Dublin City Library & Archive

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.

News from Nelson: Sources

NelsonI am pleased to relate that my colleagues at Dublin City Library & Archive are always working diligently on my behalf and they have compiled a source-list of materials in the Reading Room should you wish to find out more about my Goodself.

Periodically, the Minutes and Reports of Dublin City Council tell of plans to relocate me to Merrion Square, to erect statues to Tone and others in my place  and to help ease the capital’s growing traffic problems by removal of my Pillar altogether. In July 1919, at the first meeting of the Irish War Memorial Committee (records held at Dublin City Archives), it was suggested that my Pillar be converted to the national memorial monument to Irishmen who fell in the Great War. Various proposals for replacing my Pillar emerged from 1988 onwards, until eventually The Millennium Spire was put in place. It is, in its own way, the new Pillar of Dublin.

Lord Mayor's Certificate in Local Studies, 2017-2018

Bang Bang*** The Lord Mayor's Certificate course in Local Studies 2017-18 is now full and not taking any more applications.   ***

However there are still places on the Certificate in Oral History. (11 August 2017)

The Lord Mayor's Certificate in Local Studies is offered by Dublin City Council as part of its commitment to life-long learning.  The course examines the local dimension of Ireland’s past and is presented in a lively and accessible manner.  Classes are held on Tuesday evenings to facilitate attendance by a broad range of people.

Commencing in September 2017, the Lord Mayor's Certificate in Local Studies will be taught at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.  The closing date for applications is 5.00 p.m. on Friday 1 September 2017. See the following form:-

No longer faceless or nameless – write the story of your First World War soldier

Assembly exhibitA long, long alphabetical list of 174,000 Allied soldiers who died on Belgian soil in the First World War; this is the new and emotive exhibit on display in Dublin City Library and Archive on Pearse Street until the end of March. The Assembly exhibit has been created by artist Val Carmen, for the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres. Consisting of a giant memorial book of the war dead and five old chairs from Passchaendaele Church, the exhibit is travelling around Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales to gather stories and mementoes of these dead soldiers.

News from Nelson: Welcome Visitors

Nelson's HeadMarch is always a difficult month for me – my Pillar and I were blown sky-high shortly after 1.30 on the morning of 8 March 1966, so this year I will be marking the 51st anniversary of this event.  That’s why I was particularly glad to welcome a group from the National League of the Blind Trust who called in last week.  The group consisted of visually-impaired and sighted friends and each of them approached me in turn for a detailed examination of my Head. They also found the two indentations made in my mouth by bullets during the 1916 Rising.  One or two of them noted that I didn’t wear a hat – I explained that I was too tough to need headgear, I could survive the cold perfectly well (although I also enjoy living in this cosy warm Reading Room – must be old age!).

News from Nelson: Joshua Dawson

Joshua Dawson portraitDear Friends and Fellow-Sailors!

From my vantage point on top of my Pillar I had a great view of Dublin and often wondered what was going on behind the hall door.  One of my favourite buildings was the Mansion House, the residence of Dublin’s Lord Mayor.  This was built between 1705-10 outside the city in lovely country parkland by Joshua Dawson, a civil servant who was also a property developer (nothing new under the sun, then!). 

Portrait of Joshua Dawson

Joshua also laid out a new street, calling it Dawson Street after himself (there’s also a Joshua Lane) and built a church for a new Church of Ireland parish, to be called ‘St. Ann’s’ after his lady wife, Ann Carr. 

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