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Dublin Diary – May
1 May 1758 – The Wide Street Commissioners held their first public meeting.
1 May 1791 – The inhabitants of Merrion Square, Dublin, began payment of an annual sum for a period of 147 years to enclose and improve the Square.
1 May 1866 – Bellevue cemetery, Merrion Road, Dublin closed.
1 May 1878 – Christ Church Cathedral re-opened for public worship, after renovation under architect George Street.
1 May 1891 – City of Dublin railway junction opened, with ‘loop line’ connecting Westland Row (making it a through station) with the Great Northern at Amiens Street and the Midland Western.
1 May 1899 – The name of Stafford Street was changed to Wolfe Tone Street, by Dublin Corporation.
1 May 1965 – Liberty Hall, seventeen storeys and 197ft. high, officially opened.
1 May 1973 – The Minister for Local Government under the Dublin Corporation (Appointment of Commissioners) Order, 1973 appointed 45 persons to be Commissioners for Dublin Corporation, until a new City Council was elected in June 1974. On 7 May 1973 Commissioner Frank Cluskey, T.D., was elected chairman of the Commissioners with all the powers, functions and duties of the Lord Mayor and he continued in office until 25 June 1973 when Commissioner Frederick Mullen, P.C., was elected chairman of the Commissioners and he remained in office until the first quarterly meeting of the City Council held on 28 June 1974, following the 1974 local elections.
2 May 1823 – Beginning of House of Commons inquiry into conduct of sheriff of Dublin following ‘Bottle riot’.
2 May 1991 – Merrion Hall, designed by Alfred G. Jones in 1863, extensively damaged by fire.
2 May 1870 – A statue of the former viceroy Earl of Carlisle was unveiled in the People’s Garden, Phoenix Park, Dublin, without public ceremony. John Henry Foley was the sculptor and he presented Carlisle in the robes of the Grand Master of the Order of St. Patrick.
2 May 1922 – Death of Lt. Col. George Tindall Plunkett, C.B., aged 79. He was, until 1907, director of the Science and Art Museum in Dublin.
3 May 1785 – The Irish Academy (granted title Royal Irish Academy on 28 January 1786) met for the first time, at 114 Grafton Street, house of the earl of Charlemont.
3 May 1839 – The Abbey Street Theatre Royal, opened in 1829, was burned down. The theatre was rebuilt in 1841 as the Mechanics’ Theatre.
4 May 1889 – First conference of the Irish Federated Trade and Labour Union held in Dublin.
4 May 1907 – The Irish International Exhibition was opened at Herbert Park, Ballsbridge by the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Aberdeen. The Exhibition closed on 9 November.
4 May 1973 – The retail premises of Thomas Dockrell & Sons at South Great George’s Street, Dublin, is burned to the ground.
4 May 1979 – Death of Dublin-born comedian and pantomime star Jack Cruise, aged 63.
5 May 1764 – Thomas Mathews was appointed Dublin City Surveyor.
5 May 1880 – John Joyce and Mary Jane Murray (James Joyce’s parents) married at the Church of Our Lady of Refuge, Rathmines.
5 May 1884 – At its quarterly meeting, the Municipal Council of the City of Dublin, Councillor Clancy moved (and was seconded by Councillor Sexton) that ‘the bridge leading from the end of Tara Street to Custom House Quay be called Butt Bridge’.
5 May 1902 – Dublin Corporation changed the name of Dispensary Lane to Dorset Lane.
5 May 1909 – Death of Bindon Blood Stoney, F.R.S., M.A., LL.D., of 14, Elgin Road, Dublin. He was born on 13 June 1828. He was educated privately and at Trinity College Dublin. He qualified as an engineer in 1850. He was engineer to the Spanish Railways, 1852-53. He worked on the Earl of Rosse’s observatory at Birr before working on the Boyne viaduct in 1854-55. In 1856 he worked for the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin, which in 1867 became the Dublin Port and Docks Board. He was appointed executive engineer for Dublin Port in 1859 and Engineer-in-chief in 1862. He was elected M.R.I.A. in 1867 and was Secretary of the Institution of Civil Engineers in Ireland, 1862-70. In 1871 he was elected president, I.C.E.I. He was elected F.R.S. in 1881.He retired as port engineer to Dublin Port and Docks Board in 1898 but continued to act as consultant to the Board. Under his directions half the former shipping quays on the Liffey were re-constructed and converted to deep water quays. He re-built Carlisle Bridge (now O’Connell Bridge). In addition, he was consultant engineer on the harbours of Drogheda, Bray, Wicklow, Arklow, Wexford, Waterford, Kilmore, Queenstown, Cork, Galway, Westport, Ballina, and Sligo. He married, in 1879, Susannah, daughter of Francis Walker, Q.C., of Grangemore, Co. Dublin and had one son and three daughters.
5 May 1966 – Bob Dylan performed his songs in concert at Dublin’s Adelphi Theatre.
6 May 1905 – Four labourers working on a sewer main drain at the corner of Burgh Quay and Hawkins Street suffered severe asphyxiation. DMP Constable Patrick Sheahan, 45B, in attempting their rescue, lost his own gallant life. Members of Dublin Fire Brigade and various people in the vicinity also assisted.
7 May 1766 – Tommaso Giordani’s L’eroe cinese at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin – the first performance of Italian opera seria in Ireland.
8 May 1786 – An ‘Act for improving the police of the City of Dublin’ (26 Geo. III, c.24) enacted by the Irish Parliament.
8 May 1839 – Birth in Dublin of Frederick William Pim, businessman. He was a director of Pim Brothers Ltd. The company had a retail department store at South Great George’s Street, and later at Exchequer Street. Pim was also a railways entrepreneur and director of several rail companies including Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway. After 1916 he modified his formerly Unionist political views on the national question. He died on 7 January 1925 and was buried at Temple Hill, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
8 May 1877 – The Viceroy, the Duke of Marlborough, opened the new front wing of the Coombe Lying-In Hospital, begun two years earlier from the designs of J.F. Fuller, favourite architect of the Hospital’s benefactors, the Guinness family.
9 May 1865 – The Dublin International Exhibition of Arts and Manufactures opened at Dublin Exhibition Palace and Winter Garden in Earlsfort Terrace.
9 May 1867 – During heavy rain, large quantities of berries (perhaps hailstones blackened by soot) fell in Dame Street, Capel Street and neighbouring streets.
9 May 1936 – Anchor Line’s 17,000-ton California sailed from Dublin Bay with passengers for New York city. The service inaugurated a new transAtlantic run by Anchor Line’s four ships.
10 May 1791 – The Dublin Library Society founded by Dr. Richard Kirwan.
10 May 1830 – At a meeting called by advertisement by the Duke of Leinster and held at the Rotunda under the chairmanship of the Duke of Leinster, it was decided to establish the Zoological Society of Dublin.
10 May 1936 – Irish Aviation Day at Phoenix Park attended by c.40,000. The famous aviator C.W.A. Scott attended.
11 May 1823 – Death of Rev. John Troy, O.P., Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. He was born at Castleknock, Co. Dublin on 10 May 1739 and was ordained a priest in 1762. Troy was appointed Archbishop of Dublin in 1786. He laid the foundation stone of the Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough Street, Dublin in April 1815. He was replaced by Rev. Dr. Daniel Murray.
11 May 1897 – New Dublin fish market opened.
12 May 1823 – Formation of Catholic Association in Dempsey’s Tavern, Dublin.
12 May 1853 – The Great Industrial Exhibition opened by Lord Lieutenant, Earl of St. Germans, at Leinster Lawn, Dublin. The Exhibition, sponsored by William Dargan, lasted until 31 October 1853.
12 May 1935 – Over 50,000 attended the Irish Aero Club’s Irish Aviation Day in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
12 May 1961 – Foundation stone laid for new Liberty Hall, Dublin; architect Desmond Rea O’Kelly.
12 May to 21 May 1978 – The Liberties Festival. Events included the Chieftains in concert, Punch and Judy show, Robert Emmet exhibition, historical walks and drama, and a handball competition.
13 May 1937 – The equestrian statue of King George II, dating from 1754 by sculptor John Van Nost, in the centre of St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, was blown up.
13 May 1957 – The Dublin International Theatre Festival was inaugurated.
14 May 1660 – Charles II proclaimed King of Ireland in Dublin.
14 May 1804 – The Fever Hospital and House of Recovery, Cork Street, was opened.
14 May 1847 – Death of Dublin-born landscape painter Samuel Brocas, son of Henry Brocas Senior. Samuel Brocas exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy 1828-47. A series of twelve views of Dublin was engraved by his brother Henry and published in 1820. His brother William was also a painter. Samuel Brocas died at his house, 120 Lower Baggot Street.
14 May 1855 – Death of Dublin-born hymnal editor Rev. Thomas Kelly. He was born, the son of Judge Kelly of the Irish Court of Common Pleas, on 13 July 1769. He graduated B.A. at T.C.D. in 1789. He took Holy Orders in 1792 and eventually became a nonconformist. He published A Collection of Psalms and Hymns (1800) and Hymns on Various Passages of Scripture (1804).
15 May 1963 – The actor Vic Oliver officially opened the sale of the ‘Festival of 1,000 Cakes’, held in connection with Dublin Jewish Women’s Week at Dublin’s Mansion House. The cakes were baked by members of Dublin’s Jewish community.
16 May 1823 – The Dublin to Liverpool packet ship, Robert, sank with the loss of 60 lives.
16 May 1835 – Death of poetess Felicia Hemans at her home 21 Dawson Street, Dublin. Her remains were interred at St. Anne’s Church, Dawson Street.
16 May 1892 – The Masonic Centenary five-day Bazaar opened at the Royal Dublin Society grounds. The opening was presided over by the Grand Master, the Duke of Abercorn. Among the highlights were reconstructions of historic Dublin buildings, a human chess game, and landscaped gardens. Some 96,000 passed through the turnstiles over the five days. A profit of over £21,690 was made from the 50 stalls and turnstile tickets. On 20 May the R.D.S. jumping grounds were the scene of the first-ever international lawn tennis tournament between Ireland and England.
17 May 1760 – Dublin City Corporation Act (33 Geo. II, c.16) increased the power of Dublin’s guilds to elect representatives to common council.
17 May 1760 – Public Lighting Act (33 Geo. II, c.18) empowered Dublin vestries to levy lighting tax.
17 May 1864 – William Henry elected Town Clerk of Dublin, in the room of Alexander Farquhar, deceased, until 1878.
17 May 1935 – The long-running Dublin tram industrial dispute ended.
17 May 1966 – The Mayor of the newly-formed town of Camden (London), Cllr. Samuel Fisher, J.P., was officially welcomed to the Mansion House by Lord Mayor Eugene Timmons.
17 May 1974 – Three car bombs in central Dublin left 26 murdered and many injured.
18 May 1816 – National Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor in Ireland, established by Dr. Charles E.H. Orpen, at Claremont near Glasnevin – until 1943 when the school moved to Monkstown, Co. Dublin.
18 May 1954 – In the General Election for the 15th Dail, the five-seater Dublin South West constituency returned Robert Briscoe, Bernard Butler and Michael ffrench O’Carroll (Fianna Fail), Peadar Doyle and Michael O’Higgins (Fine Gael), and Sean MacBride (Clann na Poblachta). The total valid poll was 43,651 and the quota was 7,276.
18 May 1957 – Violinist Yehudi Menuhin gave a concert at Dublin’s Theatre Royal.
18 May 1975 – The poet Robert Graves gave a poetry reading at Dublin’s Peacock Theatre.
19 May 1816 – The Wellington or Iron or Ha’penny Bridge was opened. It was designed by William Walsh.
19 May 1870 – Home Rule movement launched by Isaac Butt at private meeting in Bilton’s Hotel, Dublin (56 Upper Sackville Street, Dublin).
19 May 1897 – Election of Joseph Ferguson Peacocke as Bishop of Church of Ireland Diocese of Dublin.
20 May 1859 – Some 1,500 guests of Lord Mayor James Lambert and the Lady Mayoress attended a grand ball in the Oak Room of the Mansion House and were entertained by the band of the 3rd Dragoons.
20 May 1923 – Dissolution of Dublin City Council by Minister for Local Government Seamus A. Bourke, T.D. Each member of the Corporation, including Lord Mayor Laurence O’Neill, was informed that their functions finished at 6p.m. The first meeting of the Commission appointed to govern the city was held on 29 May.
20 May 1924 – Executive Council dissolves Dublin Corporation; municipality of Dublin administered by three commissioners until 13 October 1930.
20 May 1938 – The first pipe to bring supplementary water to Dublin from the Poulaphouca supply was laid at Blackhorse Bridge, Inchicore by Alderman P.S. Doyle, Acting Lord Mayor of Dublin.
20 May 1992 – The Dublin Guild Merchant Roll, c.1190-1285, published by Dublin City Archives.
21 May 1839 – Death of William Paulet Carey, writer of political songs and parodies. He was born in Dublin in 1759. He also wrote political skits, and works on art. For a time he was a member of the United Irishmen. He had earlier trained at the Drawing School of the Royal Dublin Society. He married, in May 1792, a Miss Lennon of Grafton Street.
23 May 1744 – Hospital for Incurables opened in Dublin.
23 May 1898 – Death of Sir John Thomas Gilbert, librarian and historian.
23 May 1902 – Fitters at the Inchicore railway works went on strike. The strike lasted for 25 weeks.
23 May 1974 – Death of Dublin-born figure painter and etcher Leslie Curtis. He was born on 30 April 1918, and educated at St. Andrew’s College, Dublin. He attended evening classes at the National College of Art in the early 1940s. He exhibited at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1958, and at the ‘Rising’ Exhibition at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in 1966. He also exhibited at the RHA in 1973. At the time of his death in a shooting accident he lived at Bridgend, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow.
24 May 1713 – Death of Sir Patrick Dun, physician to the Army in Ireland, and first physician of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, where he attended to the wounded after the Battle of the Boyne. He was knighted in 1696, and with Ormonde, founded the College of Physicians in Dublin, of which he was the first president. His remains were interred in the vaults of St. Michan’s church, Church Street, Dublin.
24 May 1751 – The foundation stone laid for the Rotunda Lying-In Hospital. The building was designed by Richard Cassels (died 1750) and completed by his pupil George Ensor. The benefactor was Bartholomew Mosse. The building was roofed in April 1754 and finally opened by the Duke and Duchess of Bedford in 1757.
24 May 1844 – Foundation stone of Amiens Street railway station laid by Lord Lieutenant de Grey; building completed in 1846. 24 May is Queen Victoria’s birthday. The foundation stone contained contemporary railway documents, newspapers and coins.
24 May 1858 – Death of politician John O’Connell (son of Daniel O’Connell), at his Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin residence.
24 May 1893 – Henry Campbell elected Town Clerk of Dublin, in the room of John Beveridge, resigned.
24 May 1974 – Day one of the first official strike in the 215-year history of Guinness – 1,200 workers had served strike notice.
25 May 1878 – Butt Bridge was opened to the public. The bridge was designed by Bindon Blood Stoney, C.E.
25 May 1881 – Dublin streets first lighted by electricity.
25 May 1885 – Lord Mayor John O’Connor officially opened the new £5,000 baths and washhouses at Tara Street, Dublin.
25 May 1921 – The Custom House severely damaged by fire.
26 May 1844 – The Dublin to Drogheda railway line was opened.
27 May 1768 – ‘Act for promoting the trade of Ireland by enabling the merchants thereof to erect an exchange in the city of Dublin’ (7 Geo. III, c.22).
27 May 1936 – The first commercial flight by Aer Lingus took off from Baldonnel for Bristol. The aircraft was a five-seater de Havilland Dragon DH84 named Iolar.
27 May 1960 – Barge 51M made the last delivery of Guinness to Limerick on the Grand Canal.
28 May 1879 – Thomas Moore Centenary. A grand musical and literary demonstration was held in the Exhibition Palace, before an audience estimated at 5,000.
29 May 1972 – The Garden for the Blind is opened in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin.
30 May 1951 – In the General Election for the 14th Dail, the Dublin North Central constituency returned Vivion de Valera and Colm Gallagher (Fianna Fail) and Patrick McGilligan (Fine Gael). The total valid poll was 22,696 and the quota was 5,675.
30 May 1963 – Patrick Belton (Fine Gael) won by-election for Dublin North East Dáil seat.
31 May – 2 June 1740 – Bread riots in Dublin.
31 May 1941 – German bombing of North Strand, Dublin – 28 dead, 90 injured and 300 houses destroyed or damaged. Smaller bombs damaged the American Embassy and Áras an Uachtarain.
31 May 1959 – Closure of Hill of Howth Tramway – the last tramway in Ireland.
31 May 1960 – Dublin’s Lord Mayor Maurice Dockrell, T.D. and Lady Mayoress Mrs. Dockrell began an official visit to London.
31 May 1985 – The official opening of the Luke Kelly Bridge at Ballybough, Dublin.
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