Dublin Buildings

A selection of histories of Dublin buildings. These videos are designed as a resource for primary school children and second level students up to Junior Certificate.

Dublin Buildings on YouTube

Imagine what it would be like to have lived long ago. What streets were like? What goods were sold in shops? What kind of clothes people wore every day? What did houses and buildings look like? Imagine a journey into the past. Well, this is a short journey around Dublin and we will look at buildings and monuments, parks and places that Dubliners knew long ago.

Some of the buildings have changed a lot and some not at all. But they all have a story to tell- their own special history.

You can find out a lot about history by talking to people, reading a book, looking at the Internet. You can look at a map or a photograph or read an old newspaper. You can become a spy on the past!

One of the best places to go to learn about history is your local library. Here you can look up reference books or check out local history files. You can also use the Internet if you have an adult with you. You can always ask the Librarian for help. If you would like to know how to do research you will find lots of information on the “Ask about Ireland” website at www.askaboutireland.ie. In the learning zone section you will find information on how to do research.

Here are some stories about buildings and monuments and parks you will see on your way to the library. The best thing about them is that they are nearby and you probably pass them every day. Maybe your Mam and Dad, your grandparents or great grandparents passed them every day. I wonder what they thought about them - why not ask them?

Listen to an introduction to Dublin Buildings.

 

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All Saints' Church, Raheny

All Saints' Church, Raheny was built by Lord Ardilaun who owned St Anne's estate in the late nineteenth century.

 

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

All Saints' Church, Raheny

On Howth Road, near Watermill Road, stands All Saints’ Church on a site which was once part of St Anne’s estate, the large area of land between Raheny and Clontarf that had belonged to the Guinness family. It had been built, like so many other buildings, by Lord Ardilaun who owned St Anne’s estate in the late nineteenth century.

In 1885, Lord Ardilaun went to a meeting at the old St Assam’s Church in the heart of Raheny village which was the parish church for the Church of Ireland community then and of which there are now only ruins left. At that time St Assam’s was very old and needed a lot of repairs. Lord Ardilaun offered to build a new church and pay for it himself.

He chose George Ashlin, who also designed the Red Stables as well as St Peter’s Church in Phibsboro later on, as architect. Ashlin modelled the church tower on the steeple of the beautiful and famous cathedral in Salisbury in England. He also tried to use as many Irish materials as possible: the walls, for example, are built with granite from Wicklow while the pulpit is carved in Irish oak and no expense was spared. The church cost £9,000 to build and it was later connected to Lord Ardilaun’s house in the estate by a tree-lined avenue.

The church was supposed to open on All Saints’ Day, 1 November 1889, Lord Ardilaun and his father’s birthday, but Lord Ardilaun’s sister died so the opening was postponed until 16 December.

Now Lord Ardilaun was one of only a few people who had a private church on their estate but, although it was privately built, it was open to all parishioners and it is still in use today.

There are eighteen beautiful stained glass windows in the church. Two of them are in the mortuary chapel where Lord and Lady Ardilaun are buried. On one of the walls in this chapel is a curse that says ‘curs’d be he who would disturb those sleeping here’.

Beaumont Convalescent Home, Coolock

Beaumont House is now a convalescent home, which is a hospital where people go to recover from an illness or operation. The big house was once owned by Arthur Guinness who started the Guinness brewery.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Beaumont Convalescent Home, Coolock

If you have ever been to Beaumont Hospital you might have seen a building on the left side of the road leading up to the hospital. This building is Beaumont Convalescent Home. (A convalescent home is a hospital that people go to when they recover from an illness or operation.) It was originally called Beaumont House.

We don’t know exactly when Beaumont House was built but we know that it was once owned by Arthur Guinness who had started the Guinness brewery. Arthur had bought the house in 1764. At that time you would enter Beaumont House from Kilmore West. But the grounds around the house were so large that Arthur could build a new entrance from Gracepark Road, which was then called Goosegreen Avenue.

In 1900 Beaumont House was bought by the Sisters of Mercy for use as a home to care for sick people. The Sisters had been on their way to Finglas to view a house that they were thinking of buying. However, their driver got lost, and when they passed Beaumont House they thought that it would be perfect for their new convalescent home. It was opened in 1902 after some building work was done. Today some of the building is still used as a home for sick people.

Blessington Street Basin, Phibsborough

Blessington Street Basin was built in the nineteenth century to provide a clean water supply to the northside of Dublin city. It was opened in 1810 and officially named the Royal George Reservoir, but most Dubliners simply referred to it as 'the basin'. The basin could hold four million gallons of water and it got its water from Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath. Now the basin is a public park with a fountain and a bird sanctuary on its central island.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Blessington Street Basin

If you would like to meet a few ducks and swans in Phibsborough, you should make your way to the Blessington Street Basin at the end of Blessington Street.

The Blessington Street Basin was built in the early nineteenth century to provide a clean water supply to the northside of the city. It was opened in 1810 and officially named ‘the Royal George Reservoir’. A reservoir is an area like a lake, where water is kept until it is needed.

Blessington Street Basin was built in honour of King George III but Dubliners, quickly forgot this fact, and simply referred to it as ‘the Basin’.

The northside’s water supply came from Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath. The water was brought to Dublin by the Royal Canal and through a two-mile pipe to Blessington Street. There was a lot of water needed and the Basin could hold four million gallons of water.

In 1869 even more water was needed, and a new reservoir was built at Vartry in Co. Wicklow. However, the Basin continued to supply water to Jameson’s distilleries in Bow Street and Power’s distilleries in John’s Lane until the mid-1970s. It then became a public park but so few Dubliners knew of its existence then that it became known as ‘the secret garden’.

The Blessington Street Basin was completely renovated in 1993-94 and reopened in November 1994. Today it is a beautiful walled park with a fountain and a bird sanctuary on its central island and it still gets its water from the Royal Canal.

Brereton's Pawn Shop

Brereton's Pawn Shop has been open on Capel Street since 1850. You will know a pawnshop by the three golden balls hanging outside.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Brereton's Pawn Shop, Capel Street

If you go down Capel Street, you will see Brereton’s Pawnshop opposite the junction with Mary Street. There has been a pawnshop here since 1850.

Let me explain what a pawnshop is, let’s pretend that you need money and that you have a gold ring. You come to me in the pawnshop and you give me this gold ring and I will give you money for it. I also give you a pawn ticket with the amount and the date as proof. I keep the ring until you pay me back at an agreed date, but you also pay an extra charge, of course. If you don’t pay me back on time I put your gold ring up for auction and it goes to the highest bidder. I keep the amount of money that you were to pay me and you get anything extra that was made at the auction.

Pawnshops were called ‘the poor man’s bank’ because bringing their possessions to the pawnshop was often the only way poor people could get money.

Once, when people were poorer, there were loads of pawnshops in Ireland. Sometimes people brought their good Sunday clothes there to get money to pay the rent or buy food. They paid back the loan before Sunday so that they could wear their good clothes to Mass. If they did not get work that week to earn enough money, their good clothes were gone.

You will know a pawnshop by three golden balls hanging outside. This symbol came from the story of Saint Nicholas, Santa Clause to you and me. He was said to have saved three girls from poverty by secretly throwing three golden balls in their window. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers.

You can see the three golden balls hanging over Brereton’s Shop and the pawnshop downstairs.

Broadstone Station, Phibsborough

Broadstone Railway Station in Phibsborough opened in 1847 and ran trains until 1937. Broadstone was the Dublin terminal of the Midland Great Western Railway Company, which ran trains to Galway.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Broadstone Station, Phibsborough

If you wanted to travel to Galway by train around 1850 you did not go to Heuston Station to catch your train – you went to Broadstone Station in Phibsborough instead.

At that time Ireland did not have just one railway company as it now has – there were many different ones. The following four railways operated from Dublin: the Great Northern Railway (GNR) served the north and north-east of the country, the Great Southern and Western Railway (GSWR) the south-west, the Dublin Wicklow and Wexford Railway (DWWR) the south-east and the Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR) the midlands and west. And all these railway lines had their own terminal station. (This means the end station)

The large granite building at Broadstone was the Dublin terminal of the Midland Great Western Railway Company (MGWR). From here the company ran trains to Galway. The station was opened in1847, and trains departed from there until 1937.

The site for Broadstone Station was chosen because it was connected to the Royal Canal by an arm that ran parallel to Phibsborough Road. It also had a harbour where boats could dock and the station was built right opposite. Heavy goods could be brought to the station by the canal and then carried westwards by train.

When the Royal Canal arm was filled in in the 1920s and the MGWR joined with other railway companies to form the Great Southern Railway (GSR) in 1924, Broadstone lost its value as a railway station. It finally closed on 16 January 1937. The closing ceremony was broadcast live on RTÉ radio. The first train to the west from Westland Row Station (now Pearse Station) departed on 18 January 1937 and Broadstone Station became a garage for buses.

Bushy Park House

Bushy Park House is one of the oldest buildings in Terenure. It was built around 1700 by a man called Arthur Bushe.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Bushy Park House, Terenure

Between Terenure and Rathfarnham lies a large beautiful park called Bushy Park. It was once part of a big estate of the same name. The house connected with the estate, Bushy Park House, is a three-storey house with twenty-four rooms. It is situated on the southern boundary of Bushy Park. It was built in a style called ‘Georgian’ which was popular in the eighteenth century when the British kings George I, George II and George III ruled Ireland.

Bushy Park House is one of the oldest buildings in Terenure. It was built around 1700 by a man called Arthur Bushe and was known as Bushe’s House. But this is not where it got its name from. John Hobson who became the owner of the house in 1772 changed its name to Bushy Park House, possibly after a park in London with the same name.

From 1796 until 1953 the house and estate were the home of the Shaw family. Sir Robert Shaw Junior (1774–1849) who lived in nearby Terenure House was a well-known and important man in the early nineteenth century in Dublin. He was a merchant and owned his own bank and later became Lord Mayor of Dublin. In 1796 he married the daughter of a local wealthy man called Abraham Wilkinson who owned Bushy Park at that time. Abraham Wilkinson gave the house and estate and a large sum of money to his daughter as a present when she got married (this was called a ‘dowry’). This is how the Shaw family came to own Bushy Park.

The estate was much bigger then than Bushy Park is now. It was mostly used for farming and parts of it were leased to tenants who had to pay money for its use. It also had lots of wooded areas and the local children called the estate ‘Shaw’s Wood’.

The family name Shaw was made famous by George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright  who had written the play Pygmalion on which the musical My Fair Lady is based. He also received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925.

George Bernhard Shaw was a distant relation of the Shaws of Terenure. George Bernhard Shaw’s grandmother lived there for 45 years and he often visited her.

In 1953, after 166 years Maria Shaw the last of the Shaw family left the house. The house and grounds were sold to Dublin City Council. Two years later Dublin City Council sold the house and part of the estate to the Sisters of Religious Christian Education who built Our Lady’s School in its grounds.

Bushy Park House was sold again in 1999. It is now a listed building which means it cannot be changed or knocked down.
 

Cadbury Factory, Coolock

The Cadbury Factory has been making chocolate in Coolock since 1957. The factory is built on the grounds of an old house called Moatfield House.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Cadbury Factory, Coolock

Would you like to smell chocolate in the air on your way to school? If you live near Cadbury’s factory, you will know what that’s like – it’s almost the same as living next to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!

The Cadbury factory in Coolock is situated at the junction of Oscar Traynor Road and the old Malahide Road. It was built on the grounds of an old mansion called Moatfield House. Moatfield House had been built by an English architect called James Lever. It was later owned by Michael Staunton who was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1847. At that time one of the best known visitors to the house was Daniel O’Connell, the famous politician.

Moatfield House got its name from a small artificial hill called a mound or moat in the area. The house is not there anymore, but the mound still is. Experts think that the mound was used for burying the dead about 3,000 years ago during the Bronze Age when people made tools and weapons from bronze. There was another mound near Coláiste Dhúlaigh and when this was dug up some skeletons were found underneath! When the Cadbury factory was being built, the builders had to be careful not to get too close to the mound in case they damaged it.

The Fry-Cadbury factory, as it was then, was opened on 31 May 1957 by Minister Sean Lemass, who later became Taoiseach. He was given a golden key and got a tour of the factory to see how the chocolate was made. Cadbury’s also released 1,000 balloons with a token on them and anyone who caught one of the balloons got a free box of their new Irish Roses sweets.

The factory cost about two million euro in today’s money to build. It was an unusual factory as it had so much green space around it. Because of this it was called ‘a factory in a garden’. Offices, a dining hall and a pitch and putt course were added between 1960 and 1967. Today, the factory still manufactures sweets.

Casino Marino

'Casino' is the Italian word for 'small house'. It was built around 1770 as a summerhouse for the 1st Earl of Charlemont on his large country estate in Marino.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Casino, Marino

You might have heard that there is a casino in Marino but this one is not of the gambling kind…and one could easily miss it because it is not on a main road but when you travel on the Malahide Road northwards and look across the playing fields on the left just after the junction with Griffith Avenue, you can glimpse a white building on higher ground at the far end which looks like an ancient Roman temple. This is the Casino in Marino. It is regarded as one of the finest eighteenth-century buildings not only in Dublin but also in Europe.

‘Casino’ is the Italian word for ‘small house’ and the Casino looks very small from the outside, but when you go inside, you can see that it is actually quite large. It has sixteen rooms on three floors.  It was built as a summerhouse for the 1st Earl of Charlemont on his large country estate in Marino, a place where he could go if he wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It was designed by Sir William Chambers, the architect to the King of England. Sir William was a friend of Lord Charlemont and he also designed his townhouse on Parnell Square, which is now the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. However, Sir William was actually never in Ireland – he just sent the plans and let other people supervise the building.

The Casino was built around 1770 in a style called Neo-Classicism. It was the most modern style at the time and it tried to make buildings look like old Roman or sixteenth-century Italian buildings. This is why the Casino has tall columns and is completely symmetrical, which means that all sides are exactly the same. It has lions guarding each corner, steps leading up to the doors and decorated containers shaped like a vase – these are called urns – on the roof. It even has central heating like an old Roman villa. All you had to do was light the fireplaces and the whole building was heated.

But all is not as it seems and there are some tricks in the building. The outer columns contain downpipes from the gutter for carrying rainwater from the roof and the urns hide the chimneys from the fireplaces inside. The whole building is full of ideas and surprises.

In 1881 Lord Charlemont’s estate was sold and nobody looked after the Casino for many years. It took ten years to restore it and it reopened in 1984. Now you can visit it again as it is all that is left of Lord Charlemont’s estate.

Cathal Brugha Barracks

Cathal Brugha Barracks used to be known as Portobello Barracks as it was built in a part of Rathmines called Portobello. The barracks, which opened in 1815 was originally designed as a cavalry barracks.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Cathal Brugha Barracks

Cathal Brugha Barracks used to be known as “Portobello Barracks” as it was built in a part of Rathmines called Portobello.

The building of Portobello Barracks began in 1810 and was finished in 1815.

The barracks was designed as a cavalry barracks, which means it was designed for small army units which would use horses or some form of transport. More land was purchased and a Church was added in 1842, and a canteen in 1868. In 1888 the cavalry left for McKee Barracks in Cabra.

As you can imagine there were many incidents at the barracks. Here are some interesting facts:

 

In 1817, William Windham Saddler made a successful flight in a hot air balloon from the barracks ground to Holyhead in Wales.

On 17th March, 1916, the Countess of Limerick gave shamrock to the troops in Portobello Barracks. During the 1916 Rising and the Irish War of Independence British troops from the barracks were involved in actions around Dublin. The worst of these was when three people were shot without trial in the barracks guardroom. They were Mr Dickinson, Mr McIntyre and Mr Sheehy Skeffington. Captain Colthurt who ordered the shooting was judged to be insane at his trial. He spent eighteen months in Broadmore Prison in England. On 18th May 1922, Irish Troops took over Portobello barracks.

It became the National Army’s Headquarters under Michael Collins. Michael Collins was a famous Irish leader. The barracks hospital became Michael Collins home. On 12th August 1922, he left the barracks for the last time to tour the South of Ireland. He was killed on August 22nd 1922.

On 9th May 1952, Portobello Barracks had its name changed to Cathal Brugha Barracks. It was called after Cathal Brugha, who was a leader during the 1916 Rising, and was Minister for Defence in the First Dáil. He lived nearby for a time.

Cathal Brugha Barracks is still a working barracks today. It now has a military archive about the defence forces in Ireland. An archive is a collection of records and information.

Cherry Orchard Hospital

Cherry Orchard Hospital in Ballyfermot was built in 1953 as a fever hospital

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Cherry Orchard Hospital, Ballyfermot

Imagine, school could be a health hazard before the 1960s!  In fact, anywhere a crowd gathered could be life-threatening. Infectious diseases such as TB and polio were very common in Ireland because children were not vaccinated against them.

In the 1950s there was an outbreak of polio and if you were unfortunate enough to get it, you were put ‘in isolation’ in a hospital which cared for people with infectious diseases. These hospitals were called ‘fever hospitals’. You would have to stay there until you were cured or no longer infectious. This could take six months or more.

Nowadays if you had to stay in hospital you would have lots of visitors bringing you presents but for children in a fever hospital in the 1950s life could be very lonely; most often these children were not allowed visitors or presents and they didn’t see their family or friends for months.

Cherry Orchard Hospital was such a hospital. It opened in November 1953 to replace the old Cork Street Fever Hospital.  This old hospital had been set up in 1804 by Dublin businessmen, among them Arthur Guinness and Samuel Bewley.

Dr Noel Brown was Minister of Health when Cherry Orchard Hospital was built. He had worked very hard to get all children in Ireland vaccinated against infectious diseases such as TB and polio.  He was Minister of Health when turned the first sod on the site for the new hospital.

The buildings and gardens covered the space of around 46 football fields. There were 11 separate single-storey blocks of wards, an oratory where you could say your prayers, sports grounds, a swimming pool and rooms for staff.

Nowadays there is no need for a fever hospital as there are hardly any dangerous contagious diseases about as most children are vaccinated against them. Cherry Orchard Hospital still looks after patients today. 

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral was originally a small wooden church built by the Viking King Sitric. It was replaced around 1200 with the beginnings of the stone building we see today. Inside the cathedral is the tomb of Strongbow, the Norman knight who became king of Leinster in 1171

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church is the second Church of Ireland cathedral in Dublin - the other one is St Patrick’s Cathedral. The building that can be seen today is older than St Patrick’s.  It is believed that it started off as a small wooden church built around 1030 by the Viking King Sitric. It was built inside the old city walls; all around it was the old Viking city with packed houses, workshops and narrow lanes.

It was replaced around 1200, with the beginnings of the stone building we see today. Many people added to the cathedral since, but by the 1800s it had fallen into disrepair. As in the case with St Patrick’s, a wealthy Dublin man came to the rescue and donated £230,000 which is the same as 26 million euro to restore it.

The name of this man was Henry Roe and he made his money by distilling whiskey, while St Patrick’s was saved by the Guinnesses, and the money they had made from beer! Henry Roe turned the cathedral into the building Dubliners know today but while the outside was much changed, the inside stayed pretty much as it was in the Middle Ages.

Inside the cathedral one can see steps leading down to a huge underground room running the whole length of the building. This kind of room in a church is called a crypt and it is often used for burials or chapels. It is not quite clear what it was used for in Christ Church but it is reported that in the seventeenth-century it was divided up and rented out as shops and taverns. Tavern is an old word for a pub, and in those days travellers would stop off for a bite to eat or drink.

Many people and stories are connected with Christ Church Cathedral. One of the famous people is Laurence O’Toole, the Archbishop and patron saint of Dublin. He invited Augustinian monks to live beside Christ Church. The remains of some of their houses can still be seen inside the grounds of the cathedral.

Inside the cathedral is the tomb of Strongbow, the Norman knight who came to Ireland with the King of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough. Strongbow married MacMurrough’s daughter, Aoife and himself became King of Leinster in 1171. He is supposed to have started the rule of the Normans in Ireland. The figure on his tomb shows a knight with a shield dressed for battle. His hands are joined and his legs crossed.

One of the strangest events ever to take place in Christ Church happened in  1487. The English were fighting over who should be their king. In order to win this quarrel, some of them found a ten-year-old boy called Lambert Simnel who looked very much like the princes who were kept in prison by the English king. They gave him fine clothes and jewels and crowned him King of England in Christ Church Cathedral. Many important Irish lords and nobles attended the ceremony. When the lie was discovered Lambert was dismissed and sent to work in the king’s kitchen but his life was spared.

Clontarf Castle

Clontarf Castle has been a hotel since 1998, but it stands on the site of a castle that dates back to 1172. For many years the castle was a base for the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller who were both involved in the Crusades to the Holy Land. They were skilled fighters who took part in wars about religion by Christian Europeans against other religions.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Clontarf Castle

Clontarf Castle was on the site now occupied by Clontarf Castle Hotel on Castle Avenue. Although the present building was converted to a posh hotel in 1998, it stands on the site of a much older castle, which dates back to 1172. It is believed to have been built either by Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Meath or his tenant Adam de Phepoe.

For many years the castle was a base for the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller who were both involved in the Crusades to the Holy Land. These were skilled fighters who took part in wars about religion by Christian Europeans against different religions.

In 1641 Luke Neverville of Corballis (which is near Donabate) took over Artane Castle and village. George King, the owner of Clontarf Castle joined him. They seized weapons from an enemy ship and returned to Swords where they were joined by local farmers and fisherman.

However later that year, Sir Charles Coote, marched to Clontarf and found some of the ship's cargo in Clontarf Castle. The Castle was taken over and now belonged to the Puritans. (The word "Puritan" means that followers had a pure soul and if you lived a good life you would get to Heaven.)

Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan General, was given charge of the estate, which he gave his friend John Blackwell who then gave it to John Vernon. The family of John Vernon were there for almost 300 years. Vernon Avenue is named after this family.

In 1835, it was thought that the castle was unsafe and the architect William Vetruvius said it had to be knocked down and rebuilt. The castle as we know it was completed in 1837.

The castle was owned by different families and was famous for music shows since 1972. Comedians Tom O’Connor and Maureen Potter regularly performed.

Between June 1997 and June 1998, the castle was closed to turn it into a hotel and this is what we see today. But it was always a famous place to stay.

In 1742 the composer Handel stayed in the castle during his visit to Dublin for the first performance of his great choral work “The Messiah”. The castle is mentioned by the Irish Rock Group “Thin Lizzy” in their song “The Friendly Ranger at Clontarf Castle” on their first album in 1971.

Coolock House

Coolock House was built around 1798. In 1809 a wealthy man named William Callaghan bought the house and came to live there with his wife and a young orphaned woman called Catherine McAuley. Catherine set up a new religious order called the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters of Mercy are involved in education and helping people throughout the world. Coolock House is now a Sisters of Mercy convent.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Coolock House

Coolock House is situated in the grounds of Mercy College on St Brendan’s Drive. It is thought that the house was built around 1798. It was not as big then as it is now but the estate was still large. Originally the entrance leading up to the house stretched almost as far as the present-day entrance to Chanel College. There were also several other buildings on the land, such as a coach house, stables and a gate lodge which is a small house at the entrance to a big property or estate.

In 1809 a wealthy man named William Callaghan bought the house and came to live there with his wife Catherine and a young orphaned woman. The young woman’s name was Catherine McAuley. Catherine had come to live with the Callaghans to keep Mrs Callaghan, who was ill at the time, company. They got on very well and eventually, the Callaghans adopted Catherine.

The Callaghans believed that they should help the poor and sick in their area. Catherine assisted them with this work and also taught some of the local children in the gate lodge of Coolock House. When Mr Callaghan died he left the house and land to Catherine which made her a millionaire by today’s standards.

Catherine had been upset by the poverty she had seen and she wanted to set up a centre that would educate and give shelter to poor girls. She sold Coolock House and its land. She built a large training centre and refuge on Baggot Street which was opened in 1827.

In 1831 this became the first Convent of Mercy for the Sisters of Mercy, the new religious order Catherine had set up.

The Sisters of Mercy spread throughout Ireland and the wider world .Today the order is still involved in education and in helping people in many countries.

Catherine McAuley, who had become the first ‘social worker’, was honoured for her achievements by having her picture on the Irish five-pound note for many years.

Coolock House was bought back by the Sisters of Mercy in 1955. They set up a convent, a small infant school, a primary school called Scoil Chaitríona and Mercy College, a secondary school, in its grounds. Coolock House became a convent and some of the Sisters of Mercy still live in it, which would probably please Catherine very much.

Drimnagh Castle

Drimnagh Castle was built around 1240 as a fortress of the Barnewall family. There were a Norman family who owned large parts of land in Terenure, Kimmage and Drimnagh.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Drimnagh Castle

Imagine going to school in the great hall of an old castle with whispers and tales of ghosts in the corridors! Well, this is what happened to eighty boys in 1954 when they started school in Drimnagh Castle School on the Long Mile Road in Dublin.

Drimnagh Castle was built around 1240 as a fortress by the Barnewall family. They were a Norman family who owned large parts of land in Terenure, Kimmage and Drimnagh. The Barnewalls, like other Norman families in Ireland, needed to protect themselves against raids of the Irish chiefs. Drimnagh Castle was the perfect fortress: it had a deep wide ditch filled with water around it – this is called a moat – and a drawbridge as well as a tall tower with lookout posts. There was also a great hall with a large room, an undercroft, underneath it. Oliver Cromwell, the English ruler who came to Ireland in 1649 to put an end to Irish rebellion, is said to have kept his horses in Drimnagh Castle and many people believe his ghost has been a frequent visitor down through the ages.

The Hatch family, who were dairy farmers, was the last family to live in Drimnagh Castle. They gave the castle and lands to the Christian Brothers in 1954. The Brothers used the castle as a school from 1954 until 1956 when a newly built school was opened in the castle grounds.

In the 1980s the castle was fully restored. You can go on a guided tour there and also look at its beautiful garden laid out in the style of the seventeenth century. You can see the castle on television as it has been used for filming ‘The Tudors’.

Drumcondra House and All Hallows College

Drumcondra House is believed to be one of the best examples of a large house built in the style of the early eighteenth century. This style is called Georgian after the British kings called George.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Drumcondra House and All Hallows College

Hidden by large trees and high walls, Drumcondra House, is tucked away between Drumcondra Road Upper and Grace Park Road.

The house was designed by the architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce. He also built the old House of Parliament, which is now the Bank of Ireland on College Green. Drumcondra House is believed to be one of the best examples of a large house built in the style of the early eighteenth century. This style is called ‘Georgian’ after the British Kings called George. This type of house is rectangular in shape, large and with two or three storeys.

The house was built in 1726 and at that time Drumcondra consisted of parks,  fields and a few farmhouses.

The builder had  a strange name. This was Sir Marmaduke Coghill. And he was quite brilliant. He started university at 14 and finished at 18! Sir Marmaduke loved the house, especially the gardens. He lived in the house with his sister until his death in 1738. After that it was rented to tenants. 

Of all the tenants who lived in it afterwards, John Claudius Beresford is the one that is most remembered. He became known for his cruelty towards a group of people who called themselves the United Irishmen. They and their leader Wolfe Tone wanted an Irish republic which was independent of Britain. In 1798 they started a rebellion but lost to the British troops. Beresford did not like the United Irishmen and hunted them down. It is said that many of them were hanged from a large chestnut tree which stood facing Drumcondra House until 1952.

In 1842 Drumcondra House was rented by a Catholic priest named Father John Hand. He wanted to establish a centre where young priests were trained as missionaries. Then they could bring the Catholic faith to people living in foreign countries. He chose Drumcondra House as his headquarters. The centre became known as the Missionary College of All Hallows.

All Hallows is another word for ‘All Saints’. Father Hand chose the name because the land where Drumcondra House had been built had once belonged to the monastery of All Saints. But many people did not know this and often misspelt as “All Hollows” or even “Old Hollowes”!

The college was officially opened on the Feast Day of All Saints Nov 1st 1842.The first students soon arrived and when student numbers grew, many new buildings were added to Drumcondra House. All Hallows missionaries were sent all over the world, as far away as India, the island of Mauritius, the West Indies, South Africa and Australia.

Today, All Hallows College is run by the order of the Vincentians and is a college of Dublin City University. Students can study a number of subjects, such as theology, philosophy and psychology.

Dunsink Observatory

Dunsink Observatory was built from 1783 until 1785 to allow scientists to observe stars and planets.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Dunsink Observatory

Did you know that Ireland has a ‘space centre’? It is called Dunsink Observatory and is located on a hill just west of Finglas, near Dunsink Lane. Here you can gaze into space, observe the stars and ask questions about astronomy.

Dunsink Observatory was built from 1783 until 1785 which means that it is the oldest scientific institution in Ireland. At that time Dunsink was far away from the noise and lights of the city and a perfectly dark location for observing the stars and planets.

William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865), one of Ireland’s greatest scientists, was a director of Dunsink Observatory. He became professor of astronomy when he was only 21 years old but he preferred mathematics to astronomy and left most of the observational work to his children and his sister.

However his interest in mathematics was very important for us today . For, one day as he was walking near Broom bridge in Cabra, he had a flash of inspiration which led to his discovery of “quaternions” in mathematics. He was so excited that he had to write his ideas down so he scratched them into the bridge, and you can still see them today. The really good news is that these mathematics were used to invent the 3-D computer graphics for Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, and many more!

From 1880 until 1916 Dunsink controlled the time for the whole of Ireland. Back then, Ireland did not have one time, and clocks ran differently in Cork, Dublin, Belfast, and Galway. Dublin time was called ‘Dublin Mean Time’ and was established on 2 August 1880. The ‘Dublin Mean Time’ ran 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind London until October 1916 when the time used in Ireland was changed to British time.

By the 1920s the observatory was in decline and finally closed. It reopened in 1947 and became part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

In 1988 Dunsink was involved in the first Irish Space experiment aboard the shuttle Challenger.

Scientific research continued at Dunsink until 2005 when the observatory was converted into a museum. You can still visit it if you make an appointment, or your school can go there on special trips in the day or evening.

Farmleigh, Cabra

Farmleigh was once a home of the Guinness family. It was bought by Edward Cecil Guinness in 1873. The Irish Government bought the house in 1999 as a guesthouse for important state visitors.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Farmleigh, Cabra

We’re not really sure when Farmleigh was built; no one wrote it down, you see, but it would have been in the late 1800s. We do know, however, that in 1873 Edward Cecil Guinness bought the house. He had just married his cousin, Adelaide Guinness. Edward had a very famous granddad – Arthur Guinness. Arthur was the man who started the Guinness Brewery, the place where Guinness beer is made.

In 1873, Farmleigh was a small Georgian house. This means that it had a style famous at the time of the reign of the four kings of England called “George”.

The Guinness family actually thought it was too small so they built a conservatory for the plants and a ballroom for the dancers.

It seems the Guinness family liked reading, as Farmleigh has a rather large library. The books are shelved all along the walls right up to the ceiling. There is also a ladder just in case you are not tall enough to reach the top shelf.

In the 1970s one member of the Guinness family, Benjamin Guinness, was terrified of being kidnapped as a lot of wealthy families were robbed at that time. Benjamin put a clever plan into action. He had steps built which led down to an underground vault as an escape route just in case a kidnapper decided to visit. The room had a telephone so Benjamin and his family could ring for help.

In 1999 the government bought the house as a guesthouse for important state visitors. Since then many kings, queens, emperors and politicians have stayed at Farmleigh. In 2005, for example, the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited Farmleigh.

When there are no visitors in Farmleigh, the people of Dublin can go and see the house or go to one of the many events which take place there and which are open to everybody.

Finglas Abbey

Finglas Abbey stands in ruins in the grounds of St Canice's Graveyard. The Abbey was built on the site of an ancient monastery, which was founded by St Canice in 560 A.D.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Finglas Abbey

In the grounds of St Canice’s Graveyard stand the ruins of Finglas Abbey. The abbey was built on the site of an ancient monastery, which was founded by St Canice in 560 AD.

At that time, monasteries were very powerful. They were not just religious: they also took part in business and politics in Ireland. They were also centres of community, so the village of Finglas grew up around the monastery.

St Canice’s monastery was very important and, along with Tallaght, was known as the ‘Two Eyes of Ireland’ which kept Christianity strong.

But because of their wealth, monasteries were also prime targets for raiders. The Vikings attacked the monastery throughout the ninth and tenth centuries. The ruins of the church that can be seen today date from the tenth and twelfth centuries, long after the Viking raids had ended, so the abbey has probably been rebuilt.

After the Normans came to Ireland in the twelfth century, the monastery became the property of the Archbishop of Dublin and a big manor house was built in its grounds. Part of this manor house can still be seen today. It is known locally as ‘King William’s Ramparts’.

In the fifteenth century another mansion was built for the wife of the most senior politician in the country, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This mansion fell into ruin.

During the reign of Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Finglas Abbey became a Protestant church. It was used by the people of Finglas until 1843. Both Catholics and Protestants are buried in St Canice’s Graveyard. The earliest headstones date from Queen Elizabeth’s time.

Marsh's Library

Marsh's Library was the first public library in Ireland. It was built by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh in 1701.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Marsh’s Library

Tucked away behind St Patrick’s Cathedral in St Patrick’s Close, and hidden behind a pretty garden and entrance gate, is Marsh’s Library.

It was the first public library in Ireland and was built by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713) in 1701. At that time there were only few public libraries in England and it was a very new idea to have libraries at all. Archbishop March wanted to open a library for what he called “publick use, where all might have free access seeing they cannot have it in the College’ (which translates as a free public library for everyone, the same as public libraries today). Now there are 21 public library buildings in Dublin City and you can get books and go on the Internet for free.

Marsh’s library was designed by Sir William Robinson (who also designed the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham). The interesting thing about Marsh’s library is that it has always been used as a library, so it still has the same purpose since 1701.

This is one of the very few eighteenth-century buildings left in Dublin that is still being used for its original purpose.

Marsh’s Library contains many old and very valuable books which were either bought by Archbishop Marsh or given to the library by other book collectors. The library contains mostly books on religion, medicine, law, science, mathematics and music because these were the areas people were most interested in back then.

The inside of the library has changed very little since 1701. Walking in the door is like stepping back in time - spooky! Many of the books are still kept on the same shelves where they had been placed in the eighteenth century.

As books were very expensive then, the ones on the lower shelves were chained to a rod so that they could not be stolen. If you wanted to read one of the most valuable ones, you had to go to a small room at the side of the library where you would be locked in so that you could not steal the book. These rooms are called the ‘cages’ and are still there today.

Archbishop March left strict instructions how the library should be run and he also gave the following rules for the use of the library: ‘All Graduates and Gentlemen shall have free access to the said Library on the Dayes and Houres before determined, Provided They behave Themselves well, give place and pay due respect to their Betters, But in case any person shall carry Himself otherwise (which We hope will not happen) We order Him to be excluded, if after being admonished He does not mend His manners’. So if you did not behave, you were barred!

But there is also a ghost in the library and this is how it came about: One day, when Archbishop Marsh lived on his own in his bishop’s palace, his niece Grace came to visit and stay with him for a while. She was only nineteen years of age, and she fell in love with a clergyman from Castleknock. She ran away with him and got married secretly. Archbishop Marsh was very upset and his niece felt guilty, so she wrote him a long letter explaining her actions. She left it in one of his books but the Archbishop could not find it. And so every evening his ghost revisits the library to search through the books for the letter … but only when the library is closed.

McKee Barracks

McKee Barracks, originally called Marlborough Barracks was built by the British Army in 1888. When Ireland became the Irish Free State in 1922, the British gave the barracks to the Irish forces.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

McKee Barracks, Cabra

Did you know that 862 horses once lived in Cabra? They lived at McKee Barracks, so when you stand beside the barracks, you stand beside a lot of horses and a lot of history.

A barracks is a place where soldiers stay. At the time when the barracks was built the soldiers all fought on horseback and so they needed a place where they could keep their horses.

McKee Barracks was built by the British army. They started to build it in 1888 and it took them four years and a lot of bricks to finish it. The barracks was called Marlborough Barracks at first.

When Ireland became the Irish Free State in 1922, the British Army gave the barracks to the Irish Forces. In 1926 the name of the barracks was changed to McKee after Richard McKee who was a very brave man. Richard McKee was born in Finglas. He fought in the War of Independence and was captured by the British Army on Bloody Sunday, the 21 November 1920. That day was called “Bloody Sunday” because more than thirty people were killed in the Irish War of Independence on that day. Richard McKee was shot in Dublin Castle while trying to escape. You can find out more about him when you read about the McKee Memorial in Finglas

Today, McKee Barracks is still used by the Irish Army. The soldiers go to countries where wars are taking place and help with peacekeeping.

The army still keeps horses at McKee, though not as many. These horses are not used for war. They take part in horse shows both in Ireland and abroad. It takes a lot of work caring for all the horses: almost three hundred wheelbarrows of manure are taken from the stables every week.

McKee Memorial, Finglas

At the crossroads in Finglas village stands a stone memorial that was erected to the memory of a man called Richard McKee. He was a member of the Irish Volunteers, a group of men who fought in the Easter Rising and the War of Independence.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

McKee Memorial

At the crossroads in Finglas village where the village green used to be, stands a stone memorial, which was erected to the memory of a man named Richard McKee.

Richard ‘Dick’ McKee was born in 1893 in Finglas. He joined the Irish Volunteers, a group of men who fought the British in the Easter Rising and the War of Independence.

He was captured after the Easter Rising of 1916 and sent to prison in England and Wales. In 1918 he was released and he returned to Ireland to become Commander of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers. He trained their soldiers including Liam Mellowes, Conor Clune, Peadar Clancy and Martin Savage after whom some roads in Finglas were named.

In 1920 Dick McKee was betrayed and then captured by the British Army. He was tortured in Dublin Castle, and still showed how brave he was as he would not tell the British soldiers the names of his comrades. He was shot on 21 November 1920 while trying to escape. Dick McKee is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. McKee Barracks on the North Circular Road is named after him.

The McKee Memorial was unveiled by President Eamon De Valera on 10 June 1951.

Merrion Pier and Baths, Sandymount

Merrion Pier and Baths in Sandymount used to be a big attraction for Dubliners. The pier and outdoor sea water baths opened on 28 July 1883.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Merrion Pier and Baths, Sandymount

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Dubliners loved going to Sandymount Strand for a day out. Firstly, it was easy to get there because the new tram, the first of which ran from Rathgar to College Green in 1872, connected O’Connell Street with Sandymount. These first trams were drawn by horses but from 1899 onwards used electricity. And secondly, located just beyond Sandymount Martello Tower, was the big attraction: the new beautiful pier and outdoor sea water baths which were opened on 28 July 1883.

With the help of a gas engine, the baths were filled with fresh sea water every morning and emptied again in the evening. They were divided for ladies and gentlemen: the men’s baths were 120 by 80 feet but the women’s baths were only 120 by 40 feet – men and women were not treated equally!

A newspaper article from 1875 describes how women took to the water: they “emerged from the dressing box and rushed over the shallow water” because their “attire” was “skimp”. So really they were a bit shy because they only had their swim suits on!  Their swim suits were called ‘bloomer dresses’ after Amelia Bloomer, the American woman who had invented them.

Now they didn’t dress like you or me today. When walking on the promenade, the ladies wore “linen costumes, yachting jackets, the latest hats and pretty shoes” whereas the men wore “blue serge suits and canvas shoes”.

At the end of the pier was a bandstand where concerts were staged on Tuesdays and Saturdays and there were food stalls, selling delicacies such as cockles and mussels.

The pier was still there around 1900 but by the 1920s had deteriorated to such an extent that it was demolished.

If you go for a walk along Sandymount promenade today, you can still see the remains of the baths out in the sand.

Met Eireann

The Irish Meteorological Centre in Glasnevin is the headquarters of the Irish Meteorological Service. It was designed by Liam McCormick in an unusual pyramid shape with lots of windows to give the best possible view of the sky.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Met. Eireann, Glasnevin Hill

The Irish Meteorological Service, Ireland’s weather forecasting service, started in December, 1936. Its first job was to take over weather forecasting in Ireland from the British Meteorological Office. The transfer of the service took place on 1st April, 1937.

The Meteorological Centre is the headquarters of the Meteorological Service. Originally the headquarters was a small office at 14/15 St Andrew Street, Dublin 2. A new headquarters, the Meteorological Centre, was built at the junction of the Old Finglas Road and the Ballymun Road in Glasnevin in 1979. The house it replaced, Marlborough House, was used as a remand home for boys.

The Centre was built by John Sisk & Son. It was designed by Liam McCormick with an unusual pyramid shape with lots of windows.

The shape of the building was decided for two reasons. Firstly it doesn’t cut off the light from the houses just north of it, St David’s Terrace. The second reason is its shape and its many windows give the Meteorological Service the best possible view of the sky. The architect had to decide how to design a building that would help the weather forecasters. They told him “We like to look at the sky”. So he designed the building in that way, and even gave them a balcony so they could have fresh air as well.

He really wanted to use blue slate from another country but it was decided to use Ballinasloe Limestone slab instead. The front entrance area has limestone as well.

Moore Street

Moore Street is one of the best known outdoor markets in Dublin. It is famous for its meat, fish, fruit and vegetable stalls as well as the Dublin wit of its traders. No. 16 Moore Street was the last headquarters of the 1916 Rising, and it was here that the leaders held their last meeting before they surrendered.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Moore Street

One of the best known outdoor markets in Dublin is in Moore Street. It is famous for its meat, fish, fruit and vegetable stalls as well as the Dublin wit of its traders, which means they might say something smart to you that will make you laugh.

The street takes its name from Henry Moore. The Moore family came to Ireland in the sixteenth century. They became owners of the land around St Mary’s Abbey, which was located off what is now Capel Street, and the surrounding area. In the eighteenth century they decided to divide their land by building streets through it.

Now Henry Moore, who was the Earl of Drogheda, felt he was an important man and he called four of these streets after himself: Moore Street, Henry Street, Earl Street and Drogheda Street. Drogheda Street was called Sackville Street later on and then became our O’Connell Street.

In the nineteenth century Moore Street became famous for its victuallers, poultry shops and butchers. A victualler is an old word for a grocery shop. Soon the number of fruit and vegetable stalls increased and Moore Street became the largest market in Dublin.

One of the people who lived in Moore Street at the beginning of the twentieth century was Seamus Scully. His father had a butcher shop at no 31 and Seamus describes what life was like growing up there. He says he could hear his father bargaining with the women over the price of pig’s cheek, backbones and ribs etc.

No. 16 Moore Street was the last headquarters of the 1916 Rising. The surviving leaders held their last meeting there before they surrendered.

There were many other markets around Moore Street: the Rotunda Market, Taaffe’s Market, the Norfolk Market, and Anglesea Market, which was famous for second-hand clothes, shoes and furniture. In 1972 all these markets were removed and the ILAC Centre was built in their place.

Moore Street still exists and thrives. Lately many people who have come from abroad to live in Ireland have started businesses in Moore Street and sell their types of foods there.

Pearse Square

If you walk along Pearse Street today, you will come to a lovely park called Pearse Square, but 300 years ago, you would have needed a boat to get to it because it was underwater!

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Pearse Square

When you walk along Pearse Street today, you will come to a lovely park called Pearse Square, but 300 years ago, you would have needed a boat to get to it because it was all underwater! The Liffey was wider then, but the people needed more land. In the eighteenth century they made the river narrower by building a wall and quay, thus reclaiming some land. This new land was very swampy at first and flooded with every tide but after a while it dried out and was used for grazing animals. From here you could look across to the big gallows on Misery Hill where they hanged pirates and thieves.

At the beginning of the next century it was decided to build houses on the new land and so in 1839 the square was built and named Queen’s Square after Queen Victoria. The Square is surrounded by houses on three sides, with an entrance on to Pearse Street.

Now the Theatre Royal was nearby, and the houses in Pearse Square were big and spacious so it became the place where all the celebrity stars stayed when they were performing in Dublin.

The square was renamed Pearse Square in 1926 in honour of Patrick Pearse.

In 1996 work began on the park and on 2 July 1998, the park re-opened as a lovely green area in the heart of the city.

A 3.5 metre high bronze sculpture called “Harmony” forms the centrepiece of this beautiful park.

Pearse Station

The first train that ever travelled from Ireland started from Pearse Station in 1834. The station was named in honour of Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising and his younger brother William, who also took part in the Easter Rising, who were born nearby.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Pearse Station in Dublin

Pearse Station in Dublin is a very special train station because the first train that ever travelled in Ireland started from here in 1834.

At that time trains were the most modern way to travel. They were pulled by steam engines. The first two steam engines that were used in Ireland were called ‘Hibernia’ and ‘Vauxhall’. They came by boat from Liverpool and were pulled through the streets to the station with crowds of people cheering. Then, using levers, teams of men lifted them up onto the new tracks which must have been pretty hard work.

To begin with, trains only ran between here and Dún Laoghaire as a sort of first commuter line, but later on it was felt that Pearse Station should be connected to Connolly Station. To achieve this, it was first planned to build a tunnel under the Liffey but in the late nineteenth century this was too difficult. So in 1891 the railway tracks were raised from street level for an overground line and a big bridge was built across the Liffey in front of the Customs House. A lot of people were opposed to this railway line, which is called the Loop Line, and the Loop Line bridge because they thought that it ruined the view of the city and in particular of the Custom House. Not much has changed – some people still do not like it.

The station itself looks pretty much the same today as it did in 1891 and so could be used as a film set for films like ‘Michael Collins’ and ‘Angela’s Ashes’.

What did change, however, was its name. It was at first called Westland Row Station, a name that is still used by some, but in 1966, around the time when steam engines were replaced with diesel engines, the station was renamed Pearse Station in honour of Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916, and his younger brother William, who also took part in the Easter Rising, who were born at no 27 Pearse Street which was then called Great Brunswick Street.

Pearse Street Library

Pearse Street Library was built in 1909. Andrew Carnegie, an American millionaire gave money to help pay for the library. Today there is a public library downstairs and a special study library upstairs. Here you can trace your family tree or look up the history of your area.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Pearse Street Library

About a hundred years ago a new library was built on Pearse Street, at that time the street was called Great Brunswick Street. The building cost £10,000, most of this was paid by Dublin Corporation but a grant was also given by Andrew Carnegie, the American millionaire. (It was not the only library that Mr. Carnegie gave money for – he gave money to build Rathmines, Ballsbridge and Charleville Mall libraries). Mr. Carnegie was what is called a “philanthropist” which means that he gave money away in order to make other people’s lives better.

The library was completed in 1909.  The architect was Charles J. McCarthy, who was the City Architect at that time. To help promote Irish businesses and jobs he decided that only Irish materials should be used in the building, and local businesses and workers employed. The front of the building is of made of stone from County Donegal, and the people who worked on the building were from Great Brunswick Street and Ringsend. Some of the workers wrote their names under the floorboards upstairs, with the date November 10th 1908. This was found when the library was renovated in the year 2000, so we know the names of some of the men who built the library.

It had a big room set aside for all the newspapers and a huge children’s library on the first floor, which was also used for lectures and film shows. It also had a lending library where people could borrow books and a reference room where they could sit and read.

In 1931 Pearse Street Library became library headquarters for Dublin city and the first Chief Librarian, Róisín Walsh, was appointed.

Today there is a public library downstairs. Upstairs is a special study library where you can trace your family tree, and look up the history of your street or school. One of the things you can see in the special library is the stone head of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street was blown up in 1966, and the head of the statue was saved.

The house two doors up from the library is connected with the story of a man named Leo Fitzgerald. Leo was a soldier of the IRA. During the War of Independence he and some other IRA soldiers got into a battle near Pearse Street Library with the Black and Tans, a group of former British soldiers who had been sent to Ireland by the British government to help in the fight against the Irish rebels. Leo was shot and died in this house. The house now is part of the library and there is a plaque outside reminding us of Leo’s story.

Pembroke Town Hall, Ballsbridge

Pembroke Town Hall was built in 1880 as the offices of the fifteen town commissioners. The commissioners governed and provided services for the Pembroke Township from 1863-1930 and were elected by local wealthy landowners of the time. Pembroke Township included Ballsbridge, Ringsend, Irishtown, Donnybrook and Sandymount.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Pembroke Town Hall, Ballsbridge

Pembroke Town Hall which dates from 1880 is situated in a prominent position at the junction of Merrion and Anglesea Road. It is a landmark building in Ballsbridge, which means it can be clearly seen from a distance.

It was the offices of fifteen town commissioners who elected by wealthy local land owners. At that time not everybody had the right to vote for their government. The town commissioners governed and provided services to the local area which was called the Pembroke township from 1863 until 1930.

The township was named after the Earl of Pembroke who owned most of the land in the Dublin 4 area. It included Ringsend which was an old fishing village and Irishtown, an industrial district, as well as Ballsbridge, Sandymount and Donnybrook where mostly rich people lived in large houses.  The Earl’s agent who looked after his business interests, was appointed chairman of the town commissioners.  This gave the Earl a great deal of power over what was happening in the township.

The town commissioners took charge of such things as lighting, footpaths and water supply. A fire service was introduced, and people could use transport in the area. It was up to the commissioners to make sure that good houses and roads were built. The Rock Road from Blackrock to the city, popularly known as the ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’, was famous at the time for its dangerous pot holes. It was a constant problem for the commissioners. They had other problems too, very strange ones, like an infestation of pigs and stray animals in Donnybrook!

The Town Hall was designed in an old medieval style called Gothic by the architect Edward Henry Carson. Many buildings in the nineteenth century were built to look as if they dated from the Middle Ages. The Irish Times of 25 June 1880 seemed to like the building and described it as ‘a credit … to the locality’. The article mentioned some of its fine features, namely:

the ornamental marble pillars at the entrance; a stained glass window at the top of the stairway; a boardroom that would be a ‘model of neatness’. It was equipped with electric bells linked to each department in the building in order to summon the instant attendance of officials when required; modern lavatories (toilets); a handsome clock on the front of the building, serving the neighbourhood, its other side recording the hour in the boardroom; extensive stabling for the commissioners’ horses and sheds for their carts

The Pembroke township came to an end  in 1930 and the area was added to the City of Dublin. Ringsend Technical School then occupied the Town Hall until 1951 when the Dublin Vocational Education Committee moved its headquarters there, where they remain until this day.

Raheny Cross

In the Centre of Raheny village stands a tall Celtic stone cross with the inscription "Heal the sick, say unto them the Kingdom of God is come unto you. Marie Elizabeth Hayes, doctor and missionary." Marie Elizabeth Hayes was born in Raheny in 1874. She worked as a doctor and missionary in India but she died after a patient with the pneumonic plague bit her on the finger.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Raheny Cross

Beside the ruins of St Assam’s Church in the centre of Raheny village stands a tall Celtic stone cross. There is an inscription on the cross which reads:
‘Heal the sick, say unto them the Kingdom of God is come unto you.
Marie Elizabeth Hayes, doctor and missionary’

The Marie Elizabeth Hayes the inscription refers to was a daughter of the Rector of All Saints’ Church. She was born in Raheny in 1874 and was one of the first women to become a doctor. She went to India to work as a doctor and missionary but she died of pneumonia in 1908, after only two years in the country, when a patient who had the pneumonic plague bit her on the finger. She was buried in Delhi the next day at the age of thirty-three.

After her death the people in Delhi among whom she had worked and in Raheny donated money in memory of her life. This money paid for a hospital ward in Delhi and for a memorial cross for Raheny. The people from Delhi must also have imagined that living conditions in Raheny were similar to those in Delhi where clean water was badly needed, so they also paid for village pump.

The cross, also known as the Hayes Cross, along with the water pump were at first installed between Main Street and Watermill Lane. However, when Watermill Road was widened in 1969, the cross was taken down and moved to the grounds of All Saints’ Church for sixteen years. After that it was moved twice more until it came to where it is today, beside the ruins of St Assam’s Church in the centre of the village.

The village pump, however, is long gone.

Rathmines Public Library

Rathmines Public Library was built in 1913 with the aid of a Carnegie grant. Andrew Carnegie was an American millionaire who gave money to build libraries and museums in America, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Rathmines Public Library

The first public library in Rathmines was opened in June 1887 at 53 Rathmines Road. It soon became very popular and needed more space. In 1899 it moved to 67 Rathmines Road, where it stayed for 14 years, Rathmines Fire Brigade later used this building.

The lovely library that we know today was built with the aid of a £8,500 Carnegie grant. Andrew Carnegie was an American millionaire who gave money to build libraries and museums in America, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. One of his most famous buildings is Carnegie Hall in New York.

There was a competition to design the new library. Frederick Hicks won the competition and the firm of Bachelor and Hicks of Dublin were the architects for the new building. The new library opened on 24th October 1913. The library was built using red brick and was designed to fit in with the style of the Town Hall, and it was intended to be an ‘ornament to the township’. The library and technical school next door were part of the same building but each had a separate entrance.

The library had a lending department where people could borrow books and a reference library where they could sit and read. It also had a special room where people could come to read the newspapers each day. This was a large sunny room on the ground floor where it was pleasant to read. Newspapers were expensive for ordinary people in those days, so people looked up the news and the jobs pages in the library. Half way up the beautiful double staircase is a stained glass window designed by William Morris. William Morris was a famous English artist and designer who designed beautiful furniture and fabrics.

In the beginning there was no children’s library. Mary Kettle, a councillor in Rathmines, and other women councillors were very interested in making poor children’s lives better. They voted to provide school meals to make sure that children were not hungry. They also supported the opening of a children’s library in Rathmines and this happened in 1923.

The library was used by lots of different groups in the community. Rathmines chess club used the library as its headquarters. The Public Health Department held clinics there. The Thomas Davis branch of the Gaelic League also held meetings in the library.

The library holds the only surviving plaque from the Princess Cinema. This cinema was opened as the Rathmines Picture Palace on 24th March 1913, just a few months before the library opened. It is not there now as the building was sold in June 1981 and was demolished in 1982.

Rathmines Town Hall

Rathmines Town Hall, built in 1895 was designed by Irish architect Sir Thomas Drew. Its clock tower is a famous landmark in Rathmines.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Rathmines Town Hall

In the nineteenth-century, some of the areas around Dublin city were called ‘townships’. They were like small towns in themselves, each with their own town hall and town commissioners (nowadays these would be called councillors). The commissioners had to look after such things as lighting, water supply, sewage and drainage and the building of roads and houses.

Rathmines had become one of these townships in 1847 and the Rathmines commissioners felt they needed a place where they could meet and conduct their business. Their first house was at 71 Rathmines Road, so it really became the first town hall.

In 1880 the township of Pembroke which was close by built a new town hall. Well the Rathmines commissioners, who were very proud of the job they were doing in their area, thought they should have just as good a building or even a better one.

Work on Rathmines Town Hall began in 1895 on the site of the previous town hall. The commissioners asked one of the best-known and respected architects of Ireland, Sir Thomas Drew, to design this building. He put up a fine building of red sandstone and brick with a bay window on the first floor. But the most famous feature was the high clock tower, which could be seen from afar.

The clock on the tower was made by a local firm called Chancellor and Son. They claimed they could beat any English and Scottish company so they got the job. The clock has four faces, one for each side of the tower. Before the clock could be run with electricity, the four sides would often show different times so the clock was called ‘four-faced liar’.

The town hall had a boardroom where the town commissioners would hold their meetings. There was also a gymnasium, a kitchen and a supper room (other people could hire this room out). There was an assembly hall for meetings which could fit 2,000 people. It had a stage and a room for an orchestra.

Apart from being used for council meetings, Rathmines Town Hall also became a centre for social life in the area with concerts, dances and other events. Percy French, who wrote many well-known songs about counties in Ireland and who had his own theatrical company, gave many performances in the town hall and one of the first moving films made by a man called Edison was shown here in 1902.

In the nineteenth-century, some of the areas around Dublin city were called ‘townships’. They were like small towns in themselves, each with their own town hall and town commissioners (nowadays these would be called councillors). The commissioners had to look after such things as lighting, water supply, sewage and drainage and the building of roads and houses.  

Royal Dublin Society, Ballsbridge

In 1731 a man called Thomas Prior formed a group called the Dublin Society to try to help farming and industry in Ireland. From 1815 until 1923 the RDS was situated in Leinster House, which currently houses the Dáil. In 1923 Leinster House was sold to the Government and the RDS moved to its current location in Ballsbridge

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Royal Dublin Society (RDS), Ballsbridge

You probably know the  RDS from the ‘Young Scientist of the Year’ competition, which takes place every year in its exhibition halls in Ballsbridge. Or maybe you were at “Funderland” Maybe you went to  Dublin Horse Show?
Well all these take place in what we call the RDS.  Not many may know that the Society has a long history and a huge influence on Dublin and Ireland as we know it today.

In 1731 a man called Thomas Prior formed a group called the Dublin Society which tried to help improve farming and industry in Ireland. They also wanted to encourage the arts, sciences and the horse industry. In 1820, King George IV became a sponsor or patron of the Dublin Society and allowed them to be called the Royal Dublin Society.

The Society was one of the first with a  ‘Buy Irish’ idea. In 1771 they offered rewards to businesses who bought goods manufactured in Dublin. They also collected art, books and plants and with their collections started the Botanic Gardens, the National Gallery, the National Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Library. These belonged to the RDS at first but have been owned by the state since 1877. 

The RDS had many homes. The first was at Parliament House which is now the Bank of Ireland on College Green. In 1815, it moved to Leinster House, which currently houses the Dáil in Kildare Street. In 1877, the RDS bought a large field in Ballsbridge to hold its shows as the space on Leinster Lawn was not big enough. Then in 1923 Leinster House was sold to the Government and the RDS moved to Ballsbridge. Today’s stone-faced buildings on Merrion Road were built in 1924.

When the RDS started to show its Spring Shows and Horse Shows in Ballsbridge, they were so popular that the Society bought land on the other side of Merrion Road. They even built their own short railway track from Lansdowne Road Station to a small station on Merrion Road so that farmers could transport their livestock to the grounds. The first train ran on this line in April 1893. Until 1971, when this special station was closed, it was a familiar sight to see the traffic on the Merrion Road halted to let the horses cross the road from the station to the showgrounds. A horse trough outside the Allied Irish Bank Centre allowed horses to have a drink while waiting to cross.

Royal Hospital, Kilmainham

The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham was built in 1684 to house three hundred old or disabled soldiers from the many wars of the time. In 1991 the hospital was remodeled and became the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Royal Hospital, Kilmainham

Imagine you were living in Dublin city in the seventeenth century and were used to looking at small medieval houses and narrow streets and then you went to see the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham outside of the city. It was huge! Such a ‘modern’ building had never been seen in the city before. It was all on its own and high up on a hill overlooking the Liffey and surrounded by large grounds.

It made such an impression on seventeenth-century Dubliners that it became the building that was shown most often in pictures of the city. In fact, in 1684, just after the main parts had been finished, a rule was introduced to stop locals accepting money from visitors that wanted to see it.

The Royal Hospital was built on the orders of the first Duke of Ormond, the Viceroy of Ireland (the representative of the King of England). It was to be a big house for three hundred old or disabled soldiers from the many wars of the time. This is why it is called ‘royal hospital’. It was begun in 1680 by Sir William Robinson – he also designed Marsh’s Library beside St Patrick’s Cathedral. It took seven years to build and was finished in 1687.

The hospital was built around a square courtyard with covered passageways, called arcades, surrounding it. The soldiers lived in the eastern, western and southern wings. They had to wear a uniform so everyone knew them. They became known as the ‘Chelsea pensioners’, because a similar hospital had been built in Chelsea in England shortly after the one in Kilmainham.

The master had his residence in the northern wing. This wing also had the Great Hall, which was used as a dining hall. There was a chapel with beautiful wood carving by James Tabary, a Huguenot refugee who came to Ireland in the 1680s. The Huguenots were Protestants who fled from France where they were persecuted because of their religion.

The Royal Hospital remained an old soldier’s home until 1927. For some time it was also the headquarters of the British army in Ireland. During the Easter Rising it was used as a barracks for the British troops who were sent to Ireland to defeat the rebels.

In 1991 the hospital was remodeled and became the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). IMMA puts on exhibitions featuring works by modern artists from Ireland and around the world.

St Andrew's Resource Centre

St Andrew's Resource Centre is located in a lovely Victorian building, which was built in 1895. The Centre provides many services for the community: a job centre, home-help service, kindergarten, homework club, youth office, day-centre for older people and an adult education group.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

St. Andrew's Resource Centre, Pearse Street

Just down the street from Pearse Street Library is a lovely Victorian building called St Andrew’s Resource Centre. It was built in 1895 on the site of an old sawmill and marble works called Sibthorpe and Son.

At first the building was used as a national school for boys. In 1909 Countess Markievicz, who was a well-known Irish nationalist and later played an important part in the Easter Rising, founded the Nationalist scouts organisation Na Fianna Éireann here.

St Andrew’s remained a school for nearly 80 years but in 1972 it was closed because there weren’t enough children living in the area any more.

In 1989 it became a resource centre, providing many services for the local community: a job centre, home-help service, kindergarten, homework club, youth office, a day-centre for older people, and an adult education group. It also has a heritage office with a big collection of old photos of this area. St Andrew’s also organises the South Docks Festival. It is a great asset to this community.

St Assam's Church, Raheny

The ruins of St Assam's Church lie in the centre of Raheny Village. St Assam is thought to have been a disciple of St Patrick.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

St Assam's Church, Raheny

In the centre of Raheny village lie the ruins of the old church of St Assam. It is supposed to have been built on or near the site of the ‘rath Eanna’, a fort where local people led by a man called Eanna lived long, long ago, maybe between 400 BC and 400 AD. It is from this ‘rath’ that Raheny takes its name.

St Assam is thought to have been a disciple of St Patrick and the first church in his name was built here in 1609. (The new Catholic church built across the road in 1864 as well as Scoil Assaim also took his name.) In 1889 the old St Assam’s Church was replaced as parish church for the Church of Ireland congregation by All Saints’ Church on the Howth Road. All that remains of the old church are some of the walls and one end wall.

The ruins of the church are surrounded by an old graveyard which was still used for burials until 1925. Lord Ardilaun had always shown great interest in St Assam’s Church and graveyard, so much so that when he offered to pay all the expenses for the new All Saints’ Church which he had built for the parish he did so under the condition that the old church and graveyard were to be kept in good repair.

In 1781, a curious incident took place in this graveyard. A man named John Lonergan had been sentenced to death for poisoning his employer with arsenic but Lonergan bribed his executioner to help fake his death. His coffin was secretly filled with stones and buried in the graveyard while the man himself fled to America.

St Doulagh's Church

St Doulagh's Church probably dates from the twelfth century. St Doulagh was an anchorite which means a type of hermit. A hermit would have hardly any contact with the outside world, eat only basic meals and spend the day praying.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

St. Doulagh’s Church

On the way to Malahide, just off the Malahide Road and past Balgriffin Cemetery, stands a very old church. It  looks a bit like a medieval castle with its short and broad battlement tower, its steep stone roof and thick walls. The battlement was a low wall with openings for shooting the enemy.

The church probably dates from the twelfth century and was named after St Doulagh. St Doulagh was thought to have lived around 600 AD. He was an anchorite which means a type of hermit . A hermit would have had hardly any contact with the outside world, eat only basic meals and spend the day praying.

St Doulagh lived on his own in a cell either in the church or attached to it.

There were many anchorites and hermits. These would have lived on their own in the wilderness in the first few centuries of the Christian church. Later on they formed groups with other hermits and this is how monasteries came about. In Ireland, however, the tradition of hermits lasted longer than in other western countries.

It is quite likely that St Doulagh’s later on became a small monastic settlement. In fact, there are several rooms in the church which could have served as rooms for the monks to come together. This is what is unusual about St Doulagh’s. It doesn’t have just one room used for service like most other churches. It has several rooms on different floors, connected by stone steps. The stone roof is a double roof, the outer roof covering the building and the inner roof dividing the lower from the upper floors.

St Doulagh’s also has a leper’s window where people who had infectious diseases such as leprosy could be given communion through the bars. Leprosy is a disease of the skin and nerves which was common in the Middle Ages. Leprosy is mentioned in the Bible as well. 

Outside of the church grounds stands a low eight-sided building covering a well within a round stone basin. This building was used for baptisms. It is the only building left in Ireland where people were baptised outside of the church building.

Nearby is an open-air pool with stone seating which might have been used for baptising adults.

An extension was added to the church in 1864 but it manages to blend in well with the old church. St Doulagh’s is the oldest stone-roofed church still in use. It is used for services of the Church of Ireland.

St George's Church, Hardwicke Place

St George's Church was built between 1802 and 1813 for the Protestant community in the north inner city. Its architect was Francis Johnston, the man who also built the GPO in O'Connell Street. St George's has been closed as a church for a long time and once a theatre group worked from there.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

St George's Church, Hardwicke Place

Situated beside Temple Street Children’s Hospital, in Hardwicke Place, is St George’s Church. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Dublin and was built between 1802 and 1813. It was built for the Protestant community of the north inner city, who were wealthy at that time. Its architect was Francis Johnston (1760–1829), the man who also built the GPO on O’Connell Street.

The church is broader than long which makes it very interesting. Actually, it nearly feels as if the church is running the wrong way. At the front of the church are four columns and, above them, a Greek inscription which reads ‘Glory to God in the Highest’. Its clock tower was modelled on a very famous London church called St Martin’s-in-the-Fields.

In 1836 the roof of the church nearly collapsed because the beams of wood used were too short to hold it up. The building was getting too expensive and the architect had bought shorter beams than were needed to save money!

An engineer named Robert Mallet inserted iron arches into the roof and saved the church. Mallet is famous today as the man who invented 'seismology', the science of examining earthquakes. He buried explosives on Killiney Beach and measured the shock waves when they blew up!

St George’s was one of the first buildings in Dublin to be photographed. William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), the man who is sometimes called the father of modern photography, took its photo about 1846. At that time the church was surrounded by big Georgian houses that were all knocked down and replaced with flats in the

St George’s has been closed as a church for a long time and once a theatre group worked from there. Its tower and spire were surrounded by scaffolding for more than 20 years but in 2005 restoration work had finally began.

St John the Evangelist's Church, Coolock

St John the Evangelist Church, Coolock was built in 1760 on the site of a really old church called St Brendan's Church. 

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Church of St John the Evangelist, Coolock

If you were a law breaker on the run many centuries ago you would probably have been very happy to see St John’s Church, because there is a very old stone cross in the grounds of the church, which may have been a sanctuary cross.

A sanctuary cross meant that if you had broken the law you could stay within the area it marked and be safe from the authorities. You see they were not allowed to come into this area and take you to jail. Usually four crosses marked an area of sanctuary but the other three might have got lost. Experts say that the remaining cross is probably there since the ninth century.

St John’s was built on the site of a really old church called St Brendan’s Church. Over the years the old church fell into ruin, and in 1760 a new church was built. At first it was smaller than it is now and did not have a tower which was added in 1791. The oldest gravestone in the church grounds dates from 1688 and marks the grave of a man named Thomas Ward who lived in Kilmore.

Some well-known people from the area were involved with the church. The first Arthur Guinness and founder of the brewery, for example, was a church warden in 1777 and in 1782.

The church, which can be seen from Tonlagee Road, has colourful stained glass windows. The windows in the porch were made to honour the people from the area who died during the First World War, among them Captain George C. Colvill who came from a well-known wealthy family in the area.

The church which belongs to the Church of Ireland is still in use today.

St Joseph's School for the Deaf, Cabra

During the Great Irish Famine (1847-1849), two parish priests Monsignor William Yore and Father Thomas McNamara wanted to help deaf children by setting up a school. In 1856, a big school was built beside Cabra Cross. It was named St Joseph's School for the Deaf.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

St Joseph’s School for the Deaf, Cabra

Around the time of the Great Irish Famine (1847-1849) when most people were very poor and the famine made many of them sick, two parish priests, Monsignor William Yore and Father Thomas McNamara, wanted to help deaf children by setting up schools for them.

The first school was started in Glasnevin in 1845. At first, only four boys went to this school but the number of boys soon increased and the parish priests needed a bigger building. In 1856, a big school was built beside Cabra Cross. It was named St Joseph’s School for the Deaf.

Many people helped to keep the school open. Monsignor William Yore even sold all the books from his own library to raise £1,500. This converts to €850,000 today .

In this school the Irish Christian Brothers taught the boys Irish sign language. Sign language lets people communicate with each other by making symbols with their hands.

The boys also learned reading, writing, tailoring (that is making clothes), shoemaking, printing, baking, carpentry, gardening and painting. This helped them get jobs after school.

Sport was very important at St Joseph’s. The boys used to play Gaelic football on the playing fields in the Phoenix Park. They did gymnastics, athletics and played handball, table tennis and soccer. Peter Desmond who played for the Irish soccer team in the 1940s was a pupil of St Joseph’s.

In 1987 a new school was built beside St Joseph’s. This school is called Edmund Rice School after the founder of the Christian Brothers.

St Patrick's Cathedral

St Patrick's Cathedral is one of Ireland's best-known and largest cathedrals. Saint Patrick is said to have baptised people here at a well beside the River Poddle. The river still runs under St Patrick Street near the Cathedral.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of Ireland’s best-known and largest cathedrals. Saint Patrick is said to have baptised people here at a well beside the River Poddle. The river stills runs under St Patrick Street near the Cathedral.

The stone which had marked the well was found in 1901 and is now kept inside the cathedral.

A small wooden church has stood here since around 450 AD.  Later on in the thirteenth-century the cathedral was built in its place but it was renovated so many times since that very little of the original building is left.

In the 1860s the Guinnesses paid for an extensive restoration of the cathedral. Some people did not like what they did and St Patrick’s became known as ‘the brewer’s church’ but without the money from the Guinness family St Patrick’s would not have survived until today.

Around 1220 St Patrick’s was made a cathedral, which meant it became the main church of the area with a Dean. Dublin now had two cathedrals belonging to Church of Ireland, Christ Church being the other one. There was much rivalry between the two. The dispute was settled in 1872 when St Patrick’s was made a national cathedral, representing all the dioceses of Ireland, and Christ Church became the cathedral for Dublin alone.

The most famous person associated with St Patrick’s is Dean Jonathan Swift (1667–1745).  He wrote many books, but his best-known work is ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. It is said that he liked to be fit and that he ran up and down the stairs several times each day. Swift was greatly loved by ordinary Dubliners and when he died it took two days for them to file past his coffin.

Another famous Dean of St Patrick’s, Dean Pakenham, paid his gambling debts by selling off the fireplaces.

When you visit St Patrick’s Cathedral, you will see a door inside with a hole cut into it. This is how the hole came about: In 1492 two rival lords, the Earl of Ormonde and the Earl of Kildare, had a quarrel inside St Patrick’s. The Earl of Ormonde was followed by the Earl of Kildare, and locked himself in the chapterhouse (this is where the cathedral staff lived) but they soon made peace. To seal the agreement they had to shake hands but the Earl of Ormonde would not come out as he did not trust the Earl of Kildare, so a large hole had to be cut into the door to allow them to make up. The Earl of  Ormonde put his arm through the hole, hoping his enemy would not cut it off, but he need not have worried: the Earl of Kildare grabbed his enemy’s hand and shook it warmly. This is where the phrase ‘to chance your arm’ comes from.

Terenure Enterprise Centre

Terenure Enterprise Centre used to be the Classic Cinema. The Classic was opened in 1938.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Terenure Enterprise Centre

From around 1909 when Dublin’s first cinema was opened in Mary Street by the writer James Joyce until the 1970s, most areas in Dublin had their own cinema. Going to the cinema was very popular with Dublin people before there was any television. Many cinemas had been specifically built for showing films and they were very posh and comfortable places to go to.

Terenure had its own cinema, too. It was called The Classic and was opened on 1 July 1938 in the building which now houses the Terenure Enterprise Centre.

Before the cinema was built the site was the end station of the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway Company. The funny thing is this was not a tram service, it was actually a train service between Dublin and Blessington in Wicklow. It started in 1888. The carriages were pulled by a steam engine which always sent out thick black smoke. The poor passengers in the third-class carriages which were open at the sides went out with white faces and came back with black faces. First-class passengers were better off as the sides were covered in.

The tram service also transported goods and farm animals and if you wanted you could board almost anywhere along the line – the train would stop for you. The trains were not allowed to go any faster than 12 miles per hour and the journey to Blessington took almost two hours. However, the service never made enough money as there were not enough passengers or goods, so in 1933 it closed down and the site of the station was sold. The Classic cinema was built on it instead.

The Classic could hold 750 people and had a car park as well as a special waiting room in the front so that nobody would have to queue on the footpath outside. It was very popular but the owners gave up the cinema business and it closed down in 1976.

The building was then sold and in 1984 opened as Terenure’s Enterprise Centre. It was set up to help people in the community to start up their own businesses. In 2004 President Mary McAleese came to the 20th anniversary celebrations and today there are around 30 businesses in the centre.

Terenure Synagogue

Terenure Synagogue was built in 1953. The five windows in the front are shaped like the Star of David. The Star of David is a symbol of the Jewish religion and is part of the flag of Israel.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Terenure Synagogue

Do you know what a synagogue is? And do you know whether there are any in Dublin? Well a synagogue is the building where Jewish people go to pray and there is one on Rathfarnham Road in Terenure.

At one time, in the 1950s, there were between 4,000 and 5,000 Jews living in Ireland, most of them in Dublin. There had been some Jews in Dublin from the seventeenth century onwards – they had come from Portugal  and Spain but most came to Ireland from countries in Eastern Europe such as Russia in the 1880s and 1890s because they were persecuted there. They settled in the South Inner City, around Portobello, the South Circular Road and Clanbrassil Street which became known as ‘Little Jerusalem’. It became the centre of Jewish life in Dublin and had a number of Jewish shops. There was also a synagogue on Adelaide Road.

Apart from shop keeping, many of these Jewish families were also involved in the furniture business and the textile industry.

From the 1930s onwards many families moved to bigger houses in Harold’s Cross, Terenure, Rathgar and Rathmines. As they were now too far from their old synagogue on Adelaide Road, they decided to build a new synagogue on the Rathfarnham Road. It was built in 1953.

The synagogue was designed by the architect Wilfrid Cantwell as a modern-style building. He put five windows shaped like the Star of David at the front. The Star of David is a symbol of the Jewish religion and is part of the flag of Israel.

There are two memorials to all the Jews who were persecuted by the Nazis or killed in the Holocaust: a memorial window in the entrance porch and a memorial stone outside in the grounds.

Since the 1950s the Jewish population in Ireland has declined  steadily and today there are less than 2,000 Jews still living in Dublin. There are still two Jewish graveyards in Dublin: the old Jewish graveyard at Fairview Strand in Ballybough which was in use from 1718 until 1908 and the new graveyard in Dolphin’s Barn. There is also a Jewish museum on Walworth Road.

Although the number of Jews living in Ireland is small, they have taken on many roles in Irish life. Dublin, for example, has had two Jewish Lord Mayors, Robert and Ben Briscoe.

The Ambassador and Rotunda Hospital, O'Connell Street

The Rotunda Hospital was built by Bartholomew Mosse in 1757 for mothers and babies. Bartholomew raised money for the new hospital by organising concerts and garden visits. The concert hall was called the Rotunda, which means round room because of its shape. The hospital got its name from this hall.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Ambassador and Rotunda Hospital, O’Connell Street

Do you know the Rotunda Hospital near O’Connell Street in the city centre? Many Dublin babies were born there. Maybe you were born there, too?

Well, a man called Bartholomew Mosse started the hospital for mothers and babies in 1757. A hospital for mothers and babies is called a maternity hospital. Bartholomew Mosse got the money for this new maternity hospital by organising concerts and garden visits. He also earned money from renting sedan chairs. A sedan chair looks like a box with two poles. It has a seat for one passenger within the box and it is carried by two people. It was used as a kind of taxi service for rich people.

The new hospital building included a beautiful garden and a concert hall. This concert hall was called the Rotunda, which means round room because of its shape. The hospital got its name from this hall.

Three famous architects who designed many other beautiful buildings in Dublin helped plan the hospital: Richard Cassell designed the hospital building, John Ensor designed the round concert hall and James Gandon designed the square entrance block.

In the 1890s the concert hall was used to show ‘moving pictures’ which were all the rage then and from 1910 it was used exclusively as a cinema. It had 736 seats then. In the 1950s it was redesigned to hold 1,200 people. It had a balcony for 500 people as well as private boxes. On 23 September 1954 it was reopened by the then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alfie Byrne, with the new name of Ambassador Cinema.

It was very popular as the Ambassador for many years, often showing films for the first time. It closed its doors as a cinema in September 1999 but was still used for various concerts and events.

There was good news for The Ambassador this year as it was announced that it will be renovated again to become the new Central Library of Dublin.

The American Embassy, Ballsbridge

The American Embassy was built in 1964. Its round shape was to remind people of the old Celtic ring forts which can be found all over Ireland.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The American Embassy, Ballsbridge

When you travel up Merrion Road towards the city centre, you will see a striking round building at the junction of Elgin Road and Pembroke Road with the American flag flying high over it. This is the American embassy. You would  have to go there if you needed a visa (permission) to travel to the USA.

The embassy is a very modern building and was built in 1964. Its round shape was to remind people of the old Celtic ring forts which can be found all over Ireland. Its style or look, however, is what you would see in modern American buildings. By joining  the two, the American architect, John MacL. Johansen, and his Irish partner, the famous architect Michael Scott, tried to show the good relations between the United States and Ireland. They also wanted to design a building that would fit into the space between the two roads and that would look well from every side.

Outside they surrounded the building with a ring of flowers and shrubs, a bridge leading over it and a small open space with trees and benches.

In 1969 the building won an award for its design from An Taisce.

The Embassy has a special ‘School Outreach Programme’ so if you should have any questions about America or would like to hear about American society and culture first-hand, then your school can arrange a visit with the Embassy’s Public Affairs Office.

The Arthur Morrison Monument, Donnybrook

This monument commemorates Arthur Morrison, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1835-6.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Arthur Morrison Monument, Donnybrook

In the centre of the traffic island at the junction of Anglesea Road and Ailesbury Road near the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook stands an obelisk in memory of Arthur Morrison, Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1835-36. The monument praises him and claims that he was ‘respected and esteemed’ and that there were ‘few to equal, none to surpass him’ and yet we hardly know anything about him. We do not even have a picture.

Morrison, who lived from 1765 until 1837, was a well-known hotel owner and had many roles in public life, serving the people of Donnybrook. He was appointed Alderman (a member of local government, literally meaning ‘elder man’) in 1808 and acted on the Grand Jury (a local government council) of the County and City of Dublin from 1823.

He was an overseer of many of the developments that took place in Donnybrook such as the new roads and pathways, particularly around Simmonscourt, and the wall surrounding the Sacred Heart Church. He also played a part in the construction of Anglesea Bridge over the Dodder, just beside the obelisk, in 1832 and he supported other local developments such as the foundation of St Vincents’ Hospital by Mother Mary Aikenhead and her later establishment of St Mary’s Magdalen Asylum.

The Black Church

The Black Church or St. Mary's Chapel-of-Ease (its real name) on St. Mary's Place was built in 1830. It was believed that if you ran around the church three times at midnight, the devil would appear and steal your soul.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Black Church

The Black Church or St Mary’s Chapel-of-Ease, (its real name), on St Mary’s Place around the corner from Mountjoy Street, is possibly Dublin’s spookiest church. It was built in 1830 to serve the Church of Ireland community. At that time this was a posh part of Dublin. The stone that was used throughout is called calp stone and looks dark after rain. Because of this, Dubliners began calling it ‘the Black Church’. However, a much darker legend soon became associated with it. It was believed that if you ran around the church three times at midnight, the devil would appear and steal your soul. Nobody knows if this is true as few have been brave enough to try it!

The church was designed by an architect named John Semple. It has sharp needle-like spires and a deep-set door and thin windows, which end in a pointed arch.  But what is most amazing is what it looks like inside: its walls are not straight but round and the whole inside appears like one big arch. It’s a bit like stepping into a big beer barrel lying on its side.

Soon after the church was built, the southside of the city became more fashionable and many wealthy people went to live there. The neighbourhood changed a lot and now the Black Church sits like an island between two roads with no green area around it and looks a little sad.

It was closed in the 1960s because the numbers of people at the services had become too small – not because people were too scared to go there. It was sold to Dublin City Council who used it for exhibitions for a short while.

In 1962, a famous Irish poet named Austin Clarke wrote about his memories of the Church in “Twice Around the Black Church: Early Memories” (Note: It is not called  “Three times around the Black Church ”- I wonder why !!!).

Today it is home to a number of businesses and its spooky legend is long forgotten.

The Crescent Cottages, Raheny

The crescent cottages in Raheny were built around 1790 by Samuel Dick, the Governor of the Bank of Ireland and a very wealthy man. He built the cottages for men who worked on his estate.

The Crescent Cottages, Raheny

Do you know where the ‘Doh-Ray-Mee’ cottages in Raheny are? They are the row of cottages close to the village centre, down the hill where Raheny DART station is today. They are called ‘Doh-Ray-Mee’ cottages because there are eight cottages all together, just as there are eight notes on the musical scale. Their other name is ‘crescent cottages’ because they are built in a semi-circle called a crescent. The crescent cottages are among the oldest buildings in Raheny. They were built around 1790 by Samuel Dick, the Governor of the Bank of Ireland and a wealthy businessman. He lived on a large area of land in Raheny and built these eight houses for his workmen. Samuel Dick also built a school on Main Street beside the old graveyard of St Assam’s. It became known as ‘Dick’s Charity School’ because it was intended for ‘poor children of all persuasions’. This building, the oldest in Raheny, still stands today but is now a restaurant. When Samuel Dick died in 1802, his will stated that the rents the tenants paid for the crescent cottages should be used for the salary of the schoolmaster of his Charity School. Over time the cottages fell into disrepair and by 1879 were in such a poor state that Lord Ardilaun, the owner of St Anne’s estate, paid £375 to improve them all. In 1947 a terrible tragedy happened in one of the cottages: a gas leak killed Kathleen McKee, aged 11, and Hector McKee, aged 10. Luckily, the other six members of their family survived. The cottage closest to the Station House pub was once the village post office. The cottages have remained almost unchanged since they were built in the eighteenth century and people still live in them today.

The Five Lamps

The Five Lamps is a decorative lamp post with five lanterns, which stands at the junction of five streets - Portland Row, North Strand Road, Seville Place, Amiens Street and Killarney Street.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Five Lamps, North Inner City

When you ask any Dubliner for directions to the Five Lamps, he or she will send you to the junction of Portland Row and North Strand Road. There, on an island at the junction of five streets – Portland Row, North Strand Road, Seville Place, Amiens Street and Killarney Street – stand the Five Lamps, a highly decorated lamp post with five lanterns.

The Five Lamps were put up around 1880 as a memorial to General Henry Hall from Galway who had served with the British Army in India. They were originally a water fountain with four basins at their base. Water gushed from the spouts in the shape of lions’ heads. Cups hung from chains over the basins, so that the locals could have a drink. At that time people were poor and had no running water in their homes. The fountain was probably also used as a watering trough for horses to have a drink as well. 

Some people think that the name “five lamps” comes from the five streets which meet at this point; others believe that they commemorate five major battles fought in India during the days of the British Empire. Either way we are lucky to still have the Five lamps.

During World War II, three bombs were dropped by German planes in the North Strand area, killing 28 people and injuring 90 in the space of 37 minutes. Three hundred houses were destroyed or damaged but the Five Lamps survived the attack. 

See also: North Strand Bombing Reminiscences

The Great South Wall and Poolbeg Lighthouse, Ringsend

The Great South Wall was built to prevent the shipping lanes leading to Dublin Port from filling up with sand and to provide shelter against the winds

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Great South Wall and Poolbeg Lighthouse, Ringsend

For many centuries, ships had problems getting into Dublin port. First of all it had dangerous sandbanks. Then its shipping channels were not deep enough and kept filling up with sand, and finally there was no shelter against winds. In the eighteenth century the merchants of the city needed a better protected harbour for their trade so it was decided to build a wall to keep the sand out and give shelter to the ships.

First they built a barrier made from wood some way out from Ringsend along the sandbank known as the South Bull. Bull is an old word for ‘strand’. At the end of it they put a floating lighthouse. But the barrier was not strong enough so they built a strong longer wall with massive granite blocks. Each block weighed a ton. This is about 1,000 kilograms, or a thousand packets of sugar; all packed into one block!

The blocks were brought across the bay on boats from Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire harbours. It took more than 30 years to build what was to be called the Great South Wall and it was finally finished in 1795. At that time it was one of the longest sea walls in the world.

The floating lighthouse had been replaced with the Poolbeg Lighthouse which is still there today. Lighthouses send out a bright flashing light to guide ships at night or in fog and to warn them about sandbanks or rocks. In the beginning turf or coal were used for the light. Poolbeg Lighthouse was the first to be lit with candle light and then, in 1786, with oil.

While the Great South Wall protected the ships entering the harbour from wind and high waves, it could not stop the sand from filling up the shipping channels. So in 1801 Captain Bligh, the famous captain of the Bounty, suggested the construction of another wall on the northern side of Dublin Bay. The Bull Wall, as it is commonly known, was finished around 1824 and from then on, Dublin Port never filled up with sand again.

The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street

The Gresham Hotel on O'Connell Street is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Dublin. The hotel was destroyed in the Civil War in 1922, but was rebuilt and re-opened in 1927.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street

One of the oldest and most famous hotels in Dublin is the Gresham Hotel on O’Connell Street. It got its name from Thomas Gresham who started the hotel in the nineteenth century.

Thomas Gresham had a very sad start in life. He was abandoned as a baby on the steps of the Royal Exchange in London, and because no one knew his name, he was called Thomas Gresham after the man who founded the Royal Exchange.

When he grew up, he came to Dublin and became the head butler in the house of a well-off man in Parnell Square. It’s a mystery where he got the money, but in 1817 he bought two large Georgian houses numbers 21 and 22 Sackville Street (which is now called O’Connell Street).

At that time the Irish economy was doing very well and Dublin was the second largest city of the British Empire after London. As Ireland was governed from England, there was a lot of travel between the two countries, so the hotel business was booming, especially in Sackville Street, where people from the country got their coaches to the port to catch their boats.

The hotel was destroyed in the Civil War in 1922. It was rebuilt and opened again in 1927. The building was designed by an English architect, Robert Atkinson, and he built it in line with the other buildings on the street.

The façade of the hotel, that means the main entrance, was always there to welcome the guests. It went through changes with the building, and the latest change was in 1999. New bed rooms and dining areas were added in 2006.

One of the best days at the Gresham was New Year’s Day 1961, when the new Irish television station, RTÉ, was first broadcast from that building.

Many famous people have stayed at The Gresham – perhaps you have heard of the Beatles or Manchester United? Well they stayed at the Gresham like many more celebrities including a real Princess - Princess Grace of Monaco.

The Ha'penny Bridge

The Ha'penny Bridge was built in 1816 by William Walsh to replace his ferry that used to cross the Liffey at Liffey Street. He was allowed to charge a toll of a halfpenny for 100 years to repay him for building the bridge. It has become one of the symbols of Dublin.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Ha’penny Bridge

One of the images you can often see on postcards from Dublin is the Ha’penny Bridge or ‘Droichead na Leathphingine’ in Irish. It has become one of the symbols of Dublin.

Have you ever looked at it closely and studied its shape? It has a single arch, three lamps in the shape of lanterns on top of beautifully shaped arches resting on the sides of the bridge, and it is made from cast iron. In fact, it is the first metal bridge in Ireland that we know of and it was made in England.

It is also one of the few footbridges across the Liffey which means that no cars or trucks can cross it.

It was built in 1816 by William Walsh to replace his ferry that used to cross the Liffey at Liffey Street. To repay him from this, he was allowed to charge a toll of a halfpenny for hundred years. Since then the bridge, which was first called Wellington Bridge after the British Duke of Wellington, is known as Ha’penny Bridge.

The lease of the toll ended in 1916 and since then you can cross the bridge for free. Until recently one could still see the turnstiles where you had to pay the ha’penny. They were removed when the bridge was restored in 2001 and painted in its original colour.

I remember as a child I was scared to cross it because you could see the water through the wooden deck. Those gaps have been filled in since.

The Hole in the Wall

In Medieval times Blackhorse Avenue was one of the main roads into Dublin City. People travelling to Dublin by horse or by coach would stay overnight outside the city in an inn called 'Ye Signe of Ye Blackhorse'. In much later years soldiers from McKee Barracks in the Phoenix Park would sometimes sneak off and go to the tavern for a beer! The owner of the pub at the time served the men through a hole in the park wall, and this is why it is now called "The Hole in the Wall".

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Avenue, Cabra

One of the main roads leading to and from Dublin city was called Blackhorse Lane or the Lane for short. The Lane was covered with dust and stones, not tarmacadam like the roads we have today. This road is still here today and it is now called Blackhorse Avenue.

In medieval times merchants, noblemen and servants of the king would travel along Blackhorse Lane to get to the city of Dublin. They would ride on horses or travel in coaches. As this would take much longer than our kind of travel, many would stay overnight outside the city in an inn called ‘Ye Signe of Ye Blackhorse’ which had been built on Blackhorse Lane in the 1600s. Its name came from the fact that in those days inn owners would hang up the picture of an animal, such as a horse, outside their pub instead of a name as only few people could read. This picture would give the Inn its name.

When roads were improved, people no longer needed to stay overnight at the inn and the inn was changed into a tavern, a place where people could eat and drink. As the tavern was right beside the Phoenix Park and there were many public speeches given in the park in the 1800s it became a popular spot for a drink and a bite to eat. One of the speakers was Daniel O’Connell; in fact, Daniel O’Connell brewed the ale which was sold in the Blackhorse Tavern.

When the British Army was staying at McKee Barracks in the Phoenix Park from 1891 to 1922, the soldiers would sometimes sneak off and go to the tavern for a pint of beer! The owner of the pub at the time, Levinus Doyle, served the men through a hole in the park wall, and this is why it is called “The Hole in the Wall”.

The name was changed from Blackhorse Tavern to “The Hole in the Wall” in 1970, by PJ McCaffrey and his wife, Margaret. They wanted to remember the history of serving the army through a hole in the wall.

Over the years many extra bits were added and many people believe that this is the longest pub in Ireland.

The Irish Glass Bottle Company, Ringsend

Ringsend was a good location for making glass. Glass manufacturers needed a lot of sand, of which Ringsend had plenty. They also needed lots of coal to melt the sand so it was handy to be near the port. The Irish Glass Bottle Company started in Ringsend in 1871.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Irish Glass Bottle Company, Ringsend

Not so long ago, at the beginning of the 1990s, milk in glass bottles was still being brought  to your hall door by the milk man in some parts of Dublin. These bottles were made by the Irish Glass Bottle Company on South Bank Road in Ringsend.

Bottles have been made in Ringsend for over 200 years. The first bottle company was set up on Charlotte Quay in 1787. They sold most of the bottles in France.

But a city which had many breweries, whiskey distilleries and soft drinks factories also needed lots of bottles so there were many different bottle factories in Ringsend over the years. Glass manufacturers needed lots of sand, of which Ringsend had plenty. They also needed lots of coal to melt the sand so it was handy to be near the port. Unfortunately, as a result, Ringsend became very polluted from all that smoke!

The Irish Glass Bottle Company started in Ringsend in 1871, making black bottles for porter with sand from Dublin Bay and lime and clay from Clontarf. These was mixed with salt rock and soda and melted in a huge tank furnace.

Making bottles was very hard work. People called blowers shaped the liquid red-hot glass that came out of the furnace into bottles. It was a bit like blowing bubbles with chewing gum. Then the bottles were left to cool for two nights and two days.

In 1880 the Irish Glass Bottle Company made 600 gross of bottles every week; a gross is an old measurement of 144, so they made 86,400 bottles per week!

Bottles were used and re-used many times, which was a good way to recycle. Milk bottles made fifty trips, and beer bottles made thirty! Children could get money from a grocery shop for returning empty lemonade bottles. It was a great way of getting a bit of pocket money and one could buy a wafer which was an ice cream slice between wafers.

The Irish Glass Bottle Company got bigger, moved factory twice, made bottles in different colours and shapes and in the 1980s was one of the most modern factories in Europe. It employed a great number of people. However, in 2002 it closed its doors forever and this marked the end of glass bottle making in Ringsend.

The Irish Volunteer Monument, Phibsboro'

The Irish Volunteer Monument in Phibsboro' commemorates members of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers who fought and died during the Easter Rising (1916) and the War of Independence (1919-21). The monument depicts a soldier and below the soldier scenes from Irish mythology and ancient Irish history: the arrival of the Milesians (the first inhabitants of Ireland), Cuchulainn fighting at the ford and the death of King Brian Boru at Clontarf in 1014.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Irish Volunteer Monument, Phibsboro'

Across the road from Phibsboro' Library, Blackquire Bridge, North Circular Road stands a monument with a soldier prepared for battle. He represents those members of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers who fought and died during the Easter Rising (1916) and the War of Independence (1919–21).

The limestone monument was made by Leo Broe (1899–1966) who himself had been a member of the Volunteers. It was unveiled on 19 February 1939 and over three thousand people attended.

Beneath the soldier are scenes from Irish mythology and ancient Irish history: the arrival of the Milesians (the first inhabitants of Ireland), Cuchulainn fighting at the ford, and the death of King Brian Boru at Clontarf in 1014.

The monument was vandalised in the 1970s and the soldier’s rifle was taken. It was fully restored by Dublin City Council in 1991.

The Iveagh Trust Buildings

The Iveagh Trust Buildings were built by Sir Edward Guinness. He saw that many Dubliners lived in cold and damp rooms without a fire or running water. To help these people he set up the Iveagh Trust in 1890. He also built the Iveagh Baths on Bride Street and the Iveagh Markets on Francis Street.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Iveagh Trust Buildings

Near St Patrick’s Cathedral, between Bull Alley and Bride Road, one can see blocks of very striking five-storey red-brick buildings. These buildings are called the Iveagh Trust buildings.

They were built by Sir Edward Guinness, a member of the famous brewing family who made Guinness. The Guinnesses were among the richest people in Ireland, but Sir Edward knew that many Dubliners lived in cold and damp rooms without a fire or running water. Many children died and most people did not live to be old.

To help these people, Sir Edward Cecil Guinness set up the Iveagh Trust in 1890 (Sir Edward had been given the title ‘Earl of Iveagh’ and that is where the trust and the buildings got their name from). He donated a large sum of money which, in today’s terms, would be worth almost twenty million euro. With this money he wanted to build houses for the poorest people in Dublin. He also asked other rich people to help and advise him. These people were called trustees and they made sure that the money that was given to the trust was not used for something else.

Sir Edward and the trustees bought land near St Patrick’s Cathedral and the area was cleared of the old houses. Building started in 1901 and all houses were finished within the next few years. The buildings were very modern and much healthier to live in than the old houses. Some of the blocks had shops on the ground floor while the people lived upstairs.

Sir Edward also built the Iveagh Baths on Bride Road, and the Iveagh Market on Francis Street, where you could buy vegetables, fish and secondhand clothes. He also designed St Patrick’s Park beside the cathedral.

The rents for the flats were cheap and many more people could afford to live in them. The Iveagh Trust used the rents to do repairs and build more homes. By 1950 almost 3,000 Dubliners lived in dwellings built by the Iveagh Trust. Today the Iveagh Trust buildings are still managed by the trust.

The Martello Tower, Sandymount

The Martello Tower at Sandymount was built in 1804. There were 28 towers built in Dublin, 16 on the southside and 12 on the northside, for example in Sutton, Howth and on Dalkey Island and Killiney Hill.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Martello Tower in Sandymount

When you come along the Strand Road in Sandymount you will pass by a huge round tower which looks a bit like an upside-down flower pot. Fifty of these Martello towers were built along the coast of Ireland. They were built because the British government were afraid that the French Emperor Napoleon would invade Ireland during the war between England and France (1803–1815).

The first round fortresses of this type were built on the island of Corsica to protect villages along the coast from North African pirates in the fifteenth century. These towers were so strong that it took two British warships two days of continuous cannon fire to capture the one at Cape Mortella in Corsica during a battle in 1794. The British were very impressed by this and decided to build similar towers all over the British Empire including Ireland between 1804 and 1812.

There were 28 towers built in Dublin, 16 on the southside and 12 on the northside, for example in Sutton, Howth and on Dalkey Island and Killiney Hill. Their first name was  ‘Mortella’. This was changed to ‘Martello’ over time, so we now  have the name ‘Martello Tower’.

All towers were round, and had walls that were stronger on the side facing the sea. They were typically 12 to 15 metres wide and two storeys high, with a single doorway 5 metres off the ground. The door could only be reached by climbing a removable ladder.

The tower at Sandymount was one of the larger ones and had a one-storey building attached . This was used to house up to 20 soldiers and a stores. When it was completed in 1804, a small troop of soldiers were sent to defend it. Two cannons were mounted on top of the tower.

Fortunately, the towers were not needed as the expected invasion never happened. A sailor, when asked what use the Martello Towers served, replied: ‘the devil a use I can think of, but to please Mr. Windham (Secretary of War) and puzzle posterity’.

When the Sandymount Martello Tower was not needed for defence any more it was used as an office by the Dublin United Tramways Company. It later became a restaurant but now nobody lives there. This is the case with most of the other towers.

Close by the  Martello Tower at Seapoint was once an ice-cream shop while the Martello tower at Bray was owned by Bono from U2. The best-known tower is the one at Sandycove because James Joyce, the author of the novel ‘Ulysses’, lived in it a short while and part of ‘Ulysses’ takes part in it. It is now the James Joyce Museum.

The Moravian Church, Kevin Street

The Moravian Church, built in 1760, is situated on Kevin Street. On the front of the building is a carving of the Lamb of God holding a flag, which is the symbol of the Moravians. The church was closed for religious services in 1959.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Moravian Church, Kevin Street.

Situated directly on Kevin Street is a large building with tall stained glass windows. This building has the unusual name of ‘The Moravian Church’.

The church took its name from a Protestant sect called ‘The Moravian Church’ Sometimes they are also called ‘The Unity of the Brethren’. The Moravians had settled in Eastern Germany in the eighteenth-century but came originally from Moravia (hence their name) and Bohemia in the present-day Czech Republic.

The Moravians believed in spreading the message of the Bible to different countries, so in 1746, one of the most famous Moravian preachers named John Cennick came to Dublin to talk about his faith. He was very charming and many Dubliners came to hear him speak. At first he preached to people outside, then he moved to a hall in Skinner’s Alley and eventually Dubliners built the Moravian Church in Kevin Street in 1760 as the crowds were growing.

On the front of the building is a carving of the Lamb of God holding a flag, which is the symbol of the Moravians. The church was closed for religious services in 1959. 

The Nethercross

The Nethercross is an old cross carved out of granite. It was made to look like the cross that St Canice, the patron saint of Finglas and Kilkenny carried with him.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Nethercross

If you have ever visited St Canice’s Graveyard in Finglas you might have noticed an old stone cross there. This cross is called the Nethercross. Nether means ‘lower’ and the area around Finglas and Ballymun was once called the Barony of Nethercross.

The Nethercross was carved out of granite, to look like the cross which St Canice, the patron saint of Finglas and Kilkenny, had carried with him. St Canice lived in the sixth century, and is patron saint of Ossory and Kilkenny.

The Nethercross used to stand in the grounds of Finglas Abbey but in the seventeenth century it disappeared. It took almost two hundred years to find it again. This is how it happened: In 1649 Oliver Cromwell arrived in Ireland. He did not like the Catholic religion and his army destroyed churches, shrines and statues. The people of Finglas were worried that Cromwell’s soldiers would destroy the Nethercross. They took it down and buried it in a secret place.

The Nethercross was forgotten until a man named the Reverend Robert Walsh joined the parish of Finglas in 1806. He had a deep interest in history and he was determined to find the lost cross. Reverend Walsh met an old man who had been told by his grandfather where the Nethercross was buried. With his help, Reverend Walsh found the cross in 1816. The Nethercross was erected in the south-east corner of the ancient graveyard of St Canice’s where it still stands today.

The Pigeon House, Ringsend

Pigeon House is called after a man called John Pidgeon. Around 1760 he was a caretaker of a storehouse used by the builders of the Great South Wall. John Pidgeon started selling refreshments, tea, cakes and lemonade at his storehouse to passengers of the packet ships travelling from England and Europe.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Pigeon House, Ringsend

One could easily think that the Pigeon House, which is situated near the two tall ESB chimneys and the Great South Wall in Ringsend, got its name from pigeons. However, it is called after a man called John Pidgeon (later the ‘d’ in his name was dropped which explains the possible confusion).

Around 1760 John Pidgeon was the caretaker of a storehouse used by the builders of the Great South Wall. At that time sailing ships brought letters and packets as well as passengers from England and Europe to Ireland. These were called packet ships and they landed and departed from the new wall near Mr Pidgeon’s storehouse.

Imagine, at that time it could take a whole week to get to and from Wales; even longer in bad weather. So John Pidgeon had a bright idea. He started selling refreshments, tea, sandwiches, cakes and lemonade at his storehouse to hungry and thirsty passengers. ‘Pidgeon’s House’ became so popular that even Dublin people used to come out to Ringsend at the weekends for a day out. Mr Pigeon would bring them on boat trips out to his house and back to Ringsend again.

In 1793 long after John Pidgeon died a new bigger building was built which was used as a hotel for the passengers for a number of years. This building is still there today and is used by the Electricity Supply Board.

A few years later when the government was afraid that the French might invade Ireland they built a fort near the hotel to guard the entrance to Dublin Port. It became known as the Pidgeon House Fort.

The Red Stables

The red stables in St Anne's Park were built in 1885 by Arthur Edward Guinness, Lord Ardilaun. The stables now house an arts and crafts centre with room for artists, a gallery and a café. Every Saturday there is a food and crafts market in the courtyard.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Red Stables, Clontarf

Have you ever been to the playground in St Anne’s Park? If you have, you probably passed by some beautiful red buildings near the entrance of St Anne’s Park off Mount Prospect Avenue in Clontarf. These are the Red Stables. They got their name from the red brick they were made from.

The stables were built in 1885 by Arthur Edward Guinness. He was the great-grandson of the first Arthur Guinness who had started the Guinness brewery and had been given the title Lord Ardilaun.

Lord Ardilaun had inherited the large part of land between Raheny and Clontarf which is now called St Anne’s Park in 1868. Over the following decades, he bought more land in the area and added a number of buildings including the new stables. The Red Stables were designed by George Ashlin who also built All Saints’ Church at the northern edge of the park.

The stables were built around three sides of a courtyard, had two storeys and contained stables for Lord Ardilaun’s horses, sheds for his coaches as well as hay lofts and living quarters for the grooms.

In 1939, Dublin Corporation bought the land and the Parks Department used the stables to store equipment until 2006 when the building was beautifully restored by Dublin City Council. It now houses an arts and crafts centre with room for artists, a gallery and a café. Every Saturday there is a food and crafts market in the courtyard.

The Roman Catholic St. Pappin's Church

The Roman Catholic St Pappin's Church was built around 1797. St Pappin was the son of Aengus McNathfraid, the first Christian king of Munster.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Roman Catholic St Pappin’s Church

The Roman Catholic St Pappin’s church was built around 1797 where Santry Avenue meets the Naul Road (that is Ballymun Road). On the 17th August 1837 Eugene O’Curry visited Santry as part of the Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey means a making a complete map of the country and we can learn a lot of information from these maps.

At that time Mr O’Curry found that the Church was not being used – in fact he said that it had “already been abandoned as a burial place for some years.”

St Pappin was the son of Aengus McNathfraid, the first Christian king of Munster. His brothers Colman, Folloman, Jernoe and Naal are also saints. He was a monk who lived in the 5th and 6th centuries. There was a monastery in the 6th century on the site of the present day St Pappan’s Church of Ireland.

St Pappin’s Roman Catholic Church moved to its present site on the east of Ballymun Road in 1846. It was built during famine times and the local people who built it were paid in food. The land for the church was provided by Sir Charles Domville, owner of Santry Estate. When the church was first built it had no seats. There was only one set of seats between the Roman Catholic Church in Ballymun and St Pappan’s Church of Ireland in Santry. The Churches had to share seats and they were moved back and forth for each service.

There’s a vault behind the church that was built by the Domville family in memory of their coachman, James Kelly. James died because of a cruel practical joke. A crowd of drunken young men, part of the Hellfire Club poured whiskey over him and then set fire to it. The club was burnt down in the fire that followed the incident.

The Church building still exists today, but is not used for Church services - it is part of a nursing home called St Pappin’s Nursing Home.

The Seven Towers, Ballymun

The seven towers in Ballymun were built between 1966 and 1969. In the 1960s planners and architects thought the best way to house many people very quickly was to build high towers with as many flats in them as possible

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Seven Towers, Ballymun

Looking at Ballymun today, it is hard to imagine that in the 1950s it was a small village of a few cottages at the junction of Santry Avenue and Ballymun Road. All around it was farmland with just a few large houses in between.

Apart from an area of houses called the Wadelai estate which had been built in the late 1950s it remained like this until the 1960s. In that time many people lived in the city centre in old run-down buildings called tenements. Before this, tenements were the big houses of the rich. When their wealthy owners moved into the more fashionable areas, the houses were divided into smaller units and poor people moved in. Often two families shared one room or families lived on the landing (children from these families were called ‘lobby-reared’). There were also no bathrooms and not enough toilets for all the people.

By 1963 many of these tenements had become too dangerous to live in but their tenants could not afford to buy their own house so the government decided to build new blocks of flats for them in Ballymun.

In the 1960s planners and architects thought that the best way to house many people very quickly was to build high towers with as many flats in them as possible so between 1966 and 1969 Ballymun Towers were built on the outskirts of the city. There were seven of them. Each was fifteen storeys tall and there were ninety flats to each tower and six to each floor. That’s an awful lot of flats. Apart from the towers the government also built some smaller blocks of flats and some houses in the area.

The towers were named after the seven leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916 – in 1966, 50 years had passed since the Rising! Their names were Thomas Clarke, Seán McDermott, Thomas McDonagh, Patrick Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett. All of these leaders were executed in Kilmainham Jail.

When the first families moved into their new flats in 1966, they were delighted. They had a couple of bedrooms, running hot water, central heating, flush toilets and lifts, luxuries they had never had before. All went well at first, but soon they also discovered that they had nowhere to shop, the lifts kept breaking down, the heating could not be lowered and the promised public swimming pool, meeting places and play areas were never built because the government had run out of money. Ballymun seemed to be miles away from the city centre.

People were unhappy and those who could afford to move did. During the 1980s things got worse: many people had no jobs and there were problems with stolen cars and drugs. Many of the flats stood empty because nobody wanted to live in Ballymun anymore.

Eventually it was decided that Ballymun needed a complete renewal but this time Dublin City Council who ran the place wanted to do the planning together with the people living in Ballymun. There were many meetings and discussions and a new plan was drawn up. The towers were to be knocked down and new houses and much smaller apartment blocks were to be built as well as all the facilities which had been planned but never happened in the 1960s.

In 2004 Pearse Tower was the first of the seven towers to be pulled down. Lots of families have moved into their new homes which they had helped to design and now for the first time have a front and a back garden where the children can play.

The Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal on Hawkins Street was a huge theatre, the biggest in Europe at one time. Built in 1821, it had a theatre, cinema, wintergarden and restaurant and it was very popular. The theatre closed in 1962 because it wasn't making enough money.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Theatre Royal

The Screen Cinema on Hawkins Street is built on a site with a long history of entertainment. There used to be a wonderful theatre here, the famous Theatre Royal.

In olden days, before television and gameboys, people visited the Theatre Royal for entertainment. It was great fun – there were concerts, pantomimes and comedians, even circuses and boxing matches! Dubliners always called it “The Royal”.

The theatre opened in 1821, nearly 200 years ago, on the site of a meat market. It burned down in 1880 and was rebuilt in 1897 and again in 1935. This time it was huge, the biggest theatre in Europe, with room for 4,000 people and a large stage. It had a theatre, cinema, wintergarden and restaurant. You could see a film in the afternoon, then have dinner, and finally watch a variety show, all without leaving the Theatre Royal.

The theatre looked somewhat like the Gaiety now with the same old-world elegance but was even more luxurious. Many famous people, like Bob Hope and Judy Garland, played there. At one time, Bob Geldof’s mother worked there as a cashier. The visiting actors often stayed in lodgings in and around Pearse Square.

The theatre closed in 1962, because it wasn’t making enough money any more. It made way for the cinema and Hawkins House office block.

On the last night, comedian Cecil Sheridan described “The Royal” as a place with “a big heart, big capacity and big audiences.”

Maybe your parents or grandparents remember the Theatre Royal and can tell you more about it.

Áras an Uachtaráin

Áras an Uachtaráin in the Phoenix Park is the house of the Irish president. The name means "living place of the president" in Irish.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Áras an Uachtaráin

Do you know what park rangers are? They are the people who drive around or ‘range’ the park, keeping it tidy and safe. Well, around 1750, the Chief Park Ranger of the Phoenix Park was a man named Nathaniel Clements. He was a very proud man. In 1751 he decided to build a large house in the Phoenix Park on the site of an old house called Newtown Lodge. This site had a beautiful view of the Dublin Mountains and a small lake which had been created by putting a dam across a stream.

In 1782, the English Government bought the house. It was used as a summer house for the viceroys. Viceroys were the people who represented the King or Queen of England in Ireland.

Over the years many changes were made to the house such as: 

The office of president of Ireland was established by the Constitution of Ireland 1937. The first president, Dr Douglas Hyde was elected in 1938. It was agreed that Dr Hyde would live at Newtown Lodge. The name was changed to something more president-like: the house was now called Áras an Uachtaráin which means ‘the living place of the president’ in Irish.

Every Irish president lives at Áras an Uachtaráin. These are the presidents that have lived there: Douglas Hyde, Sean T. O’Kelly, Éamon de Valera, Erskine Childers, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, Patrick J. Hillery, Mary Robinson, Mary McAleese, and currently Michael D. Higgins.