Tuesday 10 March 2015

New book reveals 'Google Street View' of Dublin 1847

Published by IHTA, Royal Irish Academy
A new book, Dublin 1847: city of the Ordnance Survey, will be of interest to those with ancestors from the capital, as well as those with a wider interest in Ireland at the time of the Famine. The title may not be the most appealing – except to those weirdo geogeeks, myself included, who just love maps – but don't be put off.

In the book, author Dr Frank Cullen presents forty-five extracts from the large scale (1:1056) map of the city, each extract accompanied by a detailed commentary. Sites such as King’s Bridge Railway Station (Heuston Station), Sackville Street (O’Connell Street) and Trinity College Dublin, are portrayed alongside distinctive areas such as the Liberties, St Mark’s Maritime Quarter and the Grand Canal Harbour.

The map has been described as the Victorian equivalent of Google Street View and captures every house, garden, yard and pump in the capital; trees, vegetation and building interiors are all depicted in addition to the sewers and water mains beneath the city streets.

Thes book depicts the multi-faceted nature of the mid-nineteenth century Dublin City. For example:
  • Did you know that in 1847 Ireland was the best mapped country in the world?
  • Long-forgotten street names such as Cut Throat Lane and Murdering Lane reflected the depravity of the district around the South Dublin Union Workhouse (present day St James’s Hospital)
  • Whiskey and Guinness rescued Christchurch and St Patrick’s Cathedral, which, considering the association between the temperance movement and the church in 19th-century Dublin, is more than a little ironic
Dublin 1847: city of the Ordnance Survey is published by the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA), Royal Irish Academy, in association with Dublin City Council. Price €15. ISBN: 978-1-908996-35-0.

The IHTA project was established in 1981 and sets out to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns, both large and small. The IHTA is also part of a wider European scheme where over 500 towns and cities have been published following similar guidelines. To date Limerick, Ennis and Belfast are among the twenty-six town atlases published. Find out more about IHTA.