David Lawlor’s The Best Streets in the World.

Some lovely Dublin street scenes from David Lawlor’s guest post on Robert Horvat’s site. You’ll find a few Dublin doors included. Enjoy.

If It Happened Yesterday, It's History

Every now and then I will invite a special guest to write about their five favourite streets (or places) in their own city and or somewhere around the world that they have managed to travel to. Today, I am honoured to have David Lawlor as my special guest. I must confess, David is someone whom I admire and have gained plenty advice from over the past few years. I am especially excited today by his choice to focus on his hometown. It is truly a city close to his heart. Without further ado I will let David take you on his tour of his favourite streets/places in Dublin, Ireland.

7516244016_fcb640b5a5_b (1).jpg


This is one of the five ancient roads to Tara, the home of Ireland’s ancient High Kings. It also happens to be the working-class neighbourhood in which I grew up. Being from the inner city and on the northside of the…

View original post 673 more words

Posted in Writers Resource | 2 Comments

Thursday Doors


Last week’s Thursday Doors photos were taken as we drove through Dublin city headed for Marconi House, headquarters of one of our national radio stations, Today FM. I had been invited by The Last Word host, Matt Cooper, to participate in a program on self-publishing in Ireland and couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for the car trip. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, so decided to have a wander around one of our favourite haunts as teenagers – St. Stephen’s Green shopping center (although it wasn’t a shopping center back then). In our day it was called ‘The Dandelion Market’ and was situated on the site of a former lemonade bottling plant. This was where I bought most of my lovely ’70’s fashion items such as cheesecloth dresses and shirts, tie-dyed tops, denim jackets and flared jeans. It was also our biking days, as you’ll see from the forty year old photos below – I can’t believe it was four decades ago.

Did you notice the Dublin doors and the old telephone kiosk?

Among the many young bands to play their first gigs in the Dandelion Market, entertaining the stall browsers, was one you might have heard of – U2. I’m sure Bono and the lads have fond memories of the Dandelion. By 1980 preliminary work had begun on the new shopping center and the market had to go.


Although the entrance doors are not too spectacular, the beautiful facade more than makes up for that. Opened in 1988, Stephen’s Green was the first premium shopping center to be built in Ireland. The glass dome and ornate iron structure replicates older, more historical buildings, which helps it to blend in well with the surrounding Victorian and Georgian architecture. Situated at the top of a pedestrianized Grafton Street, the center is directly opposite St. Stephen’s Green Park, in the heart of Dublin’s prestigious shopping and cultural quarter.
Inside is just as ornate as the outside, with modern stores, kiosks and art galleries spread across three floors.


Look at that beautiful blue sky – I told you it was a lovely day for our trip. Let’s step onto the elevator to get a close look at a gigantic clock suspended over the center.


This is the second floor and it was in a nostalgic little retro shop on this level that I bought a Batman poster (lots of stuff in there reminded me of the Dandelion Market). From this vantage point you can see how well the architecture evokes a Victorian greenhouse.


Here’s the view from the top floor.


Well, I certainly enjoyed my trip to Dublin and down memory lane. I hope you did, too. Over on Norm’s blog you find a link to lots more Thursday Doors from all over the globe. Enjoy and thanks for visiting.

Posted in entertainment, Historical buildings, Ireland, Music, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Thursday Doors


Not the best quality images for Thursday Doors this week, as they were taken from the car as we traversed Dublin city, so you’ll have to forgive me. I couldn’t pass them without capturing a few shots, Dublin is famous for its colourful doors, as you can see from the first photo.


It must have been bin day, but the doors are anything but rubbish.


I’ve included these because of their unusual colour. Dotted all over the city you’ll find black, red, all shades of blue, green and even bright yellow doors – this particular row had apricot and tan.


If any of you are familiar with horse racing this side of the Atlantic you will recognize the place name on the sign (if you have great eyesight it will help – sorry this one is so blurred). This is Cheltenham Place and the Cheltenham races were on that week in the UK. Unfortunately, Mr. R. picked up speed just as I was taking the shot. I think the name of the street had an affect on him, I must stop giving him oats for breakfast.


These poor neglected old houses have no doors at all. I wonder why they were all painted white. On the other side of the canal, the houses were in much better condition, as you can see from the next photograph.


I’ve put some more into a slideshow, including one of the beautiful ornate streetlamps you’ll find throughout the city.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is what Dublin Doors would look like should they be placed next to each other. A rainbow of portals to feast the eyes on, colourful if somewhat blurred:


Many thanks for stopping by and sorry about the quality of the images but next week’s Thursday Doors will be a lot better as they were taken from the street – not the car. For a great selection of doors why not pay a visit to Norm’s blog and see what surprises await you there.

Posted in Historical buildings, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , | 44 Comments

Thursday Doors

You will have to put a hard hat on for this week’s Thursday Doors. This post is an update on the progress we are making with our house renovation – although you might not consider it progress when you see the rest of the photos. Now that the ivy has been hacked away from the back door there’s a lot more light getting inside.

There was a really nice stairs in the house but we needed to make more room so it had to go but we’ll be replacing it (as soon as we figure out where to put the new one). We moved the walls and ceilings to another location, too.


There they are, in the back garden. Any suggestions as to what we could use that oil tank for? It’s way too big for our needs, in such a tiny house.

Lots of doors but no walls to put them in. Downstairs will be open plan but we might be able to use two of them for the upstairs bedrooms.

What’s left of the pink wall will be joining the ceilings in the back garden soon. If you look carefully, you can see the fireplace peeping out from behind those planks of wood.

I know it all looks a bit of a mess but I’ve been saving the best till last. The new roof is looking good – inside and out. The Velux windows (roof lights) are in place and it won’t be long before we have the new joists and floor fitted.


If you think the house is tiny, take a look at our alternative accommodation.


It might be small but look at the size of the ‘back garden’ – and what a view. The river was like a mirror and the warm sunshine gave us a perfect spring day.


Although we really appreciate unusually warm, sunny weather so early in the season, in Ireland we tend to worry that it will be the last bit of heat and sun we’ll get for the rest of the year. You would have to experience some of our dull wet summers to understand this seemingly irrational anxiety.

I hope you enjoyed the renovation update. The next time I post some photos of the house it should look a lot less frightening. For some more unusual and interesting Thursday Doors have a look at Norm’s blog.

Posted in boats, Ireland, nature, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 48 Comments

Thursday Doors


Welcome to another Doirse Déardaoin, which is the Irish way of saying Thursday Doors. Although the small section of door you can see to the right of this photograph is nothing spectacular to look at, the top half of the building more than makes up for it.

I looked up the history of Property House, 29 Grand Parade, Cork city and found a reference to one of its former uses. Historical business directories of 1845 record that it was occupied by a James Tancred, glove manufacturer. In an earlier directory of 1824,  a James and Moses Tancred are listed as ‘glovers’ in Cockpit Lane and Hanover Street.

It seems the business in Grand Parade had a bad year in 1846 (there was massive starvation and evictions countrywide at the time, which might not have helped). According to historical records, there were at least three other glove shops in the same street, so lots of competition for James Tancred to contend with. In 1846, a John Tancred arrived in Cork from Dublin and filed for insolvency with regards to the glove business in 29 Grand Parade. Apparently, he had been in the trade for forty years but had ceased operating in Dublin. He had also been indicted for causing a nuisance by setting up a glue yard (the poor man was probably hoping to become solvent – financially speaking). This was either James under a different name or a family member, possibly his father.

The only creditor objecting to the insolvency was the owner of number 29 Grand Parade, a Miss Mary O’Neil, to whom Mr. Tancred owed £70, a full year’s rent. She may have been in a bit of a pickle herself, as the lease was being held by her bank as security for bills. The result of the case was that ‘The Insolvent’ was discharged, undertaking to give a consent for judgment and gave up the house to Miss O’Neil. *

Fast forward to 2017. If you’ve lost your gloves on a cold day in the city, there’s no point in calling to Property House to buy a new pair. The ‘Bean & Leaf’ coffee house now operates from the premises (they do lunches, too). They have only recently opened for business and I haven’t been to the city to try it out yet – but I will. This is the photo from their pinned tweet. That first floor looks inviting. I hope they get lots of support, it’s so good to see a lovely old building in use.

bean and leaf

There’s a Bean & Leaf in Mahon Point Retail Park and Carrigaline, too.

Sláinte for now and don’t forget to check out Norm’s blog for more Thursday Doors.

Source: * History

Posted in food, Historical buildings, Ireland, photo challenges, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Thursday Doors


You would be forgiven for thinking these very large and decorative Thursday Doors belong to a place of worship. In fact, more playing than praying goes on in ‘Cyprus Avenue’ – a live music venue on Caroline Street in Cork city. I’m not sure what type of business operated from here in the past but there are buildings on some of the city’s streets that tell you their original story, in spite of them changing hands many times down through the years.


Like the old Copper Works building that now houses ‘The Athlete’s Foot’ – great name for a shoe store. 


And I went out on a limb to take this one:


If you like spending time in the kitchen, you’ll love this next one; Brennan’s Cook Shop. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of culinary utensils. You might even find a left-hand kick start for a racing turkey – as we say here when we come across a mysterious object. The building houses a cookery school where you can also learn the delicious craft of cake decorating.



I hope this has whetted your appetite for more Thursday Doors. If so, have a look at Norm’s blog and check out the little blue ‘frog’ link at the bottom of his post. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.


Posted in food, Historical buildings, Ireland, Music, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

Thursday Doors


Back in Cork city for this week’s Thursday Doors and not a cell in sight. I think I’ve spent enough time photographing prisons over the past few weeks so let’s have a look at an old building of a completely different nature. The barrels stacked outside should give you a clue as to what sort of business takes place inside that old doorway.


Yes indeed, it’s a pub. By my posts over the last few months it might appear that whenever I’m not incarcerated, I’m intoxicated. The truth is, whenever we go to a pub it’s usually for lunch and it’s always in a place with a bit of character and history attached – not too difficult to find in any Irish town. The Welcome Inn on Parnell Street has been in business for over 170 years, since 1845, and is one of the oldest traditional bars in Cork city. They don’t serve food but have live music sessions four evenings a week and they even let you pull your own pint if you’d like to have a go (after a quick lesson from the bar tender).


Sometimes what’s above the door is just as interesting or decorative, as you can see from the photograph below.


The Murphy’s sign depicts Prussian born strongman, Eugene Sandow (1867-1925), raising a fully grown horse overhead with just one hand. It was part of his main act and the brewery used this image in their advertising in the early decades of the 20th century – because ‘Murphy’s Stout Makes You Strong’ of course.


Here’s a video from one of the music sessions that take place at The Welcome Inn. I thought Manfred Mann’s song ‘The Mighty Quinn’ a good one to end the post with.

I’m delighted you stopped by this week and if you’d like to sample  another ‘doorscursion’ there’s a great selection of Thursday Doors over on Norm’s blog. You can even add some of your own.

Posted in History, Ireland, Music, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments

Thursday Doors


An unusual Thursday Door kicks off this week’s post, one I hadn’t come across before. It’s an oven door that’s part of an oil cooker, one of the exhibits on the fourth floor of the Clock Gate Tower Museum in Youghal. On each of the four levels the story of the tower is told in stages, from when it was first used for storage, then as a garrison, a prison and lastly a home to the McGrath family, who still live in the town today, though not in the Tower.

John McGrath, who was born in the Clock Tower in 1939, and Pat Lynch, curator of Fox’s Lane Museum, joined forces to help recreate the fourth floor of the tower as an early to mid twentieth century kitchen/parlour.



The family had lovely views of the main street, as you can see from the fourth floor window. Behind the curtain, the steps lead up to the bell but this is not open to the public at present. In the video at the end of the post you can see for yourself the fabulous view afforded to anyone who goes beyond that curtain.

A perspex model of the Clock Tower allows you to see what use the McGrath family made of each floor. If you’re thinking we were very technically advanced in Ireland to have flat screen colour tvs in the 1950’s – we didn’t. We watched a video to finish off the tour, and in it John tells us what it was like living in such a remarkable old building. His family slept in the cells, which had been made into bedrooms and on another floor his mother used a room to dry her laundry. They also preserved fish, which you can just about see strung across the third floor of the model. Did you notice that box underneath the tv screen?


Believe it or not, it’s a home-made slow cooker, filled with sawdust and heated from underneath. The sawdust needed to be packed tight so it wouldn’t combust. I think I’ll stick with my electric one – it takes up less room and not so likely to burn the house down.

If you would like to hear what it was like to live in what used to be an old jail, John revisits the Clock Tower during its reconstruction in the short video below.

Thank you for stopping by and if you’d like to have a look at a selection of international Thursday Doors posts, hop on over to Norm’s blog – you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, videos | Tagged , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Thursday Doors


If you thought this week’s Thursday Doors was taking a ‘break’ from jail, you’d be half right. In my local town of Youghal the Clock Gate Tower has recently been refurbished and opened as a museum. It is the newest addition on Ireland’s Ancient East tourist trail. The tour gave me a better understanding of the past 600 years in the history of Youghal and the impact the Clock Gate Tower has had on the lives of so many of its people. With four floors that take you through more than 400 years of history, there is a lot more to this old building than meets the eye. Our tour guide, Dorothy, did a fantastic job of bringing each era of its history to life – believe me, it’s been there a long time. I don’t know how she was able to remember everything and answer any question asked of her, too.
The Clock Gate was built in 1777 on the site of the old Iron Gate also known as Trinity Gate, In 1563, a merchant by the name of Melchior Bluet, leased the building, probably as a residence and storehouse. This was replaced in 1620 with a more modern building which included an imposing and distinctive clock but by the mid to late 18th century, Trinity Gate was in a dilapidated condition, and in 1773 the Corporation decided to knock down the building but held onto the clock and bell. It was replaced with one that had sufficient room for a jail and jailer’s house. The cost of its construction at the time amounted to £2,000, which would be equivalent to £233,100.00 in 2016. Although it was built as a prison it has been put to many uses over its lifetime. From about 1840 it was no longer used as a jail but continued to tell the time to the people of Youghal right up to the present day.

The interior of the Clock Tower is just as interesting as the exterior and on the first floor we learned about the history of the town as a busy seaport, exporting goods such as wool, barley and corn, with olives and wine being some of the items that were imported.


 In the early 1600’s Youghal was elevated to the rank of staple town. In historical terms, this meant that it was an elite market for major exports from Ireland and received the exclusive rights to carry on a wool trade with important commercial towns in England, such as Bristol and Liverpool. During the 17th century Youghal was one of Ireland’s main ports, far more important than Cork Harbour, which was described at the time as, ‘a port near Youghal.’
When we climbed to the second floor the story became much more sombre, as the history of the Clock Gate as a jail and public gallows unfolded. I know you can see a modern form of heating in the above photograph but I can assure you there was no such heat in the two cells that were originally on this floor – one for Protestants and the other for Catholics. Women were incarcerated in the same cell with men and baskets were lowered to the street below so that food could be placed inside and hoisted back up to the windows, which were barred but not glazed. It’s pretty high up there, so I can only imagine how drafty and cold it must have been.
This would have been a typical bed but there would only have been room for about five or six at most in each of the two cells. Sometimes up to twenty people were incarcerated in a cell with only a bucket for a toilet and no privacy.


During the Irish rebellion of 1798, three sympathizers were hanged from the tower, their bodies dangling as a warning to others. Thomas Gallagher was one of those hanged for an attempt at influencing a soldier to betray his allegiance to his regiment. Over two hundred years ago, inspired by the ideals and successes of the French and American Revolutions, the Irish rose up in revolt but were poorly equipped with only pitchforks, pikes, and a handful of firearms (seen in the image above). With these meagre weapons they confronted the well-organised might of the British Empire in an epic struggle which ultimately failed, but left a lasting impression on later generations.
The third floor of the tower is all about the clock. You can see from the photograph of the diagram how it has been incorporated into the structure of the building. It was fascinating to learn that time has been told from the same site since the 1600’s. There are only three clock faces on the cupola on top because a fourth one would have been facing the rear of the town, which at the time was a sparsely inhabited steep incline.
The ceiling in this room is decorated with a selection of cogs and the bell displayed in the poster on the wall is the original, still in use today. Unfortunately, we were not allowed outside to have a closer look but that may be an option in the future. As it is located above the fourth floor, I was happy enough to see an image of it (I’m not great with heights).
The fourth floor was my favourite and I took lots of photographs of all the interesting items on display there, but I’ll leave that one till next week’s post. In the meantime, here’s something to test your powers of observation. Do you see anything odd about the clock face above? I’m sure someone will spot it, although none of us on the tour did, when asked. If not, I’ll explain it all in next week’s post. Until then, here’s a short video that will give you a great bird’s eye view of the Clock Tower and the surrounding beach and countryside. Youghal is a friendly seaside town that is steeped in history and if you get a chance to visit you will have plenty to keep you occupied, whatever the weather.

Thanks for joining me on the Clock Gate tour and if you’d like to sample some Thursday Doors from around the globe, check out Norm’s blog.

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel, videos | Tagged , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Thursday Doors


This week sees the last of my Thursday Doors tour of Cork City Gaol. I don’t think the above doorway, set in the high walls surrounding the prison, would be too easy to get through, a bit like my post this week. By the time you get to the end of it, you will have read about an inventive Italian with an Irish side to his family that were dab hands at distilling whiskey and viewed a video about a young man whose life was most likely saved because of alcohol.


So to begin with, there is a very interesting exhibition on the top floor of Cork City Gaol that includes a radio museum. We have a couple of old radios in our family that we inherited from grandparents, so it was very nice to see such a varied collection in one place. Do any of them look familiar to you?


Why am I including a photograph of a former American President in my post? In front of this life-sized image in one of the rooms at the radio museum stands the very microphone that John F. Kennedy used when he gave a speech on his visit to Cork in 1963 and nobody has spoken into it since.


After its closure in 1924, Cork city gaol became home to a radio station from 1927 until the 1950’s. In the museum you can learn about the history of communication, from the Pony Express to Marconi’s conquest of the airwaves.


Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937)

Marconi was a pioneer of radio communication and he invented the first practical system of wireless telegraphy. He was born in Bologna on 25th April 1874 to Giuseppe Marconi and his Irish wife Annie Jameson. Does her maiden name ring a bell? Her grandfather was John Jameson, founder of the whiskey distillery, Jameson & Sons, in Dublin in the 1780s. Andrew, Annie’s father was also capable of whipping up a batch or two of uisce beatha, the Irish word for whiskey, which translates as water of life. Following in his father’s footsteps, he founded a distillery in Ennicorthy, Co. Wexford, and settled there with his wife Margaret Millar. They lived in Daphne Castle, just outside the town of Wexford.

Guglielmo Marconi also married an Irish woman, the Hon. Beatrice O’Brien daughter of the 14th Baron Inchiquin and High Sheriff of county Clare. She lived to the ripe old age of 94 (it must have been all that water of life). She grew up in Clare but moved to London and it was there that she met Marconi who immediately broke off his engagement to an American woman to pursue her. Beatrice wasn’t too happy with the publicity he drew as a celebrity and initially declined his proposal of marriage but he eventually won her over. Unfortunately, the marriage was annulled and they both eventually married other people – but that’s another story.

Ballycastle in Co. Antrim was the site of the world’s first commercial wireless telegraph transmission on 6th July 1898. In the early 1900’s Marconi’s company began a regular transatlantic radio-telegraph service between Clifden, County Galway and Glace Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada. Marconi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 and died in 1937 aged 63 following a series of heart attacks. His grandfather’s whiskey is still as popular as ever today and is produced in Midleton, County Cork as well as in Dublin.

Speaking of whiskey, I’ll leave you with a great little video that tells the story of that young man I mentioned at the start of my post. Uisce Beatha is a multi award-winning short film, based on a true story, Directed by Shaun O’Connor.

Thank you for stopping by and if you would like to see more Thursday Doors, pay a visit to Norm’s blog, where you’ll find a selection of doors from all parts of the globe.

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments