Thomas Cromwell.

Excursions through Ireland: comprising topographical and historical delineations of each province; together with descriptions of the residences of the nobility and gentry, remains of antiquity, and every other object of interest or curiosity. Forming a complete guide for the traveller and tourist. I online

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Online LibraryThomas CromwellExcursions through Ireland: comprising topographical and historical delineations of each province; together with descriptions of the residences of the nobility and gentry, remains of antiquity, and every other object of interest or curiosity. Forming a complete guide for the traveller and tourist. I → online text (page 4 of 16)
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tion of putrid blood, alive with maggots, which had, from an adjacent
yard, burst the back door, and filled the hall to the depth of several
inches: by the help of a plank and some stepping-stones which he
procured for the purpose, (for the inhabitants without any concern
waded through it,) he reached the stair-case : it had rained violently,
and, from the shattered state of the roof, a torrent of water made its
way throug-h every floor from the garret to the ground; the sallow
looks and filth of the wretches who crowded round him, indicated
their situation, though they seemed insensible to the steuch -which he
could scarcely sustain for a few minutes."" The poor room-keepers
were found apparently at ease, and perfectly assimilated to their situ-
ation: filth and stench seemed congenial to their nature; they never
made the smallest effort to remove them ; and if they could answer the
call* of hunger, they felt, or seemed to feel, nothing else as an incou-
yeiiicnce." Wkitflaw and rt"a/*A'* History of Dublin.


factories, carrion-houses, lime-kilns, &c. &c. should have
been so long suffered to exist in the very heart of this
dense population, it surely might be worth their while
to enquire. Liquor-shops, a yet greater evil, are equally
abundant in the Liberty : in a particular street, more
than one third of the whole number of houses are licen-
sed dealers in that species of poison, which has been
proved to be so active a stimulant to vice and disease in
their worst forms, and so inimical to the general well-
being of the lower orders of society. In regard to pav-
ing, lighting, and cleansing, (the latter only in respect
to the high-ways before the houses,) Dublin in general
must not be accused of remissncss ; the pavement, in par-
ticular, composed in great part of granite from the island
of Dalkey, is excellent, and possesses the quality of un-
common durability. The Grand and Royal Canals sup-
ply the water-works ; and as the Pipe-water Committee
have obtained two additional reservoirs from these canals,
and have been employed in laying down improved mains
in the streets, few cities arc likely to be better supplied
with an article so necessary to the conveniences of life.
In immediate contiguity with Dublin is its circular
road ; which, extending to the length of nearly nine
miles, with the exception of a short space and a bridge
wanted on the eastern side, surrounds the city: the
views from various parts of the circuit, particularly that
near Summer-hill, of thcWicklow mountains, the hills of
Dalkey and of Howth, the bay, and the islands of Ire-
land's Eye and Lambay,is delightful. But we shall com-
ment more at large upon these particulars in the separate
view we purpose taking of every object of interest in our
Excursions through the city and its environs; at present
we must content ourselves with more general remarks.


The high antiquity of Dublin is indisputable: that it
was a place of some importance even 1600 years
back is not to be questioned, since Ptolemy, who
wrote A. D. 140, mentions it under the name of Eblana
Ca-tta,and places it nearly under its actual parallel. Cir-
cumstances relative to it in the year 191 occur also in the
Irish historians ; and in King Edgar's charter,* dated at
Gloucester in 964, it is called ' the most noble city of Dub-
lin.' From the fact that hurdles anciently afforded the only
means of access to the lower parts of the town next the
river, the Irish to this day give it the appellation of Ath-
Cliath, the ford of hurdles ; and Bally-Ath-Cliath, the town
on the ford of hurdles.f Eblana, from which the modern
Dublin is derived, is a corruption, it has been conjectur-
ed, of the true word Deblana, which in the ancient British
signifies black water, or a black channel ; the water of
the Liffey having, from the boggy nature of its bottom,
been discoloured.]: By some natives of the county
it is still called Dinelin, and by the Welsh Dinas Dulin,
or the city of Dulin.

As to its original inhabitants, there is little doubt that
they were the Eblani, or Deblani, who in all probability
migrated from the opposite coast of Wales. The Mile-
sians from Spain also arrived here at a remote period ;
but it is universally agreed that the Ostmen, or Danes,
first gave to Dublin the appearance of a regular city, by
strong buildings and fortifications previously unknown
in the island.' The date of this event is uniformly stated
to be the ninth century.

Some remnants, itis believed, of the walls latest erected
* The authenticity of this charter has been doubted; with what
reason it is not for us to determine.

f See Glossary in our Historical and Descriptive Sketch.
J Baxter; Glossar. verb. Deblana.


by these people, are yet visible. From the best ac-
counts it appears that their greatest compass was not
quite a mile Irish. Yet in the reign of Charles I. it is
certain, from the authority of a record in the Rolls
Office, that "void grounds," "gardens," " orchards," and
" tenements covered with thatch," occupied parts even
of this contracted space. Remembrances of the sites of
the different gates, by which inlets to the city were given
through the walls, are yet preserved ; and are individu-
ally specified in the elaborate work of Whitelaw and
Walsh before referred to.

The first buildings in Dublin were constructed of
wattle-work, plastered with clay, and roofed with straw,
or flags from the margin of the river. The royal palace
of Henry II., in which that King and the Irish Princes
kept their Christmas in 1172, was an erection of
smoothed wattles; the workmanship, it is true, of unusual
elegance. A little before the reign of Elizabeth, the
citizens adopted a mode of building more durable and
convenient; namely, that of timber in the cage-work
style, sufficiently ornamented, and roofed substantially.
A house erected after this manner in that Queen's
time, was still standing in Cook-street in 1745; but was
then taken down to afford space for new buildings. In
Rosemary-lane, leading from that street to Merchant's
Quay, part of a cage-work house, bearing the date of 1600,
cut in the timber, was to be seen in 1766; as well as
several houses of this description, of considerable anti-
quity, but without dates, in Patrick-street. The only
specimen of this style of building remaining so late as
1812, occurred at the corner of Castle-street and Wcr-
burgh-street: it was then in good preservation, but, being
from its situation a public nuisance, was demolished by


order of the Commissioners of Wide Streets, and the
materials sold for ,40. The frame-work was of Irish
oak, and, from the date in front, it appeared to have
been erected in the reign of Edward II.; the arms were
those of the Fitzgerald family. Oliver Cromwell, ac-
cording to tradition, occupied this house while he was in
Dublin. It is somewhat singular, as a proof of the
superior durability of the cage-work houses, that none
of the erections in the time of Elizabeth's successor,
James, in which brick and stone were first adopted, are
thought to be standing at this day.

During the period that has elapsed subsequently to
these reigns, many changes have taken place in the ap-
pearance of Dublin, both within and without the ancient
walls. Several of the streets and lanes mentioned by
Ware, Stanihurst, and others, have either totally disap-
peared, or have suffered such alterations in their names
as render them very difficult to be recognised. In l6lO,
as appears from Speed's plan of that date, but few build-
ings were to be seen on the north side of the river; and
indeed the entire space now occupied by the new Custom-
house, the Batchelor's Walk, the Ormond and other Quays,
was then (the Liffey being only embanked on its south-
ern side,) overflowed by its waters, a small part only about
the King's Inns, which had been a monastery of Domi-
nican friars, exceptcd. This quarter of the city was at
that time called Ostman-Town, since corrupted into Ox-
man-Town; its eastern boundary was St. Mary's Abbey,
its western the church of St. Michan. Grange-Gorman,
Stoney-batter, and Glassmanogue, then villages so remote
from the city that the sheriffs were accustomed, for their
security during seasons of the plague, to hold their courts
in the latter, are now united to it. The north-eastern


part of this tract is occupied by Mountjoy and Rutland
squares, with many noble streets, of which at that time
not a trace was in existence.

South of the Liffey, many enlargements also appear
to have been made. Crane-lane, Essex-street, Temple-
bar, Fleet-street, &c. were formerly within the channel
of the Liffey, and a large tract of land, comprehending
George's Quay, the City Quay, Sir John Rogerson's
Quay, together with the ground taken up by the Grand
Canal Docks, have also been recovered from that river.
Of a village called Hogges, lying to the eastward, the
only relic is the street called Hogg-hill. Hoggin Green,
mentioned by Irish historians as a place where crimi-
nals were commonly executed, is now entirely occupied
by buildings; though the same space, at the period al-
luded to, contained only the little village just mentioned,
the site of a nunnery founded there by Dermod Mac
Morogh about the year 1146, a bridewell for vagrants,
and an hospital on the spot where now stands the Bank
of Ireland. College Green, and St. Andrew's Church
are situated on parts of this ancient green.

Westward, the space between Thomas-street and the
river was open, and through it ran a stream on which some
mills were erected; while southward of the city wall, a
very small part only of the now populous tract called
the Liberty existed in l6lO. Accessions to the extent
of Dublin, it consequently appears, have been made in
every direction ; and its additions in point of splendour
and magnificence have been yet more considerable.

While on the subject of antiquities, we must briefly
mention, that St. Mary's Abbey, the site of which in
Speed's plan has been alluded to, was a foundation of
the Ostmcn, or Danes, about the year 948, and the first-

VOL. i. r


fruits of their conversion to the Christian faith. In 171 8,
the body of a prelate in his robes, was found in digging
up the ruins of this abbey ; it bore no traces of corrup-
tion, yet was supposed to have been that of Felix
O'Ruadan, Archbishop of Tuam, who was buried
here in 1238. An image of the Virgin Mary,
with the infant Jesus in her arms, formerly belonging
to the abbey, is still to be seen at the Roman catholic
chapel, St. Mary's Lane.* The Abbey of St. Thomas
stood in that part of the city now called Thomas-court:
it was founded for canons of the congregation of St.
Victor, by William Fitz-Andelm, butler to King Henry
the Second. The Priory of St. John the Baptist was in
Thomas-street, and originally an hospital for the sick,
founded about the end of the twelfth century by Ailrcd
le Palmer. A Roman catholic chapel is erected on
part of the site of this priory ; which, besides the infirm-
ary containing 50 beds for the sick, was appropriated
to both friars and nuns. Here were wrought the vest-
ments for the friars of Thomas-court, for the Francis-
cans in Francis-street, and for the university of St.
Patrick; and a tenth of the wool and flax spun by
these religious, was the customary reward of their
labours. The Priory of All-Saints stood on that
part of Hoggin Green now called Stephen's Green, and
was founded in Il66 by Dermod, son of Murchard,
King of Leinster, for canons of the order of Aroasia.
The Friary of St. Saviour, or Black Friars, founded
previously to the year 1218 by William Mareschall,
Earl of Pembroke, " for the health of his soul and that

A part of the abbey itself, consisting' of four arches, with walls
three feet nine inches thick, perforated by Gothic windows, is MONT
iu the occupation of Mr. Mazierc, sugar-baker, Mary's Abbey, form-


of hi wife," was situate in Ostmantown, on the spot
now called the King's Inns, where that elegant building
the Courts of Law, with other offices, form so conspi-
cuous an appearance from the opposite side of the river.
The Augustine Friary of the Holy Trinity, a very
considerable foundation, and the general college for all
the friars of that order in Ireland, may date about the
year 1259: on its site Crow-street, with its Theatre
Royal, now stands. The Carmelite Monastery of
White Friars occupied the ground where Aungier-street,
White-friars, Longford-street, &c. have been built sub-
sequently. The Nunnery of St. Mary de Hogges, it
has been stated, was founded by Dermod Mac Morogh
in the year 1 146.

AH these, and other religious houses of less note,
with the accompaniments of the vast possessions attached
to many of them, were granted to various persons, and
in a variety of ways, by Henry the Eighth, at the
dissolution which took place in the reign of that King.

Of the ancient custom of ' riding the franchises' or
bounds of the city of Dublin, a relic is still preserved
in the perambulation of the liberties, made by the Lord
Mayor and city officers every third year.* From an

ing part of hii stores. The arches are ten feet high, groined and
ribbed; the ribs, formed of blocks of stone resembling Portland or
Bath stone, spring in threes from the ground, (which seems to hare
been raised,) and it is probable they rest upon some capital beneath it.
This part of the edifice, which is still very perfect, may have been the
chapel of the abbey.

* On these occasions, a form derived from an odd incident
is regularly observed. In 1668, Sir Michael Creagh, then Lord
Mayor of Dublin, suddenly absented himself from the mayoralty;
and a valuable gold collar, which had been presented to the city
by Charles the Second eight years previously, was no where to be
found. Since when the Knight has been constantly summoned, on


inspection of the records and manuscripts extant relative
to this practice, the great increase of the city in modern
times is apparent.

Until within the last 30 years the several corpora-
tions, anciently 20, now 25 in number, walked in
procession, dressed out in the colours and emblems of
their trades, on this as well as on their respective
patrons' days ; a ceremonial substituted for the pageants,
plays, and religious interludes, anciently represented
by them, but which began to grow into disuse soon
after the Reformation. The more modern processions
are also now discontinued.

For many years after the settlement of the English in
Dublin, the inhabitants were liable to perpetual disturb-
ances from the vicinity of the native Irish to the pale:
for which reason the military forces of the city, anciently
composed from the 20 corporations, were regularly
mustered and exercised four times a year. Some
signal actions were performed by them, and consider-

the day selected for the perambulation, at the city gates, where courts
are opened for that special purpose by proclamation, in the following
terms: "Sir Michael Crcagh, Sir Michael Creag-h, Sir Michael
Creag-h, come and appear at this court of our Lord the King 1 , holden
before the right honourable Lord Mayor of the city of Dublin, or you
will be outlawed." At Essex gate this is repeated nine times: but
as Sir Michael has ne/er thought proper to appear, or to return the
collar, the city has now in its possession another collar, obtained from
William the Third, by Bartholomew Vanhomrigh, a Dutch merchant,
who was Lord Mayor in 1697. This is worn by the chief magistrate to
the present time, and was at the time of its donation valued at 1000.
On this day the populace of the Liberty likewise avail themselves
of an ancient privilege. When the Lord Mayor with his followers ar-
rives at the street called the Cross Poddle, part of which is beyond
the bounds of his jurisdiction, a number of the inhabitants obstruct
his passage until he has surrendered his sword, which is not returned
without a present received from his Lordship, accompauied with a
promise to release a prisoner.


able losses occasionally sustained; particularly on
Easter Monday, A. D. 1209, which in melancholy
remembrance was afterwards called Black Monday, and
one of the musters appointed on that day. For the
Bristolines of Dublin, to whom Henry the Second
originally granted the city, having introduced the sport
called hurling of balls among the citizens, a considerable
number of them met for this diversion on Easter
Monday, near Cullen's Wood, two miles distant from
the city. They went unarmed, reckoning upon their
previous reduction of 'the rebels,' as they designated
the Irish ; but the latter, having notice of the citizens'
intention, marched down privately from the mountains,
secreted themselves in the wood, and, when their
enemies were fatigued with their laborious sport, sud-
denly fell upon and killed upwards of 500 of them.
It was even necessary to replenish the city by a new
colony from Bristol; who for ages after memorialized
this misfortune, by marching with a black banner
carried in their front, to Cullen's Wood, upon every
Easter Monday; and there displayed their arms, and
bade defiance to the Irish.*

The present corporation of Dublin consists of a Lord
Mayor, (denominated Provost in 1308, and first distin-
guished by his present appellation in 1665,) and 24
aldermen, who form an upper house; and the sheriffs,
with the sheriff's peers, not exceeding 48, and the
representatives of the 25 guilds, not exceeding 96, who
compose the lower house. The aldermen are all
magistrates for the city, and, with the Lord Mayor and

* For much valuable information relative to the antiquities, &c. of
Dublin, we are indebted to the large work of WLitelaw aud Walsh
previously mentioned.

F 3


Recorder, are judges of oyer and terminer for capital
offences and misdemeanours committed within the
district. The board are chosen for life from among the
sheriffs' peers, by the Lord Mayor, aldermen, and
common council. The office of chief magistrate is

Of the guilds, the merchants have the precedence,
and after them the tailors : the latter, with the carpen-
ters, weavers, goldsmiths, cutlers, and apothecaries,
only, have halls appertaining to them respectively.
The revenue of the city is ,23,000 per annum; yet
the expenditure, it is said, regularly exceeds a sum
that cannot be considered inadequate to the purposes
for which it should be applied.

We must not here omit to notice the Aldermen of
Skinner's Alley, who date the institution of their society
from the arrival of James II. in l6S8. On this occasio'n
the protestant corporation having retired to this alley,
(an obscure avenue in the Liberties,) there maintained a
semblance of their former state; while the actual
authority was vested in the persons of a Lord Mayor
and corporation of the Roman-catholic persuasion.
The battle of the Boyne restored the ' Protestant Ascend-
ancy' in the city; and, to maintain it, this and similar
institutions are still kept up: institutions, against which,
however, we must beg leave to protest, as unnecessary
excitements to the worst passions in men, uniformly
found to have their origin in religious differences. For
reasons equally strong, an objection might be taken to
the homage paid to King William himself, so far as it is
the object of these institutions; since nothing is more
certain than that this homage is often found to rest not on
the foundation which really entitles that monarch- to the


esteem and grateful remembrance of posterity. The
officers of the society to whom with all proper deference
we apply these remarks, still retain the titles designating
the different official dignities of government. They are
a Governor, styled " Most Noble," a Deputy Governor,
Lord High Treasurer,* Primate, Chancellor, Almoner,
Sword and Mace-bearer.

The neglected portion of the city denominated the Li-
berty, suffers a daily diminution in the remnants of respect-
ability yet preserved by it. Even should any who
reside here chance to acquire wealth by the efforts of
industry, their speedy removal indicates the flow of all
consequence and fashion to the eastward. Many indeed
are the inducements to a residence in the latter part of
Dublin; and did they consist only in the architectural
beauties with which the inhabitants are there surrounded,
an apology of this nature could scarcely be advanced on
stronger grounds by any citizens in Europe. Many of
the buildings are in themselves specimens of the highest
excellence in the art ; and the scenes presented at
several points of view in the city are exceedingly

That from Carlisle Bridge, the easternmost on the river,
though not fairly put in competition by the citizens with
the view from the Place Louis Quinze at Paris, is worthy
of particular notice. On the north we have the grand
perspective of Sackville-street, (one of the noblest in
Europe,) terminated by the Rotunda, and ornamented
by the new Post-office and the central pillar erected to
the memory of Nelson. To the south, at the end of
Westmoreland-street, on the one side appears the

* This office has be/in discontinued in the government of the


perspective facade of Trinity College, on the other that
of the Bank the part formerly the House of Lords.
To the east, the front of the Custom-house, an oblique
but striking view; and the river itself, which, at high
water, confined within its walls of granite, and bearing
on its bosom vessels of 500 tons burden, makes an
appearance more than correspondent with its breadth.
Westward, on either bank fine quays stretch to a long
extent, connected by numerous handsome bridges ; that
in the fore-ground, consisting of a single elegant arch, is
of course conspicuous. Such an assemblage of imposing
objects as are here enumerated, presented from a
single point of view, is perhaps in few cities to be met
with ; while at College Green the spectator must be
almost equally impressed with an union of beauty and
grandeur far from common. Here the extensive front
of Trinity College, the unequalled portico of the national
Bank, (the noblest structure Dublin has to boast,) Daly's
Club-house, the Commercial-buildings, and the eques-
trian statue of William III. upon its lofty pedestal, have
an effect, which to be properly appreciated must be

The squares, as well as the most spacious and conve-
nient streets, the seat of the vice-regal government,
and the different places of amusement lying all eastward,
are additional temptations to living in their vicinity.
London in miniature here perpetually presents itself to the
view; and something more (comparatively) than London
in the state, splendour, gaiety, and conviviality of the in-
habitants. The society is excellent; in the more select
circles, particularly, the polish and vivacity of Paris, joined
to the wit, raciness, frankness, and hilarity of Hibernia,
produce an admirable melange. A change, somewhat


for the worse, is said to have taken place in some of
these respects, immediately after the Union ; resulting
from the sudden introduction of the more wealthy
traders at the levees of the castle, and in consequence
to some distinguished circles from which they had
hitherto been excluded; but this circumstance, there
is little doubt, though it originated in the temporary
absence of almost all the rank and fashion of the city,
which were immediately removed to the British metro-
polis, contributed eventually, as soon as many distin-
guished families became again resident, to improve the
general tone of society, by a wider assimilation of man-
ners, and a greater extension of liberal ideas. Private
visiting parties are more prevalent than public amuse-
ments; they are more congenial to the warmth and
hospitable turn of the Irish character, and far more
conducive to the connection of politeness with the social
and endearing charities of life, for which the upper
class of the Irish are remarkable. The number of
inhabitants attached to the learned professions, the pre-
sence of an university and of literary societies, the forms
of the vice-royal court, and the intermixture of officers
of the garrison with the citizens, have all a tendency to
promote the spread of urbanity and the modes of refined
intercourse. The constant appearance of military pa-
rade, it is true, forcing itself upon the observation in
most companies, is apt to give the stranger in Dublin

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Online LibraryThomas CromwellExcursions through Ireland: comprising topographical and historical delineations of each province; together with descriptions of the residences of the nobility and gentry, remains of antiquity, and every other object of interest or curiosity. Forming a complete guide for the traveller and tourist. I → online text (page 4 of 16)