Category: The Neighbourhood of the Four Courts

In the Footsteps of Kings: Chancery Place, 1224-1916

Chancery Place, on the eastern side of the Four Courts, was originally a much narrower street known as Mass Lane.  The buildings on its western side sat close against the eastern wing of the Four Courts until they were demolished by the Commissioners of Public Works in the early 19th century. The above image from the 1840s shows Chancery Place following these changes and – aside from differences in vehicles, costume, and traffic regulation, and the replacement of the perimeter wall read more

The Brats of Mountrath Street, 1867-1890

From the Freeman’s Journal, 27 May 1867:


Dear Sir-

I beg, through the medium of your influential journal, to call the attention of the authorities to an assemblage of ill-behaved boys and girls that meet nightly at the corner of the above mentioned localities, throwing stones and making use of the most obscene language to passers-by.  Whilst passing through Chancery-place from my business the other evening I was struck with a stone and cut severely.  read more

The ‘Cleansing’ of Bull Lane, 1878

From the Freeman’s Journal, 1 March 1879:

During the past few months, quietly and unknown to the general public, a work has been in progress in Dublin calculated to materially benefit the city.  By a judicious use of the authority vested in them and a rigid exercise of their legal powers, the police have succeeded in thoroughly cleansing that den of infamy, a disgrace known as Bull-Lane. 

The existence of this moral plague spot has been for very many years a shame to civilisation read more

The Goat of Morgan Place, 1881

From the Freeman’s Journal, 22 April 1882:


A fish dealer named Ennis was charged by Police Constable 69D with having stolen a goat, the property of Mr Alexander Blyth, Four Courts.  A workman named Michael Higgins, in the employment of the Board of Works, stated that he saw the prisoner take the goat away, which was grazing on the plot of grass near the law courts in Morgan Place, about twelve o’clock today.  Witness followed the prisoner and gave read more

The Cruel Master, 1778

A sad story tonight, from Saunders’ News-Letter, 30 January 1778, involving a murder and secret burial in the graveyard of St Michan’s Church next to the Law Library buildings at 158/9 Church Street.

“Last week one of those chimney sweepers who employ a number of boys or children, adapted in their size to the narrowest tunnel, brought a small creature to make his first effay in a chimney in Dirty-Lane, Thomas-Street; when the poor child attempted to ascend, a sudden fear seized him from read more

Beneath the East Wing: The Inns Quay Infirmary, 1728-89

The above image shows the site of the Four Courts as surveyed by John Roque in 1756, when it was still owned by the Benchers of the King’s Inns. You can see what is left of the old Priory/King’s Inns buildings on the far left. Much of the rest of the site has been built on – sometimes, but not always, with the permission of the Benchers.

The Charitable Infirmary started life in Cook Street in 1718, but soon ran out of space and was delighted to take up in 1728 an offer to move read more

The (Would-be) Serial Killer of Church Street, 1861

From the Belfast Morning News, 2 January 1861:

“Joseph Dwyer is now in custody on a charge of having made one of the most daring and diabolical attempts to deprive a fellow-creature of life, for the mere purpose of pecuniary gain, that perhaps the world ever heard of. A young man of simple appearance, scarcely to be known out of his own street, had taken a stable which he sought to convert into a slaughter-house and a cemetery.

The stable in question had been, it is said, in the possession read more

Cockfighting in Arran Square, 1844

From the Freeman’s Journal, 15 April 1844:

In consequence of a communication by the secretary for the prevention of cruelty, instructions were given to the police to look sharply after a cockfighting match about to come off in Hammond-Lane. The police proceeded to the place at the specified time, and the result was an introduction of twenty five persons to answer a charge having been present at, and encouraged the fight…

Mr Superintendent Selwood… proved that the cockfight read more

Armed Footpad Overpowered in Church Street, c. 1800

From the Freeman’s Journal, 30 January 1882:

A curious reminiscence of… old Dublin life turned up at one of the central [police] stations on Friday… [A]n old gentleman entered the station… and produced a small silver-mounted flint pistol, evidently of the last century… He said that he was most anxious to obtain a licence for the weapon, and… related the following story:-

His grandfather was a colonel in the East India Company’s service… read more

The Hammond Lane Explosion, 1878

From the Freeman’s Journal, 29 April 1878:

“On Saturday afternoon Dublin was startled and horrified by one of the most appalling accidents which has ever taken place in this metropolis – an accident by which no less than fourteen fellow creatures have lost their lives, and by which a dreadful amount of suffering, sorrow, misery and bereavement has been caused.

The scene of this awful occurrence was Hammond-Lane, a narrow laneway situated in the poor and populous district read more