Wide Street Commission Architectural Drawings (1757-1849)

Dublin Library EditionThe full set of Wide Street Commission architectural drawings have been conserved and digitised and are now available to view online. The Wide Streets Commission had the authority to determine and regulate the facades of buildings erected along the line of new streets developed by it. The Commission decided on the heights of buildings, the number of houses in a terrace, the materials to be employed and the type and spacing of windows. Builders had to conform to specifications and the Commission could, and did, order re-building where its instructions had been flouted.

As a by-product of its interest in and impact on the architecture of Dublin in the period 1757-1849, the Wide Streets Commission amassed a total of 60 elevations of buildings and terraces. The WSC Architectural Drawing Catalogue was prepared by Dr Mary Clark, City Archivist and published by Dublin City Council in 1988. It provides detailed description of the full set of architectural drawings in the archives of the Wide Street Commission. The catalogue is now being published online, along with an image gallery of the architectural drawings.

The Mansion House Dublin, 300 Years of History and Hospitality

The Mansion House, Dublin 300 Years of History and HospitalityA year–long series of events to mark the tercentenary of Dublin’s Mansion House culminated on 14 December 2015 with the launch of a beautiful book The Mansion House, Dublin 300 years of History and Hospitality edited by City archivist Dr Mary Clark.

Professor Christine Casey, guest speaker at the launch, has kindly given permission to reproduce her speech in which she reflects on the historical significance of Dublin's Mansion House and highlights some of the fascinating insights uncovered by the book contributors:-

New Additions to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive

Lieutenant Herbert Justin LemassThe Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association (RDFA) was established in 1996 to commemorate all Irish men and women who volunteered, served and died in the First World War. In 2005, the RDFA decided to place its archive with Dublin City Library & Archive, where it is available for public consultation in the Reading Room. The RDFA Archive is managed by Dublin City Archives.

Right: Lieutenant Herbert Justin Lemass

Just added to the Collection are

  1. Items relating to two brothers, Edwin and Herbert Lemass, who both served in the British Army during the First World War. Second Lieutenant Herbert Justin Lemass and Lieutenant Edwin Stephen Lemass were second cousins of Sean Lemass, one of the most prominent Irish politicians of the 20th century. At the time that Herbert, age 19, and Edwin Lemass, age 21, were in the trenches on the Western Front, their second cousin, Sean Lemass, age 17, was fighting the British in the General Post Office during the 1916 Easter Rising. Herbert dies at the Battle of the Somme on 23rd October, 1916, while Edwin, a barrister-at-law, went on to become one of Egypt's leading judges after the war.
  2. Volume 9 of the Monica Roberts Letters. The items contained were donated by Mrs Mary Shackleton, daughter of Monica Roberts, to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association at Dublin City Library and Archive on 28 July 2014. The letters give vivid pen-pictures of conditions at the Western Front and reveal the courage of troops in the face of appalling circumstances.

O’Connor and O’Neill Family Archives re-telling life in the Liberties

Sean O'ConnorDublin City Library and Archives were given a boost, when An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh was formally presented with the family papers and genealogy materials of the O’Connor/O’Neill families going back to the 1750’s.  The presentation was made by Sean O’Connor, head of the O’Connor family at a ceremony today in Dublin’s Mansion House attended by members of the O’Connor and O’Neill families.

Right: Sean O’Connor  at his school, Francis street CBS, 1951

The O’Connor/ O’Neill family papers were assembled by Sean O’Connor with the help of archivist Ellen Murphy and City Archivist Mary Clark.  After much painstaking research, the family papers have now been presented to the city which was home to the two families. The donation helps to strengthen the Dublin City archives as a valuable record of social history including accounts of happy times and challenging experiences in the Dublin Liberties.

Online Databases Launched

City SealLast Wednesday (26th August) saw the formal launch of a new website hosting a range of databases totalling over 5 million records. The databases are useful for genealogy, local history and social history. Many of the databases were previously available and searchable separately on, but the new site - - allows for integrated and enhanced searching while also giving access to an even greater number of databases.

On this Day... Rathmines Township Created

Rathmines PostcardThe Rathmines Township was created on the 22nd July, 1847, by Act of Parliament. In 1862 the townlands of Rathgar and Sallymount (the latter comprising present-day Ranelagh) were added to the renamed Rathmines and Rathgar Township. The Township was further extended in 1866 to include townlands in Uppercross, while Milltown was added in 1880.

Originally the Township was governed by Commissioners, who felt they needed a place where they could meet and conduct their business. Their first house was at 71 Rathmines Road, so it really became the first town hall.

The Irish Theatre Archive, what a Treasure Trove!

Anna ManahanThe Irish Theatre Archive, held at Dublin City Library and Archive in Pearse Street, was founded in 1981 and now consists of over 250 collections, and 100,000 individual items. Included are collections deposited by theatres, theatre companies, individual actors, directors, costume and set designers, as well as theatre critics and fans. Collections can include theatre programs, handbills, posters, newspaper cuttings, stage managers books, production notes, costume and set designs, correspondence, administration files, scripts, photographs and recordings.

Right: Anna Manahan.

Jacob’s Biscuit Factory and the 1916 Rising

Bishop Street Factory[Update, 24 Nov 2015: Due to data protection reasons, information from Jacob's Biscuit Factory employee records which are less than 100 years old, will  be made available to direct family members only.  All requests regarding individual employees should be sent to in the first instance. The cataloguing project will be completed by the end of December 2015 and we will start processing the email requests in January 2016.]

As part of its varied programme of activities for the Decade of Commemorations, Dublin City Library and Archive is currently in the process of cataloguing the records of Jacob’s Biscuit Factory which was acquired by Dublin City Archives in 2012.  Here is a sneak preview of some of the records which have thus far been identified which relate to the Easter Rising of 1916 and the occupation of the factory:

SEE IMAGE: Advertisement showing Bishop Street Factory,  Undated ©Valeo Foods, DCLA/JAC/09/241

DRI Decade of Centenaries Award for Dublin City Library and Archive

DRI AwardThe Decade of Centenaries Award was established by Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) in order to engage with custodians and assist in the long term digital preservation of valuable digital material relating to the 1912-1922 period in Irish History.

On Thursday 25 June 2015, it was announced that the Dublin City Electoral Lists for the period 1915, recently digitised by Dublin City Library and Archive, was one of three award winning collections.

Right: Ellen Murphy (Dublin City Library and Archive) and  Dr. Eucharia Meehan (Irish Research Council)

Newly Catalogued Collection Added to RDFA Archive

Henry KavanaghA newly catalogued collection has just been added to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association (RDFA) Archive at the Dublin City Library and Archive in Pearse Street. The RDFA Archive is managed by Dublin City Archives.

The collection contains letters and photographs relating to the 1914-18 war time experiences of Corporal Henry Kavanagh, his brothers Enoch and Norman, and their friend George Poulton.