Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday, almost: History in Streetscapes

One of the things I love about Ireland is that everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. If you like to take photographs, as I do, then as you stroll through the streets of the metropolis Dublin,  you find yourself looking in all directions for interesting bits of history. Over your head and under your feet, or right beside you in the street, history is alive and well on the streets of Dublin.

The ubiquitous green post box still wears a reminder that England once ruled over Ireland.
The presence of the crown and the Royal Insignia ER VII dates the post box to the reign of
King Edward VII. You will also see some post boxes which bear a crown and
the insignia VR for Victoria Regina, Queen Victoria.
Way overhead and just steps away from the Dublin City Hall, an old sign reminds us that
 T. Read & Co. Ltd.,
Est. 1670
had their business for knife crafting and sharpening on these premises in the 17th century.
On Palace Street, the shortest street in Dublin,  just beyond the stone gates of Dublin castle,
 (on the left in this picture), stands the building once occupied by the oldest charity in Dublin,
'The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society'.
Founded in 1790 by a group of 11 middle class Dublin gentlemen,
its purpose was to provide aid to the sick and very poor.
The charity now operates out of an office on Upper Leeson Street, and continues its good work,
distributing over €120, 000 to needy Dublin families in 2012.  
It is odd to think of a street being established, opened and commemorated in a
manner such as this, but that is exactly what happened in 1886 when the street was dedicated to the
memory of Lord Edward FitzGerald, an Irish aristocrat and revolutionary.
He was the commander-in-chief of the United Irishmen, and died 4 June 1798,
at the age of only 34, after being denied medical treatment for wounds received when he resisted arrest in May.
He was interred in the vaults of St. Werburgh Church Dublin, 5 June 1798.
My favourite Dublin bookstore, Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street.
Established in 1768, over their 245 year history the store has operated out of three different locations,
settling in Dawson Street in the 19th century.
James Joyce mentions the store in part one of his masterwork Ulysses,
"What she? The virgin at Hodges Figgis' window on Monday looking in for one of the alphabet books you were going to write. Keen glance you gave her."



  1. OHHH, more fab photos! I do love what you see!

    1. Thanks so much Carol! We've been having brown-outs here all day, with local re-wiring being done, and every time I've come to say thank you for your comments, the electricity has gone out, until now.


  2. I like your photos of Dublin Jennifer -one my travel pleasures is taking photos of things that catch my eye. Like you I have a photo of that rather quaint bookshop.

    1. Thanks for your comments Pauleen! It's nice to shoot the things which catch our eye isn't it?

      I have a special place in my heart for Hodges Figgis, since they always seem to have one or two (or five) Irish history books that I cannot live without. (I am a big fan of the Winding Stair Bookshop too).


    2. Don't know the Winding Stair bookshop-another source of temptation next time :-)

    3. The Winding Stair is down on Ormond Quay and is one of the oldest independent bookshops in Dublin. It's quite a bit smaller these days, with the bookshop only on the ground floor, and is known for its Michelin-starred bistro up top. Still, the chances of finding something special is usually pretty good.


  3. thanks for sharing the images of the beautiful old buildings. re Fitzgerald: I suppose I could search online, but I think Rose, Mrs Joseph Kennedy was a FitzGerald. Dublin is the setting of several lovely Maeve Binchy novels. My Irish ancestors came to Australia in 1853 via Nova Scotia, and stopped in the US on the way through to fight in the war between the states. It's very important to know your own history. X X

    1. Hello Ann,

      Thanks for your comments. It's nice to hear from you. Mrs. Kennedy was a Fitzgerald, but probably not not connected in any way to Lord Edward who was the son of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Leinster and great great-grandson of Charles II of England. Mrs. Kennedy's people were poor emigrants from Limerick (grandfather) and Cavan (grandmother).

      It is, as you say, very important to know your own history, as I do mine. My parents emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1956, and our history before that is fully entrenched in Ireland where most of our family still lives, although I do have a couple of American cousins and two cousins and an aunt who immigrated to Australia in 1971.

      Your Irish ancestors made quite a journey going to Australia via Nova Scotia. They must have quite an interesting history.



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