Posts from the �s’ category

ESB Showroom 25 St. Stephen’s Green and advertisement, 1930s

Electricity Supply Board

Electricity brought Ireland into the twentieth century during the 1930s

It is arguable that the most positive decision made by the new Free State government was to build the Shannon Scheme. The project cost £5.5 million, which was about 20% of the government day to day expenditure at that time, and it involved the construction of Ardnacrusha Power Station. Critics of the scheme said it would be a White Elephant as the demand for electricity would never be sufficient to justify the project costs.

They were wrong. There was a huge growth in electricity sales from 43kWh hours in 1930 to 218kWh hours in 1937. ESB’s first showroom at 25 St. Stephens Green was part of the success story. Opening in 1929, it sold £315.6sh.8d worth of electrical equipment in its first week of business.

With thanks to the ESB

Watch a video about the history of Ardnacrusha:

Emergency Gas Mask, 1939

WWII Gasmask

Gas masks were widely issued during the Emergency

Ireland chose to remain neutral in the Second World War, but there was still a fear that the country could be attacked. A state of emergency was declared (hence ‘the Emergency’), and gas masks like this were made widely available.

Permanent Collection

Watch a documentary on Irish neutrality during WWII:

Jameson Ad Printing Plate, 1930s

Quality of JamesonPlate for printing advertisements for Jameson whiskey

Dublin is indefatigably proud of its reputation as a boozy town. Jameson whiskey was first made here in 1780, when a distillery opened on Bow Street. This plate was used for printing advertisements. It assures readers that “The quality of John Jameson Three Star whiskey is the same the wide world over.”

With thanks to the Old Jameson Distillery

Watch this modern look at the Old Jameson Distillery:

Sketch of Matt Talbot by Seán Dixon, 1931

Matt TalbotSean Dixon’s sketch of Matt Talbot – a reformed alcoholic who dedicated his life to work and prayer

Seán Dixon completed this sketch after the Oblate Fathers in Inchicore commissioned him to paint a portrait of Matt Talbot.

Regarded as the Patron Saint of dipsomaniacs, Talbot was an alcoholic until a sudden and permanent reformation at 28. After taking a vow of abstinence, the Dublin labourer devoted the rest of his life to work and prayer, leading a harsh ascetic existence of self-deprivation and punishment.

When he was found dead on a Dublin street in 1925, Talbot’s body was covered in chains that must have caused acute pain. A statue of the pious northsider can be found next to the city’s Talbot Memorial Bridge.

With thanks to Pierce Tynan

Listen to information about Matt Talbot:

Menu from Jammet’s, 1937

Jammet's menu

Jammet’s was the only French restaurant in Dublin for many years 

The place where all of Dublin wanted to eat, and few could afford, Jammet’s opened in 1901 on Andrew’s Street, but moved to Nassau Street in 1927, where it continued to dazzle until 1967.

In “Dublin’s only French restaurant” – a claim sustained for 40 years – W.B. Yeats had his own table, Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir were regulars, and visitors ranged from Laurel and Hardy to Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan. The drawing is by the artist Seán Ó Sullivan.

With thanks to Michael Maughan

Watch footage of Dublin in the 1930’s and 1940’s:

Ireland v Hungary, 1939

Ireland v Hungary

The Irish soccer team, who took on Hungary in 1939

At first glance it looks as if the Irish soccer team is giving a fascist salute in this picture, which was taken in Budapest. In 1939, Hungary was ruled by a right-wing dictator, and was close to Germany and Italy. But Hungary was not fascist, and while it did have a fascist movement, it was a threat to the ruling regime, and was actually banned in 1939. Some members of that movement, the Arrow Cross, did use a closed-fist salute (the classic fascist salute was open-handed) but the truth is probably more innocuous. Three cheers for Hungary?

With thanks to the FAI

Butchers Social Union Bingo Card, 1930s

BSU bingo card

Bingo Cards were made out of leather so that they could be reused

In the 1930s the Butchers Social Union found themselves faced with a mystery. Their leather bingo cards kept going missing. One day someone noticed that bingo players were stealing the cards to patch holes in their shoes. So the Union decided to stamp several holes in the cards, thus foiling the thieves.

With thanks to Séamus Marken

Watch a video about Ireland in the 1930’s meant for an American audience:

Arnotts Box, 1930s

Arnott's box

Arnotts was an iconic department store, the biggest one in Dublin

Established at 15 Henry Street in 1843, Arnotts was for many years the largest department store in Dublin. Patrick Pearse allegedly stopped off to settle his account on his way to the GPO on the day of the Rising.

Permanent Collection

Watch footage of rural Ireland in the same time period for comparison: 

Alfie Byrne’s wishes, 1936

Alfie Byrne

Alfie Byrne was the well-loved mayor of Dublin for many years

Bicycle-wheel maker, barman, publican, councillor, senator, MP, and TD, Alderman Alfred Byrne is best remembered as Lord Mayor of Dublin. Between 1930 and 1939. Alfie, as he was affectionately known, monopolised the post of Lord Mayor, serving the city for nine consecutive terms.

A one-man political machine, he was known as The Shaking Hand of Dublin for his eternal canvassing, and he always carried a bag of sweets with him for the poor children of Dublin. Byrne returned to the Mansion House in 1954 for his tenth and final term.

Permanent Collection

Visit the British Pathe website to watch Alfie Byrne delivering a speech:

Film Censor’s Certificate, 1939

Film Censor’s Certificate, 1939

This is the last film censor’s certificate that James Montgomery ever signed

Appointed in 1923, this self-styled ‘moral sieve’ cut any scenes with kissing, blasphemy, incest, divorce, contraception, abortion, homosexuality, adultery or illegitimacy. He didn’t like the word virgin, or any mention of prostitutes – ‘with or without a heart of gold.’

Two and a half thousand films have been banned in the history of this state. Of those, James Montgomery personally banned over 1,800. He once said of a film under review: “The girl dancing on the village green shows more leg than I’ve seen on any village green in Ireland. Better amputate them.”

Watch a clip from ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’ which deals with censorship in Ireland: