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Bradshaw’s Guide

Sackville Street and O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, Ireland. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress


Dublin, the capital of Ireland, and the second city of the British Islands, on the Liffey (dew lin, or “black stream” in Irish), near Dublin Bay, 60 miles from Holyhead, and 292 miles from London. Population, about 254,350. Two members of parliament for the city, and two more for the university. It is about 3 miles in diameter and 11 miles in circuit. The appearance of Dublin is very much improved of late years. Streets have been widened, new squares skilfully laid out, and many public monuments freed from buildings which concealed their beauties. The police is also better attended to, and commercial activity seems to have revived. But the most beautiful spectacle that can be presented to the eye of a stranger is the vast panorama which suddenly opens itself on Carlisle Bridge. In front lies the magnificent Sackville Street, with its monument, splendid hotels, and the column erected in honour of Nelson; on the left the fine quays of granite, with their handsome balustrade, which bound for several miles the dark waters of the Liffey; on the right, and almost within the reach of the observer, thousands of masts rise between the banks of the river, between two ranges of lofty houses, and, at. the foot of that admirable building which, with its majestic portico, elegant colonnade, pavement of marble, and dome of bronze, more resembles a noble Venetian palace than a prosaic Custom House. From the heights of the Phœnix Park one also enjoys a splendid prospect. In the midst, of a vast lawn rises the palace of the Viceroy, surrounded by a treble fringe of shrubs and exotic plants. In turning the view towards the Liffey, the prospect embraces the heavy masses of the old city, with its steeples and towers, the Hospital of Invalids, and the high mountains in the distance which enclose, as with a girdle, the county of Dublin. Except Irish poplins and coaches (at Hutton’s factory), the manufactures are of no consequence; but the shipping trade is important and increasing, the port having been so much improved that large ships can come up to the quays which line both sides of the river. The tonnage belonging to the port is about 45,000, and the total customs 1£ million; wine being a staple article of import. Guinness’s stout, and Kinahan’s L.L. (or Lord Lieutenant’s) whisky, are both noted. A long sea wall and pier of three miles runs to Poolbeg lighthouse, commanding a view of the beautiful bay, which is 6 miles across, with a sweep, of 15 or 16 miles; but the best points for viewing it are from the Hill of Howth (500 feet high), and Killiney Hill (470 feet), at the north and south extremities, looking down on the city, on Dalkey Island, Kingstown harbour, Blackrock bathing-place, and Clontarf where Brian Boru beat the Danes (1014). Another view from Dunsink observatory. Perhaps the best view of Dublin is that from Carlisle Bridge which embraces Sackville Street, the Nelson Pillar, the Four Courts, Custom House, Post Office, the Bank, and University on College Green. It contains many large and splendid buildings, but our limits prevent us from giving more than a list of the most striking. The eastern half is the newest and best built.

Public Buildings. — The Bank is the most perfect building in Dublin, built in 1739, for the Irish parliament, in the Ionic style, 147 feet long. The old House of Peers has the Battle of the Boyne worked in tapestry, and Bacon’s statue of George III., and the House of Commons is a circular room 55 feet across. The Four Courts, or Courts of Law, near Richmond Bridge, built between 1776 and 1800, by Corley and Gandon, a noble range 450 feet by 170, with a fine portico, and a dome 64 feet span. The Custom House, near the Drogheda terminus, built in 1791, by Gandon, cost more than half a million, and being too large for the shipping business only, the Poor Law Board and other boards, are quartered here. River front 375 feet long, and dome 125 feet high, with a figure of Hope at the top. The Post Office, built in 1818, by Johnston, 223 feet long, with an Ionic portico. The Inns of Court, near the Midland Railway terminus, 110 feet long. The Royal Exchange, on Cork Hill near the Castle, built in 1779, by Corley, a beautiful Corinthian pile 100 feet square. The National Educational Buildings are at Old Tyrone House, with excellent, training school attached, which the Queen has visited. Kilmainham Hospital, or Irish Chelsea; Hospital, founded in 1680, and built by Wren, is on a small scale, with but 250 soldiers. An old brick pile, about 300 feet square, with part of preceptory of Knights Templars in the chapel. The Queen visited the old men in their dining hall, which has portraits. Dublin Castle, the Viceroy’s seat since 1560, is in Dame Street, on Cork Hill, near College Green, and consists of two large courts, including government offices, St. Patrick’s beautiful hall, armoury, chapel royal (the Viceroy attends every Sunday morning), in the modem Gothic style, and the great Birmingham Tower, where the records are kept. This is the oldest part, dating as far back as 1411. There are portraits of Viceroys in the council chamber.

The Viceregal Lodge is in Phœnix Park, on the west side of Dublin, with the chief secretary’s house near it, and the depot for the great Irish Ordnance Survey, which extends over more than 1,600 sheets. The park is 7 miles round, and contains barracks, Zoological Gardens, the Wellington Pillar, 205 feet high, and another to Lord Chesterfield, with a phœnix upon it, in allusion to the common name; but the proper name is fionn uisge, or fine waters after a spring which rises in it.

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Places nearby

  • County Dublin : Howth

    The town is situated on the northern side of the peninsula and has risen within a very few years to a considerable degree of importance by the construction of a magnificent harbour for the protection of vessels bound for the port of Dublin.

  • County Wicklow : Bray

    The stranger would do well to make this place his head-quarters for a few days, being most beautifully situated, and in the very heart of scenery the most attractive.