Posts from the �s’ category

Dolphin’s Barn Brick, 1910

Dolphins Barn brick

Brick manufactured and stamped by Dolphin’s Barn Brick and Tile Company

The Dolphin’s Barn Brick and Tile Company was established in 1900, and bricks with the Dolphin’s Barn stamp were used widely throughout the city between 1900 and 1942. The distinctive yellowish colour of the bricks means there is a tendency to describe all bricks of a similar colour as ‘Dolphin’s Barn’ bricks, even ones that were produced long before the factory opened.

The company was a major employer, and its bricks were used in many notable buildings around Dublin, including the GMB in Trinity College, Stevens’ Hospital and the National Gallery of Ireland. The company merged with the Mount Argus works and the Rathnew Brick Company in 1921. It ceased operation in 1942.

Permanent Collection

Dog Licence, 1912

Dog license

It was necessary for all dog owners to have a license

From the minutely-detailed collie on the stamps to the requirement for the clerk to sign the form in two separate places, this Dog Licence is no simple record of payment. It is a monument to the fusty bureaucracy of the British Empire.

Permanent Collection

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Shutter from Harcourt Terrace, 1916


A shutter with bullet holes

This stool was made with a shutter from 11 Harcourt Terrace. The shutter is marked by bullet holes from the 1916 Rising. In 2011 James Carroll hand-crafted the stool in his workshop in the Wicklow mountains, using cleft ash. Carroll uses materials often discarded or passed over by others, bringing the pieces to life with traditional Irish craftsmanship.

Permanent Collection

Invitation to a Ball in Kingstown, 1913

Ball invitation 1913

Ball invitation addressed to John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon

John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland briefly in 1886 before returning to the post for a nine-year spell after five years as Governor General of Canada. The Countess of Aberdeen, Isobel Hamilton-Gordon, also left her mark, serving as president of the International Council of Women as well as founding the Victorian Order of Nurses.

This invitation was sent to Captain Lionel Lloyd Hewson, a Member of the Royal Victorian Order.

Permanent Collection

Easter Rising, 1916


Patrick Pearse, leader of the Easter Rising

The Easter Rising of 1916 was led by Patrick Pearse (pictured above) and by James Connolly. When Pearse and Connolly were arrested after the failed rebellion, they were led away through jeering crowds. It was only after their execution that the city lurched to the defence of its martyrs.

James Connoly

James Connoly

500 people were killed in the Rising, many of them civilians caught in the crossfire, including 28 children. As Yeats put it in Easter 1916, “All changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born.”

St. Stephen’s Green was the scene of fierce fighting during the Rising. The garrison led by Michael Mallin and Countess Markiewicz was stationed there, making the rebels easy targets for the British army.

First World War Recruitment Poster, 1915

World War I

When the First World War broke out, John Redmond urged his supporters to sign up for the British Army – and many listened, if not to Redmond, then to Lord Kitchener, who was born in Kerry. Ulster Unionists saw it as an opportunity to showcase their loyalty to the Empire. The Nationalist community was divided, with Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond encouraging Irishmen to join up and fight for Home Rule, while others saw “England’s difficulty as Ireland’s opportunity.” Nonetheless, over 200,000 Irishmen joined up.

The Heuston family, who lived in the house which now houses our museum, had twin sons who fought in the War. One of them was among the 30,000 Irishmen killed in the war.

Permanent Collection

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: