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Posts Tagged ‘Sackville Street’

I was looking through some old postcards of O’Connell Street and came across this one. It’s obviously depicting Dublin pre Easter rebellion, as I’ve circled the Dublin Bread Company on the right of the photo. The tower of the Dublin Bread Company was used by rebels during the rebellion to return fire to snipers from Trinity College Dublin, but it was never reconstructed following the rebellion.

Who is the statue circled in red? It’s William Smith O’Brien. I never knew he was positioned at the corner of D’olier Street and Westmoreland Street for a period. The statue, by Thomas Farrell,was unveiled in 1870.

William Smith O’Brien now stands proudly on O’Connell Street, across the River Liffey and among giants of Irish history.

O’Brien made the journey across the Liffey in 1929. A great article in the Independent at the time commented on the statue, noting it was “..about twice life-size” and “..is composed of Caravazzia marble”. The statue had first been unveiled on the southside of Dublin on Stephens’ Day 1870, before a large assembly. The Times in London remarked at the time “Why gibbet such a failure in monumental marble?”

In 1900, the statue saw the name “O’Brien” removed from its pedestal by Dublin Corporation, substituted for the current bi-lingual inscription. As noted in the Independent: “This was the outcome of an agitation aroused to remove the doubt that somehow got abroad that the statue was that of William O’Brien, the Irish Nationalist M.P, whose name was so much before the public at the time, and not that of the ’48 rebel.”

Will he be left in peace? Well, no. William Smith O’Brien is due to be moved again, though only temporarily. Collins Barracks is the location. The reason for his latest move is of course the Metro North project.

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This is a nice little land, and what I like most about it is that it’s one of the ‘Sinn Féin Rebellion’ postcards I’d not seen before. Printed in Scotland, it’s from the famous Valentine Company.

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I’ve always liked this old school advertisement for Elvery Sports, in the laneway opposite The Oval pub. Elvery’s is Ireland’s oldest sports shop, founded in 1847. It’s long been a staple of Dublin and indeed Irish life, with strong links to domestic sports. The Elvery’s at the bottom of O’ Connell Street was one I always had a soft spot for, owing to the reappearing Saint Patrick’s Athletic F.C jersey in the window. Behind enemy lines, looking pretty on the northside.

There is a great story told in the wonderful Forth The Banners Go book, taking in the reminiscences of William O’ Brien, where he retells a tale about James Connolly being arrested outside this Elvery’s for a series of public speeches he had given in Dublin, breaking a proclamation forbidding any meetings being held.

That Elvery’s is gone now, making the above a ‘ghost sign’.

It’s been replaced with this:

A newsagents named after ‘The Liberator’, and former Lord Mayor of Dublin Daniel O’Connell. Directly opposite his statue, it’s sure to do a roaring trade in postcards, miniature busts of the man himself and student bus tickets.

It’s not the first newsagents on the street to tip its hat in the direction of history however. Further down the street, and on the same side, you come to this:

Sackville Street was, of course, the name of O’ Connell Street before the establishment of the Irish Free State.The name ‘Sackville Street’ was in honour of one time Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lionel Cranfield Sackville, Duke of Dorset.

The ruins of Sackville Street, 1916.

Interesting nods to the past, from the most unlikely of sources.

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On my recent walking tour of radical Dublin, one of the places I brought people was to the site of the Irish Farm Produce Company restaurant and shop on Henry Street. It was there that the 1916 Proclamation was signed, and indeed the premises was the ‘radical cafe’ of its time. Interestingly, most of the people on the tour had not noticed the plaque marking the location of the premises before. It truly is an unusual Dublin plaque.

The plaque to Captain Thomas Weafar on the corner of Lower Abbey Street is another prime example of a plaque many Dubliners are unaware of.

Captain Thomas Weafer ( The plaque reads Wafer, however as you will see below Weafer is more commonly found when discussing him) was shot and killed on Wednesday April 26 1916 while occupying the Hibernian Bank on the corner of Lower Abbey Street and Sackville Street. The strategic importance of the building is clear. It allowed Weafer and his men to control access to the street from Amiens Street Station for example, and members of the the GPO Garrison were occupying a number of buildings on each side of Sackville Street.

Meda Ryan wrote about the experiences of Leslie Price (who went on to marry Tom Barry), in her study of the famous Cork rebel leader entitled Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter.

Receiving no orders, like many Cumann na mBan activists, Leslie headed for the G.P.O

Initially they cooked meals and helped the men in the Hibernian Bank. On Tuesday forenoon the building came under attack from British troops. Leslie was standing beside Capt. Tom Weafer, OC of the Hibernian Garrison, when a bullet whizzed past her and into his stomach. As she was about to attend to him another bullet lodged in the chest of the man who had gone to Capt. Weafer’s aid. She had just time to say a prayer in Weafer’s ear when he died.

From tropicalisland.de, the building on the corner of Lower Abbey Street and O' Connell Street is the old Hibernian Bank premises

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