Vanishing Dublin

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Wood QuayView the 'Vanishing Dublin' Image Gallery Collection. Fifteen images displayed per page. When there, click on first image to start slideshow of images on page, then select pages 2,3, etc., and do same. Options with slideshow: pause, view image details, download original. Selecting text link beneath thumbnail in gallery links to image details. Many of the image details pages contain Google street view image of location beneath photograph for comparison with today.

'For Dublin keeps on changing, 
And nothing stays the same…' 
Pete St John, Dublin in the Rare Oul Times

It is the nature of cities to continually change. Dublin through its history has been at various stages a Viking trading post, a Norman settlement, the jewel of Ascendancy Ireland, the second city of the British Empire, and is now our capital city.

The 'Vanishing Dublin' Image Gallery Collection shows features of Dublin that have disappeared or changed utterly during the second half of the twentieth century. Some of the change is welcome. Few will miss the deprivation of the tenements. Other images are portals into our civic past – we can imagine the workers from Stoneybatter harrying through Thundercut Alley on their way to work at Smithfield or children rummaging for ‘hidden treasure’ through the debris of George’s Pocket.

The photos also tell stories of communities now dispersed. The residents of the Gloucester Diamond and Chamber Street saw their communities transformed. What remains of where they lived is digitally preserved here for them and their descendants.

The gallery depicts a ‘vanishing’ rather than a ‘vanished’ Dublin - one that persists in the memories of those who walked its streets, worked in its shops, drank and sang in its pubs, and called it ‘home’.

People are welcome to use the photos as ‘memory triggers’ to explore the history of Dublin’s people and places through conversations with parents, grandparents, and senior citizens. Software such as Google Streetview can be used to compare Dublin ‘then’ and ‘now’. Just ask the librarian about free internet access at your local branch library.

Further Resources

In addition to these photographs, Dublin City Public Libraries also includes further sources on the social and cultural history of Dublin, some of which are available online and some through the Dublin City Public Libraries network.

The Reading Room, Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, holds a wealth of material on the history of Dublin, including books, pamphlets, journals, street directories, and almanacs.

The following online resources can be accessed free of charge at your local library (access links via our Netvibes Portal). Ask library staff for further information and assistance.

  • Libraries and Archives Digital Repository: Digital records relating to Dublin, including photographs, postcards, letters, maps and ephemeral material. Highlights of the collection include the Fáilte Ireland Photographic Collection, Wide Street Commission Map Collection (1757-1851), the Irish Theatre Archive and the Birth of the Republic Collection, which comprises material from the period of the foundation of the Irish state.
  • is a resource from Dublin City Public Libraries focusing primarily on databases derived from printed and other historic records related to Dublin city and surrounding administrative areas. It also includes further samples from the various historic collections available in the Dublin City Library and Archive.
  • Irish Times Digital Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Times from the mid-nineteenth century until the present.
  • Irish Newspaper Archives: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Independent and a range of other newspapers.
  • The Ireland Collection-JSTOR: This online archive of academic articles can also be accessed free of charge at your local library.

For further reading, consult the Library Catalogue.

View the 'Vanishing Dublin' Image Gallery Collection.

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