1st January 1837
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Excerpt from Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland for the metropolis of Dublin (pub. 1837). For more snapshots of pre-famine local history for Dublin city parishes, see below.

DUBLIN, the metropolis of Ireland, and a city and county of itself, in the province of LEINSTER, situated in 53? 21' (N. Lat.) and 6? 17' (W. Lon.), 339 miles (N. W.) from London; containing, in 1831, 265,316 inhabitants, of which number, 204,155 are within the boundary of the civic jurisdiction and the remainder in the county of Dublin.


The existence of this city, under the name of the city Eblana, was first noticed by Ptolemy, the Roman geographer, who lived about the year 140.

Shortly after it is mentioned by the native historians, as being fixed on as the eastern boundary of a line of demarcation drawn westwards across the island to Galway, for the purpose of putting an end to a war between two rival monarchs, Con-Cead-Cathach, King of Ireland, and Mogha Nuagad, King of Munster; the portion of the island to the north of the boundary line being assigned to the former, the southern portion to the latter, of the contending parties.


Drom Col Coille "The Hill of the Hazel Wood" 

The city originally occupied the summit of the elevated ridge that now forms its central portion, extending from the Castle westwards towards Kilmainham, and was at first called by the native Irish Drom-Col-Coille, or the "Hill of Hazel Wood," from the number of trees of that species which grew on it.

  • The correctness of this conjecture as to the origin of the name is confirmed by the fact that, on clearing away the foundations of the old chapel royal in the castle, some years since, to prepare for the erection of the beautiful structure that now supplies its place, they were ascertained to have been laid on piles of hazel-wood.
  • Baile Átha Cliath: Another ancient name, still retained by the natives, is Bally-Ath-Cliath-Duibhlinne, the "Town of the Ford of Hurdles on the Blackwater," given to it in consequence of the people having access to the river by means of hurdles laid over its marshy borders, before it was embanked.

  • Dubh Linn "the Blackwater": By the Danish settlers in the district of Fingal, to the north of the city, it was called Divelin, and by the Welsh it is still called Dinas Dulin.


The only circumstance on record connected with the city, during a long interval, is that the inhabitants of Leinster were defeated in a great battle fought at Dublin, by Fiacha Sraotine, monarch of Ireland, in 291.

After which its annals present a total blank until the year 448, when, according to Josceline, Alphin Mac Eochaid, King of Bally-Ath-Cliath, was converted to Christianity by the preaching of St. Patrick, and baptised by him at a spring on the southern side of the city, near the tower of the cathedral afterwards dedicated to that saint, and still known by the name of St. Patrick's well.

The Black Book of Christ-Church, a manuscript of high antiquity and repute, states that St. Patrick celebrated mass in one of the arches or vaults built by the Danish or Ostman merchants as a depository for their goods, long before the fleets of that nation appeared on the coast with the intention of taking military occupation of the country.

It was not till the beginning of the ninth century that these marauders, who afterwards harassed all the northern coasts of Europe by their predatory invasions, divested themselves of the character of merchants, in which they had hitherto maintained an intercourse with the people of Ireland, to assume that of conquerors.

CONTINUE READING ... OSTMEN ~ Viking & Gaelic Kings of Dublin

Dublin Castle: From the period of the arrival of the English and their conquest of Dublin, the city was considered to be the most appropriate position to secure their possessions and to facilitate their intercourse with their native country. To promote this object, instructions were given by John, shortly after the commencement of his reign, to Meyler Fitz-Henry, to erect a castle on the eastern brow of the hill on which the city stood, for which purpose 300 marks were assigned; an order was also issued to compel the inhabitants to repair and strengthen the fortifications. The necessity of a precautionary measure of this nature was confirmed by a calamity which befell the city in 1209, in which year the citizens, while amusing themselves according to custom on Easter-Monday in Cullen's wood, near the southern suburbs, were attacked unawares by the Irish of the neighbouring mountains and driven into the town, after the slaughter of more than 500 of their number. The day was for a long time after distinguished by the name of Black Monday and commemorated by a parade of the citizens on the field of the conflict, were they appeared in arms and challenged their enemies to renew the encounter. Dublin Castle, however, was not completed till 1220, during the government of Henry de Londres, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord-Justice.

King John on his visit to Ireland in 1210, established courts of judicature on the model of those in England, deposited an abstract of the English laws and customs in the Exchequer, and issued a coinage of pence and farthings of the same standard as the English.

Henry III granted several charters, which were confirmed and extended by Edw. I., who also fixed a standard for coin in England, according to which that of Ireland was to be regulated: during his reign, there were four mints in Dublin, besides others at Waterford and Drogheda.


The local events of the period which has elapsed since the Union are too numerous to particularise in a condensed narrative. The principal occurrences are the public meetings and associations for the attainment of political objects, organised insurrections, tumults resulting from those causes and embittered by the acrimony of party spirit, and visitations of famine, during which the working classes suffered great distress.

Two events, however, deserve more particular notice:

  • In 1803, a sudden and alarming insurrection broke out in the city: it was planned and carried into effect by Robert Emmet, a young gentleman of a respectable family, who, at his own sole expense and with the aid of a few associates of desperate fortune, secretly formed a depot of arms and ammunition in a retired lane off Thomas-street, whence he issued early in the night of the 23rd of July, at the head of a band chiefly brought in from the neighbouring counties of Kildare and Wicklow, and was proceeding to the castle, when the progress of his followers was checked by the coming up of Lord Kilwarden, chief justice of the king's bench, who, on hearing a rumour of insurrection at his country seat, had hurried to town in his carriage with his daughter and nephew. Both the males were killed; the lady, being allowed to pass in safety, gave the alarm at the castle, and detachments being immediately sent out, the undisciplined multitude was at once dispersed with some loss of life, and the leaders, who had escaped to the mountains, were soon after taken and executed.
  • On the accession of George IV in 1820, his majesty received a deputation from Dublin, consisting of the lord mayor and city officers, on his throne: this was the first address from the city thus honoured. The next year, on the 12th of August, the king's birthday, he landed in Ireland, and after remaining till Sept. 3rd, partly at the Phoenix Lodge, and partly at Slane Castle in Meath, during which time he visited most of the public institutions of Dublin, and held a chapter of the order of St. Patrick, at which nine knights were installed, he sailed from Dunleary (since called Kingstown) amidst the enthusiastic acclamations of an unprecedented multitude.


The city, which was originally confined to the summit of the hill, on the eastern brow of which the castle now stands, and whose circuit within the walls was little more than a mile round, and its suburbs confined to the few adjacent streets, now occupies a space covering 1264 acres and is about nine miles in circumference.

It is situated at the western extremity of Dublin bay, and at the mouth of the Liffey, which passes nearly through the middle of it. The hill, which now forms the central part of the city, stands in the lowest part of the basin of the Liffey, which rises gradually on the southern side into the beautiful line of the Wicklow mountains, that skirt the boundary of the county, and still more gradually on the north and west till it loses itself in the extended plains of Fingal and Kildare.

It is somewhat more than three miles long in a direct line from east to west, and of nearly equal breadth from north to south, and contains upwards of 800 streets and 22,000 houses:

  • the foot-paths are well flagged, and the carriageways partly paved and partly Macadamised.
  • The paving, lighting, and cleansing of the public avenues is regulated by an act passed in the 47th and amended by one of the 54th, of Geo. III, authorising the lord-lieutenant to appoint three commissioners, who are a corporation under the title of the "Commissioners for Paving, Cleansing, and Lighting the City of Dublin" the total annual expenditure averages about £30,000.

Several local acts have been passed for the supply of gas-light, and there are four companies

  • the Dublin Gas Company,
  • the Hibernian Gas-light Company,
  • the Oil Gas Company, and
  • the Alliance Company.

An ample supply of water is obtained by pipes laid down from reservoirs on both sides of the river to the houses and the public fountains, under a committee appointed in pursuance of acts passed in the 42nd and 49th of Geo. III, the expense of which is defrayed by a rate called the pipe-water tax, producing about £14,000 annually.

  • Three basins have been formed; one at the extremity of Basin-lane, in James-street, half a mile in circumference and surrounded by a broad gravel walk, formerly a favourite promenade; another at the upper end of Blessington-street, encompassed by a terrace, for the supply of the northern side of the city; and the third on the bank of the canal, near Portobello harbour, for the supply of the south-eastern part.


Considerable improvements have been made by the Commissioners "for opening wide and convenient streets," appointed under an act of the 31st of Geo. II, whose powers were subsequently extended by various successive acts till the 51st of Geo. III.

  • Their funds, till recently, were derived from a tonnage upon coal and a local rate, called "the wide street tax," the former of which ceased in 1832, and the funds arising from the latter amount to about £5500 per ann.
  • Among the chief improvements are the opening of a passage from the Castle to Essex bridge, an enlargement of the avenue from the same place to the Parliament House (now the Bank of Ireland), the opening of Westmoreland-street and Sackville-street, the clearing away the buildings that interfered with the free thoroughfare along the quays on both sides of the river, the entrance into the city by Great Brunswick-street, besides various improvements in the vicinity of the cathedrals of Christchurch and St. Patrick.
  • In short, the city may be said to have been new-moulded since the year 1760, through the instrumentality of this Board, as there is no portion of it which does not exhibit in a greater or smaller degree the results of its labours in improvements tending to augment its beauty or to add to its salubrity.


A circular road nearly nine miles in circuit, carried round the city, affords great facilities of communication throughout all the outlets, and also walks and drives of much beauty. Some portions of this road, however, particularly on the southern side, are already absorbed into the city by the continued extension of the streets; and most of the other parts, particularly on the eastern side, are likely, from the same cause, shortly to lose their distinguishing characteristic of an encircling avenue.

  • On the north side of this road is the Royal Canal, and on the south, the Grand Canal; both terminating in docks near the mouth of the Liffey: and beyond these are, on the north, a small river called the Tolka, formerly called Tulkan and Tolekan, which empties itself into the sea at Ballybough bridge; and on the south, the river Dodder, which, curving northward, terminates with the Liffey at the harbour, forming two striking natural boundaries towards which the city is gradually extending itself.


The city is now closely connected with the harbour of Kingstown by a railway formed under an act of parliament of the 1st and 2nd of Win. IV., which was opened in Dec. 1834. The number of passengers conveyed upon it during the months of May, June, July, and August 1836, was 523,080: the greatest number conveyed in one day was 13,000.


In addition to the splendid line of communication afforded by the quays on both sides of the river, there are several noble avenues of fine streets, among which, that from the northern road is peculiarly striking, especially on entering Sackville-street, which is conspicuous for its great width, the magnificence and beauty of the public buildings which embellish it, and the lofty monument to Admiral Viscount Nelson, which stands in its centre. It consists of a fluted Doric column on a massive pedestal, inscribed on each side with the name and date of his lordship's principal victories, and over that which terminated his career is a sarcophagus: the whole is surmounted with a colossal: statue of the Admiral, surrounded by a balustrade, to which there is an ascent by a spiral staircase in the interior. The structure was completed at an expense of nearly £7000.

On the southern side of the city, the avenue from Kingstown is equally imposing. Both meet in Collegegreen, a spacious area surrounded with noble buildings, and having in its centre an equestrian statue of Wm. III., of cast metal, upon a pedestal of marble.


Of the public squares, St. Stephen's-green, situated in the south-eastern quarter, is the most spacious, being nearly a mile in circuit: in the centre is an equestrian statue of Geo. II, finely executed in brass by Van Nost; Merrion-square, to the east of the former, is about three-quarters of a mile in circuit; on the west the lawn of the Royal Dublin Society.

Fitzwilliam-square has been recently built and is much smaller than either of the others; the houses are built with much uniformity in a neat but unornamented style; some of them have basements of granite and the upper stories of brick. Mountjoy-square, in an elevated and healthy situation in the north-eastern part of the city, is more than half a mile in circuit; the houses are uniformly built and present an appearance very similar to those in Fitzwilliam-square.

Rutland-square is on the north side of the river, at the upper end of Sackville-street: three sides of it are formed by Granby-row, Palace-row, and Cavendish-row, the fourth by the Lying-in Hospital and the Rotundo.

The areas of the several squares are neatly laid out in gravel walks and planted with flowering shrubs and evergreens.


A line drawn from the King's Inns, in the north of Dublin, through Capel-street, the Castle and Aungier-street, thus intersecting the Liffey at right angles, would, together with the line of that river, divide the city into four districts, strongly opposed to each other in character and appearance.


The Liffey is embanked on both sides by a range of masonry of granite, forming a continuation of spacious quays through the whole of the city, and its opposite sides are connected with nine bridges, eight of which are of elegant design and highly ornamental.

  • Carlisle bridge, the nearest to the sea, and connecting Westmoreland-street on the south with Sackville-street on the north is a very elegant structure of three arches: it is 210 feet in length and 48 feet in breadth and was completed in 1794.
  • Wellington bridge, at the end of Liffey-street, 140 feet long, consists of a single elliptic arch of cast iron, and was erected in 1816, for the accommodation of foot passengers only, at an expense of £3000, which is defrayed by a halfpenny toll.
  • Essex bridge, connecting Capel-street with Parliament-street, and fronting the Royal Exchange, was built in 1755, on the site of a former structure of the Same name, at an expense of £20,661; it is a handsome Stone structure of five arches, 250 feet in length and 51 in width, after the model of Westminster bridge, London.
  • Richmond bridge, built on the site of Ormond bridge, which had been swept away by a flood, was commenced in 1813; it connects Winetavern-street with Montrathstreet, and was completed at an expense of £25,800, raised by presentments on the city and county, and opened to the public on St. Patrick's day, 1816; it is built of Portland stone, with a balustrade of cast iron, and is 220 feet long and 52 feet wide, consisting of three fine arches, the keystones of which are ornamented with colossal heads, on the one side representing Peace, Hibernia, and Commerce; and on the other, Plenty, the river Liffey, and Industry.
  • Whitworth bridge supplies the place of the old bridge built by the Dominican friars, which had been for a long time the only communication between the city and its northern suburbs: the first stone was laid in 1816, by the Earl of Whitworth, then lord-lieutenant; it is an elegant structure of three arches, connecting Bridge-street with Church-street.
  • Queen's bridge, a smaller structure of three arches of hewn stone, connecting Bridgefoot-street with Queen-street, is only 140 feet in length: it was built in 1768, on the site of Arran bridge, which was destroyed by a flood in 1763.
  • Barrack bridge, formerly Bloody bridge, connecting Watling-street with the quay leading to the royal barracks, was originally constructed of wood, in 1671, and subsequently rebuilt of stone.
  • King's bridge, of which the first stone was laid by the Marquess Wellesley in 1827, connects the military road with the south-eastern entrance to the Phoenix Park, affording to the lord-lieutenant a retired and pleasant avenue from the Castle to his country residence; it consists of a single arch of cast iron, 100 feet in span, resting on abutment. of granite richly ornamented, and was completed at an expense of £13,000, raised for the purpose of erecting a national testimonial in commemoration of the visit of Geo. IV to Ireland, in 1821.
  • Sarah bridge, formerly Island bridge, but when rebuilt in its present form named after the Countess of Westmoreland, who laid the foundation stone in 1791, is a noble structure of a single arch, 104 feet in span, the keystone of which is 30 feet above low water mark: this bridge connects the suburban village of Island-Bridge with the north-western road and with one of the entrances to the Phoenix Park; from the peculiar elegance of its proportions, it has been distinguished by the name of the "Irish Rialto."


The woollen manufacture was carried on in Ireland at a very early period, and attained considerable celebrity both in the English and continental markets ; but its first establishment in connection with Dublin did not take place till after the Revolution, when a number of English manufacturers, attracted by the excellent quality of the Irish wool, the cheapness of provisions, and the low price of labour, established regular and extensive factories in the liberties of the city.

  • Soon afterwards the Coombe, Pimlico, Spitalfields, Weavers'-square, and the neighbouring streets, chiefly in the Liberties of the city, were built; and this portion of the metropolis was then inhabited by persons of opulence and respectability: but the English legislature, considering the rapid growth of the woollen manufacture of Ireland prejudicial to that of England, prevailed on King William to discourage it, in consequence of which the Liberties, by the removal of the more opulent manufacturers, soon fell into decay.
  • The trade, however, continued to linger in that neighbourhood and even to revive in some degree by being taken, in 1773, under the protection of the Dublin Society; insomuch that, in 1792, there were 60 master clothiers, 400 broadcloth looms, and 100 narrow looms in the Liberties, giving employment to upwards of 5000 persons; but the effect was transitory: ever since, the trade has progressively declined, being at present confined to the manufacture of a few articles for home consumption.
  • The working weavers suffered still further from the loss of time and suspension of their labours, caused by the necessity of tentering their cloths in the open air, which could only be performed during fine weather. To remedy this inconvenience, Mr Pleasants, a philanthropic gentleman of large fortune, erected at his own cost a tenter-house near the Weavers'- square, in which that process might be performed in all states of the weather: the expense of its erection was nearly £13,000; a charge of 2s. 6d. is made on every piece of cloth, and 5d. on every chain of warp, brought in.

The linen manufacture was carried on at a very early period for domestic consumption, long before it became the great staple of the country; in the latter point of view it owes its extension chiefly to the Earl of Strafford, who during his lieutenancy embarked £30,000 of his private property in its establishment.

  • After the depression of the woollen trade, great encouragement was given by parliament to the linen manufacture as a substitute; and in the 8th of Queen Anne an act was passed appointing trustees, selected from among the most influential noblemen and gentlemen of large landed property in each of the four provinces, for the management and disposal of the duties granted by that statute for its promotion;
  • and in 1728 a spacious linen hall was erected by a grant of public money under the direction of the Government, from whom the offices and warehouses are rented by the occupants : the sales commence every morning at 9 o'clock and close at 4 in the afternoon, but though the linen manufacture is still extensively carried on in some parts of Ireland, very little is made in the immediate vicinity of the city, and the sales at the hall are consequently much diminished.

The cotton manufacture was first introduced about the year 1760, and was greatly promoted by Mr R. Brook, who in 1779 embarked a large capital in the enterprise; it was further encouraged by grants from parliament and carried on with varying success in the neighbourhood of the city. Since the withdrawing of the protecting duties the trade has progressively declined in Dublin, and may now be considered as nearly extinct there.

The silk manufacture was introduced by the French refugees who settled here after the revocation of the Edict of Nantz; and an act of parliament was soon after passed by which the infant manufacture was placed under the direction of the Dublin Society.

  • This body established an Irish silk-warehouse in Parliament-street, the management of which was vested in a board of 12 noblemen (who were directors), and a committee of 12 persons annually chosen by the guild of Weavers, to examine the quality of the goods sent in by the manufacturers, and to whom the Dublin Society allowed a premium of 5 per cent. on all goods sold in the warehouse. While the trade was thus managed, the sales on an average amounted to £70,000 per annum, and the manufacture attained a high degree of perfection; but by a subsequent act of parliament, passed in the 26th of Geo. III., the society was prohibited from disposing of any portion of its funds for the support of an establishment in which Irish silks were sold, and from that period the silk-warehouse department was discontinued and the manufacture rapidly declined.
  • However, the tabinets and poplins, for which Dublin had been so peculiarly celebrated, are still in request, not only in Great Britain, but in the American and other foreign markets; but the demand is limited, and the number engaged in the manufacture proportionably small.

The tanning and curing of leather is carried on to a considerable extent; the number of master manufacturers in both branches exceeding 100.

There are 16 iron foundries, in some of which are manufactured steam-engines and agricultural implements on an extensive scale: the number of brass foundries is 25. Cabinetmaking is also carried on to a considerable extent.

The same may be said of the coach-making trade; the demand for jaunting cars, a vehicle peculiar to the country, is very great.

There are not less than 20 porter and ale breweries, several of which are on a very large scale, particularly the former, upwards of 120,000 barrels being brewed annually, a considerable portion of which is exported. There are 14 distilleries and rectifying establishments; some of these are likewise very extensive.

There are also numerous establishments in the city and its vicinity for the manufacture and production of a variety of articles both for home consumption and exportation, amongst which may be noticed, flint glass, sail-cloth, canvas, turpentine, vitriol, vinegar, soap, starch, size, glue, paper, parchment, vellum, hats, also silk and calico-printing, and in Dublin is made the celebrated Lundyfoot snuff by Messrs. Lundy Foot & Co.


The Customs House is a stately structure of the Doric order, situated on the north bank of the Liffey, below Carlisle bridge. It was erected under the superintendence of Mr Gandon, in 1794, at an expense of £397,232. 4. 11., which the requisite furniture and subsequent enlargements have increased to upwards of half a million sterling. The building is 375 feet in length and 205 feet in depth, and has four fronts, of which the south is entirely of Portland stone and the others of mountain granite.

  • On the east of the custom-house is a wet dock capable of receiving 40 vessels, and along the quay is a range of spacious warehouses. Beyond these an extensive area, enclosed with lofty walls, contains a second wet dock, consisting of two basins, the outer 300 feet by 250 and the inner 650 by 300; still further eastward, and on the same line with the principal building, are the tobacco and general warehouses, the latter of which were burnt down in 1833, but have been rebuilt.
  • The business of the customs and excise for all Ireland was transacted in the custom-house, until the consolidation of the boards of Customs and Excise into one general board in London, since which period it has been confined to that of the Dublin district, and a great part of the building is applied to the accommodation of the following departments:-the Stamp Office; the Commissariat; the Board of Works; the Record Office for documents connected with the ViceTreasurer's Office; the Quit-Rent Office; and the Stationery Office. The amount of duties paid in 1836, for goods imported and exported, was £898,630. 5. 1.; and the excise duties of the Dublin district during the same period amounted to £419,935. 14. 4s.


The General Post-Office, situated in Sackville-street, is a very fine building of granite, 223 feet in length, 150 feet in depth, and three stories high. In the centre of the front is a boldly projecting portico of six fluted Ionic columns supporting an entablature and cornice, which are continued round the building and surmounted by a triangular pediment, in the tympanum of which are the Royal arms, and on the apex a figure of Hibernia, with one of Mercury on the right, and of Fidelity on the left; the whole of the building is crowned with a fine balustrade rising above the cornice. This structure was raised under the direction of Mr Francis Johnston, architect, at an expense of £50,000. Over the mantel-piece in the Board-room is a marble bust of Earl Whitworth, by whom the first stone was laid in 1815. The establishment, which had been under the direction of two postmasters-general, was, in 1831, consolidated with the English post-office, and placed under the control of the postmaster-general of the united kingdom. Letters are delivered throughout the city three times a day by the penny post department, and once a day to 17 stations within 12 miles of it on payment of two pence.




The Royal College of Surgeons was incorporated in 1784, for the purpose of establishing a "liberal and extensive system of surgical education" a parliamentary grant was afterwards conferred on it for providing the necessary accommodations. Sums amounting in the whole to £35,000 were granted for erecting and furnishing the requisite buildings; besides which, £6000, the accumulated excess of the receipts over the disbursements of the college, were expended in 1825 in the addition of a museum. The front of the building, which is situated on the west side of St. Stephen's-green, has a rusticated basement story, from which rises a range of Doric columns supporting a tier of seven large windows, the four central columns being surmounted by a triangular pediment, on which are statues of Minerva, Esculapius and Hygeia. The interior contains a large board-room, a library, an apartment for general meetings, an exam ina tion hall, with several committee-rooms and offices, four theatres for lectures, a spacious dissecting-room with several smaller apartments, and three museums, the largest of which, 84 feet by 30, with a gallery, contains a fine collection of preparations of human and comparative anatomy ; the second, with two galleries, contains preparations illustrative of pathology and a collection of models in wax, presented by the Duke of Northumberland when lord-lieutenant ; and the third, attached to the anatomical theatre, contains a collection for the illustration of the daily courses of lectures. The College consists of a president, vice-president, six censors, twelve assistants, secretaries, members, and licentiates. Candidates for a diploma must produce certificates of attendance on some school of medicine and surgery for five years, and of attendance at a surgical hospital for three years, and must pass four half-yearly examinations, and a final examination for letters testimonial in the presence of the members and licentiates on two days: rejected candidates have a right of appeal to a court constituted for the purpose, which is frequently resorted to. Attached to the school are two professors of anatomy and physiology, two of surgery, a professor of chemistry, one of the practice of medicine, one of materia medica, one of midwifery, and one of medical jurisprudence, with four anatomical demonstrators; the lectures commence on the last Monday in October and close on the last day of April.

The College of Physicians was first incorporated in the reign of Chas II., but the charter being found insufficient, was surrendered in 1692, and a more ample charter was granted by William and Mary, under the designation of the King and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland. This charter, which conferred considerable privileges, was partly confirmed by successive acts of parliament, which gave the society authority to summon all medical practitioners for examination, to inspect the shops and warehouses of apothecaries, druggists, and chymists, and to destroy all articles for medical use which are of bad quality: it has also a principal share in the superintendence of the School of Physic. No person can be a member of the College who has not graduated in one of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, or Dublin, The officers of the college consist of a president, vice-president, four censors, a registrar, and a treasurer; the members hold their meetings at Sir Patrick Dun's hospital, of whose bequests for the promotion of medical science they are trustees. The School of Physic is partly under the control of the Board of the University, and partly under that of the College of Physicians; the professorships of anatomy, chemistry, and botany being in the appointment of the University, who elect the professors, thence called University professors ; those of the practice of medicine, the institutes of medicine, and of the materia medica, called King's professors, derive their appointment and their salaries from the College of Physicians, being chosen by ballot from among the members of that body. The University professors deliver their lectures in Trinity College and the King's professors in Sir Patrick Dun's hospital. No candidate is qualified for a degree in medicine until he has attended the six courses, and six months at Sir Patrick Dun's clinical hospital.

The School of Pharmacy: Previously to the company of the Apothecaries' Hall having been incorporated, the shops were supplied by the druggists, without any check on the quality of the medical articles supplied. To remedy this defect an act was passed, in 1791, incorporating a body under the title of the "Governor and Company ot the Apothecaries' Hall," by whom a building was erected in Mary-street (a respectable edifice of brick, with a basement of hewn stone) for the preparation and sale of drugs, unadulterated and of the best quality, and for the delivery of courses of lectures on chemistry, the materia medica, pharmacy, botany, and the practice of physic, and for the examination of candidates for a diploma to practise as apothecaries. The establishment consists of a governor, deputy-governor, treasurer, secretary, and thirteen directors. Candidates for apprenticeship must undergo an examination in Greek and Latin, and those for the rank of master apothecary must produce certificates of attendance on a course of each of the following departments of medicine; chemistry, materia medica and pharmacy, medical botany, anatomy, and physiology, and the theory and practice of medicine. The diploma of .the Society of Apothecaries of London also, by the rules of the Dublin company, qualifies the holder to practise in Ireland.

The School of Anatomy, Medicine, and Surgery, in Park-street, Merrion-square, established in 1824 by a society of surgeons and physicians, contains a museum, a chemical laboratory, an office and reading-room, a lecture-room capable of accommodating 200 persons, a dissecting-room, and rooms for preparations. Private medical schools are numerous, and, combined with the public institutions, and with the extensive practice afforded by the city hospitals, have rendered Dublin a celebrated school of medicine, resorted to by students from every part of the British empire. The Phrenological Society, under the direction of a president, vice-president, and two committees, was established in 1829. Its meetings are held in Upper Sackville-street, where the society has a large collection of casts illustrative of the theory of the science, and a library of phrenological treatises, which are lent out to the members: the annual subscription is one guinea. The Association of Members of the College of Physicians was instituted in 1816 ; they hold their meetings at their rooms in College-green, for receiving communications on medical subjects and on scientific matters ; their object is the promotion of medical science, and among their corresponding members are some of the most eminent medical men in England and on the Continent: the society has published several volumes of transactions.



The Royal Hibernian Academy of painting, sculpture, and architecture, founded by royal charter in 1823, consists of fourteen academicians and ten associates, all of whom must be professional painters, sculptors, or architects: the king is patron, the lord-lieutenant vice-patron, and its affairs are under the superintendence of a council. The academy has for the last few years been encouraged by a grant from parliament of £300 per ann. ; its first president, the late Francis Johnston, Esq., architect, erected an elegant and appropriate building in Abbey-street, at an expense of £10,000, which he presented to the academy forever, at a nominal rent of 5s. per ann., and to which his widow subsequently added a gallery for statuary. The building, which is three stories high and of elegant design, has, on the basement story, a recess ornamented with fluted columns of the Doric order: over the entrance is a head of Palladio, emblematical of architecture; over the window on the right, a head of Michael Angelo, illustrative of sculpture; and over the window on the left, a head of Raphael, allusive to painting. The academy has a good collection of casts from the antique, some paintings by the old masters, and a library of works chiefly connected with the fine arts, and of which the greater number were presented by the late Edward Houghton, Esq.

The Royal Irish institution for promoting the fine arts was founded, under royal patronage, in 1815: its vice-patron is the Marquess of Anglesey, its guardian, the lord-lieutenant, and its president, the Duke of Leinster: its affairs are superintended by eight vice-presidents (all noblemen), and a committee of directors. The Artists have also formed a society, called the Artists' and Amateurs' Conversazione, for cultivating and maintaining a social intercourse with admirers of the fine arts, and thereby promoting their mutual interests.

The Horticultural Society, patronised by the Lord-Lieutenant and the Duchess of Leinster, and under the direction of the Earl of Leitrim as president, several noblemen as vice-presidents, and a council, was instituted in 1813 and has rapidly increased in prosperity. Prizes are awarded at its annual exhibitions, which are numerously and most fashionably attended. The Geological Society was instituted in 1835, and is under the direction of a president, vice-presidents, and a council. Its attention is peculiarly directed to Ireland: it consists of honorary and ordinary members ; £10 on admission, or £5 if not resident within 20 miles of Dublin for more than one month in the year, constitutes a member for life ; and £1 on admission, and £1 per ann., constitutes an ordinary member. The rooms of the society are in Upper Sackville-street; two parts of a volume of its transactions have been already published.

The Zoological Society, instituted in 1831, is under the direction of a president, vice-president, and council: £10 paid on admission constitutes a member for life, and £1 on admission and a subscription of £1 per ann., an annual member. The gardens are situated in the Phoenix Park, and occupy a piece of ground near the vice-regal lodge, given for that purpose by the Duke of Northumberland, when lord-lieutenant : they have been laid out with much taste, and are in excellent order, affording a most interesting place of resort; the council have already purchased many fine specimens of the higher classes of animals. They are open to the public daily, on payment of sixpence admission. The Agricultural Society was instituted in 1833, and is under the direction of a president (the Marquess of Downshire), several vice-presidents, a committee and subcommittee: it consists of 330 members, who pay an annual subscription of £1, and among whom are most of the principal landed proprietors ; its object is the establishment of a central institution for concentrating the efforts made by other societies and by individuals for improving the condition of the people and the cultivation of the soil of Ireland: two annual meetings are held, one in Dublin during the April show of cattle, and the other at Ballinasloe in October.

The Civil Engineers' Society was established in 1835, for the cultivation of science in general, and more especially of those branches of it which are connected with the engineering department ; it is under the direction of a president, vice-presidents, and a committee, and consists of members who must be either civil or military engineers, or architects, who pay one guinea on admission by ballot and an annual subscription of equal amount.


The places of public amusement are few. The Drama is little encouraged by the fashionable and wealthy; the theatre is thinly attended, except on the appearance of some first-rate performer from London, or at the special desire of the lord-lieutenant, the social character of the inhabitants inducing an almost exclusive preference to convivial intercourse within the domestic circle.

  • The first public theatre was built in Werburgh-Street, by Lord Strafford, in 1635, and was closed in 1641.
  • After the Restoration, a theatre under the same patent was opened in Orange-street, now Smock-alley; and in 1733, a second was opened in Rainsford-street, in the liberty of Thomas-court, and a third in George's-lane. Sheridan had a theatre in Aungier-street, in 1745, which was destroyed in 1754 by a tumult of the audience; and in 1758 another was built in Crow-street, which, with that in Smock-alley, continued open for 25 years, when, after much rivalry, the latter was closed, and a patent granted to the former for the exclusive enjoyment of the privilege of performing the legitimate drama.
  • On the expiration of this patent, Mr Harris, of London, procured a renewal of it from Government and erected the "New Theatre Royal" in Hawkins-street, a pile of unsightly exterior but internally of elegant proportions, being constructed in the form of a lyre, handsomely decorated and admirably adapted to the free transmission of the actor's voice to every part of the house: attached to it is a spacious saloon, supported by pillars of the Ionic order.
  • A smaller theatre has been lately opened in Abbey-street for dramatic performances: it is a plain building, neatly fitted up. Another small theatre in Fishamble-street, originally a music-hall, is occasionally opened for dramatic and other entertainments; and a third, in Great Brunswick-street, called the Adelphi, originally intended for a diorama, is used for amateur theatricals.
  • In Abbey-street is a circus, in which equestrian performances occasionally take place.
  • During the summer season, the Rotundo gardens are open on stated evenings every week and being illuminated in a fanciful manner and enlivened by the attendance of a military band, and by occasional exhibitions of rope-dancing and fireworks, they afford an agreeable promenade in the open air, and are well at. tended.
  • In the Royal Arcade, in College-green, are some handsome rooms for public amusements.

Clubs and societies for convivial purposes are numerous: several club-houses have been opened on the principle of those in London.

  • The Kildare-street Club, consisting of about 650 members, was instituted upwards of fifty years since, and takes its name from the street in which its house stands: the accommodations contain a large and elegant card-room, coffee, reading, and billiard-rooms; the terms of admission, which is by ballot, are £26. 10., and the annual subscription, £5 : it is managed by a committee of 15 members chosen annually.
  • The Sackville-street Club, instituted in 1795, consists of 400 members chosen by ballot, who previously pay 20 guineas, and an annual subscription of 5 guineas ; the house, which contains a suite of apartments similar in character to those of the Kildare-street Club, has been recently fitted up in a very splendid style.
  • The Friendly Brothers' Club, also in Upper Sackville-street, consists of many members who are in connection with similar societies in various countries; the house affords excellent accommodation.
  • The Hibernian United Service Club, instituted in 1832, is limited to 500 permanent and 200 temporary members, consisting of officers of the army and navy of every rank, and of field officers and captains of militia of the United Kingdom; the terms of admission by ballot are £10. 10., and the annual subscription £4 for permanent members; honorary members are admitted on payment of the annual subscription only; the club-house is in Foster-street, near the Bank.
  • The Freemasons for some years had a hall in Dawson-street: they now hold their meetings in temporary apartments in the Commercial Buildings. The leading musical societies are the Beefsteak Club, the Hibernian Catch Club, the Anacreontic, for the performance of instrumental music; the Dublin Philharmonic Society, for the practice of vocal and instrumental music; and the Festival Choral Society, for the cultivation of choral music. Other societies, of a more miscellaneous character, whose names indicate their objects, are the Chess, Philidorean, Shakspeare, Royal Yacht, and Rowing clubs.


The charters granted at various times to the city are carefully preserved from the earliest period in the archives of the corporation. The first was granted in the reign of Hen. II., from which period to the reign of Geo. III. a numerous series of them has been successively issued, either confirming previous grants or conferring additional privileges. The present constitution of the corporate government is founded partly on the provisions of several of the earlier charters, partly on usage and ancient customs, partly on the new rules laid down in the 25th of Chas. II. and partly on the statutes of the 33rd of Geo. II., and the 11th and 12th of Geo. III. The corporation consists of a lord mayor, 24 aldermen, and a common council.

  • The lord mayor is annually elected from among the aldermen, by a majority of that body, with the approbation of the common council; the alderman next in rotation is generally chosen. Within ten days after his election, he must be presented to the lord-lieutenant and privy council for their approbation, and is sworn into office before the lord-lieutenant on Sept. 30th ; he is a justice of the peace for the county of the city, admiral of the port of Dublin, and chief Judge of the Lord Mayor's and Sheriffs' courts; he has the regulation of the assize of bread, and is clerk of the market, and, ex officio, a member of certain local boards and trusts.
  • The aldermen, who are also justices of the peace for the city, are elected for life, as vacancies occur, from among such common-councilmen as have served the office of sheriff, and are, therefore, called sheriffs' peers; each on his election pays £400 late currency, of which £105 is for the Blue-coat hospital, and the remainder for the repair and embellishment of the Mansion-house.
  • The sheriffs are annually elected at Easter by the lord mayor and aldermen out of eight freemen nominated by the common council, and each of them must be in possession of real or personal property to the clear amount of £2000; they must be approved by the lord-lieutenant and privy council; but on payment of a fine of £500, of which £105 is given to the Blue-coat hospital, a freeman so nominated may become a sheriffs' peer without serving the office of sheriff.
  • The common council consists of the sheriffs' peers, and of the representatives of the guilds triennially elected, who are 96 in number, and who, in default of election by the guilds, may be chosen by the lord mayor and aldermen from each of the guilds so neglecting. The officers of the corporation are a recorder, who must be a barrister of six years' standing, but is not required to be a freeman; he is elected by the lord mayor and aldermen, with the approbation of the common council, subject to the approval of the lord-lieutenant and privy council, holds his office during good behaviour, and is permitted by the act of the 21st and 22nd of Geo. III., in case of sickness or absence, to appoint a deputy, who also, by the 39th of Geo. III., must be a barrister of six years' standing: two coroners, elected from the aldermen by the lord mayor and a majority of that body alone: a president of the court of conscience, who is the ex-lord mayor during the year after his office expires, and may appoint any alderman to officiate for him: two town-clerks, who are also clerks of' the peace, either freemen or not, and elected for life in the same manner as the recorder, and subject to the approval of the privy council: a marshal, who must be a freeman, and is similarly elected, nominally for one year, but generally re-elected on its expiration : water bailiffs, elected in the same manner as the marshal, and who give security by two sureties for £1000: serjeants-at-mace, similarly elected, and who give two sureties for £250 each; and several inferior officers.
  • The freedom of the city is obtained either by gift of the aldermen and common-councilmen in general assembly, or by admission to the freedom of one of the guilds, and afterwards to that of the city, by favour of the corporation. Freemen of the guilds, either by birth, servitude, or marriage, can only be admitted as freemen at large by the common council, who have power to reject them after passing through the guilds; hence the freedom of the guilds entitles them only to the privilege of carrying on their respective trades, but not to that of voting at elections for the city representatives in parliament.

There are 25 guilds, the first of which is the Trinity guild or guild of Merchants, which returns 31 representatives out of the 96; the others, called minor guilds, are those of the Tailors, Smiths, Barber-Surgeons, Bakers, Butchers, Carpenters, Shoemakers, Saddlers, Cooks, Tanners, Tallowchandlers, Glovers and Skinners, Weavers, Shearmen and Dyers, Goldsmiths, Coopers, Feltmakers, Cutlers, Bricklayers, Hosiers, Curriers, Brewers, Joiners, and Apothecaries. Only six of the guilds have halls; the others meet either in one of these or in a private building.

  • The Merchants' Hall, on Aston's Quay, opposite Wellington bridge, is a new building of granite, two stories high, with little architectural ornament.
  • The Tailors' Hall, in Back-lane, built in 1710, is ornamented with portraits of Chas. II., Dean Swift, and St. Homobon, a tailor of Cremona, canonized in 1316 for his piety and charity.
  • The Weavers' Hall, on the Coombe, is a venerable brick building, two stories high, with a pedestrian statue of Geo. II. over the entrance, and in the Hall a portrait of the same king woven in tapestry, and one of a member of the family of La Touche, who had greatly encouraged the manufacture.
  • The Carpenters' Hall is in Audoen's Arch, the Goldsmiths' in Golden-lane, and the Cutlers' in Capel-street.


The city returns two members to the Imperial parliament; the right of election, formerly vested in the corporation, freemen, and 40s. freeholders, has been extended to the £10 householders, and £20 and £10 leaseholders for the respective terms of 14 and 20 years, by the act of the 2nd of Wm. IV., cap. 88. The number of voters registered at the first general election under that act was 7041, of which number, 5126 voted. The limits of the city, for electoral purposes, include an area of 3538 statute acres, the boundaries of which are minutely detailed in the Appendix; the number of freemen is about 3500, of whom 2500 are resident and 1000 non-resident, and the number of £10 houses is 16,000: the sheriffs are the returning officers.

The corporation holds general courts of quarter assembly at Christmas, Easter, Midsummer, and Michaelmas, which are occasionally adjourned, and post assemblies sometimes for particular purposes. As a justice of the peace, the lord mayor presides at the city quarter sessions, and always attends on the first day to open the court, accompanied by some of the aldermen, it being necessary that two at least of that body should be present with the lord mayor or recorder to form a quorum. The lord mayor's and sheriffs' courts are held on the Thursday after the first day of the sessions; each has cognizance of personal actions to any amount above £2; the process is by attachment of the defendant's goods.

  • The lord mayor's court, in which he is the sole judge, is held every Thursday either at the city sessions-house, where it is an open court or in the Mansion-house, where it may be private ; it has summary jurisdiction and takes cognizance of complaints, nuisances, informations, &e.
  • The court of conscience, for determining causes and recovering debts not exceeding £2 late currency, is held daily before the president in the city assembly-house in William-street.


The police establishment, as regulated by the Duke of Wellington, when chief secretary for Ireland, was under the control of a chief magistrate, aided by eleven others, three of whom sat daily at one of the offices of the four divisions, according to which the city was arranged: to each office, a chief constable and petty constables were attached. The police force, consisting of a horse patrol of 29 men, a foot patrol of 169, 26 watch constables, and 539 watchmen, was maintained at an expense of about £40,000 per ann. By an act passed in 1836 the police of the metropolis is placed under two magistrates appointed by the lord-lieutenant, and the boundaries of their jurisdiction have been determined to be the rivers Dodder and Tolka to the south and north, and Knockmaroon hill to the west, which boundary may be extended according to the discretion of the lord-lieutenant and privy council to any place within five miles of Dublin castle; by whom the number of divisional offices may be reduced and also that of the magistrates, provided there be two to each office. The city is to be assessed for the payment of the establishment by a rate not exceeding 8d. in the pound, according to the valuation made under the act of the 5th of Geo. IV.



Dublin is the seat of the Vice-regal government, consisting of a lord-lieutenant and privy council, assisted by a chief secretary, under-secretary, and a large establishment of inferior officers and under-clerks both for state and the despatch of business. The official residence of the lord-lieutenant is Dublin Castle, first appropriated to that purpose in the reign of Elizabeth; but his usual residence is the Vice-regal Lodge, in the Phoenix Park.



The supreme courts of judicature consist of the Chancery, in which the lord-chancellor presides, assisted by the Master of the Rolls, who holds a subordinate court; the King's Bench, which is under the superintendence of a chief justice and three puisne judges; the Common Pleas, under a similar superintendence of four judges; and the Exchequer, which contains two departments, one for the management of the revenue, the other a court both of equity and law, in which a chief baron and three puisne barons preside.




The See of Dublin comprehended both the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough until the arrival of the Danes, who had settled themselves in the plain country on each side of the Liffey, on their conversion to Christianity established a separate bishop, who derived his spiritual authority from the Archbishop of Canterbury and acknowledged him as his superior.

  • Donat, the first bishop of Dublin chosen by the Danes, built the conventual and cathedral church of the Holy Trinity, usually called Christ-Church, about the year 1038.
  • His successor, Patrick, on his election by the people of Dublin, was sent to England to be consecrated by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Gregory, the third in succession after Patrick, on proceeding to England on a similar mission, carried with him a letter from his flock, in which notice is taken of the animosity of the Irish bishops in consequence of their acknowledgement of the jurisdiction of an English prelate.
  • In 1152 the see was raised to an archbishopric by Cardinal Paparo, the Pope's legate, who invested Gregory with one of the four archepiscopal paIls brought from Rome.
  • Laurence O'Toole was the first archbishop who did not go to England for consecration; the ceremony in his case was performed in Christ-Church by Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh; and the custom of having recourse to Canterbury was never afterwards resumed. Archbishop Laurence proceeded to Rome in 1179, where he assisted at the second council of Lateran, and obtained a bull confirming that which had decreed the dioceses of Glendalough, Kildare, Ferns, Leighlin, and Ossory, to be suffragan to the metropolitan see of Dublin.
  • On the death of Laurence, Henry II bestowed the archbishopric on John Comyn, an Englishman, and granted him the temporalities with power to hold manor courts. The archbishops henceforward were lords of parliament in right of the barony of Coillach. On Comyn's consecration, Pope Lucius III invested the see with sole supreme ecclesiastical authority within the province, whence originated the long-continued controversy between the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, which is fully detailed in the account of the former see. In the archepiscopal investiture granted by Cardinal Paparo, the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough are considered to be, strictly speaking, a single see; but in compliance with the wishes of the inhabitants of the mountain districts, which contained the latter, it was allowed to retain its name and a separate subordinate existence. But King John, in 1185, granted to Comyn the reversion of this bishopric on its next avoidance, and the charter to this effect was confirmed by Matthew O'Heney, archbishop of Cashel, the Pope's legate, at a synod held in Dublin in 1192. But though this union was legally effected about the year 1214, the mountain clans, who were still unamenable to English law, long continued to appoint their own bishops of Glendalough.
  • Henry de Loundres, the next archbishop, appears to have exercised the privileges of a peer of parliament in England, perhaps in right of the manor of Penkridge in Staffordshire, granted to the see by Hugh Hussey, founder of the Galtrim family in Ireland, and which long formed a peculiar of the diocese. The same prelate raised the collegiate church of St. Patrick, which had been erected by his predecessor, to the dignity of a cathedral, in consequence of which the diocese continues to have two cathedral churches. This circumstance afterwards gave rise to a violent contest between the two chapters as to the right of electing an archbishop. The dispute was terminated by an agreement that the archbishop should be consecrated and enthroned in Christ-Church, which, as being the more ancient, should have the precedency; and that the crosier, mitre, and ring of every archbishop, in whatever place he died, should be deposited in it, but that both churches should be cathedral and metropolitan.

There have been always two archdeaconries in the united diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, whose jurisdictions may have been formerly coterminous with their respective sees; but the long and intimate union of these, and the little use made of the archidiaconal functions, render it nearly impossible to define their respective limits with any degree of accuracy.


Dublin gave the title of Earl to His Royal Highness the late Duke of Kent.

SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)

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