Michael's Lane, Dublin City

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Where: Dublin, Ireland

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When: Unknown

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Today we go from the grandeur of the Great Northern Hotel to inner city Dublin with plenty of life and points of interest to ponder. Is that a "Fagins" of urchins on the left foreground? What do you call a group of urchins?

Apart from what to call the gaggle/huddle of "urban youth" on the left, with thanks especially to Niall McAuley, swordscookie, sharon.corbet, pellethepoet, O Mac and others, we learned a lot about Michael's Lane close to Christ Church in Dublin. We learned that this image was likely taken close to the end of the 19th or very early 20th century. When the lane was a particularly poverty stricken area - with between 3 and 4 families to each small house on the lane. The main profession (as seemingly evidenced by what we see hanging around - other than the kids) was that of "clothes broker". A trade also plied on nearby Winetavern St/Michael's Hill.

See the full set of comments for links, images and the 1914 inquiry into the conditions on the lane - published shortly before the area was redeveloped to more closely resemble how it appears today.


Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date:Between 1865 - 1914

NLI Ref: L_CAB_08895

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 72503
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio glassnegative nationallibraryofireland michaelslane dublin tenements lane christchurch clothesbrokers cookstreet michaelshill lawrencephotographcollection

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  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 08:53:00

    OSI 25" link

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    AndyBrii

    • 15/Jan/2016 08:57:41

    A group of urchins = a herd or a vagrant ! researchmaniacs.com/CollectiveNouns/Animals/What-is-a-gro... Alternative answer = a school . www.answers.com/Q/What_is_a_group_of_sea_urchins_called

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    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:03:17

    Now Saint Michael's Close (Streetview) There was a fashion for renaming Lanes as anything else, like Blackhorse Lane to Blackhorse Avenue, because the city was a kip full of tenements and Avenue sounded more suburban and classy. Now things have come 180, and everyone wants to be cool and urban and live in a lane.

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    Swordscookie

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:05:32

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley And yet Niall this image seems to show a much steeper drop than I remember in St. Michaels Close? I love this shot, the whole insight it gives to life on a city street at that time!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:07:01

    I love how, in this narrow little lane, there is a water hydrant right in the middle of the road!

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    Wendy:

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:09:37

    So many items of interest!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:13:56

    Surely French could not resist turning his camera 90º right to take a picture of Christ Church?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:17:35

    This one is from very nearby - upstairs in the dump three houses to the right. Edited, thanks [https://www.flickr.com/photos/swordscookie] !

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    Swordscookie

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:20:59

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley That's not a hydrant in the sense of fire fighting Niall, that is the water supply for the street! We used to call them pumps though you turned a knob on the side rather than pump a handle!

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    Swordscookie

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:22:54

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Your "This one" link is not picking out that shot Niall!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:26:20

    Wow, I had literally never before seen a picture of Christ Church before its 1870s reconstruction! I think that would be well worth sticking up on Flickr on its own day, Marys!

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  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:33:59

    During reconstruction (again) in 1990 from the archive.

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    pellethepoet

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:34:04

    A gutter of street urchins? A burden of guttersnipes?

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    sharon.corbet

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:36:27

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] Megazoomable version of the reverse view.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:37:53

    I'll suggest a huddle of urchins.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:39:07

    In 1862, there were mostly clothes-brokers in the lane, according to the Thom's directory

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    sharon.corbet

    • 15/Jan/2016 09:44:54

    Apparently it was originally Macgillamocholmog's Street, but the name was changed in the 15th Century...

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    ɹǝqɯoɔɥɔɐǝq

    • 15/Jan/2016 10:45:18

    Hmm ... there is another version of this photo without "Nancy" and "The Artful Dodger" on the street corner. "Bill Sikes" is still in the upper left window, as are the urchins - www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064402873324/

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    pellethepoet

    • 15/Jan/2016 11:28:33

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] That version is likely to be the undigitised L_NS_05174. It looks like it has been scanned from a book. Your alternate version also appears along with the reverse view cited above, both heavily cropped, as part of a double-page spread on pp. 42-43 of Dublin in Bloomtime: The City James Joyce Knew by Cyril Pearl (Angus & Robertson, London, 1969), which gives the National Library of Ireland as the source.

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    O Mac

    • 15/Jan/2016 11:29:54

    In the 1901 Census there are 25 buildings listed (8 unoccupied) on Michael's lane. There are 59 'Head of Households' and 171 residents. Averages: 3.5 families and 10 people a house. There were 41 children between the ages 1 and 10 1901 Census

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    John W Morton

    • 15/Jan/2016 14:28:42

    Those were the days - not an ugly car in sight - glorious.

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    Hannahs Lens

    • 15/Jan/2016 14:29:56

    I love the way the street slopes. I like a " gaggle of urchins" or The huddle is good too.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 15/Jan/2016 21:16:30

    Brilliant. Thanks all. Was especially intrigued to read more about the profession of "clothes broker". The OldDublinTown website has a page on Michael's Hill and Michael's Lane, with some pictures of wares showing on the hill and lane. What I'd imagined to be hanging of "regular" washing in our image here is very likely to be the (sometimes ghostly) wares being aired, washed or shown for sale. Very interesting... Have updated the description, map, etc to try and summarise today's highlights. Thanks again all!

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    RETRO STU

    • 15/Jan/2016 21:59:20

    A huddle of street-urchins, Nancy and the Artful Dodger....love it !

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    O Mac

    • 15/Jan/2016 22:38:27

    Maybe it's just a coincidence vis-a-vis the census occupations and what we see but I'll chance to speculate the date is around 1901 time. The near laundry may have been hung out by Elizabeth Satchwell or her daughters (House #1) and Bridge Carroll, a clothes broker, has the shop two doors down (House #3) There's also clothes outside a house at the bottom of the street which might have been Gaffneys Clothes Broker(House #12) which is twelve houses down. Bridget Carroll is still in House #3 in 1911 but the others have gone. No evidence of course.

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    sam2cents

    • 16/Jan/2016 00:19:15

    One of the most amazing images I've seen in the collection so far.

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    Marjaana Pato

    • 16/Jan/2016 07:34:27

    Superb!! Wonderful story telling image!

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    christinede451

    • 16/Jan/2016 11:01:02

    I love the atmosphere in this picture

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    John Spooner

    • 16/Jan/2016 11:44:22

    I'm a day late to this one, but here's a cautionary tale from Freeman's Journal Thursday, July 22, 1830. Real life in 19th century newspapers is often better than Dickens (in my humble opinion). The moral of the story: If you've got £54 in your pocket, don't trust anyone you meet in Michael's Lane MichaelsLane

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    pellethepoet

    • 16/Jan/2016 13:28:48

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner] Michael Purcell was duly "transported beyond the seas" to New South Wales on the 'Waterloo', sailing from Dublin on 18 December 1830, and arriving in Sydney Harbour on 30 April 1831. - www.historyaustralia.org.au/twconvic/Waterloo+1831. He must have behaved himself, as he was granted a Ticket of Leave (freedom to work and live within a given district of the colony before expiration of sentence). Purcell's assigned district was the County of Argyle. Search his name @ srwww.records.nsw.gov.au/indexsearch/keyname.aspx

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    maorlando - God keeps me as I lean on Him!!

    • 16/Jan/2016 15:44:06

    I luv how y'all manage to take an already interesting photograph of history and make it come alive... wonderful work by all!!! Kudos from one of Irish ancestry that is a 6th gen Texan!!

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    Galway Pete

    • 16/Jan/2016 19:03:08

    The more you look the more you see interesting image.

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    Toni P. Juan

    • 16/Jan/2016 21:38:11

    Very nice shot.

  • profile

    BlueisCoool

    • 16/Jan/2016 22:17:56

    A wonderful photograph from years past, congrats on explore.

  • profile

    raspy money

    • 16/Jan/2016 22:48:43

    an incredible piece of history - absolutely love it!

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    ArtAppreciated

    • 06/Mar/2016 18:14:17

    Love this! It's wonderful that you have made these resources available for the public.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 07/Mar/2016 23:05:35

    Thanks https://www.flickr.com/photos/artappreciated - sometimes the community contributions are just as valuable as our own, but we're delighted to have such a vibrant forum and channel for these images!

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    andrewalston1

    • 19/Mar/2017 16:05:42

    Just found this as I was searching for where my ggg grandparents lived. James & Ann Darress were variously in Michael Lane and Michael Hill. James was a cabinet maker; I have yet to trace his death, but it was probably about 1861. in 1861 there's a newspaper report about Ann: "Anne Darress, late of 9 John's lane, in the City of Dublin; formerly of No. 6 Michael's Hill, broker, now out of business." So it seems that the brokering business had been going on in the area for some time.

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    Archidub1

    • 07/Jun/2020 19:07:31

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/49963505933 June 2020 by the great William Murphy

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    Archidub1

    • 21/Feb/2021 19:46:44

    and from the front in 1964 https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizinitaly/4782510950/in/album-72157624468502834/