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