35 things you never knew about Dublin

by David Carey

1. Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge was originally made of rope and could only carry one man and a donkey at a time. It was replaced with a wooden structure in 1801. The current concrete bridge was built in 1863 and was first called ‘Carlisle Bridge’. 2. O’Connell Bridge is the only traffic bridge in Europe which is wider than it is long and Dublin’s second O’Connell Bridge is across the pond in St. Stephen’s Green.

3. Dublin Corporation planted 43,765 deciduous trees in the Greater Dublin area in 1998.
4. Dublin’s oldest workhouse closed its doors for the last time in July 1969. Based in Smithfield, the premises housed 10,037 orphan children during the one hundred and seventy years it operated. 

 5. Dublin was originally called ‘Dubh Linn’ meaning ‘Black Pool’. The pool to which the name referred is the oldest known natural treacle lake in Northern Europe and currently forms the centrepiece of the penguin enclosure in Dublin Zoo.

6. None of the so-called Dublin Mountains are high enough to meet the criteria required to claim mountain status. The Sugarloaf is the tallest ‘Dublin Mountain’ yet measures a mere 1389 feet above sea level. 

 7. The headquarters of the national television broadcaster, RTE, in Montrose, was originally built for use as an abattoir.

8. Dublin’s oldest traffic lights are situated beside the Renault garage in Clontarf. The lights, which are still in full working order, were installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in Ireland. 

 9. The Temple Bar area is so called because it housed the first Jewish temple built in Ireland. The word ‘bar’ refers to the refusal of Catholics to allow the Jewish community to enter any of the adjoining commercial premises. 

 10. Tiny Coliemore Harbour beside the Dalkey Island Hotel was the main harbour for Dublin from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century.

11. Dublin is the IT Call Centre capital of Europe with over 100,000 people employed in the industry.

12. In 1761 a family of itinerants from Navan were refused entry to Dublin. The family settled on the outskirts of the city and created the town of Rush. Two hundred and fifty years later, a large percentage of the population of Rush can still trace their roots back to this one family. 

 13. Dubliners drink a total of 9800 pints an hour between the hours of 5.30pm on a Friday and 3.00am the following Monday.

14. Dublin is Europe’s most popular destination with traveling stag and hen parties. 

 15. Harold’s Cross got it’s name because a tribe called the ‘Harolds’ lived in the Wicklow Mountains and the Archbishop of Dublin would not let them come any nearer to the city than that point.

16. Leopardstown was once known as Leperstown.

17. The average 25-year-old Dubliner still lives with his/her parents.

18. Three radio stations attract over 90% of all listeners in the Dublin area.

19. There are twelve places called Dublin in the United States and six in Australia.

 

20. Buck Whaley was an extremely wealthy gambler who lived in Dublin in the seventeen hundreds. Due to inheritances, he had an income of seven thousand pounds per year (not far off seven million a year at today’s prices). He lived in a huge house near Stephen’s Green which is now the Catholic University of Ireland. He went broke and he had to leave Ireland due to gambling debts. He swore he’d be buried in Irish soil but is in fact buried in the Isle of Man in a shipload of Irish soil which he imported for the purpose. 

 21. The converted Ford Transit used for the Pope’s visit in 1976 was upholstered using the most expensive carpet ever made in Dublin. The carpet was a silk and Teflon weave and rumoured to have cost over IRĀ£950.00 per square meter.

22. There was once a large statue of Queen Victoria in the Garden outside Leinster House. It was taken away when the Republic of Ireland became independent and in 1988 was given as a present to the city of Sydney, Australia to mark that city’s 200th anniversary.

23. The largest cake ever baked in Dublin weighed a whopping 190 lb’s and was made to celebrate the 1988 city millennium. The cake stood untouched in the Mansion House until 1991 when it was thrown out.

24. Strangers are more likely to receive a drink from Dubliners than from a native of any other County.

25. There are forty-six rivers in Dublin city. The river flowing through Rathmines is called the River Swan (beside the Swan Centre). The Poddle was once known as the ‘Tiber’ and was also known as the River Salach (dirty river), which is the origin of the children’s song ‘Down by the river Saile’. It is also the river whose peaty, mountain water causes the Black Pool mentioned above.

26. Saint Valentine was martyred in Rome on February 28th eighteen centuries ago. He was the Bishop of Terni. His remains are in a Cask in White Friar Street Church, Dublin. He is no longer recognised as a Saint By the Vatican.

 

27. The statue originally in Dublin’s O’Connell Street (but now moved to the Phoenix Park) is commonly known as the ‘Floozy in the Jacuzzi’ while the one at the bottom of Grafton Street is best known as the ‘Tart with the Cart’. The women at the Ha’Penny bridge are the ‘Hags with the bags’ and the Chimney Stack with the new lift in Smithfield Village’s now called the ‘Flue with the View’. The short lived millennium clock that was placed in the River Liffey in 1999 was known as ‘the chime in the slime’.

28. Montgomery Street was once the biggest red-light district in Europe with an estimated 1600 prostitutes. It was known locally as the ‘Monto’ and this is the origin of the song ‘Take me up to Monto’.

29. Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda lived in Dublin in the Eighteenth century. His job was naming streets. He called several after himself. Henry Street, Moore Street, Earl Street, Drogheda Street. Drogheda Street later became Sackville Street and is now O’Connell Street.

30. Nelson’s Pillar was blown up in 1966 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 rising. It now lies in a heap in a valley in County Wicklow.

31. Leinster House in Dublin was originally built as a private home for the Duke of Leinster. At that time, the most fashionable part of Dublin was the North Side and he was asked why he was building on the South Side. He said ‘Where I go, fashion follows me!’ …..and to this day the most fashionable part of Dublin is the South Side.

32. Tallaght is one of the oldest placenames in Ireland and it means ‘The Plague cemetery’.

33. There are seven areas in Dublin whose names end in the letter ‘O’. Fewer than one Dubliner in 20,000 can name them off by heart. They are: Rialto, Marino, Portobello, Phibsboro, Monto, Casino and Pimlico.

34. Kevin Street Garda Station was once the Palace of the Archbishop Of Dublin.

35. The original name of Trinity College was ‘Trinity College Near Dublin’. The capital was a lot smaller then.

Best wishes from Van Demons Land!
David Carey. (In Australia but from Limerick!)

About the author

Michael Green Michael Green is Manager of The Information about Ireland Site

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