In the early 17th century, the area of Dublin presently occupied by Molesworth Street was known as "the lands of Tib and Tom". Dublin citizens gathered here to practice archery and compete at nine-pin bowling. During the reign of Queen Anne, these lands were acquired by the 1st Viscount Molesworth and renamed the Molesworth Fields. Thirty years later, the 3rd Viscount Molesworth, a war comrade of the great Duke of Marlborough, began converting the Molesworth Fields into a handsome residential suburb. The first Georgian townhouses were built on what later became Molesworth Street in about 1727. Following the completion of Leinster House in 1747, Molesworth Street became one of the most prestigious addresses in the capital. Prominent persons associated with the street included the rebel leaders Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Emmet. After the Act of Union, the street's popularity with the social elite began to wane; the sale of Leinster House to the Royal Dublin Society in 1815 certainly signified a new era.
Over the course of the 19th century, the houses along the street became
home to a new class of citizen - primarily doctors, lawyers and scholars.
29 Molesworth Street became the residence of Dr. Samuel Hardy of
the Rotunda Hospital in 1830 and remained in the hands of the medical community
until 1891 when sold to a wine merchant named Francis Little. In
1868, the Freemason's built their principal Hall on the street directly
opposite No. 29. . From 1861 to 1883, an important educational institute
for women was also located here. Buswell's Hotel took in its first overnight
guests in 1884. Molesworth Street survived the violent epidemics of the
early 20th century intact but many of the older buildings were knocked down
to make way for government office blocks in the 1960s and 1970s. Today the
street in primarily occupied by solicitors, embassies, computer firms and
Prior to the 18th century, the area in which Molesworth Street now lies, stood on the outskirts of Dublin City. In medieval times, there are records of Dublin citizens gathering at a place that may have been located here called "Hoggen-butt" to practice archery. Near this was a small range of buildings called "Tib and Tom", where citizens reputedly amused themselves playing French kayles or nine-pins (skittles). (1) These buildings - Tib and Tom - are mentioned in the 1643 will of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, as being mortgaged to him by Sir Theodore Dockwra, and his mother, Lady Anne, for £300; and rented from the mortgagee by Sir Philip Percival at £24 pounds per annum. By the close of the 17th century, the landscape would most likely have been one of low-lying meadows wherein the horses of Dublin's gentry and military officers would have been left out to pasture. During the reign of Queen Anne (1702 - 1714), "the lands of Tib and Tom", were purchased by Robert Molesworth (1656 - 1725), later 1st Viscount Molesworth, and renamed "the Molesworth Fields".
The Molesworth family originated in Northampton where one Anthony Molesworth "from liberal habits and the expenses incurred by entertaining Queen Elizabeth at his seat" utterly bankrupted himself and was forced to sell "the greater part of his landed possession to discharge the incumbrances". Anthony's grandson, Robert Molesworth, served in Cromwell's army during the invasion of Ireland, established himself as a merchant on Dublin's Fishamble Street and profited considerably during the subsequent land settlement. (2) As one source put it, "in order to reduce it [ie: Ireland] to obedience, [he made] three several subscriptions, two of £600 each, and one of £300, for which he obtained two thousand five hundred acres of land in the baronies of Moghergallin and Lune, Co. Meath". (3) He married Judith Bysse, only daughter and sole heiress of John Bysse, the Recorder of Dublin. Bysse lived at Brackenstown House outside Swords, which his father purchased from the Nugent family in the reign of James I. Bysse also owned a substantial estate at Philipstown, Co. Offaly. Both the Swords and Philipstown properties would go on to form part of the Molesworth Estates. (4) Robert Molesworth died on 7th September 1656 and was buried at St. Audeon's Church, Dublin.
The next head of the family, also Robert Molesworth, was born two days after his fathers' death on 9th September 1656. He was probably raised by his mothers' family at Brackenstown. His grandfather, John Bysse, rose to become Chief Baron of the Exchequer under Charles II. In 1675, Robert graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA. On 15th August 1676, shortly before his 20th birthday, he was married in Dublin to Letitia Coote, third daughter of Richard Coote (1620 - 1683), 1st Baron Colooney, and Mary St. George, daughter of George St. George, Deputy Admiral of Connaught. (5) Letitia's brother Richard was created Earl of Bellomont and served as Governor of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire for William III from 1697 until his sudden death in 1701. Robert and Letitia Molesworth subsequently settled at the Bysse seat, Brackenstown House, where according to a letter of 1721 Letitia bore seventeen children, nine of whom were still living at the time.
On 7th May 1689, young Molesworth, an active supporter of the Williamites, was attainted by King James II's Catholic-dominated Irish Parliament. His estate, valued at £2825 per annum, was duly confiscated. James had succeeded his brother Charles II as king of England, Ireland and Scotland early in 1685. Although initially fearful of alienating English and Irish Protestant opinion, James came under the influence of the Catholic Earl of Tyrconnell and determined to make the island of Ireland a Catholic stronghold. Tyrconnell also secured the king's agreement to revise the 1662 Act of Settlement, which had confirmed many of the leading Cromwellian planters in their estates. Over the course of the next two years, was raged across Ireland between the rival armies of James II and the Dutch Protestant, William of Orange, who had usurped the throne of England in 1688. The decisive victory of the Williamite forces at the battle of the Boyne in 1690, and the battle of Aughrim in 1691, confirmed the new Protestant monarchy and finally secured New English interests in Ireland. The age of the Protestant Ascendancy had begun.
Robert Molesworth, an ardent Whig, became a prominent figure in the new Williamite administration. Contemporaries acknowledged his opinions on politics and economy with considerable respect. From July 1689 to December 1692 he served as British Ambassador to the Court of Denmark, during which time he wrote a spirited attack on Danish autocracy in a treatise entitled "An Account of Denmark as it was in the Year 1692". (6) From 1695 to 1698 he stood as Whig MP in both the English and Irish Parliaments, representing Camelford and Dublin City respectively. In August 1697, he was appointed to the Irish Privy Council, an effective cabinet charged with the governance of Ireland and the introduction of the "Penal Laws". (7) From 1703 to 1715 he represented Swords as MP in the Irish Parliament. (8) Between November 1714 and December 1715 he served in the fruitful post of Commissioner of Trade and Plantations.
On 16th July 1716, Robert was advanced to the Irish peerage as Baron of Phillipstown and Viscount Molesworth of Swords "in reward for his steadfast adherence to the House of Hanover". He took his seat as such on 1st July 1719. In his later years he established the "Molesworth Circle", a group of eminent scientists, philosophers and thinkers who met at Brackenstown and are said to have introduced the spread of "politeness" in 18th century Ireland. Molesworth himself earned the respect of Sir Isaac Newton when he invented a chronometer for calculating longitude. Other members of this Whig-minded intellectual circle included Lord Shaftesbury, Frances Hutcheson, James Arbuckle, John Toland and Jonathan Swift. Molesworth's pamphlet "Considerations on the Agriculture and Employment of the Poor of Ireland" prompted Swift to address the last of his celebrated Drapier's Letters to Molesworth in 1724. (9)
When the so-called South Sea Bubble burst in 1720, the 1st Viscount was perhaps the most vehement of those seeking vengeance against the company directors. He and his grandson, Robert Molesworth, had invested heavily in the company. He advised that, as no law existed for punishing such companies, the government "ought upon this occasion follow the example of the ancient Romans, who, having no law against parricide, because their legislators supposed no son could be so unnaturally wicked as to embrue his hands in his father's blood, made a law to punish this heinous crime as soon as it was committed. They adjudged the guilty wretch to be sewn into a sack and thrown alive into the Tiber". The Whig statesman declared that he would be quite "satisfied to see [the South-Sea Company directors] tied in like manner in sacks, and thrown into the Thames." (10)
The Molesworths had eight sons and five daughters. The 1st Viscount died in Dublin on 22nd May 1725 at the age of sixty-nine and was buried in Swords. His widow, Letitia, passed away "of a great cold" on St Patrick's Day 1729 and was buried privately in St. Audeon's Church, Dublin. Their eldest son, John, succeeded as 2nd Viscount Molesworth in 1725. Born in 1679 and described as a diplomat by both profession and inclination, John was appointed Commissioner of the Stamp Office in 1706. In 1710, at the age of 31, he was sent as Envoy to the Duke of Tuscany. He was subsequently Minister at Florence, Venice, Geneva, and Turin. In 1720 he was appointed envoy to the King of Sardinia. All these foreign assignments seem to have seriously dented the Molesworth family fortunes with John repeatedly claiming that, despite having financially assisted hundreds of destitute mariners stranded in Italian ports, he had received "not one farthing of his salary or extraordinaries". He may have salvaged some capital when, in 1715, he succeeded his father as Commissioner of Trade and Plantations. Nonetheless, his father was obliged to borrow money at heavy interest in order to support his eldest son. A substantial part of the Yorkshire estate and at least part of the Molesworth Fields in Dublin were consequently sold off.
Undoubtedly some of the Molesworth's financial troubles came from the collapse of the South Sea Company but John's decade in Europe is generally cited as the major cause of the crisis. In September 1718 he married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Middleton, Esq. of Stansted Montfichet, Essex, by whom he left a posthumous daughter, Mary. (11) Upon his retirement in 1720, he took a keen interest in agriculture and gardening. On 18th February 1726, less than a year into his inheritance, the 47-year-old 2nd Viscount Molesworth passed away at London's St. James's Street. He was buried at Edlington. The 2nd Viscount left no legitimate male heir and was succeeded by his younger brother Richard as 3rd Viscount.
In 1727 Richard, 3rd Viscount Molesworth, commissioned the first houses on Molesworth Street. He enjoyed a distinguished military career, taking part in some of the greatest battles in 18th century Europe. After volunteering in 1702, he saw his first major action while carrying the colours of the Earl of Orkney's victorious regiment at the battle of Blenheim in 1704. On 22nd May 1706, the eve of the battle of Ramillies, he was appointed aide-de-camp to the great Duke of Marlborough. During the battle, a French cavalry unit came close to killing the Duke when an Irish recruit, Patrick Molaise O'Meighan, shot the Duke's horse dead from under him. Young Molesworth galloped to the rescue, mounted the Duke on his horse and made good their escape. In 1710, Molesworth was promoted to the rank of Colonel and dispatched to Spain with his own regiment to serve under the Duke of Argyll and Count Staremberg. The following year, he retired from the army with a view to dedicating his life to study. In 1715 he was again called into military service, joining the Hanoverian army in its annihilation of the Jacobites at the battle of Preston. From 1715 until his succession as Viscount in 1726, he represented Swords in the Irish House of Commons. Like his father he suffered serious financial pressure following the collapse of the South Sea Company in 1720. He was appointed Deputy Keeper of the Seal in 1736 and Colonel of the 5th Royal Irish Dragoons in June 1737. On 29th November 1757 he was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. He died on 12th October 1758 aged 78. (12)
The 18th century proved to be something of a golden age in Irish history. Ireland had been in a state of almost perpetual war since the 1580s. Now it was at peace. Dublin was transformed from a grimy, war-weary Tudor timberland into one of the most glittering cities in Western Europe. As trade links between the Protestant colony and the ports of Europe gradually expanded, so the population of Dublin started to rise dramatically. Regular meetings of the Irish Parliament also ensured a substantial increase in income as the city's dressmakers, vintners, candle-makers and other professions vyed for business from the new elite flocking to the city with their families and servants during the parliamentary "Season".
In the 1720s, the banker Luke Gardiner began developing the area between Henrietta Street and Gardiner Street as the first truly fashionable area for the new elite. However, a decade earlier, the 1st Viscount Molesworth was actively involved in developing certain parts of the city south of Trinity College, in conjunction with Sir Joshua Dawson. It was a sign of the times that this new ruling class included men familiar with the machinations of engineering, sanitation and modern architecture. Viscount Molesworth certainly had an eye for engineering as, in 1723, he personally established the original Chelsea water works on the banks of the Thames. In 1707, Sir Joshua donated some of his land between modern Dawson Street and the Molesworth Fields to the parish of Saint Anne's. When St. Anne's Church, designed by Isaac Wills, was built in 1720 private pews were made to accommodate such distinguished Dublin residents as the Earl of Kildare (later Duke of Leinster), the Archbishop of Dublin and the Lord Mayor. A number of prominent Huguenot merchants such as Vandeleur and La Touche also began showing up for services at the new church. In 1715 Dublin Corporation purchased the recently built Mansion House from Dawson and established it as a residence for the Lord Mayor. Molesworth and Dawson's other legacies include Dawson Street (1709), Grafton Street (1713) and Anne Street (1718). Named for an illegitimate son of Charles II, Grafton Street became a fashionable shopping street early on. However, the smell of burning sperm-whale blubber from the streets' tallow chandlers must have considerably reduced its desirability as a place to live. Nonetheless, the developments quickly began attracting the attention of Dublin's elite - aristocrats, gentry, professionals and clergy.
By the time 46-year-old Richard Molesworth succeeded as 3rd Viscount Molesworth in February 1726, the lands immediately west of the Molesworth Fields were teeming with architects, engineers, masons, carpenters, roofers and such like. The first well-to-do residents of St. Anne's Parish were churning the mud with their horses and carriages. By 1725, the failure the South Sea Company and the cost of supporting the 2nd Viscount in Italy had left the Molesworth family fortunes in some disarray. Inevitably the Molesworth Fields became the focus of the 3rd Viscount's attentions. Masons and craftsmen were quickly recruited and, in 1725, a Statute of George I was secured entitling the Molesworth family to grant leases of property in the Molesworth Fields.
As with the policy he and Dawson adopted during the reign of Queen Anne, it appears the 3rd Viscount simply leased out individual lots of land to specific "building-lessors" or architects who duly erected the houses of Molesworth Street. (13) The Viscount retained the ground rent but the architect could lease or sell the actual building as he wished. The Molesworth ground rents eventually passed to the Stewarts of Killymoon and from them to the Clements family but to this I will return in due course.
The earliest house on present day Molesworth Street is allegedly that dated "1736" which now forms part of Buswell's Hotel on the corner of Kildare Street. However, other sources suggest three and four storey houses built as early as 1727. On Charles Brooking's map of 1728, the street itself remains unnamed but some form of development does appear to be underway. (14) This may have been the mansion allegedly built in 1728 for the Hon. Henry Hamilton, third son of Gustavus Hamilton, 1st Viscount Boyne. (15) The Georgian Society describes this as "a large house, 79 feet in front, of which the exact position cannot now be determined". The Society also holds that No. 20 was built as early as 1730 by Ralph Spring. (16)
In 1731, Viscount Molesworth leased two building plots to Thomas Quin, an apothecary who served as Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1697. Quin built a large mansion, 68 feet in front, which he subsequently sold to William Palliser of Rathfarnham House, son of William Palliser (1644 - 1727), Archbishop of Cashel. Palliser sub-let the redbrick mansion to the 2nd Earl of Kerry soon afterwards. (16a) In 1768 the house was sold to "the great [agricultural] improver" Anthony Foster (1705 - 1779) of Dunleer, County Louth. (17) His son, John Foster (1740 - 1828), was one of the most eminent statesmen in Ireland during the reign of George III and a cousin of the McClintocks of Drumcar. He was the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons prior to its closure in 1800 with the Act of Union, an act he strongly opposed. (18) In 1821 he was created Baron Oriel of Collon, County Louth. We have a rather bad portrait of him at Lisnavagh. Kerry House was subsequently incorporated with two other houses - No's 33 to 35 - to become part of Buswell's family hotel. The Speaker's room is on show to visitors.
In January 1734, shortly after the completion of "Kerry House", a lease agreement was signed between Viscount Molesworth and one Thomas Bucknall. The lease concerned "all that piece or plot of grounds situate lying and being in the south side of Molesworth Street in the suburbs of the City of Dublin, containing in breadth in the front of the street 132 feet and the like sum of 132 feet in breadth in the rear and in depth from front to rear 211 feet or thereabouts". Bucknall's rent was to be "One Pepper Corn for the first five years and thereafter thirty pounds and twelve shillings a year". This plot of land was bounded "on the East to Coot Street, on the West to Mr. Thomas Quin's holdings, on the North to Molesworth Street aforesaid and on the South to Stable Lane". Molesworth was speculating on his property. Bucknall was effectively given five years to build "new brick dwelling houses" on the land, after which he was obliged to pay Molesworth the agreed rent. It is this author's belief that Thomas Bucknall began constructing the building now known as 29 Molesworth Street shortly after this lease was agreed.
By the end of the decade No. 29 was in the possession of Joseph Lindsay, an affluent merchant and distiller from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. On 4th August 1742 a 900-year Deed of Mortgage was agreed between Lindsay and Mary Buckley, widow of Henry Buckley of Dublin. (19) In return for £400, Lindsay agreed to pay Mrs. Buckley by fee farm for "all the pieces or parcels of ground situate on the South side of Molesworth Street containing to the front 112 feet or thereabouts bounded on the east to Coot Street to a piece of ground belonging to Charles Bucknall Esq whereon Whitmore Davis, Bricklayer, had formerly erected a house and was to erect a coach house and stable which he had formerly sold to Charles Bucknall on the north of Molesworth Street". (20)
During the late 1740s, Joseph Lindsay seems to have conveyed No.29 to John Frend. The name Frend is most commonly associated with the English county of Dorset but little else is known of the Frends of Dublin. They remained in residence until 1764 when Elizabeth Frend, John's widow, sold it to the Kerry politician, Rowland Bateman. (21) Rowland's great-grandfather John Bateman of Oxenham, England is listed among the Cromwellian "adventurers" who, like Robert Molesworth, acquired land in Ireland during the 1650s. John's son Rowland Bateman served with Sir Hierome Sankey's regiment during the Confederate Wars and is listed in the "census" of 1659 as owning land in the neighbourhood of Tralee, Co. Kerry. He stood as High Sheriff of Kerry in 1669. (22) He lived at Killeen (Oak Park), near Tralee, an estate with good parkland and its own lead mine. Over the next 200 years the family became strongly associated with south-west Munster, operating as resident magistrates, justices of the peace and so forth. They intermarried with other Kerry families such as the Orpens, Blands, Colthursts and Blennerhasset.
Rowland Bateman, MP, of Oak Park and 29 Molesworth Street, was Deputy-Governor of Kerry in 1779. He was also commander of the Kerry Legion of the Volunteers Cavalry, formed in January 1779; his son, also Rowland, was his second in command. A contemporary of Henry Grattan, he represented Tralee in the Irish Parliament from 1761 to 1768 and County Kerry from 1776 to 1783. In 1758, he married Letitia, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Denny of Tralee Castle. His portrait may be seen above the dining room door at Glin Castle; his sister Molly married Thomas Fitzgerald, 22nd Knight of Glin. In October 1770, his younger brother John Bateman married Olivia, Countess of Rosse, widow of the 2nd Earl. (23)
Viscount Molesworth's investments in the Molesworth Fields must have paid handsome dividends from the beginning. However, not even he can have predicted the impact of the Earl of Kildare's decision to build his magnificent townhouse at the western end of present day Molesworth Street. (24) Leinster House was designed by the Huguenot architect Richard Cassels and built between 1745 and 1747. The front facing Molesworth Street is of Ardbraccan limestone while the east or garden front is faced in Wicklow granite. Fashionable society quickly began looking at ways in which they might relocate their families to be in close proximity to the Earl and his beautiful wife, Emily, daughter of the Duke of Richmond. The fledgling plots on the Molesworth Fields were rapidly converted into some of the most desirable properties in Georgian Dublin. In 1738, street residents included the Earl of Kerry, Arthur Dawson (Clerk of the Paper Office at the Court of Exchequer Chamber), the Rev. John Madden (Vicar of St. Anne's, Dean of Kilmore, St. Andrew's Church) and Christopher Usher (Clerk to the Trustees of the Linen Board). (25)
In "The Story of Dublin" (1907) D. A. Chart wrote: "The
architecture of Molesworth Street is characteristic of old Dublin. There
are some gable-ended houses, others with heavy and elaborate doorways and
windows. The general effect is rather sombre, but not without a certain
charm. It is strange to think that these stately and severe mansions were
the homes of men whose lives were cast in quite a different mould."
(26) Chart was specifically referring to Richard Parsons, 1st Earl of
Rosse, first Grand Master of the Masonic Order in Ireland and
reputed founder of the Hellfire Club in 1735. An errant church-goer,
Rosse was lying on his death bed in his Molesworth Street townhouse when
he received a letter from Dean Madden, the Vicar of St. Anne's, imploring
him to repent of his sins. (The Dean was another Molesworth Street resident).
The Earl, a humorous man, promptly put the letter in a fresh envelope and
forwarded it to the Earl of Kildare, one of the most diligent members of
the Protestant community in the parish. An irate Lord Kildare ordered Archbishop
Hoadley to summon the Dean for an explanation. On seeing the letter, the
Dean immediately acknowledged it but insisted he had every right to press
a sinner to repent. The Archbishop urged the Dean to apologize without delay.
"But how can I?" asked the increasingly confused Dean. "The man is dead".
"What? Lord Kildare dead!? That's impossible!"
"No. Lord Rosse is dead".
Lord Rosse was indeed dead by that stage but his legacy lived on. In 1868, the site of his townhouse became the site of the present day Freemason's Hall. (27)
Another early resident of Molesworth Street was the obstetrician, Dr. John Van Lewin, father of the poetess-wit, Laetitia Pilkington (1708 - 1750). Described by Virginia Woolf as "shady shifting and adventurous", Laetitia enjoyed a brief friendship with Jonathan Swift. In a 1732 letter to Alexander Pope, the Dean of Saint Patrick's Cathedral quaintly referred to her as "the most profligate whore in either Kingdom". (28)
Agmondesham Vesey of Lucan Castle, MP for Harristown, Co. Kildare (and later Kinslae, Co. Cork) also lived on the street during the biennial meetings of the Irish Parliament. His wife, Sylph Vesey, was one of the great "blue stocking" celebrities of her day and among those to spend wintry nights at Molesworth Street with the Veseys were Burke, Reynolds, Walpole and Johnson. (29)
In 1770, 22 Molesworth Street became the residence of Dr. Robert Emmet, father of the rebel leader, also Robert Emmet. (30) He was appointed the Viceroy's personal physician earlier that year. The house was considered a good location as it was close to the Royal College of Surgeons. By the time the younger Robert was born in 1778, the Emmets had relocated to 109-110 St. Stephen's Green West. They were regular worshippers at St. Anne's Church on Dawson Street. (31) Indeed, if one assumes the Molesworth Street circle were good god-fearing Protestants, then the majority of them would have attended St. Anne's. As such they would have mingled with St. Anne's regulars such as General Anthony St Leger (1732-1786), founder of the St Leger Sweepstakes, and the young Matilda Witherington who, in 1785, married Wolfe Tone in the church.
Among the many other bewigged residents to live in the area during these heady Georgian days were the Earls of Arran, Clanwilliam, Portarlington, Desart, Onslow and Rosse, Ladys Masserene, Deane and Cox, Viscounts Doneraile, Harberton, Kingsland, Gort and Ranelagh, Lords Carbery, Blayney, Inchiquin, Rossmore, Lisle, Louth, Muskerry and Trimlestown. Of the 160 MPs elected to the Green Parliament of 1790, six had town residences on Molesworth Street. (32) Heated debates took place in The Harp & Crown, a popular tavern on the corner of Molesworth and Dawson Streets. Alternatively, there was the Kildare Street Club, founded in November 1782 to provide Dublin's gentlemen with a calmer alternative to the notoriously debauched Daly's Club. Their original building occupied the site of the Earl of Portarlington's townhouse. The building burned down in 1860 after which the site was acquired by the Royal College of Physicians. (33)
Lord Lisle erected No. 33 (formerly "Lisle House") in about 1750. It was to this house that Gothic writer Charles Robert Maturin (1782 - 1824), author of "Melmoth the Wanderer", came when courting his wife, Henrietta, whose father, Dr. Thomas Kingsbury, Vicar of Kildare and sometime President of the Royal College of Physicians, lived here. (34) However, it is worth noting that The Georgian Society records for Molesworth Street suggest Dr. Kingsbury was in fact resident of 29 Molesworth Street at this time.
The 3rd Viscount Molesworth married twice. His first wife Jane Lucas provided him with three daughters before her death on 1st April 1742. The eldest of these was the unfortunate Mary Molesworth who, in 1736, married Robert Rochfort, the Earl of Belvedere. This latter man grew so jealous of his wife's friendship with his younger brother that he kept her in solitary confinement for 18 years at his home, Belvedere House, in Westmeath. (35) On 7th Feb 1743, the 3rd Viscount married secondly, Mary Ussher, the popular daughter of the Rev. William Ussher, Archdeacon of Clonfert, by whom he had six daughters and a son. On his death on 12th October 1758, the 3rd Viscount was succeeded by his son Richard Nassau, 4th Viscount Molesworth. (36)
At this point, the fate of the Molesworth Estates begins to get more complicated. In 1763, five years after the 3rd Viscount's death, a terrible tragedy befell the family. The widowed Lady Molesworth was killed along with her brother, Captain Ussher, two of her daughters, Mary and Melosina, and six servants when their townhouse on London's Upper Brook Street caught fire. Two other daughters were badly injured when they jumped from upper windows - one, Harriet, had to have a leg cut off after landing on the railings below - and a third was severely burned. The 4th Viscount survived but, perhaps owing to the immensity of this misfortune, was declared a lunatic and died unmarried at Highgate at the relatively young age of 45. As such, upon his death in 1794, his four surviving sisters co-inherited the Molesworth Estates (ie: the Molesworth Street ground rents, Brackenstown in Swords and various lands in and around Philipstown, King's County). (37)
A substantial share of the Molesworth estates were thus inherited by the
3rd Viscount's daughter, Elizabeth Molesworth, a survivor of the 1763 fire.
(38) In 1772 Elizabeth married James Stewart (1741 - 1821) of Killymoon
Castle, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. As uncontested MP for Tyrone from 1768
to 1812, he became a champion for northern Presbyterians and was instrumental
in promoting legislation to remove the penal laws affecting them. The rents
his wife received from the Molesworth estates may have assisted him when,
in 1804, he commissioned architect John Nash to rebuild the family
seat at Killymoon. However, by the time of his death in 1821, the Stewart
family finances were in serious disarray. His children were obliged to seek
refuge from their creditors in Boulogne. In 1850, the death without
issue of his only son, Colonel William Stewart, spelled the end for
Killymoon and the castle and Stewart estates were sold. By a curious twist,
the Molesworth estates then passed down the female line through to the Colonel's
only surviving sister, Louisa, who in 1811 married Henry John Clements
of Ashfield, Co. Cavan, later of Lough Rynn, Co. Leitrim. (39)
The Molesworth Street community must have been considerably shaken by the two rebellions that shook the capital city in 1798 and 1803. In the first instance, the Duke of Leinster's own son, the dashing Lord Edward Fitzgerald, was revealed as one of the principal leaders of the United Irishmen. Tradition states Lord Edward had his last meeting with his wife at 27 Molesworth Street; his arrest and death shortly afterwards stunned Dublin society. Five years later, Robert Emmet's short-lived rebellion in May 1803, must have had a similar effect. The Emmets were well know among the Protestant community who assembled in St. Anne's Church; Robert's aunt Rebecca who funded his education at Trinity College lay buried in its graveyard. (40) Another well-known parishioner was Arthur Wolfe, the liberal Chief Justice Lord Kilwarden, murdered during the 1803 rebellion. (41)
The 1798 Rebellion aroused much fear in the hearts of the Ascendancy. It also encouraged the British Parliament in London to view Ireland less as a self-sufficient province and more as a potential base from which Napoleon could launch an attack on England's western flank. In 1800 the Irish Parliament voted itself out of existence and ceased to exist, an event formalised by the 1801 Act of Union. Ireland's five million strong population now found themselves in a situation where all major decisions on Irish affairs were henceforth to be concluded at Westminster, a situation that remained until independence was granted to the Irish Free State in 1921. Initial opposition to the Act from the Anglo-Irish elite waned when London offered substantial "compensation" to those of a wavering disposition.
The closure of the Irish Parliament and subsequent transferral of power to London left Dublin somewhat directionless as the 19th century got underway. There was no longer a need for politicians or aristocrats to rent expensive townhouses in the capital. If a man was interested in politics, he now needed to live near Westminster. If he was not interested in politics, he might retreat to the countryside and concentrate on developing his country estate. (42) Growing poverty in rural Ireland led to mass emigration to the capital city. A nationwide recession set in as property prices fell and businesses failed; the once exclusive Georgian streets of Dublin's northside became the haunt of beggars and drunks. The townhouses on Henrietta Street and Gardiner Street were sold to new owners, divided into sections and leased out as tenements. At length, the once majestic Molesworth Street townhouses of the nobility were partitioned and converted into schools and lodging houses. By 1815, even the mighty Duke of Leinster bowed out of city life, selling his magnificent house to the Royal Dublin Society. (43)
In time the middle class also began to leave the inner city. The development of new purpose-built residential suburbs, such as Rathmines and Ballsbridge, gave the professional classes the option to live in more spacious areas, free from the inner city hazards of pollution, cholera, drunkenness and poverty. As transport to the city became more efficient, so too an increasing number of Georgian townhouses were converted into offices.
The accession of Queen Victoria to the British throne in 1837 marked the start of a 64-year reign during which Ireland's closest neighbour became the most powerful empire in the world. The Great Famine obviously had enormous implications on Ireland during the late 1840s, not least the huge increase of Dublin's population by 11% between 1845 and 1851.
By the mid-19th century, the Molesworth Street circle had changed considerably since the hey-day of the Duke of Leinster. (44) Thom's Directory for 1847 shows the street to have been predominantly occupied by doctors, dentists, lawyers, bootmakers, booksellers, vintners, perfumers, hairdressers, paper stainers, drapers and such like. (45) Thomas C. Watson & Sons, the Lord Lieutenant's grocer, tea and wine importer occupied No. 10, while the Association for the Relief of Distressed Protestants was head-quartered at no. 45. In 1848, the death sentence passed against the liberal reformer William Smith O'Brien for his involvement in the Young Ireland Rising compelled his family to issue a petition seeking his clemency. Of the 80,000 signatories, sixteen had addresses on Molesworth Street; these were all barristers, solicitors, surgeons and medical students. (46)
The medical community had long been resident of Molesworth Street - for instance, Dr. Vanlevin, the obstetrician, in the 1730s and Dr. Robert Emmet, in the 1770s. In the 1830s a number of prominent surgeons were residing on the street. By 1835, No. 13 was in possession of an improbably named Antrim-born dentist, Wrigley Grimshaw, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Dr. Grimshaw served as Dental Surgeon to Dr. Steevens' Hospital, the Mercer's Hospital and the Pitt-street Institution for Diseases of Children. (47) The prolific Anglo-Irish writer Charles Lever (1806 - 1872) stayed at the fashionable boarding house, No. 30, while studying for his medical degree at Dr. Steeven's, a time that coincided with a chronic outbreak of cholera in the city. (48) In 1844 Sir William Wilde, father of Oscar, founded the Molesworth Street Hospital, a forerunner of the Eye & Ear Infirmary now at No. 13. Molesworth Street's location as a residential street for Dublin's medical community was further enhanced in 1864 when the Royal College of Physicians finally found a permanent residence on Kildare Street. William Murray designed the building in conjunction with the celebrated Sir Dominic Corrigan (1802 - 1880), the then President of the Royal College. (49)
During the 1820s, "29 Molesworth Street" was occupied by a solicitor, Henry Major and a milliner-dressmaker, Catherine Nesbitt. In 1830, these two apparently relocated to "No. 30" and "No. 29" became the offices of Samuel Hardy, MD, FRCS. However, a more likely explanation of this "relocation" is that house numbers were simply changed in 1830 so that No. 29 became No. 30, in which case Major and Nesbitt did not move at all. (50) Dr. Hardy worked as an assistant to the Master of the Rotunda Hospital. (51) Although nothing is recorded of Hardy himself, his career coincided with interesting times at the hospital. During the 1820s, maternity hospitals throughout Europe were plagued with outbreaks of puerperal fever (childbed fever). Mr. Labatt (Master 1814-1821) reported on the problem in Dublin and the possibility of closing the hospital was seriously considered. However, Labatt's successor and Hardy's immediate superior, Robert Collins (Master 1826 - 1833) managed to enforce hygienic measures (such as washing hands) to such an extent that the epidemic was greatly reduced during his Mastership. (52) This brought favourable attention to the Rotunda from continental authorities, including Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis who would eventually establish the cause of puerperal fever. (53) Just how much influence Samuel Hardy had in this period is unknown. The Cork Examiner refers to the birth, on 28th October 1856, "at Molesworth-street, Dublin, [to] the wife of Hardy, a daughter".
In 1863, Dr. Hardy sold No. 29 to a fellow doctor, John Davidson McCreedy, MD, FF, QCPI. In 1884, Dr. McCreedy sub-let the property to another doctor, WR Evan, MB, LRCSI, LA. In 1891 Dr. McCreedy sold the house to Francis Little, a wine merchant. (54) In 1899, Little sold the property to Owen A. Charles, architect. In 1920 Mary Owens leased the property to Edward and George Stapleton, solicitors, commissioners of oaths and land agents who, in 1969, sold the lease to the legal firm of Kennedy McGonagle. (55)
In 1861, 25 Molesworth Street became The Queen's Institute for the Training and Employment of Educated Women, founded by Anne Jellicoe, the Quaker founder of Alexandra College, and her energetic colleague, Barbara Corlett. This pioneering educational establishment for "young ladies" was funded by the public and came under the patronage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In its first two years, half of the institute's 360 students found work. Among the companies supporting the initiative were the British & Irish Magnetic Telegraph Company, and Belleek Pottery. In the early 1870s, the Institute's popularity was such that the Queen's College School for Young Girls was opened. The combined institutions flowed over into 26 Molesworth Street. (56) Unfortunately, soon after Mrs. Jellicoe's death in 1880, the Institute ran into serious financial difficulties and enrolment numbers began to drop dramatically. Prominent patrons quickly withdrew their support. Before long, the Queen's Institute ceased to exist and by 1883, 25 Molesworth Street had become vacant. The girls' school struggled on for another year before Buswell's Hotel took over the premises. (57)
In 1866 the occupants of No. 29 beheld the opening of an exciting new building on the opposite side of the street. Built on the site of No. 19 (the townhouse of the Earl of Rosse, the first Grandmaster), the Freemason's Hall was designed by Edward Holmes of Birmingham. (58) It now contains a museum chronicling the intriguing history of Freemasonry in Ireland, beginning with the formation of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1725.
Another addition to the landscape was Sir William Frederick Clarendon's Natural History Museum, opened in 1857, a superb example of a Victorian museum. Between 1859 and 1864, Thomas Newenham Deane and Francis Fowke designed the National Library. In 1868 Deane also presented the community with a new St. Anne's Church on Dawson Street where, twenty years later, Bram Stoker married Oscar Wilde's former sweetheart, Florence Balcombe. Between 1884 and 1890 Deane's son, Sir Thomas Deane, designed the National Museum which now stands beside Leinster House. All these new buildings greatly enhanced Molesworth Street's renewed standing as a desirable residential location.
By 1884, 25 and 26 Molesworth Street were in the possession of a Dublin vintner and hotelier, James A. McIntosh. The premises were converted into a hotel and so "Buswells" was born. "Mr. Mac" had "a great reputation for his wine cellar; his 'admirable light dinner sherry' being especially esteemed". (59) In the early 1900s, Mr. Mac passed control of the hotel to Miss AF Gallagher after which it was called "Gallagher's Hotel". In 1923 the Duff family acquired the property and renamed it "Buswells". (60) Described as "a redoubtable businesswoman and far ahead of her time" by the Evening Herald, Mrs. Nora O'Callaghan Duff (1883 - 1979) is said to have borrowed £3000 from the bank during the Easter Rising of 1916 and used the money to purchase Powers Hotel on Kildare Street. These premises were patronised almost exclusively by the wives of the members of the nearby Kildare Street Club. In 1925 Mrs. Duff gave Powers Hotel to her nieces and began to concentrate on the 22 bedrooms at Buswells. At the time there was no electricity and the kitchen had earth floors. Electric lighting and hot and cold water were introduced in 1928; a lift followed in 1932. In 1936 Mrs. Duff installed central heating - two years before The Shelbourne. A new wing comprising 22 more bedrooms and a dining room was also added in 1936, followed by the 1944 purchase of the adjoining premises at No. 23 (formerly Jane Williams antiques) and No. 24 (formerly Truman Printing). Two Rolls Royce's were on hand to escort visitors to and from the railway station or on tours of the countryside. (61)
In 1925, the Irish Government purchased Leinster House from the Royal Dublin Society and established the great Cassels masterpiece as the seat of the national parliament, Oireachtas na hÉireann. The Oireachtas consists of two chambers, the Dáil (lower house) and the Seanad (upper house or senate). The granite memorial outside on Leinster Lawn commemorates Arthur Griffith, Kevin O'Higgins and Michael Collins, who were among the founders of the modern Irish state.
Christopher 'Kit' McGonagle founded the legal firm of Kennedy McGonagle in 1926. Originally located on O'Connell Street, the firm moved to the shadow of Dail Eireann in 1969 at 29 Molesworth Street where they remained until 1991. (62)
1. This practice may have inspired the old proverb, though not necessarily
applied to this place, namely, 'he struck at Tib and down fell Tom'.
2. "Robert Molesworth, the first of that family settled in Dublin, where he became a merchant, after having served in the wars of 1641 under his brother Guy; and by making subscriptions to the amount of £1,500, he obtained an allotment of 2,500 acres in the baronies of Moghergallin and Lune, county of Meath, Having acquired the confidence of Government, he was appointed in 1653 to take subscriptions for the relief of the poor of Dublin; and in the same year, the Surveyors of the revenue and stores were ordered to contract with him for the cloth and necessary materials for a thousand tents." JT Gilbert, The History of the City of Dublin (1854).
3. Burke's Colonial Gentry, Sir Berard Burke, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970.
4. The family also owned a substantial estate at Edlington in in Yorkshire.
5. In 1653 Baron Colooney is said to have been responsible for burning the miraculous statue of Our Lady at Trim in 1539. He was one of the Commissioners in Athlone appointed to examine Irish "delinquents". In 1660, while serving as a Major in General Monck's Regiment of Horse, he was created a Privy Councillor and, in 1661, appointed to the Committee of Privileges and Grievances. In 1661 he was appointed to consider forming a College of Physicians in Dublin. In 1662 and 1666 he received large grants of land in Kerry. In 1675 he was appointed one of the Commissioners of the "49 Officers". He died in 1683 and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
6. In payment for his services in Denmark, he received £500 plus £5 / day until his term finished on 26th May 1692.
7. He was reappointed to the Irish Privy Council in 1702, dismissed on 25th January 1714 but reappointed on 30th September 1715
8. He also continued to make his presence known in the English House of Commons as MP for Lostwuthiel (1705-6), East Retford (1706-8) and St. Michael (1715-22).
9. A Letter To the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Molesworth, by M. B. Drapier, Author of the Letter to the Shop-keepers, & c. Dublin, .
10. Charles Mackay, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
11. In 1751 Mary, Lady Molesworth, married secondly Frederick Gore, Esq., M.P.
12. In D'Alton's "History of the County Dublin" (1838), the 2nd Viscount is referred to as "general and commander-in-chief of the forces in Ireland" but I have been unable to substantiate this. In 1751 he was appointed Major-General of the Ordinance.
13. The Georgian Society has unearthed a number of "building lessors" operating at this time. Among those associated with Molesworth Street were William Wilde, Thomas Quin, Ralph Spring and Benjamin Rudd.
14. On Roakes map of 1752, Molesworth Street is clearly shown with more than a dozen houses in existence. Although some of the best houses in this street have been replaced by office blocks, three fine examples of a gabled style house remain. These Huguenot houses, popularly known as 'Dutch Billies' were probably built between 1736 and 1755. This style, featuring massive chimneys and corner fireplaces, was popular in Dublin from 1680 to 1760. Westminster had by then passed a series of regulations outlawing timber frame structures as these were deemed responsible for the Great Fire of London in 1666.
15. Gustavus Hamilton was elevated to the peerage after his successful defence of Coleraine against Jacobite forces during the Williamite Wars.
16. The Society records go on to praise No. 20 for having "one of the most beautiful doorways in Dublin, a severe but not over-correct performance in mountain granite, doric with triple keystone and a segmental pediment".
16 a. The original 2003 version of this article suggested that the 3rd Earl of Kerry purchased this house in 1767 and renamed it Kerry House. Unfortunately I failed to footnote where this detail came from! My thanks to Patrick Pilkington who emailed the following to me: " It is very hard to believe that Lord Kerry would have purchased the Molesworth Street house [in 1767] as his sister wrote to him in December 1767 at his house near Bagshot in Surrey, South Hill. Even in 1766, he had left Ireland because of his scandalous affair with Anastatia Daly, a Catholic, and was living near Twickenham with her. The divorce cost him well over £5,000 and they were eventually married in March 1768. For this reason, it is most unlikely that he would have bought the house or renamed it Kerry House as he was, effectively, an exile. In any case there was already a Kerry House on the corner of Kildare Street and St. Stephen's Green. It was huge and built for Sir William Petty, whose son, was created 1st Earl of Kerry. His son was created 1st. Earl of Shelburne (when it may have been renamed Shelburne House) and it was inherited by his nephew, the 2nd Earl of Kerry. He died in 1747 when the 3rd Earl was only six. He and his sister were made wards in chancery and were indeed brought up in Molesworth Street. Kerry House, cited above, burned down in 1799. It had been an army barracks for a number of years and was sold by the 3rd Earl in 1795."
17. Foster was appointed Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer in 1765, a post which he resigned in 1776.
18. Another prominent Molesworth Street anti-Unionist was the distinguished lawyer James Fitzgerald (1742 - 1835), Prime Serjeant of Ireland, who moved in to No. 13 in 1781. His wife was raised to the peerage in 1826 as Baroness Fitzgerald & Vesey. He died at No. 13 in 1835 at the magnificent age of 93.
19. He may have been a kinsman of Samuel Buckley (1673-1741), a printer and bookseller who made his name selling the controversial treatise "Christianity Not Mysterious" by John Toland, a good friend of the 1st Viscount Molesworth.
20. In 1740, Whitmore Davis designed and built Harristown House in Brannockstown, Co. Kildare, for the La Touche family. Davis is also credited with the design of the Green Street Courthouse on Dublin's North King Street. The building was not actually completed until 1797 but immediately came into its own as venue for the trials of Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet. I have been unable to trace Colonel Charles Bucknall but is may be worth bearing in mind the Wolfe family. During the Emmet rising, Arthur Wolfe, 1st Viscount Kilwarden, was dragged from his coach and piked to death, along with his nephew Richard Straubenzie Wolfe, a Church of Ireland clergyman. The latter was a son of Charles Bucknall Wolfe. The Wolfe family were parishioners of St. Anne's.
21. It is curious to see another link between County Kerry and Molesworth Street; the 1st Earl of Kerry built his townhouse on the street in the 1730s.
22. "For many years the duel fought between Sir Hierome Sankey and Sir William Petty in 1645 was without equal. The dispute arose in London over a matter of honour now lost in the mists of time. Sir Hierome was a tough character and Sir William, being of a nervous disposition, was reluctant to fight him. Since Sir Hierome had initiated the duel, Sir William had the choice of venue and weapons. Brilliantly, he chose a pitch-dark cellar and two carpenters' axes which neither of them could lift". The Book of Heroic Failures, Stephen Pile.
23. The Killeen estate was sold in 1849 to Maurice Sandes of the Sallow Glen family who made his fortune in India. He converted the original Killeen property into stables and built a new house, Oak Park, between 1857 and 1860. Killeen has since been demolished but Oak Park remains as the offices of the County Kerry Agricultural Department. The demesnes of both are now almost wholly given over to residential housing. In 1870 Rowland Bateman of Tralee is listed as owning 1259 acres in Kerry and 1204 acres in Limerick. His brother John Bateman, in charge of Dublin's Lunatic Asylum, owned a further 2406 acres in the county. Landowners of Ireland 1876 (Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc, 1988). See also: Dennis of Fort Granite.
24. Leinster House was originally known as "Kildare House". It was renamed in 1776 when James Fitzgerald, 20th Earl of Kildare, was elevated by George III as the 1st Duke of Leinster. The Fitzgerald family benefited greatly from the disgrace of their traditional rivals, the Butlers of Ormonde, who supported the Jacobite cause in 1715. That Fitzgerald's wife, Lady Emily Fitzgerald, was one of the famous Lennox sisters and daughter of the Duke of Richmond, further enhanced his social standing.
25. A Directory of Dublin for the Year 1738 (Dublin Corporation, 2000).
26. "The Story of Dublin" (1907) D. A. Chart, M.A., Illustrated by Henry J. Howard. (J. M. Dent & Co., London. 1907).
27. The Georgian Society suggest the Earl's house was the same house built by Henry Hamilton in 1728 and sold to the Earl in 1739.
28. It would be interesting to establish a family link between Laetitia Pilkington and the Pilkingtons who later married into the Irish family of Cuffe, Earls of Desart. Latetitia's husband the Rev. Matthew Pilkington, Vicar of Donabate, was born at Ballyboy in County Offaly in 1701. His father, the youngest of a family of twenty-one, came to Ireland in the reign of Charles I and, as a prosperous watchmaker, acquired a considerable estate in Meath. I do not know which part of England his father came from. Latetitia was buried near her father in St. Anne's Church.
29. The literary ambience was further buoyed when, in 1764, the Rev. Roger Ford, a schoolmaster of considerable repute, moved to No. 32. Robert Jephson, the dramatist, and Edmund Malone, the Shakespearean critic, were both educated here.
30. Now part of Kilworth House, 22 was originally built by Ralph Spring.
31. Some say Robert Emmett (1778 - 1803) was actually born on Molesworth Street but it seems far more likely that he was born on the Green.
32. John Foster (Louth), James Fitzgerald (Tulsk), CW Sherlock (Kilbeggan), T. Jones (Leitrim), William Chichester Fortescue (Louth) and John Warburton (Queen's county).
33. In 1861 Deane and Woodward designed a new building for the Kildare Street Club which, since the Club's relocation to St. Stephen's Green, is now occupied by the Alliance Français and the National Genealogical Office.
34. Taken from "Memorable Dublin Houses - A Handy Guide with Illustrated Anecdotes", Wilmot Harrison, published May 1890.
35. He also erected the famous Jealous Wall to obliterate the view of his brothers' house.
36. Although the 4th Viscount was named Richard "Nassau" in honour of William III, it is interesting to note that the Molesworth Fields included Nassau Street at the time of his birth in 1748.
37. In the absence of any male heirs, the Molesworth title passed to a cousin, Robert, 5th Viscount Molesworth. In 1813, Robert was succeeded by his son William, 6th Viscount, who was killed, with his wife, when the HMS Arniston sank off the Cape of Good Hope en route to Ceylon on 30th May 1815. Another cousin became 7th Viscount.
38. Another sister, Louisa, married William Brabazon Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby, the leader of the celebrated political 'cousinhood' of that name - a connection which strengthened the Molesworth family's links with the Whig opposition, both before and after the Union.
39. The story of James Stewart is succinctly relayed in "The Stewart of Killymoon Papers" (D/3167 & D/2966/92/B) held by the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.
40. Another rebel leader, Wolfe Tone, married Matilda Witherington in St. Anne's in 1785.
41. Kilwarden was buried in the church on 27th July 1803.
42. On May 9th 1833, a fatal duel took place on Saturday at Sallowfields, near Portobello, between John Peter Weldon of Molesworth Street and Henry Power White of Golden Villa County Tipperary. Power White was killed.
43. The RDS was founded in 1732 to promote scientific and agricultural understanding throughout Ireland. Leinster House was sold for £10,000 together with an annual rent of £600, later redeemed.
44. On 12th May 1853, the Great Industrial Exhibition opened on nearby Leinster Lawn.
45. "Mr. Butt used to dye his hair, and on one occasion when going to a dinner he sent for a hairdresser who lived in Molesworth Street. This artist left a number of bottles with Mr. Butt, so he could use them if the hairdresser was not available. One evening, when Mr. Butt was to attend a social function, I was asked to take the place of the hairdresser, who could not be found. I operated on his head with two bottles of fluid, which he had handed to me, and when Mr. Butt stood up and looked in the glass, he found that he was wearing-green hair! That was the beginning and the end of my career as a private hairdresser." 'Life In Old Dublin', Chapter 17, James Collin (James Duffy and Co. Ltd., 38 Westmoreland Street, 1913).
46. The petition succeeded; O'Brien's sentence was commuted and he was transported to Australia for life.
47. In 1879, his only son, Thomas Wrigley Grimshaw, became Ireland's Registrar-General, entrusted with registering all births, marriages and deaths in the country and with improving the state of Dublin's epidemic riddled slums.
48. Lever had already met both Goethe and Napoleon III at this stage. One of his fellow boarders, Surgeon Cusack Rooney, provided the inspiration for Surgeon MacCulloch in Lever's best-selling novel, "The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer". Other Molesworth Street contemporaries included "Miss Riley in a bird of paradise plume and corked eyebrows, Mrs. Clanfrizzle, some old ladies in turbans, Mrs. Cudmore, a doctor in blue 'winkers,' and several ancient vestals." The Life Of Charles Lever, WJ Fitzpatrick (Ward Lock, 1879).
49. Murray's father designed the College of Surgeons' building on St Stephen's Green.
50. By 1852, Major had been replaced in No. 30 by Archibald Robinson, solicitor.
51. At this time, the Rotunda - the world's first purpose-built maternity hospital - was known as the 'Dublin Lying-in Hospital'. Dr. Bartholomew Mosse founded the hospital in 1745, since when more then 300,000 babies have been successfully delivered.
52. Collins' measures are described in "A Practical Treatise on Midwifery", London, 1835.
53. Semmelweis began to learn English with the intention of visiting the Rotunda, but never got there because of other commitments.
54. He may be related to Philip Francis Little (1824 - 1897), an Irishman who became the first Prime Minister of Newfoundland (1855 - 1858). P.F. Little's son Paddy was a minister in De Valera's Emergency Government and was first director of the Arts Council.
55. I can't trace the Stapletons but am working on the firm of "Moore, Kiely & Lloyd", formerly "Moore, Kiely, Lloyd and Stapleton", who occupy 31 Molesworth Street today.
56. In the 1854 Valuation of Dublin No.s 25 and 26 Molesworth Street were occupied by Eliza Grubb and Robert Wallace.
57. Prometheus's Fire, a History of Scientific & Technological Education in Ireland, (Tyndall Publications, 2000). Ch. 19: The Queens Institute, Dublin (1861-1881) by Patricia Phillips.
58. The Architectural Association of Ireland notes the building presented "an unusual face for Dublin the architect used three orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The pediment contains the Masonic square and compass. The Interior is a riot of colour and architectural styles and themes. The Royal Arch Chapter room is an Egyptian theme; the Prince Mason's Chapter room is Gothic Tudor; and the Knights Templar room is designed as a medieval chapel".
59. Know your Dublin, J.B. Malone.
60. In the 1901 Census of Ireland, No.s 31 - 35 were held by John W. Ellison McCartney.
61. In the early 1950s Mrs. Duff's son Noel took over the business. The fifty rooms were then occupied by 40 full-time residents, mostly elderly folk who had lived there for 20 years or more. These were difficult to incorporate into a modernisation programme and so Buswells fell behind. In April 1995 the Duff family sold the hotel to the Sean Quinn Group for £3 million. In 1995 the Sean Quinn Group further expanded the hotel with the purchase of No. 27 (formerly Gaynor Antiques). The Sean Quinn Group also own the Slieve Russell in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan.
62. Further expansion in 1991 led to a move to their present location on Northumberland Road. That same year the firm merged with Roger Ballagh and Son. Expansion continued with the incorporation into the firm Bell Branigan O'Donnell and O'Brien in 1997.
With special thanks to John Rogers and Mary Metcalfe of Gallery 29.