From top: Palace Street, Dublin 2 (pics 1 and 2); Dean Street and Kevin Street Cross, both Dublin 8

On Dublin’s shortest streets….

…Harry Warren writes:

Just before one of the last lockdowns, I was happily enjoying a coffee outside of the lovely French restaurant Chez Max on Palace Street, Dublin 2. An American gent at the table beside me, in all seriousness said to his lady friend, “so what do they have to be indignant about? “Maybe the name is Olde English”, she replied”.

I couldn’t resist joining in the conversation. “Are you admiring the building? The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society was a charity and its now a listed building”.  “Were they indignant because they were poor?”, he replied. Then badly paraphrasing G.B. Shaw, I offered “two nations divided by a common language”, gently advising that “indigent” now a rarely used word meant “poor”.

The penny finally dropped, we laughed and we had an enjoyable conversation about the locale and Palace Street. They were quiet taken with Palace Street and said it was the smallest street they had ever seen.

Palace Street. is one of the shortest streets in Dublin, it links Dame Street to one of the entrances to Dublin Castle. One side of the street has a fine elegantly designed building now an AIB bank. On the opposite side at number one is Chez Max and number two was the home of Dublin’s oldest charity, The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society. It was founded in 1790 “for the relief of the poor without religious discrimination.”

Number three is a hideous Lego block lump of architecture, oversized, grimly designed and lacking in any finesse, popularly known as Robocop on Dame Street.

Palace Street. is one of the shortest streets in Dublin, followed by Dean Street in the Liberties [Dublin 8] but I would argue that Kevin Street Cross has to be the shortest of them all. Kevin Street Cross joins Bride Street. with New Bride Street on the way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Other short streets in Dublin? There is a hint in my name of my favourite one. I am sure there are more.

If any Broadsheet readers know of any shorter street or road in Dublin than Kevin Street Cross, I would love to read a comment in the Reply section.


Pics by Harry Warren

21 thoughts on “Harry’s Dublin

  1. Con Kennedy

    Park street. Just off Hanover street and Park Terrace (in between Francis and Meath Streets) – its not on most maps or incorrectly down as Hanover Street

    1. Paulus

      En francais no doubt; gives you an advantage with the garcons.
      ( Feel free to correct my french in a voice brimming with hauteur!)

      1. Janet, dreams of a steamed clootie

        if you don’t use it you loose it ;)
        my excuse anyway,
        plus it’s relaxing to flirt with lads who know the rules of the game as it where

  2. Not Himselfe

    There’s a little known stretch along Oliver Bond called Mullinahack just off Cook Street. About 20 metres long or so. The streetsign is still there on the Liberties Training Centre building but it’s not on many actual maps.

    1. The Dude


      I SO love Mullinahack as a street name in Dublin.

      A most unusual name for Dublin as it is Gaelic in origin, whereas most Dublin names are English, called after a geographic location, or indeed called after somebody, i.e. Raglan Road.

      Yet Mullinahack is translated from ‘Muillean an Cacá’. Literal translation: ‘The Shit Mills’.

      Dating from when the monks diverted the Dodder and Poddle so as to flow by a channel around by where St. James’s Gate is now sited, such channeled in late medieval times served many purposes, including in some cases, defense, transport, energy creation by mills, drinking water, and foul water disposal. Problem of course was the same channel that one got their supply from was also where sewage was disposed.

      Hence by the time the channel – known as Cole’s Brook – reached Thomas Street, it was putrid. And from there it was let flow down the steep hill just outside the city’s wall into the River Liffey. As that hill is relatively very steep for Dublin, the putrid water had great force – and so proved irresistible not to use as a power supply; hence ‘The Shit Mills’, or as more politely known today, ‘Mullinahack’.

      Here’s another one I add to this list of ‘shorties’:

      ‘Cnoc na hAinnse’ – also known as ‘Misery Hill’.

      Contemporaneous to Mullinahack, Misery Hill is sited in Docklands, circa 50 metres long, between Cardiff Lane and Grand Canal Dock, along the north side of the Bored Gosh theatre. Again it tells of troubled times when life was not much fun for many who existed. In this instance, the street gets its name from when leprosy was a major problem. Lepers used to go to on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in search of relief – and as lepers were not allowed congregate where the ships normally docked, at what is now Wellington Quay, they instead had to board ships elsewhere. Hence they used to walk out of town when the tide was low across mud banks to a small hill that remained dry when the tide was in, and wait, and wait, until eventually they were able to board the right ship. Hence the name, Misery Hill.

      These days however, only one major office opens onto the street. Peculiarly enough, although the vehicular entrance for that company is from Cardiff Lane, and their front door pedestrian entrance is onto Misery Hill, the business gives out its address as 1 Grand Canal Square. That business is Facebook, and the curious relationship they seem to have with their address tells me all I need to know. Misery Hill: sempre eadem.

  3. bisted

    …maybe the American gent was trolling you Harry…master wordsmith James Joyce did a nod to the sign on the building in the opening pages of Finnegans Wake referring to ‘his ville’s indigenous romekeepers’…any serious Joycean would have a visit to the Roomkeepers building on the itinerary of a visit to Dublin…

  4. SOQ

    Number three is a hideous Lego block lump of architecture, oversized, grimly designed and lacking in any finesse, popularly known as Robocop on Dame Street.

    Full agree- if memory serves me there was a really nice little garden or at least some trees and benches in there before they built Lego land.

  5. Dr.Fart

    I despair for Dublin architecture. We have beautiful old buildings, and nothing nice has been built since (bar a handful). And it’s gotten even worse over the last few years, with oodles of hotels painfully designed to mimic buildings of New York etc., in some short sighted attempt to ‘modernise’ Dublin, a historic city with unique beauty few cities can boast of. DCC and An Bord Pleanala are replete with ignorance and have allowed and encouraged this irreparable damage. They’re obsessed with tourists, but are too short sighted to know tourists don’t come here to see the same buildings they see at home. And too ignorant to care that they’re paving over history.

  6. Harry

    Yes indeed SOQ, that little garden was a nice well balanced piece of green space unlike the lump of cement plonked on top of it :)

  7. Harry

    Hi bisted, it was a nice friendly few minutes, I walked them around to the Chester Beatty museum later. :)

    1. bisted

      …I’ve no idea what cultural tourism is worth to Dublin but it is not valued very much…visitors would not believe that permission has been granted to turn the site of The Dead at Ushers Island into a hostel…with all the hotels going up could nobody have restored the Ormond Hotel?

      1. Harry

        Absolutely right bisted, The cultural vandalism by An Bord Plenala and Dublin City Council is appalling. Far too many sites like the site of The Dead at Ushers Island have been destroyed.

  8. NuffSaid

    Curved St. in Temple Bar not much longer than Palace Street.

    Arguably the shortest created, as the other two have been shortened over time.

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