A brief history of Dublin in a nutshell
A brief tour of the history of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, in a nutshell.
Dublin and its Viking origin
Dublin was founded by the Vikings. They founded a new city on the south bank of the Liffey in the year 841. It was called Dubh Linn, which means black pool. The new city of Dublin was fortified with a ditch and earth wall with a wooden palisade on top.
In the late 11th century stone walls were built around Dublin. The Danes also erected an artificial hill where the men of Dublin met to make laws and discuss policy.
In Viking Dublin, living conditions were primitive. The houses were wooden huts with thatched roofs. None of them had chimneys or glass windows. In Dublin there were craftsmen such as blacksmiths and carpenters, jewelers and leatherworkers. Other craftsmen made things like bone combs or deer antlers. There was also a woolen weaving industry. In Dublin there was also a slave trade.
The Danes slowly converted to Christianity and the first Bishop of Dublin was appointed in 1028. In his time the first Christchurch Cathedral was built. In the wars between the Irish and the Vikings, the small city of Dublin was sacked several times.
However, each time he recovered. Dublin soon became the largest and most important city in Ireland. It may have had a population of 4,000 in the 11th century. That seems very small to us, but it was a large city by the standards of the time, when settlements were very small.
In the late 11th century there was a suburb of Dublin to the north of the Liffey. In those days the people of Dublin traded with the English cities of Chester and Bristol.
In 1166 MacMurrough, King of Leinster, was forced to abandon his kingdom and flee abroad, and in 1169 he enlisted the help of a Norman, the Earl of Pembroke, known as Strongbow, who invaded Ireland. As the Norman army approached Dublin, the Archbishop was sent to negotiate.
But while the leaders spoke, some Norman soldiers took matters into their own hands and broke through the defenses into the city. They began to kill the townspeople. The Viking king and his followers fled by sea.
In 1171 Mac Murrough died and Strongbow declared himself King of Leinster. The Viking king returned to Ireland with an army and attempted to recapture Dublin. The Norman army came out to meet him. The Vikings were crushed and their king captured and executed. The native Irish under King O’Connor laid siege to Dublin, but the Normans rushed in and defeated them.
The English king was afraid that Strongbow would become too powerful and might call himself King of Ireland. To prevent that from happening, the English king reached out to Ireland. Most of the Irish rulers submitted to him and he became Lord of Ireland. The English king gave Dublin to the merchants of Bristol.
It became their colony. Later, many people from Bristol and the South West of England came to live in Dublin. For centuries Dublin was ruled by English people or people of English descent.
The Viking inhabitants were afraid of the new English rulers and moved to the north side of the Liffey. This new suburb became known as Ostmantown (Ostman is an old word for Viking). Over time this became corrupted in Oxmantown.
In 1152 the Bishop of Dublin was appointed Archbishop. Between 1172 and 1191 Christchurch Cathedral was rebuilt. In 1213 the parish church of Saint Patrick was also converted into a cathedral.
In 1190 Dublin was devastated by fire (always a danger when most buildings were made of wood). However, Dublin was soon rebuilt. The Normans built a wooden fortress in Dublin. At the beginning of the 13th century it was rebuilt in stone.
The English king also rebuilt the walls of Dublin and reinforced them. Also, in 1229 Dublin got its first mayor. Dublin grew rapidly and may have had a population of 8,000 in the 13th century.
Wine from France was imported into Dublin. Iron and ceramics were also imported. Exports included hides, grains, and legumes. There were weekly markets in Dublin and after 1204 a fair. In the Middle Ages the fairs were like a market, but they were only held once a year for a few days and people came from all over the country to buy and sell there.
In 1224 a conduit was built to bring fresh water to Dublin. In the 14th century the main streets were paved. But like all medieval cities, Dublin was very unhealthy. Each householder was supposed to clean the street in front of his house, although it is doubtful that many did.
From time to time people were fined for leaving nuisances such as manure heaps outside their houses. In 1305 the city appointed 3 watchmen to patrol the streets at night, although it is doubtful that they were very effective.
In 1317 Dublin was besieged by a Scottish army. Following their victory at Bannockburn in 1314, the Scots invaded Ireland. Desperate efforts were made to repair the walls around Dublin and the bridge over the Liffey was destroyed to prevent the Scots from using it.
Finally, the authorities set fire to the suburbs of Dublin (in case they provided cover for an advancing army). Unfortunately, the fire got out of control and destroyed many more buildings than intended. Shortly after, the Scots abandoned the site.
In 1537 there was a rebellion in Dublin. The Lord Deputy for Ireland (The English Kings’ Deputy) was summoned to London. He appointed his son Vice Director to govern in his absence. This young man was Lord Fitzgerald.
He learned that his father had been executed and decided to rage and rebel. He entered the council chamber during a meeting and renounced his allegiance to the English king. He then left Dublin to rally support.
When he returned, the Dubliners submitted and let him into the city, but the soldiers loyal to the king retreated to the castle and shut out the rebels. The rebels assassinated the archbishop, which was a fatal mistake, as they lost the support of public opinion. Fitzgerald sent a small number of men to besiege the castle, then left Dublin to fight elsewhere.
However, the Dubliners turned on him and drove the men besieging the castle out of the city. Later, Fitzgerald and his men returned to Dublin, but this time they were excluded. They tried to burn down a gate, but the Dubliners came out and drove the attackers away. Reinforcements arrived from England and the rebellion collapsed. Fitzgerald was later executed.
The Reformation happened peacefully in Dublin. When Henry VIII declared himself head of the church, Dubliners celebrated. Henry closed the monasteries and nunneries, which caused some resentment, but no real rebellion. Henry also abolished the cult of relics, but otherwise made few changes to the religion.
His son Edward and daughter Elizabeth introduced more radical reforms, but in Dublin and the rest of Ireland they were ignored. Most of the people continued to practice the old Catholic religion.
In the 16th century, Dublin prospered. For the upper and middle classes there was an impressive increase in the standard of living. One writer said that they lived in houses “so far removed from their ancestors that they have been thought to be rather another and new people than descendants of the old.”
Previously, most houses simply had a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. In the 16th century fireplaces became much more common. Also glass windows. Before they were a luxury that few people could afford.
Although conditions improved for the better off, there were many beggars in Dublin. Many of them moved away from the surrounding countryside. Furthermore, Dublin was still dirty and unhealthy, like all cities in the 16th century. And he suffered from plague outbreaks.
An outbreak in 1579 killed thousands of people. Another tragedy in 1596 when a gunpowder store in Winetavern Street exploded. More than 120 people died.
In 1591, Queen Elizabeth chartered a new university, Trinity College. The first students were admitted in 1594.
In 1604 Dublin was again visited by the plague. However, Dublin continued to grow and may have had a population of around 20,000 in 1640. In 1616, Dublin gained its first street lighting when it was decreed that a candle or lantern be hung outside every fifth house on dark nights. In 1621 a customs house was built. In 1637 Dublin got its first theater in Werburgh Street.
After the English Civil War of 1642-1646, Catholics were expelled from Dublin in large numbers as their loyalty was suspect.
Plague broke out again in 1650. A large part of the population died, possibly as many as half. Dublin was then said to be ‘excessively depopulated’. In 1659 the population was less than 9,000 inhabitants. However, Dublin recovered and prospered in the late 17th century.
In 1662, Phoenix Park was built as a deer park. In the mid-18th century it became a popular place to walk. Meanwhile, for centuries Dublin had only one bridge. A second was built in 1670. Dublin’s first newspaper was published in 1685.
Dublin continued to grow and many new houses were built. In 1670 a law prohibited new houses from having thatched roofs due to the danger of fire. New houses used to be brick with tile roofs.
Meanwhile, in 1665, the Lord Mayor of Dublin became Lord Mayor and the Blue Coat School opened in 1669. It was rebuilt in 1773. The Tholsel, the town hall, was rebuilt in 1682 and a Royal Hospital for Old Men was built in 1685. soldiers. It is currently the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
In the late 17th century, the wool and linen trade with England grew. The industry was fueled by French Protestants who came to Dublin after fleeing religious persecution.
In 1700 Dublin had around 60,000 inhabitants and was still growing rapidly. Conditions continued to improve in the eighteenth century, at least for the middle and upper classes. Dublin became a more refined and gentle city (for good) but there was still a great deal of poverty.
Marsh’s Library was built in 1701 and in 1703 the Irish Parliament passed an Act to build a workhouse where the destitute (of which there were many) could be housed and fed.
Then in 1711 Dublin got its first fire brigade and in 1720 St Anns Church was built. Dublin grew rapidly in the 18th century. Streets like Aungier Street, Cuffe Street and Dawson Street were built at the turn of the century. Merrion Square was built in 1762.
Several hospitals were founded at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1729 a hospital for unwanted children (of which there were many) was opened in James Street. Jervis Hospital, opened in 1721, was founded in 1734 by Mary Mercer.
In 1745 St Patricks Hospital for the mentally ill was built and in 1752 the Maternity Rotunda. In 1794 a dispensary was founded which gave free medicine to those too poor to buy it.
College Park was founded in 1722. In the mid-18th century, Phoenix Park became a fashionable place for wellies to take walks. Ranelagh Gardens opened in 1776. The Botanic Gardens were built in 1795. In the late 18th century, St Stephens Green became a park.
Parliament House, a new meeting place for the Irish Parliament, was built in 1735. Leinster House, which is the current seat of the Irish Parliament, was built in 1745 for the Duke of Leinster. In 1791 a new Customs House was built. The Lonja Real was built in 1779 and later (1852) it became the Town Hall.
In 1757 the Irish Parliament passed an act creating a body of men with powers to widen the streets. In 1773 a body of men was formed with power to pave, clean and light the streets of Dublin. Its powers were transferred to the city council in 1851.
In the mid-18th century, stagecoaches began to run from Dublin to other cities such as Kilkenny, Cork and Belfast. There was a considerable coach manufacturing industry in the city. There were also plenty of sedan chairs for the well and the Grand Canal was opened in 1779. O’Connell Bridge was built in 1790.
In 1786 Dublin got its first police force and Kilmainham Prison was built in 1796. Guinness meanwhile was first brewed in Dublin in 1759.
By 1800 Dublin’s population had grown to about 180,000. In 1803 and 1804 fever hospitals were opened in Dublin. The most common fever was typhus, sometimes called goal fever, because it was so common in prisons. Lice spread typhus.
Poor people often had lousy clothes. There was still a lot of dire poverty in the city, with many families living in one room. In all European cities at the time there was terrible poverty, but it seems to have been especially bad in Dublin.
Several new bridges were built over the Liffey in the early 19th century. O’Donovan Rossa Bridge was built in 1813. Ha’penny Bridge (also called Liffey Bridge) opened in 1816 and Kingsbridge in 1828. (Its name was later changed to Heuston Bridge). Queen Victoria Bridge, now the Rory O’More Bridge, was built in 1859.
The Royal Canal was opened in 1817. Meanwhile, a column with a statue of Nelson on top was erected in 1808. It was destroyed in the 1960s. In 1825 the Protestant St. Mary’s Cathedral was built. However, in 1855 the Dublin Fair, which had been held every year in Dublin since the 13th century, was stopped.
Little by little, during the 19th century, conditions in Dublin improved. A gasworks was built in Dublin in 1824 and gas was used to light the streets from 1825. The first electric lights in Dublin were switched on in 1881, but electric lighting was a rare novelty until the early 20th century.
Sewers were installed in the early 19th century, but only in Dublin’s middle-class neighborhoods (poor areas could not afford the necessary fees). But the sewers were expanded in the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s.
The railway reached Dublin in 1834 when a line to Kingsbridge was built. Horse-drawn buses started running in Dublin in 1840. They were followed by horse-drawn trams in 1872.
From 1838 there were workhouses in Dublin where the destitute were fed and housed. During the potato famine they were overwhelmed by the number of people fleeing famine in the countryside.
Soup kitchens had to be set up in the streets to try to feed them. Although Ireland ‘s population fell sharply after the famine, Dublin’s population actually increased due to the number of starving people fleeing to the city.
Services in Dublin greatly improved in the 19th century. In 1853 an industrial exhibition was held in Dublin, on Leinster Lawn. The Zoological Gardens opened in Phoenix Park in 1830. Portobello Gardens opened as a park in 1839.
In 1857 a Natural History Museum was opened. The National Gallery of Ireland opened in 1864. In 1882 a monument to O’Connell was erected in O’Connell Street. The Gaiety Theater opened in 1871. The National Museum of Ireland opened in 1890.
The Catholic University of Dublin was founded in 1845. Catholics were allowed to attend Trinity College after 1873, but the Catholic Church disapproved of Catholics going there. Glasnevin Catholic Cemetery opened in 1832. A new fruit and vegetable market opened in 1892 and a new fish market opened in 1897.
On April 24, 1916, Easter took place in Dublin. The insurgents occupied the Post Office in O’Connell Street where their leader Patrick Pearse announced an Irish Republic. However, the British crushed the rebellion and the insurgents surrendered on April 29.
However, conditions in Dublin continued to improve throughout the 20th century. A new sewer network was built in Dublin in 1892-1906. Butt Bridge was built in 1932. The Talbot Memorial Bridge was built in 1978 and the Frank Sherwin Memorial Bridge in 1982.
The East Link Toll Bridge was built in 1985. A ring road around Dublin was built in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, in 1904 the Abbey Theater was built. The Gate Theater followed in 1930. In 1907 the Irish International Exhibition was held in Herbert Park. It was an exhibition of industrial and commercial products. However, in the early 20th century there was still appalling poverty in Dublin, with perhaps a quarter of families living in one room.
In 1912 the demolition of the slums began when the houses north of the Liffey were demolished and replaced with proper houses. Large-scale slum clearance began in the 1930s and continued through the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1934 the Old Dublin Society was formed. In May 1941 the Germans bombed Dublin killing 28 people. The Dublin Civic Museum opened in 1953. In 1962 the James Joyce Museum opened. In 1966 a Garden of Remembrance was opened for all those who died in the fight for independence and in 1976 the Friends of Medieval Dublin were founded.
A redevelopment of the city center took place in the 1960s and 1970s, some of it controversial as it involved the demolition of high-quality old buildings.
In the late 20th century, the population of the inner city dwindled due to the demolition of slums and their replacement by new housing developments on the outskirts of the city, but in the 1990s new apartments were built in the inner city. from the city.
At the end of the 20th century, traditional industries such as textiles, brewing and distilling declined, but the city council built new industrial estates on the outskirts of the city and new industries such as electronics, chemistry and engineering appeared.
In 1975 the Dublin Institute of Higher Education was created. In 1990 the University of Dublin was created. The Catholic Church reversed its ban on Catholics attending Trinity College in 1970.
In 1988 Dublin celebrated its millennium. (Dublin was founded in the year 841, but in the year 988 an Irish king forced the city’s inhabitants to pay taxes to him. That year marks the beginning of Dublin as an Irish city.) Also in 1988 the Anna Livia Fountain was built on O’Connell Street.
A statue of James Joyce was erected on Earl Street North in 1990. In 1985 a Jewish museum opened in Dublin. In 1991 the Dublin Writers Museum was opened. Also in 1991 the Irish Museum of Modern Art opened.
After 1991 Temple Bar was renovated. The streets were once pedestrianized and now contain bars, shops, restaurants, and art galleries. In addition, George Bernard Shaw’s birthplace in Dublin was opened to the public in 1993. Also in 1993, the Museum of Medieval Ireland opened in Dublin.
In 1997 a Visitors Center was opened at Customs. Meanwhile, Powerscourt Shopping Center opened in 1981 in a house built in 1774. St Stephens Green Shopping Center was built in the late 1980s and Jervis Street Shopping Center opened in 1996.
In the 21st century, Dublin continued to prosper. In 2000 a new pedestrian bridge, the Millennium Bridge, was opened across the Liffey, and in 2003 The Spire was built. Trams returned to Dublin in 2004. The Dublin Convention Center opened in 2010. The Bord Gais Energy Theater opened in the same year, 2010. Dublin’s population today is 554,000.
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