Written out of history

This is a fantastic Lawrence image of the O'Connell Monument, on what was then Sackville Street in Dublin. But what's fascinating is the excision of the two characters who were obviously taking their ease on the steps of the plinth...


Wanted to date this accurately, and was hoping that the shops on the left (Elvery's Elephant, etc.) would help us to do that. The monument was unveiled in 1882. From staining on the steps, it looks as if it'd been in situ for a while. I started the bidding at 1885, but see below comments for a tour de force example of dating detective work, especially from MKSeery.


Date: 1889-1892


NLI Ref.: L_CAB_02631

  • Richard Cowdell 3y

    This is great. I love pictures showing Nelson's Pillar given its prominence in 'Ulysses' (I'll forebear quoting Stephen's "Pisgah Sight of Paradise or The Parable of the Plums" and the story of the two ladies who climb it's stairs to see over Dublin as they are likely to be very familiar to many who view this site). What makes the picture even more fascinating is the removal of the two seated figures. Who were they? and Why? Probably we'll never know.
  • Spreng Ben 3y

    So good to see this photo, it really deserves Explore!
    Have a blessed Saturday!
  • gato-gato-gato 3y

    Das ist super.
  • mambo1935 3y

  • Jean-Marc PAYET 3y

    très belle prise de vue
  • MKSeery 3y

    Based on philip ward date of pre 1896, I had a look at the Thom's Directory for 1895, 1894, and 1892 to help name the businesses on the street. Interestingly, MacArthur was there in 1894, but not in 1895, when No. 47 was taken over by Elverys.
    1895 Listing
    No. 45:
    Bolger & Co, Wine and Spirit Merchant
    Robert J Cusack, Merchant
    Ed Stanley Lauder, photographer (which matches the tag entered)

    No. 46 and 47:
    Elvery JW and Co, Waterproof and gutta percha manufacturers
    John H Elvery (resident in Bray)
    William Elvery (resident in Carickmines)
    (No 47 in 1894 was MacArthur and Co, house and land agents, auctioneers and valuators, mortgage brokers; M. MacArthur, fellow Inst. Auctioneers, London)

    No. 48:
    James Stott and Co, Gas Engineers
    John Smallman sanitary and gas engineer and manufacturer's agent
    J Shanks and Co sanitary engineers
    Samuel Buckley and Co, patent die maker
    Stott and co
    Henry Pooley and Son
    James McConnell, illuminating and heraldic artist

    No. 49
    Lemon and Co, Wholesale confection, lozenge and comfit manufacturers to the Queen
    Thomas Owens Lemon
  • Niall McAuley 3y

    So, good work, it's1894 at the latest, then.

    Can Thom's do better than 1882 as the earliest possible date based on these businesses?
  • MKSeery 3y

    Niall McAuley Oh yes that's clever, I didn't think of that! I'll have to revisit and report back!
  • MKSeery 3y

    Following Niall McAuley's suggestion, I had a look at the earlier Thom's. It looks like MacArthur's can help again. In 1884, they were not in this building. They were there by 1888, but next door (No. 48) was not listed. They weren't listed until the next available Thom's - 1891 - as J Stott, etc.

    I've compiled the info on the graphic below, but it would seem to me that photo dates 1889-1894...?
    Thoms Sackville St lower by MKSeery
  • National Library of Ireland on The Commons 3y

    MKSeery I'm speechless! Cannot thank you enough, and our very first example of someone being driven to construct a spreadsheet to make sense of what was going on... :)
  • National Library of Ireland on The Commons 3y

    philip ward Niall McAuley Thanks to you two also for your dating help with this one!
  • painting in light 3y

    As an aid to dating shots of Sackville Street [O'Connell Street] with the O'Connell Monument -

    When the monument was unveiled on 15th Aug 1882 it was without its 'Winged Victories' and these were added during 1883.

    One of the biggest mistakes in a monument is virtually never mentioned – his coat buttons the ‘female’ side!

    O'Connell Bridge & Monument, Dublin. by painting in light
  • Niall McAuley 3y

    Over on Bonafide Travellers, beachcomberaustralia points out the supertall electric lights installed in 1892. I really think they would be visible here if this is after that date. There is a decent shot halfway down the page here showing one of the tall posts with a globe on top behind the monument.

    That would narrow this one down to 1889 to 1892, very close to our best guess at Bonafide Travelllers.
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    Niall McAuley Yes, after 1892 there was an electric lamp in front of this statue, as well as both sides of the street. See
    Stereoview detail- Sackville Street, Dublin, Ireland 1896 by Aussie~mobs
    . So this must be before 1892.
  • Cor@zón 2y

    Excelente fotografia
  • Hello Kitkat 2y

    www.francisfrith.com/dublin/photos/sackville-street-1897_... Less steps here and a fence around the monument
  • Niall McAuley 2y

    I can't find any reference to when those railings were added....
  • Hello Kitkat 2y

    Niall McAuley Is it just my imagination or are there less steps too?
  • Hello Kitkat 2y

    archive.org/details/reportofoconnell00oconrich Report of the O'Connell monument committee (1888)
  • Cesar Romero Robles 2y

S Search
Photo navigation
< > Thumbnail navigation
Z Zoom
B Back to context