Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Zoological Gardens & Snippets of Dublin Heritage

Their is not a citizen of Dublin's fare city that those not hold fond memories of a childhood day out at Dublin Zoo. One of the oldest zoos in the world, established in 1830 when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland granted the zoological society use of a portion of Phoenix Park; the purpose of creating a menagerie. The area of the zoo was three and half acres, and with an additional four acres of lake. The architect of London Zoo Decimus Burton prepared plans for the Dublin Zoo for a fee of £75.

In 1841 an admission price of a penny was introduced and more than 81,000 people paid for entrance to the zoo. In 1844 the zoo received its first giraffe and in 1855 it bought its first pair of lions. Most famous loin of Dublin Zoo can be seen on the MGM Logo, the lion was filmed in Dublin zoo. The Zoo has-had some success in breeding lions. In fact, from 1857 to 1965, some 593 cubs were born in Dublin Zoo; more than any other zoo in the world.

In 1994 the minster for finance, Bertie Ahearn TD, approved a massive £15 million investment for Dublin's zoological gardens over ten years. Which seen the development of the African Plans. The new area allows animals of African origin to roam more freely. This investment has made the zoo one of the most popular tourist attraction in Dublin City. Furthermore, if you are planning to visit the zoo, there are many other historic attractions within walking distance. Collins Barracks Museum, and the Wellington Monument Phoenix Park visitor center is ideal for picking up information on heritage attractions in the area.

Chris Thackaberry historian and Failte Ireland approved tour guide. Visit Irish Heritage Tours for information on visiting Island of Ireland. I have placed many links into my articles so explore Irelands history and heritage and enjoy.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin & Glorious Revolution

St Patrick's Cathedral during the 1680s makes for an interesting study, specially for those of us whom are interested in the whole period of the Glorious Revolution. At a time when liberty of conscience, and the independence of the cathedral was under attack from King James's regime and the Roman Catholic church.

The death of Charles II in 1665 brought his Catholic brother, James II, to the throne. At first the signs of change were muted. The protestant lord lieutenant, Lord Clarendon, attempted to soothe fears and after the initial concerns at the accession of a Catholic many behaved as though no significance had occurred. However, in January 1687 during the dean's visitation, Batholomew Isaac, one of the vicars choral who had been appointed in 1685, was found to be negligent in his duties and was dismissed, to which he responded that he had "embraced the Catholic religion being that of his sovereign, which forbade him to pray or to officiate with the chapter at divine service." Isaac appealed the decision to the King and received a letter for his reinstatement with a dispensation from serving in the choir. The dean and chapter refused to reinstate him.

The death of Dean Worth in April 1688 was potentially disastrous for St Patrick's cathedral since, given the asertion of the right of appointment by the crown under James II. It seemed that St Patrick's would fall under Roman Catholic control in the way that Christ Church Cathedral had done earlier in the same year. However, King James delayed in appointing a dean, apparently wishing to keep the deanery vacant so that he could use the income for his own ends. Funding his standing army being one reson. The chapter moved independently by electing William King , then chancellor of the cathedral, as president. In effect King was acting Dean. The chapter then petitioned the lord deputy, Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnell, for an election but this was refused citing the crown's claim to the right of presentation. It seems that the lord deputy intended to keep the deanery vacant, thus depleting the number of Church of Ireland clergy and securing income for the crown.

In a bold move in January 1689 the chapter acted again in defense of the reformed faith and independence of the cathedral, by asking the archbishop for permission to hold an election, based on the chapter's right to be able to elect the dean, and William King was duly appointed dean and installed in February 1689. The Church of Ireland A History of the Church of Ireland 1691-2001 responded promptly to fill the resulting vacancy in the chancellorship by appointing Samuel Foley. Not only was the Williamite war at its height in Ireland; with the siage of Londonderry, but there was real resistance to the rule of King James in Dublin specially within the chapter of St Patrick's cathedral.

Whatever limited victory had been achieved by the chapter of the cathedral this was negated by Dean Kings arrest and imprisonment in the tower of Dublin Castle in July 1689 by King James Jacobite forces then in Dublin. King moved quickly in appointing Henry Price as his sub-dean. This was clearly a dangerous situation not only for the dean but for the whole chapter and the reformed faith. On 22 Oct 1689 only three members of the chapter appeared for a meeting to deal with matters relating to the diocese of which it was custodian. Two days later only four were present at the adjourned meeting and three had sent proxies. The situation was all the more dangerous since Catholic clergy were collecting 'tithes' from protestants at St Patrick's. Fear of arrest ran through every protestant house hold of Dublin.

The Light of Liberty Shines: The battle of the Boyne 1st July 1690 opened Dublin up to the Williamite Army. On 5th July King William III entered the city and rode "in great splendor" to St Patrick's where a Te deume was sung and Dean William King preached before the King. Why St Patrick's cathedral should have been chosen for this honor over the diocesan cathedral of Christ Church is not clear. It may well be that the position of Christ Church was felt to be compromised since it had been seized by the Catholics and used for Mass while St Patrick's resisted and held out against the Jacobite regime. In the months after the battle of the Boyne was marked by a series of sermons at St Patrick's that had the distinction of being printed. Both the 23 Oct and 5 Nov sermons preached there were printed and on the 16 Nov another thanksgiving service for the preservation of William III was also preached there it to was printed. Many of the French Hugonotes whom fled the city to take up arms with William of Orange came back to their homes in the "Tenters" area of the city. One of the first Williamite societies was established in this old French area of Dublin "the aldermen of Skinner Ally". The economic life of the cathedral and the city blossomed in the 18th century. Within seventy years after Williams victory, Dublin went from being a minor trading city in the British Isles to being the second city of the British Empire.

On visiting St Patrick's you are not only visiting a cathedral but a whole community. As the life of the cathedral is firmly set within the Church of Ireland community. There's many interesting items to be viewed covering 800 years of the cathedral's history. However due to the nature of this article " The Glorious Revolution" I'll bring your attention only to two items. The chair upon which King William III sat during service, and the tomb of General Schomberg, which is situated in Lady's Chapel; who's epitaph was crafted by one of the most famous deans of the Cathedral, Johnathan Swift. The area around the cathedral makes for interesting history which I will cover in future articles i.e Dublin Conservative Club, protestant Hugonotes of the Tenters. You will note that I place many links into my articles so please explore and enjoy Dublin's unique history.

Chris Thackaberry historian Failte Ireland & Dublin Tourism approved Tour Guide. Historical Walking Tours of Dublin including St Patrick's Cathedral and Dublin's Williamite Trail. book through Recommended reading on the history of St Patrick's The Monuments in St Patricks Cathedral Dublin

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


At the outbreak of the Rising on Monday 14th April 1916, the unarmed DMP were recalled from duty in the streets of Dublin and confined to their stations. On 29 April a state of martial law was proclaimed The Dublin Metropolitan Police, though unarmed, had three of its members killed and seven wounded during the Rising of 1916: Four DMP Constables though unarmed, received the King's Police Medal in recognition of their gallantry and service in arresting looters and insurgents during the rebellon, Ser. Patrick Haugh, Con. Thomas Barret, Con, James H. Coulter, Con. John Barton received the King's medal. Dublin Metropolitan Police

D.M.P Constables whom gave their lives in service.
"Constable James Obrien, DMP 9862 (168B), who was on duty at Cork Hill entrance to upper Castle Yard was shot through the face between 11am and 12 am on the 24 th April by an insurgent by the name of O'Casey. He was an actor in the Abbey theater; no relation to the playwright of the same name. Constable O'Brien was born in Kilfergus, Co. Limerick, in 1886 and had 21 years service."

"Constable Michael Lahiff, DMP 11047 (125D), who was on duty in St Stephens Green West was shot by the insurgents at about 12 noon on the 24th April. He received three shots one to the chest and two to the grin while he lay on the ground. He was brought to the Meat Hospitial where he died shortly after his admission. He was born in Kilmurry, Co. Clare, in 1887 and had five years' service."

"Constable William Frith, DMP 10175 (174C) was shot dead by a bullet through the head in a bedroom of store Street police station on 27th April. He was born in Clara, Co. Offaly, in 1878 and had over 17 years service."

"Constable Edward Dunphy, DMP 9804 (35C) was taken prisoner by the Sinn Fein insurgents in the vicinity of Sackville Street (O'connell St) on 24th April and brought to the GPO. he was put out by the insurgents on the 28th. Whilst crossing princes Street he received a bullet to the back and pellets to the side of his face. He was born in Offerlane, Co. Laois, and at the time had 23 years service."

"Constable Thomas Donohoe DMAP 9607 (30D), while passing on duty through Christchurch Place between 12 noon and 1pm. On 24th April, received a gunshort wound on the left forarm. He was medically treated at the Bridewell station and was on sick report from his injuries for 27 days. He was born in 1868 in Drumlumman, Co. Cavan"

Book shops are full of historical literature covering the 1916 rebellion and its leaders. However... there is very little written on the D.M.P and the innocent citizens whom fell pray to the guns of the insurgents in 1916. The typical view that is taken on the rebellion can be summed up in one sweeping statement "the city that fourth an Empire". The reality was, 2000 insurgents went onto the streets of Dublin and murdered their fellow Irish men and women. Many of whom were Nationalist and supporters of home rule. In short these insurgents murdered unarmed policemen and civilians in 1916. It must be stated that the leaders of the rebellion were not executed for their republicanism, nor for the words crafted in the proclamation of independence. They were executed for murder and the brake-down of civil society which was witnessed over the week long rebellion.
By the time we reached the terrorist gangs of Michael Collins (1919-1921) every office of civic authority in Ireland was made redundant by the law of the gun. To the extent that when political agreement was reached, through the Anglo Irish Treaty. 704 D.M.P constables retired under article X of the Anglo Irish Treaty. This represented 50% of the Dublin Metropolitan Police

Chris Thackaberry Irish Historian and Failte Ireland & Dublin Tourism approved tour guide. If you are visiting Dublin Castle then pop into the Garda Museum . For information on historical and literary walking tours visit