Author Archives: Harry Warren

The Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2.

Harry Warren writes:

I created this collage (above) of the same trees in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin over a few seasons. Nature doing what it does best. The photos were taken during Summer, Autumn and now what I fear for some, is going to be a long Winter.

Because of the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 it has been a rough year for many up to now. One can see how fractious many of the posts on Broadsheet have become but hope is on the horizon, everything comes in cycles and I do look forward to Spring blossoming when it arrives. All things come to pass and the current scenario will fade away in time. Watch out for the photo when Spring returns.

Pics by Harry Warren

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.

Anyone?

Pics by Harry Warren

St Patrick’s Tower (and pear tree), Roe Lane, Dublin 8.

Harry Warren writes:

If you are strolling along Thomas St in Dublin, walking past the St. James Gate Guinness Brewery entrance, perhaps dreaming of the halcyon days pre COVID-19 of quaffing a creamy pint, have you ever noticed that odd looking tower across the road topped with a green dome and where else in Dublin would you find a pear tree outside of a private garden?

St Patrick’s tower was built in 1757 and was and arguably is, the largest smock windmill with a revolving top in Europe, today its sails are long since gone. The tower itself is 135 feet high and the width of the base is 70 feet. A smock mill is a type of windmill that resembles the shape of the smocks, the clothing originally worn by farmers in the Netherlands where these type of windmills were first erected. Why the moniker of St. Patrick’s Tower? If you look closely at the dome the wind vane on top is an effigy of St. Patrick.

The windmill was built to grind corn for the Roe Distillery that produced in excess of two million gallons of whiskey annually. The Roe family were very successful whiskey producers, by 1887 the distillery had expanded to 17 acres making it Europe’s largest distillery. Roe Whiskey was exported to the United States, Australia, Canada, as well as all over Europe.

The wealth of the Roe family became so great that they funded £250,000 (€20 Million euros in today’s money) for a major restoration of Christ Church Cathedral. Unfortunately, by the 1920’s the worldwide global whiskey market was in serious decline and by 1949 the distillery and its grounds were finally sold off to Guinness.

The pear tree? It is located at the base of the tower and in Autumn it produces a large crop of juicy pears. Perhaps someday it will be used in the manufacture of a nice pear liquor if they ever open a new distillery here again.

Today the tower is a feature of The Digital Hub in Thomas Street, the tech and media enterprise centre. There is seating in front of the tower and it is a lovely spot to enjoy a coffee in the Autumn sunshine.

Pics by Harry Warren

Meanwhile…

Oh.

The Iveagh Markets, Dublin 8.

Harry Warren writes:

A cheeky grin adorns the face of an excellent sculpture that winks at you as you walk past the Iveagh Market building in the Liberties area of Dublin 8. Beautifully detailed, the limestone carving is one of eight very individual faces of various ethnic groups that peer out upon the street at passers-by. Who or what do they represent?

There are various theories but according to Samantha L. Martin-McAuliffe, a lecturer in the School of Architecture at University College Dublin, they are described as being representations of the nationalities that traded with Ireland at the turn of the twentieth century, as noted in The Ethics of Giving and Receiving: a Study of the Iveagh Markets, Dublin.

According to the Irish Georgian Society, following the demolition of buildings in what is now St Patrick’s Park, next to St Patrick’s Cathedral, “Street traders lost their traditional market rights”

As a result, Lord Iveagh, Edward Cecil Guinness, built the iconic building of 30,000 Sq. ft on Francis St. and John Dillon St. to house their trading stalls and on completion handed it over in trust to Dublin Corporation.

The markets consisted of, “two covered markets for the sale respectively of old clothes and fish, fresh fruit and vegetables”. The building of the Iveagh Markets began in 1902 and were completed in 1906.

Like many modern building projects costs soon over ran the budget. Originally budgeted for £45,000, the final cost was about £60,000 a very substantial sum in those days. For many decades the Iveagh Markets once housed a bustling market activity of new and second-hand clothing as well as a food market selling grocery and meats.

Over the years the markets were gradually allowed to fall into disrepair by Dublin City Council. In 1997 they were closed and sold to a private developer. Disgracefully, for twenty years the market building was left to rot instead of being developed.

In January 2018, Dublin City Council repossessed the market site, now in an advanced state of dereliction but apart from securing the building no further development has happened.

Dublin and Dubliners deserve better. So, the next time you pass by look up and enjoy the sculptures and wonder at the inaction of Dublin City Council allowing an architectural gem fall into ruin.

Pics by Harry Warren

Yesterday.

Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Harry Warren writes:

Even in lockdown, Autumn is a wonderful time in Dublin when the parks and gardens turn to bright golden hues of yellow, red and brown.

The sun sets early casting long evening shadows highlighting Autumnal colours to enjoy.

I would heartily recommend a stroll in Dublin’s Phoenix Park to view the beautiful trees and wildlife in abundance and after your gentle exertions perhaps a visit to the wonderful octagonal Victorian Tea Rooms (above0) to enjoy a fresh tea or coffee.

Pics by Harry Warren

Some Neck Guitars.

4 Dean Street, Dublin 8,

Harry Warren writes:

I visited Some Neck Guitars recently to have a guitar repaired. They did an excellent professional job for a very fair price. They are doing their best to support the live music industry in Ireland, despite the assault on it due to the Corona Virus restrictions.

Some Neck Guitars is Dublin City’s first dedicated classic Vintage and Modern guitar and amp store. Apart from a very friendly and helpful staff they have an excellent range of classic guitars and amplifiers for sale. They also offer a full and comprehensive guitar set up and repair service.

Name those ‘axes’, anyone?

Pics by Harry Warren

Sheridan Le Fanu’s grave.

Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6.

Harry Warren writes:

At Halloween, many trick or treaters will be dressed in vampire costumes due to the enduring legacy of the 1897 novel Dracula, by Irish author Bram Stoker.

The novel was also immortalised on screen by many great actors, Max Schreck playing the cadaverous vampire Count Orlok in F.W. Murnau‘s 1922 silent classic “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror“.

Then Bela Lugosi‘s genre defining Dracula in 1931 and later in the superb Gothic horror films of Dracula starring Christopher Lee as the count.

Most people today associate Stoker as the originator of the vampire in modern novels but Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu can be rightly credited as having written the first vampire story.

Le Fanu belonged to an old Dublin Huguenot family. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he published 14 novels and wrote superb stories featuring the supernatural, Uncle Silas (1864), The House by the Churchyard (1863) and a book of five long stories, probably his best work, In a Glass Darkly (1872).

The book was published 26 years before Bram Stoker’s novel also includes his classic Gothic vampire story “Carmilla“, arguably the first time a vampire appears in a modern story. The story tells of a young woman preyed upon by a female vampire. “Carmilla” popularised the theme of the female vampire replete with hints of lesbianism.

Sheridan Le Fanu rests today in Dublin’s wonderfully atmospheric Victorian Harold’s Cross cemetery. His grave has a notable plaque ” Here Lies Dublin’s Invisible Prince, Novelist and Writer of Ghost Stories”.

I would recommend a visit this weekend.

Previously: Harry’s Dublin

Pics by Harry Warren

St Audoen’s Church High Street, The Liberties, Dublin 8

Scare easily?

DON’T read on.

Harry Warren writes:

This Halloween, if you find yourself on an autumns evening walking by St Audoen’s Church in Dublin and you notice something from the corner of your eye in the shadows, bear in mind that this is a church well known for its share of supernatural activity.

The church dates from 1190 and was built by the Anglo Normans on a much earlier Christian site. St Audoen’s is the only remaining medieval parish church in Dublin. It is dedicated to the 7th century bishop of Rouen and patron saint of Normandy, St Ouen.

In the 18th century the church bordered a notorious part of the city then known as “Hell”. The church steps lead down to the only remaining gatehouse of the original Dublin City Wall, the “Gate of Hell”.

The area was a haunt for thieves, vagrants and all kinds of evildoers. It was infamous for its licentiousness and extreme violence and debauchery. In the 18th century there were various apprentice guilds in Dublin with intense rivalry between them.

A gang known as the Liberty Boys who were weavers from nearby Pimlico a part of the Liberties area, engaged in gang warfare with the Ormonde Boys, apprentice butchers from the banks of the river Liffey.

Fierce fights often resulted in bloodshed. The victorious hung their victims’ bodies from the archway over the “Gate of Hell” as a warning to their enemies. Today people walking up these ancient steps have felt unseen presences, heard ghostly footsteps and witnessed shadows flitting beneath the archway.

Around the grounds of St. Audoen’s there are reports of ghostly apparitions of murder victims, lepers and the shade of the notorious Dorcas “Darkey” Kelly the brothel madam of the Maiden Tower brothel on Copper Alley off Fishamble Street Her apparition appears as “The Green Lady” walking down the curved steps to “The Gate of Hell”.

Kelly may have been Dublin’s first female serial killer and was a favourite of the notorious Simon Luttrell the Sheriff of Dublin. Luttrell was a member of the House of Commons and the first Earl of Carhampton. He was also a Satanist and member of The Hellfire Club. Luttrell was rumoured to have impregnated Kelly and fathered her baby.

Kelly was very successful at her business but she had a hideous fate after being accused of the killing of a shoemaker, John Dowling. During the ensuing investigation the bodies of five customers were found hidden in the vaults in her brothel on Fishamble St. She protested her innocence of murder but it was to no avail. Darkey Kelly was judged guilty and met a gruesome end.

Her execution in 1761 was carried out on Gallows Road on what is now Baggot Street. Kelly was tied to a wooden post, then she was partially strangled by a rope and chain fastened with two spikes to cut and crush into the neck and whilst still agonisingly alive, was then cruelly burned to death at the stake.

The frequently witnessed female apparition of “The Green Lady” in the grounds of St. Audoen’s is said to be Darkey Kelly’s restless spirit. As a convicted murderess and woman of ill-repute she was not allowed to be buried on sanctified ground and her spirit is condemned to wander for ever more.

So, the next time you are walking in this area on your own, be aware that the shiver that made the hairs on your neck stand up and what you imagined you seen or heard perhaps was not your imagination after all.

Happy Halloween.

Pics by Harry Warren