How many miles to...

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gpo219I was delighted to get such a great response from one of our Tweets about this fab marker on Terenure Road East, which I took en route to Terenure Library History Book Club.

markerIt lets you know just how far it is to the General Post Office – or the GPO as it’s most often referred to. We put out a call to see if anyone else had spotted these in their local area, and we were delighted to get such a great response!

bins We heard from lots of different spots in Dublin, where people have recognised these markers.
They come from a time, long before Google Maps (if you can imagine a time!), to point people towards major landmarks. In Dublin many of them were positioned on roads leading out of the county. Some were former turnpike roads or main thoroughfares that once were tolled.
They can be found all over the country.

oliverHThe markers were usually cut from local stone and the slabs come in all different shapes and sizes. Some standing as structures in their own right, while others are set into a wall. Some were cast iron, while others were made of a combination of stone and metal.
CATHYVehicles travelling on these roads were horse-drawn and drivers relied on the milestones to help them stay on track.

Under the management of Thomas Telford, a famous engineer of this day, early milestones were placed along Ireland’s national road to enable greater communication between Dublin and London. Today we often rely on our phones to direct us from A to B, these were the equivalent of their day, costing about £20,000 in total.

The markers were used until the early 20th century. Once the roads and signage improved their importance faded.
alanOld maps of Dublin show how widespread they used to be. You can see many of these online or in the Dublin City Library and Archives, Pearse Street.  In total, there are 33 milestones recorded around Dublin on the list of protected structures. If you find an old milestone in your driveway, the council will recommend an architect who specialises in traditional building to ensure that no accidental damage is done to it.

If you spot anymore in your local area, comment here or send us a pic on Twitter - @DubHistorians – we’d love to hear from you! Many thanks to those who commented and posted their pics; @irlpol @atAlanBell @sandracaustin @OOH99 and @ScuffilC

polo2Maeve Casserly, Historian-in-Residence, Dublin South-East, Dublin City Council.


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