[The following passage comes from an article in the September 1878 issue of the The Graphic. — George P. Landow]

Surrounding the Cathedrals of Christ Church and St. Patrick’s are the " Liberties,” a district which was formerly the seal of the woollen trade of Dublin, as well as the quarter of the aristocracy. The spirit of destruction has passed over it all, and if you enter any of the old houses now you will find the strange spectacle in store for you of stately mahogany doors giving you admission to vast chambers filled only with poor and wretched inmates. Up to the time of the Union the neighbourhood held up its head, and the young bloods of James's Street, Skinner’s Row, and Meath Street, patrolled the streets at night, “pinking” men who went between the wind and their nobility. After 1S00, the old dignity of the place and the trade rapidly declined, and at length — thirty years ago — the Liberties became from end to end the abomination of desolation in Dublin. Since that period, however, happier signs have appeared. Distilleries, breweries, and timber yards have sprung up in many directions, and neat red houses, the homes of the men employed in these hives of industry, are now being rapidly and plentcously built on the sites of the old mansions.

It was thought that, when Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, whose vast brewery now covers several hundred acres in this district, restored in 1865 the Christ Church Cathedral and the place of sepulture of Ireland’s most illustrious dead, the Corporation of the city would have constructed handsome avenues about it, but this has not been done, and visitors stand abashed when they see so beautiful and stately a pile in the midst of a network of squalid laneways. The Dublin Corporation are wanting in that enterprise so common in Paris, where it is an every day occurrence to raze line after line of old buildings to the ground in order to make on the space one splendid boulevard. [175]


“Dublin Illustrated.” The Graphic (17 August 1878): 169-81. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of Illinois Library. Web. 14 August 2018.

Last modified 14 August 2018