The Pigeon House, Ringsend

Pigeon House is called after a man called John Pidgeon. Around 1760 he was a caretaker of a storehouse used by the builders of the Great South Wall. John Pidgeon started selling refreshments, tea, cakes and lemonade at his storehouse to passengers of the packet ships travelling from England and Europe.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Pigeon House, Ringsend

One could easily think that the Pigeon House, which is situated near the two tall ESB chimneys and the Great South Wall in Ringsend, got its name from pigeons. However, it is called after a man called John Pidgeon (later the ‘d’ in his name was dropped which explains the possible confusion).

Around 1760 John Pidgeon was the caretaker of a storehouse used by the builders of the Great South Wall. At that time sailing ships brought letters and packets as well as passengers from England and Europe to Ireland. These were called packet ships and they landed and departed from the new wall near Mr Pidgeon’s storehouse.

Imagine, at that time it could take a whole week to get to and from Wales; even longer in bad weather. So John Pidgeon had a bright idea. He started selling refreshments, tea, sandwiches, cakes and lemonade at his storehouse to hungry and thirsty passengers. ‘Pidgeon’s House’ became so popular that even Dublin people used to come out to Ringsend at the weekends for a day out. Mr Pigeon would bring them on boat trips out to his house and back to Ringsend again.

In 1793 long after John Pidgeon died a new bigger building was built which was used as a hotel for the passengers for a number of years. This building is still there today and is used by the Electricity Supply Board.

A few years later when the government was afraid that the French might invade Ireland they built a fort near the hotel to guard the entrance to Dublin Port. It became known as the Pidgeon House Fort.

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