Posts from the �s’ category

Souvenir of the Irish International Exhibition, 1907

Souvenir of the Irish International Exhibition, 1907The Irish International Exhibition was held in Herbert Park in 1907

The Irish International Exhibition was the key social event of the first decade. It was hosted on the grounds of Herbert Park in Ballsbridge between May and November of 1907. The aim was to promote domestic industry by showcasing Irish products, as well as encouraging the development of commercial links by inviting all countries to exhibit their goods.

Nearly three million visitors came to ogle at everything from industrial machinery to fine art, but the main attraction was a full-scale Somali village and the rare whimsy of a water chute and switchback railway.

Permanent Collection

Listen to a reading of the opening address by the Lord Lieutenant and Earl of Aberdeen, John Campbell:

Tenement life, 1900s

Tenement Life 1

Most Dubliners lived in overcrowded tenements

A hundred years ago Dublin was smaller than Belfast. Most people were poorly-housed, poorly paid or chronically unemployed, and the city had the highest infant mortality rate in Europe.

The story of tenement life is depicted in these photographs from our Darkest Dublin Collection. They were taken on what was once the grandest street in Dublin, Henrietta Street. In the census of 1911 we learn that in the 15 houses on Henrietta Street, there were 835 people. In one house alone there were over a hundred inhabitants.

Tenement Life 2

Throughout the first half of the century, nearly a third of Dublin’s population lived in overcrowded tenements. The tenement system had its origins in the middle of the 19th Century, when Dublin saw an influx of people from the countryside in the wake of the Famine. Many fine Georgian residences were converted to house far more people than they were originally designed to accommodate. In 1913 John Cooke presented his pictorial account of the city’s slums to the Dublin Housing Inquiry. The photographs now form part of the archive of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. They represent a grim and highly vivid account of the slum conditions at that time.

With thanks to the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Watch an interview with Sean Garland about Tenement Dublin in the 1930s:

John McCormack, 1904

John McCormack was a famous Irish tenor

This is a signed photo of the great Irish tenor Count John McCormack, who could sing 64 notes on a single breath (in Mozart’s Don Giovanni). He performed Panis Angelicus at the 1932 Eucharistic Congress, which was held in Dublin.

In 1904 McCormack reputedly gave James Joyce singing lessons before Joyce entered the Feis Ceoil tenor competition, winning a very respectable bronze medal. That same year Joyce met Nora Barnacle, his future wife.

Listen to John McCormack singing ‘The Irish Emigrant’:

Queen Victoria’s Arrival, 1900

Arrival of Queen VictoriaQueen Victoria visited Dublin in 1900

In the above image, Queen Victoria (later called the ‘Famine Queen) in what was then known as Kingstown and is now called Dun Laoghaire. You can see Dun Laoghaire pier in the background here, the aging Queen herself, and her loyal subjects lining the streets.

Queen VIctoria

Queen Victoria

In the Freeman’s Journal the following day we learn that a mock castle was erected in the Queen’s honour at Leeson Street Bridge, just so the Queen could have the experience of going through her castle gates to her city. This led to one of the most celebrated typographical errors of all time, when the paper is said to have reported, ‘there was much delight when the Queen’s party pissed over the bridge.’

Permanent Collection

Watch footage of the arrival: