Dublin City Library & Archive

Manuscript of the Month: Grafton Street (WSC/Maps/564)

WSC Map 564 detailThis map is what we would now call the development plan for what became Grafton Street. The plan is by the Dublin City Surveyor, John Greene, to the scale of 10 feet to an inch and it is dated 17 January 1680. At that date, Grafton Street was a humble country lane, linking the two open spaces of St Stephen’s Green and Hoggen Green.  There was even a municipal dung-heap, known as ‘The Pound’ at the end of the lane.  The Dublin City Assembly’s plan envisaged a new street to be 46 feet wide, with removal of The Pound. As yet the new thoroughfare had not got a name – it would eventually be called after the Duke of Grafton, an illegitimate grandson of Charles II.

The Irish Revolution 1917-1923 - Brian Hanley

The Irish RevolutionWhat happened in Ireland after the 1916 Rising? How did the political, economic and social landscape change and what brought about independence in 1922? Listen back to a three-part lecture series delivered by Brian Hanley Dublin City Council’s Historians-in-Residence for Dublin City Library & Archive.  The lecture topics are:

  • Lecture 1- Ireland in 1917
  • Lecture 2 - What was the War of Independence?
  • Lecture 3 - What was the Civil War?

A Crackin' New Exhibition Explores the History of Jacob’s Biscuit Factory

Jacob's Biscuits exhibArdmhéara Bhaile Átha Cliath / Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha will officially launch a new exhibition Jacob’s Biscuit Factory & Dublin: An Assorted History, today, Friday, 8 September at 1pm in Dublin City Library and Archive.

Drawing on the vast 330 boxes of Jacob Biscuit Factory Archives held at Dublin City Library, and using beautifully illustrated panels, oral histories, flags and original artefacts, the exhibition tells both a chronological and thematic history of Jacob’s Biscuit Factory. The events of 1913-1922 which impacted on Ireland nationally feature prominently and using the lens of the factory allows the exhibition to provide a unique contribution to the Decade of Commemorations. 

Manuscript of the Month: Reformation 02

Francis TaylorAlderman Francis Taylor was a successful and well-respected member of the municipal government, the Dublin City Assembly.  He was born in Swords, Co. Dublin around 1550, at a time of religious controversy.  The Taylors remained loyal to Rome and did not subscribe to the 1536 Act of Supremacy which declared that Henry VIII and not the Pope was the supreme head of the Church.

Francis Taylor became a merchant and settled in Dublin City, where he had a house in Ram Lane.  He married Gennet Shelton, the daughter of a Dublin merchant, and the couple had five sons and a daughter.  Taylor entered municipal politics, was elected Sheriff of Dublin for the civic year 1586-7 and three years later he was elected Alderman on the City Assembly, a post which he held until his death in 1621.  Taylor was highly regarded for his honesty and financial ability and served as Dublin City Treasurer on seven occasions between 1593 and 1616.  The pinnacle of Taylor’s civic career came in 1595 when he was elected Mayor of Dublin.    As a senior member of the City Assembly, Taylor was asked to travel to London in April 1597, to present a petition on behalf of Dublin Corporation at the court of Elizabeth I.

Anne Kennedy Photograph Collection

AK0084 Children musicansAnne Kennedy was a notable poet, writer, and photographer. She was born Anne Spaulding on 19 March 1935 in Los Angeles, California to Beatrice Clarke and Easton Spaulding. She attended the prestigious Marlborough School in Beverley Hills as Anne Hoag after her mother’s marriage to her second husband, Hallack Hoag.  At age 16, Anne went to study English at Stanford University. In 1955, she married Donald Nealy, with whom she had two daughters, Allison (1956) and Catherine (1957). After her divorce from her first husband, Anne returned to Los Angeles where she met her second husband, Lewis Judd. They married in upstate New York in 1961 and had a daughter, Stephanie, in 1963, by which time they had moved back to Los Angeles. During the 1960s, Anne worked as a high school teacher and lived in the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles. As a lifelong lover of jazz, together with her close friend and jazz trumpeter Rex Stewart, she interviewed many jazz musicians living in the L.A. area during this time. The oral material they gathered was contributed to the Duke Ellington archive at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. in 1993.

View Anne Kennedy Photographic Collection Image Gallery.

Manuscript of the Month: Reformation 01

Reformation 01The Monastery of All Saints (usually called All Hallows) was founded by Dermot Mac Murchadha, King of Leinster, in 1166 – it is said, as an act of penance for eloping with Dervorgilla, wife of Tiernan O’Rourke.  It was an Augustinian foundation, and the monastery buildings were situated to the east of Dublin City, outside the city walls.  This was a precarious location, and the monastery and its immediate lands were sacked by the O’Byrnes and O’Tooles of Wicklow on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, All Hallows quickly became the wealthiest monastery in the Dublin area, as it received donations from pious benefactors of land in counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Louth, Tipperary and Kilkenny. In 1478, the Prior of All Hallows was appointed as Admiral of the Port of Baldoyle, a most prestigious position. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the surrender of the Priory and lands of All Hallows to King Henry VIII was undertaken by Prior Walter Handcock (16 Nov 1538) with (18 Nov 1538) memorandum attesting to the voluntary nature of the surrender witnessed by Symon Geoffrey, rector of Howth, Thomas Alen, gentleman, and others.  (DCLA/Recorder’s Book, entry No. 12-12a).  It was noted that at the time of surrender there were only four monks in All Hallows.

Manuscript of the Month July 2017: The Mystery of the Summer Islands

Usher IslandIn its natural state, the River Liffey is shallow – the Irish name for Dublin is ‘Baile Atha Cliath’ or the town of the ford of hurdles, which were put down on the river bed to allow people to have a firm footing while wading across.  Further east, the Nightingale Sands, which appeared in summer at the mouth of the Liffey at low tide, were used during the Riding of the Franchises to cross from Clontarf to Ringsend on horseback. 

And again in summer, a varying number of islands appeared in the River Liffey.  These were owned by the then Dublin Corporation which leased them out to citizens who hoped to build the summer islands up and reclaim them. Many of the summer islands appeared in the vicinity of Rory O’More Bridge and are shown on Bernard de Gomme’s 1673 map of Dublin; these were probably sand and gravel banks.  In 1670, the merchant Henry Orson secured a lease of these small islands and in 1685 Phillips’ map of Dublin shows them as a single island with a house – an indicator of Orson’s success in effectively consolidating them.  Orson’s islands were incorporated into the north bank of the Liffey by 1728 and the land is now known as The Esplanade and Wolfe Tone Quay.

News from Nelson: The Greatest?

NelsonOne of the best parts of having ‘retired into the Corpo’ is that I have plenty of time to sit and think of how wonderful I am – it passes the day for me.   Did you know that I am the greatest naval commander who ever lived?  Did I mention this before? Taking part in the Napoleonic Wars, I was victorious in the battles of Cape St. Vincent, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, The Nile, Copenhagen and of course Trafalgar.  Most of these battles were referenced on my Pillar and their names are now on display in the Craft Courtyard in Kilkenny City – the clean lettering is an inspiration to the practitioners there.

Letters Patent for the Theatre Royal Dublin, 1957

Theatre RoyalManuscript of the Month, June 2017. 
Dublin’s famous Theatre Royal went through three incarnations before finally succumbing to the developers’ wrecking ball.  The first version was founded in 1820 as the Albany Theatre – based in Hawkins Street, it boasted a 2,000 seater auditorium.  During his visit to Dublin in 1821, King George IV visited the Albany and subsequently issued it with letters patent, conferring the title of Theatre Royal.  This first Theatre Royal was burned to the ground on 9 February 1880 and was replaced on the same site by the second Theatre Royal in 1897.  This was designed by Frank Matcham and seated 2,011 people. But these numbers was not enough for all the people who wanted to enjoy an evening at ‘The Royal’ so in 1935 it was replaced by a behemoth, with room for 3,700 seated and 300 standing.   This third ‘Royal’ survived until 1962 when it was demolished and replaced with an office block, Hawkins House.

All-Ireland Days: The Pursuit of Liam and Sam (1953-1984)

Anton O'TooleSummer comes around, the ground hardens, and the thoughts of many people turn to the playing fields of Clones, Thurles, Castlebar, and other venues throughout the land. All dream of a visit to Croke Park in September. These photos from the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Photographic Collection celebrate the lucky few who played in All-Ireland Finals in the second half of the twentieth century.

View All-Ireland Days Image Gallery.

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