In 1961 the Evening Standard Newspaper celebrated its centential with a special supplement looking at Dublin over the previous hundred years (1861 – 1961). This supplment contained these fascinating early photos of Dublin before and after Independence in 1921. The change in Dublin’s streetscape is dramatic, illustrating what the city was like when it had a functioning public transport system and before cars were invented. Only one of the photo’s was dated and I can only date those relating to the Civil War. If you can help date the others please leave a comment below. There are higher resolution pictures of the originals in the slideshow at the end of the post
This early picture of Grafton Street shows how much Dublin has changed in the last century. Most striking is the British Army unit marching toward the camera. To the left can be seen a pony and trap while coming up the street in the background is a tram. Beside the lamp post to the left of the group of children is a man carrying an advertising sandwich board.
The landscape of Dame street, one of the main thorough fares, has been completely changed in the last century. The most obvious alteration is the trees which now obscure the building in the centre of the earlier picture. In a sign of a changing world this building now contains a Starbucks, synonomous with American culture. When this picture was taken London was the centre of the economic world and it was British culture that dominated Dublin. This was evident in Dublins streets – to the left of the older photo you can just make out a statue of William of Orange.
This photo shows College Green in front of Trinity College before of the arrival of mechanised transport – the trams are still drawn by horses. The uniform of the police in the foreground is that of a stereotpical English Bobby.
O Connell St/ Sackville St.
This photo of O Connell street, then a known as Sackville Street, was taken after 1882 when the Daniel O Connell statue was added in the centre background. The Street was then dominated by Nelsons Pillar, a column erected to the British admiral Horatio Nelson. This was partially blown up by the IRA in 1966 and later completely dismantled. In 2003 the Spire (a 400 ft stainless steel spike) took its place.
Customs House Quay
When this picture was taken Dublin city centre was a much busier port still servicing sailing ships as can be seen from the numerous ships in the background. Now very little traffic comes this far up the docks, all freight ships berth further down the docks.
The original cobbled Butt Bridge pictured on top was a notorious bottle neck in early 20th century Dublin traffic. It was renovated and widened in 1932, the opening cermony is pictured on the bottom left. Liberty Hall in the centre background is a much changed building standing 16 stories high.
The fire in this picture is perhaps not the worst fire in Irish History but unquestionably this was the worst fire for Irish History. When Republicans Occupied the Four Courts in the run up to the Civil War the newly formed Irish Free State attacked them with artillary. In the following fire the Records Office along with its contents, of thousands of documents pertaining to medieval Irish history was destroyed.
The junction of Henry St. and O Connel St
This shot was also taken during the civil war in Dublin. As the Four Courts was occupied by Republicans, so too was the Gresham Hotel (about 200 metres North of Henry St on O Connel Street). The Free state forces in this picture are shelling the Gresham.