Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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THE DOCKLANDS - Grand Canal Docks: Streetwise

'Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyage is a work in progress, commissioned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, and due to be completed in the autumn of 2008. The following tale represents research I have undertaken for the project which may or may not be used in the final book.


Sir John Rogerson’s Quay – Named for a former Lord Mayor of Dublin who privately funded the construction of the original wall on which the quay now stands. Brooking (1728) shows reclamation of lands south of Rogerson’s Quay including Hanover Street crossed by Lime Street. Rocque does not extend to the above – it shows Moss Street and Princes Street.

Admiral Brown Walk - A new walkway named for the red-headed Mayo-born Admiral William Brown, founder of the Argentine Navy. In Argentina, Brown has two towns, 1,000 streets, 500 statues, a sizeable city and several football clubs named after him. The monument is a bronze replica of one at Belgrano, recast from the original 1957 mould, and presented to Ireland by the Argentine Navy.

Hogan Place - Formerly known as Artichoke Road after a small artichoke farm planted here in the 17th century. The farmer was John Villiboise, a French refugee, who had leased some reclaimed marsh-land from Viscount Fitzwilliam. When the terrace was built here, it was named Wentworth Place, after Charles Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, whose father had inherited both the Wentworth and Fitzwilliam fortunes. No. 12 Wentworth Place was home to a “factory and timber yard” run by Robert Strahan & Co., the furnishing company that made the furniture for Lisnavagh House, as well as doll’s houses. See more on Strahan’s via NMI website. The street was renamed in 1924 for the prolific Irish sculptor John Hogan who lived at No. 14 from 1849 until his death in 1858.

Asgard Road - A new road, named for the gaff rigged Ketch, now owned by Harry Crosbie, upon which Erskine sailed into Howth in 1914 with a cargo of German guns for the Irish Volunteers. The State-owned sail-training ship Asgard II was a major feature in the Docklands before its surprise sinking in the Bay of Biscay in 2008.

Benson Street – Built in the 1840s but not named until 1895, the street probably remembers Richard Benson who, along with Luke Gardiner, appears to have acquired much of the Rogerson estate by 1796. Another contender is the engineer Sir John Benson, Ireland’s answer to Brunel, knighted at the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853. The old stores facing the Fitzwilliam Quay apartments are owned by Liam Carroll and scheduled for a mixed residential and commercial development.

Blood Stoney Road – Named for the celebrated engineering genius, Bindon Blood Stoney, who rebuilt Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in the 1880s.

Britain Quay – First built in 1727 and named for the island of Britain which it faces, the quay was completed during the Grand Canal Docks project of the 1790s. In the late 19th century, this became a regular mooring point for steam trawlers. In 1907, the South Hailing Station was built here, a fine salmon pink building from which all quayside traffic was directed. The Station was dismantled at 7 o'clock one Sunday morning in 2007. The site was later the designated location for the 140m high U2 Tower, which never came to pass.

Butler’s Court – The entrance to Benson Street is named after Butler’s Chocolates who were formerly located here, but also recalls the Butler family, Earls and Dukes of Ormonde, who once received the duties on all wine imported into Ireland

Charlotte Quay – Like Charlotte Bridge, this was named for Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince Regent, who married Leopold, King of the Belgians but died in childbirth in 1817. She was named for her grandmother, Charlotte of Mecklenburg, wife of George III.

Chocolate Factory Park – A public park from circa 2007, inspired by Roald Dahl’s tale, ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’.

Forbes Street - Probably named for the George Forbes, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1720, a key player in the South Lotts allotments.

Green Street – The rather elaborate limestone warehouses here were formerly icehouses belonging to the Dublin Steam Trawling Ice and Cold Storage Co. Ltd. In 1940, the company’s ship Leukos was rounding the Donegal coast when attacked by a German submarine. The Leukos and her crew of 11 were lost. The Irish Seamen's Relatives Association maintains that the Leukos had attempted to ram the U-38 as it threatened some nearby British trawlers. The Raleigh factory was also based here.

Horse Fair Road - Named for a horse-fair said to have been held in the South Lotts in the 18th century.

Grand Canal Square – Built upon 0.6 acres and designed by Martha Schwartz, the former gasworks site and officially opened in June 2007.

Green Street: An open space until 1865 when Stoney re-faced the quayside so that it could cater to the increasing numbers of steamships.

Hanover Quay: Named for the family of George I, Elector of Hanover, who was invited to Britain by the Protestant elite in 1714 to secure the throne from the Jacobites. Much of the area around Grand Canal Dock is named for the House of Hanover. Pearse Street was formerly called Brunswick Street after the German duchy in which the city of Hanover is situated. Charlotte Bridge and Charlotte Quay were named for Princess Charlotte, only daughter of the Prince Regent (later George IV). Her death in childbirth in 1817 meant her cousin Victoria became queen in 1837. Victoria’s name is on the bridge that carries the DART and Irish Rail's southbound services across the Grand Canal Basin.

Hanover Street - Also named for the German royal family. The Sorting Office development on the corner of Cardiff Lane and Hanover Street East, opposite the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, was to become a base for 2000 Google employees until the deal fell through in September 2020.

Long Boat Quay: The name recalls the ships in which the Norse Vikings sailed from Scandinavia and established their colony on Dublin.

Maquay Bridge – The first proper Grand Canal bridge was named for George Maquay (1758 - 1820), director of the Grand Canal Company and one of the founding members of the Ballast Board. = Maquay (sometimes Macquay) orchestrated the sale of Pigeon House Harbour to the Admiralty. In 1819, he and Leland Crosthwaite commissioned surveyor Francis Giles to assist George Halpin in building the North Bull Wall. His son John Leland Maquay junior (1791-1868) was co-founder of the Pakenham & Maquay bank of Florence.

MacMahon Bridge – Named for General Sean MacMahon (1894 – 1955) who served with de Valera at Boland’s Mill in 1916 and subsequently became Chief of Staff in the Irish Free State.

Misery Hill - I'm always keen to gatehr more information on this one. It has been said that in medieval times, this was the last refuge for those Lazar Hill pilgrims bound for Saint Iago de Compostella who could not afford to stay in the more upmarket hospice. In 2020, Michael Cregan comprehensively proved to me, using maps, that Misery Hill is a product of reclamation works along the Liffey since the 17th century and that it did not exist in the medieval period. It apparently derives its name from an age when the corpses of those executed at Gallows Hill (near Upper Baggot Street / Mount Street) were carted here and strung up to rot as a warning to other would be troublemakers. Two of Robert Emmet’s accomplices were allegedly hanged at Misery Hill on September 17th 1803. It's hard to know how much of is fact or fiction. I don't think there is any record of the name Misery Hill but I am willing to stand corrected. De Gomme’s map shows it as part of an empty, open sweep running around Dublin Bay reaching to Ringsend. [Grand Canal Docks did not appear until the late 18th century.] The Cork Advertising Gazette of 1 July 1857 has this ratehr grim (and once-off?) refeence to Mount Misery Lane: 'On Sunday morning, between two and three o’clock, at Mount Misery lane, Lime-street, Dublin, aman named John Hughes, sailor, stabbed a man named Brunton, in the abdomen, with a long dagger knife, inflicting a fearful wound, from the results of which it is not expected the sufferer will recover. It appears that the prisoner had some quarrel with his family, and rushed out into the street exclaiming that he would stab the first person he met. Brunton unfortunately came in his way, when Hughes at once rushed at and stab bed him. The unfortunate man died from the effects of the wound, and Hughes has been committed to take his trial for the homicide.'
Also of note the Freeman's Journal, 22 July 1886, refers to Misery Lane was 'formerly known as Hanover Street.’ [Confusingly I think that there was another Hanover Lane over by Francis Street]
A poetry collection called ‘Misery Hill’ by David Wheatley was published by Gallery Press in 2000. There is a wonderful moment in JP Donleavy’s book ‘The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B’, when the enchanting Balthazar is sent galloping down the ‘the wet gleaming cobble stones’ of the quays, ‘by all the long rusting sides of ships’. His flight was prompted by a surprise encounter with ‘an old grey bewhiskered face … staring and mad’, clasping a lump of coal one hand by a bunker on Misery Hill.

Wentworth Terrace - A terrace of houses built in 1836 and named after Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Stafford.

Whitaker Square - I suspect this was named for the eminent T.K. Whitaker, but would love confirmation.



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