Protestant Row

Protestant Row

The curiously named Protestant Row is a tiny little lane of Wexford St. What it lacks in stature, it makes up for in longevity—it is recorded on Rocque’s map of the city in 1757. It was shown but not named on the first Ordnance Survey map and its name was included on the later OSi 25″ map.

According to Kenneth Ferguson in his wonderful essay, the name of the street likely derives from the character of the district. Nearby there was a Morovian Church on Bishop St (which we shall return to when revisiting Kevin St), a Presbyterian hall on Wood Street, the Methodist house on Whitefriar Street and the Huguenots at Peter Street.

Protestant RowIn 1911, there were ten houses on the street, although six were listed as ruins. The four families that lived there made up a total of 22 residents, and there wasn’t a Protestant among them. Typical trades included Patrick Byrne, Hotel Porter (19), who lived in No. 1; John Keenan (3) in No 2, who was a Corporation Labourer; Thomas McKeever (33) in No.3 who was a Painter and Thomas Honer (58), an unemployed wine porter who lived in No. 6.

The Irish translation according to the street sign shown is the rather awkward-sounding Rae na bProtastúnach, although this may be recent. Writing in 1979, Kevin Brennan bemoaned the fact that

Protestant Row becomes Rae na Sasanagh, despite Wolfe Tone, Lord Edward, and others.

I wonder when the Irish Englishman’s Lane converted to Protestant Lane.

Notes

Kenneth Ferguson (2005) Rocque’s Map and the History of Nonconformity in Dublin: A search for meeting houses, Dublin Historical Record, 58(2), 129-165.

 

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Artichoke Road, then Wentworth Place, now Hogan Place

Artichoke Road

Artichoke Road, 1797 Plan of the City

The short stretch before Grand Canal St Lower from Holles St to Grattan St has a surprising amount of history packed into it. Before its current name honouring Irish sculptor John Hogan (see below), it was called Wentworth Place, housing both Hogan and Irish painter George Sharp. And before that again, a map of the city from 1797 labels the entire length Artichoke Road. Although this was at the eastern outskirts of the city, some development along the initial stretch of this road is apparent on the 1797 map.

One of these early buildings probably housed the man responsible for the first name of the street: Artichoke. In 1736, French refugee John Villiboise leased some land from Richard, 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam, and erected a “curiously designed house” there (Dawson, 1978). Villiboise grew artichokes in his garden, and his agricultural efforts led to both the road and the house taking on the appellation. According to Dawson in 1978, the site of The Artichoke house, then at 37 Wentworth Place, had been recently cleared, but people remembered it and used to call it “The Castle”.

Robert Strahan

Company details of Robert Strahan, showing address of factory on Wentworth St

The street at this time was also home to the “factory and timber yard” of Robert Strahan & Co., a furnishing company established in 1776, located at No. 12, as can just be made out in the company’s advertisement. Strahan also made doll’s houses, and a house made about 1820 (“Strahan House”) was donated to the National Museum of Ireland (Raftery, 1985). Some detail on Strahan’s furniture is available on the NMI website.

Wentworth Place OSi 1838

Wentworth Place OSi 1838 (maps.osi.ie)

The street obtained the name Wentworth Place in the 1830s, when a terrace of houses were built by John Swift Emerson, who likely obtained a lease from Charles Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, whose father had inherited both the Wentworth and Fitzwilliam fortunes. The OSi map from about 1838-1840 likely captures this new terrace, and shows the street name now as Wentworth Place.

My interest in this street was piqued by Philip McEvansoneya’s recent article on George Sharp (2014). In it he writes that Sharp had set up a school in the late 1840s at Wentworth Place, with the help of his friend and mentor Sir Philip Crampton. In promoting his school, Sharp wrote that it was “the only school room for drawing established within the city of Dublin for 50 years“.

George Sharp

George Sharp

McEvansoneya gives the address as 16 Wentworth Place, and indeed the street index of 1862 lists George Sharp, artist and professor of drawing, R.H.A. as resident there. Buildings either side are labelled “tenements”, but this must have been pretty decent accommodation for the time. Sharp had good connections to high society, and he counted Viscount Powerscourt and Sir Charles Coote among his patrons, and perhaps his pupils. This area near Pearse St would become a popular place for artists and architects (Casey, 2009) and Sharp was joined in 1862 by Lawrence Aungier (painter) and John Hogan (sculptor).

14 Hogan Place

14 Hogan Place

Hogan lived at No. 14, which still exists, just about. It looks like it has been incorporated into the modern buildings to the west, where 10-13 have been rebuilt. Hogan was a sculptor, Waterford born, self-taught, and initially based in Cork. He moved  to Rome in 1824 although returned to Ireland regularly to exhibit work and collect payment (Turpin, 1980). He returned to Ireland in 1849, settling at Wentworth Place. A lot of detail about Hogan’s work, and his many statues in Ireland are available at this website (McGreevy, 1943). These include his statue of O’Connell at City Hall, shown. Viscount Powerscourt must have enjoyed visiting Wentworth Place, as he was a patron of Hogan too, as was Lord Cloncurry. The latter commissioned Hibernia with a bust of Cloncurry (1846), which Turpin considers to be his masterpiece. It is available to view in the UCD Collection, and it shows Hibernia giving Cloncurry a delicate but affectionate little hug.

john Hogan O'connell statue

Daniel O’Connell at City Hall, by John Hogan

Hogan died in 1858, but his family lived on in Wentworth Place. The 1901 Census lists three of his daughters: Margherita (aged 58) and Kate (Cattarina) (49), both born in Rome and both unmarried, and Susan McSwiney (née Hogan), a widow (40). It looks like the family moved from the original house at No. 14 though, as the address is given as “Wentworth Place South Side“. This may have been to distinguish them from another Hogan—James (52)—who also lived on the street. He is not, as far as I can make out, a brother, but is perhaps another relative. By 1911, only James’ wife Kate (now Catherine) was living on the street. The occupations of her children (domestic servant, van driver, shop assistant) suggest that if they were related to John Hogan, the family’s social status had fallen.

Whatever about the family’s fortunes, such was Hogan’s output, it was decided to rename Wentworth Place as Hogan Place in 1924. The Irish Times reported in May 1924, under a headline that made this author happy (“Dublin Street Names“), that along with changes to Sackville St., Queen’s Square, Great Clarence St., and Hamilton Row,* Wentworth Place was to be renamed as Hogan Place. The resolution was moved by Mr P McIntyre at Dublin Corporation, seconded by Mr Medlar, and with that, the new name was official. We won’t know until the release of the 1926 Census whether there were any descendants of Hogan still living in the eponymous street, but No. 14 must certainly be a candidate for a plaque to commemorate one of Ireland’s most prolific sculptors.

19 Hogan Place in the 1950s. Links to Dublin City Library Archives

19 Hogan Place in the 1950s. Links to Dublin City Library Archives

Notes

*Changed to O’Connell St, Pearse Square, Macken St, Fenian St respectively.

  • Casey, C (2005) The Buildings of Dublin, Yale University Press
  • Dawson, T (1978) Some Echoes of “St. Catherine’s Bells”, Dublin Historical Record, 31(3), 82-93.
  • McEvansoneya, P (2014) More Light on George Sharp (1802-1877), Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies, XVI, 50-69.
  • MacGreevy, T (1943) Some Statues by John Hogan, The Father Matthew Record. 5-6.
  • Raftery, C (1985) The Strahan Doll’s House, Irish Arts Review, 2(2), 33-35.

The Aungier House

The Aungier House [2014]

The Aungier House [2014]

A rather lonely, and now abandoned, Victorian pub on Aungier St. Thom’s directory (1862) listed the occupier as John O’Reilly, Vintner. The building itself probably post-dates that, but it remained as a public house. While there’s nothing immediately obvious in 1901 (perhaps it was being rebuilt), by 1911, William and Margaret Kenny were living there with their two young sons, William (3) and Brendon (1). The house, a “public house and dwelling” also had Margaret’s sister-in-law and three servants living there. They didn’t stay too long though, a few years later, the occupiers were Clarke and Heary, Tea, Wine and Spirit Merchants.

An older image of the building, dated 1950s, is available on the Dublin.ie website, shown below.

AungierStreetOld

The Aungier House (Click to go to source)

The Pawnshop on Ardee St

In 1911, No. 4 was a Pawn Office, occupied by 30 year old John Andrews. The building had (and has) thirteen windows to the front (including two basement). The other residents were boarders; three pawnbroker’s assistants and a house keeper—46 year old widow Kate Hayden.

In the previous century, the house was occupied by James Haigh, millwright and machine-maker. One of Haigh’s apprentices was William Spence, who went on to establish a similar business at Cork St with his brothers. More on him is available at the Dictionary of Irish Architects. The house is now integrated into a new apartment complex to the right in the photograph.

20140308-154927.jpg

References

  • Catherine Scuffil (2010) Engines and Iron: The Foundry of William Spence and Son Cork Street, Dublin, Dublin Historical Record, 63(1), pp. 81-90.
  • Philip Doherty (1994) The Last Pawnshops of Dublin City, Dublin Historical Record, 47(1), pp. 87-94.

Was it St Kevin’s Abode, now Camden St?

Camden St sign

What’s in a name?

Nothing like a disagreement to spark a bit of interest. In his article in History Ireland in 2005, Patrick Garry wrote about the disappearance of Irish forms of street names in the then recently published Dublin City Streetnames. Among those he mentioned was Camden St:

Another saint connected with the diocese of Dublin, St Kevin, is also to be removed from his ancient location in Camden Street. Port Caoimhin will cease to exist and will become Sráid Camden. The loss to local history of these names is immeasurable.

Not so, says Pádraig Ó Cearbhaill, of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, in a letter to History Ireland later that year. The department was responsible for providing the Irish names for the Streetnames book. Written in the tone of a man not used to being disagreed with, he states:

If Camden (Street) was in fact derived from St Kevin or Caoimhin (earlier Caeimhghin), one would expect to find direct evidence of this. Can Mr Garry provide us with examples of this ancient place-name Port Chaoimhghin from which Camden Street mystically emerged about 1778?

The “origin” of a lot of these alternative Gaelic names, Ó Cearbhaill says is an over-zealous avoidance of the use of English names. Unfortunately there is no follow-up article to this, so the case of Garry vs Ó Cearbhaill is unresolved.

Is there evidence for Port Chaoimhghin? The Historic Town Atlas lists the references to Camden Street mentioned in a series of maps and records it as Keavans Port (1673), Cavan’s Port (1709), St Kevan’s Port (1714), Keavan’s Port (1728) and St Keavan’s Port (1756) on good old Rocque. Whatever the original name, in 1778, it became Camden Street, probably as part of the overall work scheme which included the creation of Charlotte Street. Camden was yet another of Pitt’s men, he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland seeing through the Act of Union. He didn’t get this position until 1794, so I am not clear whether Camden St is in his honour or his fathers, a man involved in the repeal of the Dependence of Ireland on Great Britain Act 1719, repealed in 1782.

Gorevan's (Links to the website Archiseek.com)

Formerly Gorevan’s Department Store (links to Archiseek.com)

Whatever about the name, Camden Street has some real gems. Numerous buildings are in the city’s List of Protected Structures. One of the most notable is what is known as the Irish Nationwide building, now a convenience store and gym. This was Gorevan’s Department store, owned by draper Michael Gorevan and his brother(s). The building is by RM Butler and TJ Byrne and is dated 1925  (Casey, 2005). Gorevans store was on the street before this however, with reference to his drapers in the early 1920s in a dispute about whether drapery firms would allow their employees to join a union (Irish Times, 20 June 1920, 29 June 1921). The new building may have been prompted by compensation Gorevan received from the state (one assumes that is arising out of the Civil War), which awarded £300 for damages to the building and goods taken away.

Gorevan's (Links to the website Archiseek.com)

No. 91, Lower Camden Street (Peter Byrne Butchers)

According to the 1911 Census, the Gorevans, are recorded at 1, Camden Street, hailed from Sligo, with brothers John (46), James (42), Patrick (38) and Michael (36). Also listed in this building are nine draper’s assistants, eight draper’s apprentices, a house keeper and four domestic servants.   The four brothers and a significant number of staff are also recorded in 1901.

Opposite is one of the oldest buildings on the street, No. 91 (Byrne’s Butchers). The unusual fan window on the top floor may be due to the building’s original design-it is proposed that it was originally a Dutch Billy.

Laurence Byrne (28), butcher, appears in the 1911 Census along with his sister (25), who both lived in what was then No. 56, Camden Street. This butchers, along with McDonnell’s of Wexford St, was a Gentile butchers, catering to the local Jewish community (O’Gráda, 2006).

Plaque at junction of Camden Street and formerly Charlotte Street

Plaque at junction of Camden Street and formerly Charlotte Street

A plaque that brings together worker relations and the local Jewish community is that on Upper Camden Street, which marks the building that was between 1912 and 1916 the headquarters of the International Tailors, Pressers and Machinists Union. Despite the grand name, this was a small grouping—Census data show that about 17% of Jewish community over 40 were tailors, whereas 38% of those under 40 were, indicating that as the community aged, it was more likely to move from artisan to trader (O’Gráda, 2006).

After some years of decline, Camden Street appears to be on the up again with some fashionable bars and restaurants—or should I say in Íarnród Éireann parlance: Bar Sneacanna—locating here. There’s plenty of life in the old Port yet.

Notes

  • Christine Casey, 2005, The Buildings of Dublin, Yale University Press
  • Cormac O’Gráda, 2006, Jewish Ireland in the age of Joyce: a socioeconomic history, Princeton University Press. 

Pitt Street now Balfe Street

balfe plaqueThe strange little laneway that runs by the front of the Westbury Hotel is called Balfe Street. I didn’t know that either, but on Clarendon St, at the back of the Westbury, there is a plaque commemorating Michael Balfe, composer, which says that he grew up on a house nearby on Pitt St. Pitt St is now Balfe St in his honour—though exactly why this plaque is on Clarendon St is anyone’s guess.

The evolution from a street remembering the Prime Minister who saw through the Act of Union to a street recognising one of Ireland’s great composers (I’m told) happened after a resolution was passed by Dublin Corporation in January 1917,  having been proposed (and unopposed) by a Unionist member of council. A letter writer to The Freeman’s Journal remarked a few days later:

I, as a ratepayer, and speaking for all the other ratepayers, hasten to say how pleased we are. Balfe, to whose honour the street will now be dedicated, is a very appropriate name. Although the street is not much either in length or respectability, still it is the best we can do at present for the great Balfe. The street, just like Pitt himself and his foul work, the Union, has gone into decay and rottenness.

Balfe the House

No. 10, Pitt Street, by Flora H Mitchell (National Gallery of Ireland)

No. 10, Pitt Street, by Flora H Mitchell (National Gallery of Ireland)

The Corporation’s resolution was the latest effort to honour Michael William Balfe. After his death in 1870, there appears to have been a flurry of activity. A bust was unveiled in the National Gallery in July 1878. The delay appears to be due to the fact that a stature was desired, but the £2000 required for that could not be raised. In any case, the bust, by Thomas Farrell RHA, was presented to the Gallery by the Lord Mayor. That same month, Mr William Logan, a contrabasso performer wrote to the Irish Builder wishing it to be known that:

I am the owner of the house, 10 Pitt-street, in which Balfe was born. I take a pride in living in that house… May I take the liberty of asking you to make public the fact that “Balfe’s House” is in the possession of a Dublin musician… who will place a medallion of Balfe on the front of the house, at his own expense.

Thanks to Mr Logan, a marble plaque was placed on the front of the house, as can be seen on Mitchell’s painting.

Balfe the Street

Extract from Roque's map of Dublin City, 1756

Extract from Roque’s map of Dublin City, 1756

Rocque’s map of Dublin City (1756), as reproduced in Lennon and Montague’s Dublin, shows a tantalising glimpse of the area of interest. Harry St runs southwest on a diagonal from Grafton St, through what appears to be open ground. By 1797 though, the orientation of the street was set as we now know it today, with just a component of the diagonal remaining. Pitt, yet to unleash his damage on Dublin and Ireland, is honoured with the new street name.

1797 Map of the area showing Pitt St

1797 Map of the area showing Pitt St

Its proximity to Grafton St means that it gets more mention than it might expect otherwise. No. 12 housed the “First Irish Lithographic Establishment“, mentioned in 1824—the first suggesting that the process had just been introduced to Dublin (MacDowel Cosgrave, 1907). Balfe was not the first musician on the street. John Field took lessons here as a boy from the pianist Giordani (de Valera, 1986).

Pettigrew & Oulton's Dublin Directory 1842Dublin Street Directory

Pettigrew & Oulton’s Dublin Directory 1842
Dublin Street Directory

The street was also home to the Opthalmic Hospital from 1829 to 1834, founded by Arthur Jacob, housed at No 8 and 9. It closed after the opening of an eye-ward at the Royal Dublin Hosptial, and No 8 and 9 were rebuilt. The Institute for Sick Children, fore-runner to the National Children’s Hospital at Harcourt St was also on the street.  (Somerville-Large, 1964). A survey of a house plan from the records of the Wide Street Commissioners also exists for Pitt St in 1840, for the holding of James Hanan.

Pitt St, from the 25" OSi map (www.osi.ie)

Pitt St, from the 25″ OSi map (www.osi.ie)

The street must gone into decline towards the end of the 19th century, as suggested by our first letter writer. By 1901, despite its length, about 250 people were crammed into its buildings. The 1911 Census recorded about half that number. We can get a sense of how many houses were there both from the Census and from the 1890 OS 25″ map. I count nine houses on the western side, of which only Sheehan’s pub on the corner is likely to be the only remnant. On the eastern side, there were fewer buildings, the block dominated by one large central building (the site of the former hospital or lithographic works, perhaps?). What is now No. 4, Harry St, directly opposite Westbury entrance/Bruxelles was built in 1880 by Dublin Corporation as a Weights and Measures Office, and is captured by this map (Casey, 2005). It looks like the remaining buildings were cleared in the 1920s; there are two relevant entries in the DIA for Balfe St, construction of a school for the sisters of the Holy Faith in 1921 and construction of a factory in 1923 for HAP Taylor. The dominant presence on the street is now the Westbury Hotel.

Perhaps we could re-instate the latest memento to Balfe back to its home on Balfe St?

Notes

  • Christine Casey,2005, The Buildings of Dublin, Yale University Press.
  • Terry de Valera, 1986, Grafton Street: A Collage of Time and PeopleDublin Historical Record, 39(4), 122-131.
  • Colm Lennon and John Montague, 2010, John Rocque’s Dublin: A Guide to the Georgian City, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. 
  • Birthplace of Michael Balfe, The Irish Builder, July 1878, Vol. XX, no. 446, p. 202.
  • E. MacDowel Cosgrave, 1907, A Contribution Towards a Catalogue of Nineteenth-Century Engravings of DublinJournal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 37(1), 41 – 60.
  • John O’Gahan, Letter to The Freeman’s Journal, Jan 11, 1917.
  • L. B. Somerville-Large, 1964, Dublin’s Eye Hospitals in the 19th CenturyDublin Historical Record, 20(1), 19 – 28.