Thursday, 25 July 2013

An amazing video from the Imperial War Museum Archive of the aftermath of the 1916 Rising can be seen here:

The video is 14 minutes long, without sound, and the description from the IWM is as follows:

O'Connell Street before the rising (black segments block out part of the film). Members of the Irish Volunteers in civilian clothes with webbing pouches and rifles drill and march past in the open. More of the Irish Volunteers in their paramilitary uniform (introduced in August 1914) marching off in a parade. Two columns of Irish Volunteers, filmed from a high window, marching through a crowded Dublin square in civilian clothes. The damage done to Liberty Hall, the head office of the Irish TGWU and headquarters of the rising. O'Connell Bridge in the aftermath, with damage to a number of buildings. British soldiers halt outside the Customs House. Other soldiers unload an ammunition wagon outside Liberty Hall. The interior of a hospital, probably Dublin Castle, showing three wounded men in beds - all British soldiers (?). Australian and New Zealander soldiers march through the crowded streets. Three British soldiers set up a Vickers machine gun by a sandbagged barricade. Another barricade made of overturned cars. A pan out from the O'Connell monument to show the damage done to the Post Office. An improvised armoured car made from railway boilers bolted onto a Guinness lorry. A further pan over Liberty Hall and other buildings in Liffey Street - masonry is pulled away from burnt out buildings for safety. The film ends with a posed shot of Thomas Clark with Miss O'Donovan Rossa.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Main Street - Carrickmacross

Main Street, Carrickmacross in county Monaghan is home to the famous Carrickmacross Lace Gallery. This renowned lace was introduced to the area by Mrs Grey Porter, wife of a rector in nearby Donaghmoyne, who taught it to local women so that they could create an income for themselves. It wasn't until after the Great Famine in 1845 that this began in earnest, when the lace school was set up by the local Shirley estate to help their destitute tenants to make money. Since that time the lace has become well known around the world as a valuable and beautiful local craft. The Carrickmacross Lace Gallery is on the left of the above picture, and is open to the public.

This image shows the view of the Main Street looking south towards the Ardee Road, with the spire of St Finbarr's Church in view at the end of the street.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Harcourt Street Station

Harcourt Street railway station opened in 1859, serving as the terminus for the Dublin and South Eastern Railway line which served Dublin as far as county Wexford. The beautiful exterior with its colonnades of columns is deceiving, as the interior of the station was more compact than the exterior proportions would suggest. This facade was designed by architect George Wilkinson. The platforms were actually at first floor level as the railway line was built on an embankment, with vaults under the building being used as a bonded spirit store.

Historically, the station was witness to events of the 1916 Easter Rising, as it was occupied by Frank Robbins' section of the ICA early on Easter Monday. It's probably best known though for the infamous train crash which happened there in 1909. The Bray train failed to stop in time and simply ploughed through the station's end wall. The poor locomotive was left dangling somewhat preposterously in mid-air over Hatch Street. Unbelievable as it may seem, nobody was killed in the accident, with only the driver seriously injured and losing an arm.

The station ceased operating in 1953 and eventually closed in 1959. The new Luas light rail system took advantage of the station's alignment and a stop is now located on the street outside the building. The building has been used in recent years as an entertainment venue, but it is officially designated as being of significant architectural interest and as such free tours are offered by the current occupiers at 5pm every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Monday, 13 August 2012


'Notgeld'  or 'emergency money', is any type of money that's printed by an institution that isn't usually authorised to issue money, such as a local government or even a private business. While not legal tender, they are locally mutually-accepted as such. The German term is used because the most well known instance of this type of situation occurred in Germany at the end of World War I. The use of such emergency funds allows normal life to continue despite the complexities of coordinating central currency controls in times of hardship and difficulty.

 These lovely examples are from Germany and date from 1921-22. By that stage, Notgeld was being printed almost exclusively for collectors - the emergency had passed, but the notes themselves had become coveted for their illustrations. Often these were highly decorated images from local folklore or of local scenes. These collectables were only rarely passed into circulation, which is why these examples are in such fine condition.

By 1923 though, Notgeld was again emergency money in its truest sense - it was being printed in massive amounts to cope with the devastating hyperinflation problem of the Mark in Germany at the time.

More examples can be seen below. Enjoy!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bleeding Horse Pub - Upper Camden Street

The Bleeding Horse pub is that most cliched of phrases - an institution. It has operated on Upper Camden Street since the 1600s, becoming extremely prosperous during the eighteenth century. At the end of that century, it played host to meetings of the United Irishmen planning the 1798 Rebellion. In later years it also was a venue for Fenian meetings.

The origin of its unusual name is, as you might imagine, a source of debate. One of the most popular is that an injured horse ran as far as this spot during the nearby Battle of Rathmines in August 1649. Over the years the establishment has been patronised by literary figures like Oliver St John Gogarty, and was famously mentioned in Ulysses.

The pub is also namechecked in Sheridan Le Fanu's The Cock and Anchor:
...there stood at the southern extremity of the city, near the point at which Camden Street now terminates, a small, old-fashioned building, something between an ale-house and an inn. It occupied the roadside by no means unpicturesquely; one gable jutted into the road, with a projecting window, which stood out from the building like a glass box held together by a massive frame of wood; and commanded by this projecting gable, and a few yards in retreat, but facing the road, was the inn door, over which hung a painted panel, representing a white horse, out of whose neck there spouted a crimson cascade, and underneath, in large letters, the traveller was informed that this was the genuine old "Bleeding Horse"...

'Dublin Pub Life and Lore: An Oral History', Kevin C. Kearns

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Vintage Aer Lingus

Not a view of Dublin, strictly speaking, but nonetheless: an Aer Lingus ticket from 5 November 1945 for a flight from Dublin to Liverpool.

The DC-3 was numbered EI-ACA, and the captain was kind enough to note that passengers on the starboard side could view Holyhead from their seats at around 10.20am, thirty minutes before the flight was due to land.

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Five Lamps

An apt entry this time, coinciding with the recent conclusion of the Five Lamps Arts Festival this weekend. The Five Lamps is a well known Dublin landmark, situated at the junction of five streets: Seville Place, Amiens Street, Portland Row, Killarney Street and North Strand Row. Opinion is divided as to whether the five lamps themselves represent these streets or if they symbolise five great battles fought by the British in India in the colonial nineteenth century. The latter seems likely, as the lamp post was originally erected as a monument to General Henry Hall, a Galwegian who served in the British Army in India.

Famously, it's said that any one born north of the Five Lamps is not a true Dubliner - which seems a little harsh as it lies less then a kilometre from the Liffey! Originally the lamp post incorporated a fountain feature, but this has long since been removed.

The Five Lamps survived the nearby North Strand bombings of Dublin in 1941 thankfully unscathed.

WIL 13[8], National Library