped with “G.F. Pilditch, M.I.E.E. at the Electricity Works, Town Hall, Rathmines,” a picture of Jimmy and Willie with Brendan Gleeson, and various clippings of the shop from books and newspapers it has appeared in.  Also on the wall is a large portrait of Padraig and Willie Pearse, and a selection of Bohs newspaper clippings, including one from the day after the League win in 2001; the Red and Black exterior evidence of Robbie’s footballing allegiance.

In the same interview with Rose Doyle quoted above, given in the shop in 2002, Jimmy said:

Sometimes a fella comes in and says ‘you cut my hair 30 years ago.’ Some are fifth generation customers, and there a number who are fourth generation. Famous people come and go, but everyone’s the same importance here. When a fella pays, and goes out the door, he’s all the same!

The Waldorf stakes a brave claim that it is Dublin’s oldest barbers, but I don’t think it can beat that.

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With potential names for the new bridge across the River Liffey at Marlborough Street whittled from seventeen candidates down to ten recently, only two women’s names remain in the running- Rosie Hackett and Kay Mills.

Now it’s not as if Dublin is awash with bridges or in fact any landmarks named after women of historical importance. When you look at our abundance of waterways; the Liffey, the Grand Canal, the Royal Canal, the Dodder, the Tolka and the Camac, (and they’re only the ones that haven’t been forced underground,) you’d expect more than one name to pop up. I’m not going to include Victoria Bridge or the Anna Livia Bridge for obvious reasons, and Sally’s Bridge (an alternative name for Parnell Bridge) doesn’t exactly count either. So even at an approximate guess of the fifty or so bridges in Dublin City named after historical figures, and I’m open to correction, there is currently only one named after a woman, and that’s not even a decade old. The Anne Devlin Bridge was opened in 2004 to facilitate the crossing of the canal by the LUAS at it’s Suir Road stop. And even at that, they spelled her name wrong on the plaque.

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“Ann” Devlin Bridge. Photo by hXci.

Anne Devlin was born into a family of nationalist stock near Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow in 1780; amongst others, she was cousin to famed Irish rebels Michael Dwyer and Hugh Byrne on her mother’s side. At the age of 17, and just a year before the rising of 1798, Anne moved to Inchicore where she became a servant of the Hempenstall family. Brought back to her homestead by her father in early ’98 she, along with the rest of the Devlin’s and Dwyer’s suffered at the hands of the British authories and watched as her father Bryan was thrown into jail without being charged of a crime where he was to stay for two years before a suprising aqcuittal on retrial. Two uncles and two cousins of Anne suffered the same fate and Hugh Byrne was executed having escaped and consequently recaptured.

Persecution drove the family to move to Rathfarnham, where they became neighbours of  “Mr. Ellis,” an assumed name of none other than Robert Emmet, who had taken residence there with the intention of preparing for his rising of 1803. Anne, along with Rosie Hope (wife of Jemmy Hope) took on the roles of housekeeper’s at Emmet’s house at Butterfield Lane, although in reality, they were much more than that. Anne was to become an advisor, messenger and confidante between Emmet and his partner, Sarah Curran. The failure of the rising, where numbers failed to materialise, and having lost control of his men in the Thomas Street area, who having spotted the Chief Justice, Lord Kilwarden in his carriage, pulled him from it and stabbed him to death with their pikes, caused Emmet to go into hiding.

The house at Butterfield Lane was searched, and finding Anne there, soldiers submitted her to questioning. Her repeated replies of “I have nothing to tell; I’ll tell nothing,” led to Anne being surrounded and advanced upon with fixed bayonnets. The piercing of her skin head to toe still didn’t break her, and she was taken outside where they half- hanged her from a tilted cart.  She still would not speak and was later arrested and taken to Kilmainham Jail where she was again questioned by Henry Charles Sirr. Sirr offered her £500 for the where-abouts of Emmet’s hiding places and co-conspirators to no avail and she was thrown in jail. Her entire family was imprisoned in an effort to wear her down, leading to the death of her  8 year old brother, and Emmet himself before his execution begged her to speak, knowing himself to be a dead man either way. She refused, saying she did not want to go down in history as an informer. She was eventually released in 1806 under an amnesty upon the change of British administration in Ireland.  

AD2 copy

Anne Devlin portrait, by Maser. Photo by hXci.

After her release, Anne found employment under Elizabeth Hammond at 84 Sir John Rogersons Quay, where she spent four years. She married a man named Campbell and had two children, a boy and a girl and made a living washing and cleaning. Campbell died in 1845 and Anne, whose children lived away from her, was left alone in a squalid residence at 2 Little Elbow Lane in Dublin’s Liberties. An appeal was made for assistance for Anne in the Liberty Newspaper in 1947, and while there was some response, it was far from adequate. She died in obsecurity on September 16 1851 and was buried in a paupers plot in Glasnevin before her body was exhumed by Dr. R. R. Madden, the chief historian of the United Irishmen, and re-buried in the plot she lies in today.

One from fifty is not enough. Sign the petition to have the new Liffey bridge named in honour of Rosie Hackett here:

 
And check out the Facebook here:
 

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It may come as a surprise to some, but Daniel O’Connell, who although in his political life deplored the use of violence, took part in and won a duel in Bishops’ Court, County Kildare in 1815. His opponent was an experienced duellist by the name of John D’Esterre and it was widely regarded that O’Connell would lose. D’Esterre, a former royal marine was a crack shot of whom it was said he could snuff out a candle from nine yards with a pistol shot. It wasn’t his first duel, himself having challenged an opponent in court to a duel only two years previous, though on that occasion, he backed down at the last minute and the duel did not take place.

The cause of the duel was a political speech made by O’Connell to the Catholic Board on 22nd January, 1815 in which he described the ascendancy-managed Dublin Corporation as beggarly. D’Esterre, at the time nearing bankruptcy took this as a personal insult and sent O’Connell a letter demanding a withdrawal of the statement. When this letter went unanswered, he sent a second letter which O’Connell responded to, asking D’Esterre if he wanted to challenge him, why hadn’t he yet done so. D’Esterre set out to provoke O’Connell into a challenge, and at one stage ventured out onto the streets of Dublin looking for him, horsewhip in hand only to be forced into seeking refuge in a sympathetic home, such was the crowd that began to follow him around.

The Liberator, Daniel O'Connell

The Liberator, Daniel O’Connell

Days passed, and the bubbling tension between the two had become the talk of the town and finally a challenge was laid down by D’Esterre, and a letter sent to O’Connell’s second.  Jimmy Wren’s “Crinan Dublin” names  Sir Edward Stanley of 9 North Cumberland Street as D’Esterre’s second and an Irish Press article from 1965 names Major MacNamara a protestant from Clare as O’Connell’s.

The duel was to take place on Lord Ponsonby’s demesne at Bishops’ Court, Co. Kildare on the afternoon of the challenge and the weapons of choice were pistols, provided by a man named Dick Bennett, and both pistol’s had notches on their butts to denote kills made by the weapon. Both parties were limited to one shot each, leading Stanley to retort “five and twenty shots will not suffice unless O’Connell apologises!” A light snow shower fell as a crowd gathered and the men took their places. D’Esterre shot first, but miscalculated and fired too low, and in doing so, missed. O’Connell returned fire, hitting and wounding D’Esterre in the groin, the bullet lodging in the base of his spine. D’Esterre fell, and the crowd roared. As much of a crack shot as D’Esterre was, O’Connell was a better one, having trained in case such an eventuality might come about.

An engraving that appeared in the Irish Magazine, March 1815

An engraving of the duel that appeared in the Irish Magazine, March 1815

As they made their way back to Dublin, the news spread before them and the route home was lined with blazing bonfires. Although O’Connell boasted that he could have placed his shot wherever he wanted, he did not intend to kill D’Esterre, and was shaken to find that the man had bled to death two days later. D’Esterre, as was said was bordering on bankruptcy, and on his death, bailiffs moved in and seized anything of value from his home.  Saddened by the outcome, O’Connell offered to half his income with D’Esterre’s family but the offer was all-but-refused, however, an allowance for his daughter was accepted, which was paid regularly until O’Connell’s death over thirty years later. He would never duel again, and from then on often wore a glove or wrapped a handkerchief around the hand that fired the fatal shot while attending church or passing the door of D’Esterre’s widow.

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There was a time when transport by tram around Dublin wasn’t restricted to two bizarrely unconnected routes, when tramlines extended miles in every direction, spreading from O’Connell Street outwards like arteries from a heart to Dublin’s rapidly expanding suburbs.

Three companies operated the trams initially, the Dublin Tramways Company, the North Dublin Street Tramways Company,  and Dublin Central Tramways. These companies united in 1880, forming the Dublin United Tramways Company, with 137 trams running routes which totaled over 32 miles. The last horse tram ran in January 1901,  by which time Dublin had completely electrified it’s system, now with 66 miles of track, of which nearly 50 were owned by the DUTC.

As well as numbers, the trams also had colourful route indicators. Uploaded by JadedIsle

The first tram came into service in February 1872, and ran from College Green to Rathgar. The trams generally operated within the City Centre or stretching to the more affluent South Dublin suburbs. Traveling on the trams, in the early days at least, was a luxury only Dublin’s white collar workers could afford. The majority of trams started at, or stopped nearby Nelson’s Pillar, and their terminus’  stretched to the likes of Sandymount, Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey and Terenure, as can be seen on the route identifier above. As well as featuring in a high percentage of photo’s of Dublin streets at the turn of the last century, they played parts in the Easter Rising, being toppled and bombed and their wreckage used for barricades, and feature in Joyce’s Ulysses.

Uploaded by Cracker on dublin.ie

What must have been the 21 tram to Inchicore

For over twenty years after the introduction of electric trams here, Dublin was a pioneer in tram building, the works in Inchicore churning out carriages whose design would be copied worldwide. But the introduction of the car to Irish roads, the growth in their use in the twenties,  and the newly designed four wheeled “bogey,” or basically a precursor to the bus saw the abandonment of many trams. The last tram in Dublin City ran on on 9th July 1949,  with the Howth Head line lasting another ten years before it too succumbed to progress. Some of their lines can still be found around the city, relics of a time past.

Removing the tracks at Lord Edward Street

A copy of the Dublin United Tramways Company from 2010 has been uploaded by the National Archives of Ireland and can be found here. The image of workers removing the tracks from Cork Street is from the Dublin City Council’s Photographic Collection.

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While historically, and perhaps understandably, The Abbey Theatre takes centre stage in this city, mainly because of it’s connections with Synge, Yeats and O’Casey and their associations with the 1916 Rebellion, its sometimes easy to forget that there are, and were a plethora of other theatres, not only The Gaiety, The Olympia, The Gate, but a long list of many more.
I came across the picture below, of a building on the corner of Poolbeg Street and Hawkins’ Street with a stone columned pallisade and cast iron and glass canopy while flicking through the excellent dublin.ie forum recently. It started me thinking about the recent publishing by the Dublin City Council of images of Dublin’s vanishing and forgotten features (see JayCarax’s piece on that here ) and about actually how much of this city has been erased. Streets, buildings and sites of archaeological significance were destroyed; eradicated in the name of progress without thought of their value, socially and historically, to future generations.

The Theatre Royal Hippodrome, Credit to Cosmo on dublin.ie for the picture

One such building is the Theatre Royale Hippodrome/ Winter Gardens on Hawkins’ Street. The only reason I know of its existence is because of a flash of interest when I first saw the picture above, did a quick search and found the poster below. Dating from 1919, these were turbulent times in Dublin. The Declaration of Independence was declared at the 21st January assembly of Dáil Eireann, and hostilities in the War of Independence began on the same day with Dan Breen and Seán Treacy’s attack on two RIC constables who were escorting explosives in Soloheadbeag, Co. Tipperary.

The Evening Telegraph front page, from the morning of January 22nd, 1919

There is not too much information on the Theatre Royal Hippodrome available. It is known that there were four in existence; the first was on the site of the still running “Smock Alley” theatre, the second on Hawkins Street, (the site of the image above,) where it ran until it burned to the ground in 1880. This theatre re-opened in 1897 with a capacity of 2, 300 (compare this to the Olympia, which nowadays holds 1, 100) and ran until 1934 when it was demolished and replaced by the fourth theatre which opened in 1935 and ran until 1962. The picture is estimated to be from around 1906/ 07, which suggests it is from the third incarnation of the Theatre.

Poster for the Theatre Royal Hippodrome for 16th June 1919, credit to Matthew from http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk for permission to reproduce here.

Two events stood out for me in reading about the theatre. The first was Charlie Chaplin’s appearance here as a young man in 1906 as part of an act called The Eight Lancashire Lads (1.) The second was the attempted assassination of British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith here on July 19th 1912, not by Irish Revolutionaries but by militant English Suffragettes (2.) Their first attempt involved a hatchet thrown at him by one woman as his carriage passed the GPO on O’Connell Street. While it missed him, she did succeed in striking John Redmond, the nationalist leader. The second involved three women who attempted to set fire to the Theatre as Asquith was about to speak.

The Irish Times report stated:

Sergeant Cooper, accompanied by his wife and Colour-Sergeant and Mrs Shea, was sitting in the dress circle of the theatre. About a quarter to nine, when the performance had concluded and the people were going out, he saw a flame in the back seat, just in front of the cinematograph box.

With the presence of mind that one should expect in a soldier, he rushed to the place, and found that the carpet was saturated with oil and ablaze. He and Colour-Sergeant Shea beat the fire out with their mackintoshes. Just as they had succeeded in this, under the seat there was an explosion, which filled the dress circle with smoke.

At this moment Sergeant Cooper saw a young woman standing near. She was lighting matches. Opening the door of the cinematograph box, she threw in a lighted match, and then tried to escape. But she was caught by Sergeant Cooper and held by him. She is stated to have then said: “There will be a few more explosions in the second house. This is only the start of it.”

From the Irish Times archive.

From the posters, I get the feeling that the Theatre was the anti- thesis of the Abbey which stood a mere 100 yards away as the crow flies, albeit the other side of the River Liffey. An advertisement which I have been unable to reproduce (but can be seen here on the arthurlloyd.co.uk website) has the adage “God Save the King”  amid advertisements for “Hammam Turkish Baths, Sackville Street” and open daily “Winter Gardens” serving “Teas, coffees and light refreshments,” delights the majority of Dubliners at that time could only dream about.

As far as I know, nothing remains of the Theatre Royal Hippodrome today. From the photograph above (and from deductions that the construction work in the background was the construction of he Sheehan Memorial on Burgh Quay,) its been worked out that the National Aviation Authority  stands on the site formerly occupied by it. There is now a housing scheme off Pearse Street named after the Winter Gardens, but searches for more information have thrown up little more than (apart from advertisements for apartments for sale and to let,) the poster above, the picture of the Hippodrome, the Irish Times article and a brief history of the theatre in a book called “Dear, Dirty Dublin: A City in Distress.” Published in 1982, this book has a great paragraph on the Gaelic Leagues denunciation of the demise of Irish culture as a product of the hegemony of imported English popular culture. While in the early twentieth century, the Abbey Theatre put paid to the notion that Irish culture was condemned to obsucurity, the book also has a great quote from Padraig Pearse as he proclaimed the Dublin of his day held:

Nothing but Guinness porter. Her contribution to the world’s civilisation (3.)

Due in part to some of the works that have made their debuts in The Abbey Theatre, Dublin has proven itself to have contributed more than just Guinness porter to the world. Who knows how much more we could have contributed if sites of historical and cultural relevence such as the Theatre Royal and the Viking Settlement at Wood Quay not half a mile down the same side of the river weren’t trampled on and replaced by drab, dour, and most importantly “conventional” buildings.

Footnotes:

(1.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_Royal,_Dublin

(2.) http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0719/1224275016332.html

(3.) Dear, Dirty Dublin: A City in Distress by Joseph V. O’Brien, Page 23. Can be read here.

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Mellows’ last message was delivered to Eamon Martin by a prison officer. It was written at 7.30am and ran:

To my dear comrades in Mountjoy. God bless you, boys, and give you fortitude, courage and wisdom to suffer and endure all for Ireland’s sake.

An poblacht abu!
Liam O Maoiliosa (Liam Mellows)

The above is taken from C Desmond Greaves wonderful biography of Liam Mellows, entitled Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution. Undoubtedly one of the most complex characters of the anti-treaty republican movement, I’ve always been fascinated by Mellows. A great account of what Mellows was like as a man inside Mountjoy can be found in Peadar O’ Donnell’s prison memoirs The Gates Flew Open.

Recently, I saw the letter below. It is the final letter of Liam Mellows, the letter published above in Graves biography. It comes from the personal papers of Paddy Kelly, whose father was a republican prisoner in Mountjoy at the time. Look closely at it however. There are a number of clear edits made to the letter, for example the first line, where “to my very dear comrades…” becomes “to my dear comrades”. “God bless you,” becomes “God bless you boys” and the word “and” is added at various points, replacing the & symbol.

At the end of the letter “Irish first” is added and underlined next to Liam’s name.

Were these edits made by Mellows himself, or are they an early example of spin doctoring? Was the letter edited by republicans for propaganda impact before publication? Several of the letters seem completely different to those in the original letter, yet with others it’s a little less clear.

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It is said that countless country folk have used it as a rendevous point, and that thousands of relationships, amorous and otherwise have been formed under it. Phillip Chevron of The Radiators even wrote a song about it. As landmarks go, it’s pretty, though rather unimpressive, but the saying “I’ll meet you under Clery’s Clock ” has been coined for generations.

The spot of many a life changing moment; Clery's Clock

Clery’s is an integral part of the social history of Dublin, as much as it is the actual history. It’s ties with the Imperial Hotel and the Martin Murphy empire, the lockout of 1913 and Jim Larkin, and the events of Easter week in 1916 are irrefutable. It was the scene, as has been mentioned here before, of Jim Larkin’s arrest for addressing the crowd at a rally from the upper balcony of the building while dressed in a priests robes and a fake beard.

But as I said, there is an important social history to be told about the building, and Media Arts Student Sinead Vaughan is looking for people to tell it. I came across this plea for help this morning while browsing the Dublin City section of boards.ie and thought it an excellent idea. So anyone with a story about meeting there, or especially anyone who was at the unveiling of the new clock in 1990, contact sineady_vaughan@hotmail.com

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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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