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.