At the end of the eighteenth century, Dublin was the second largest city in the British Isles and the tenth largest in Europe, with a population of 182,000. An era of rapid expansion was coming to an end; indeed, the population of Dublin city and county combined fell between 1821 and 1831. The city's population reached 258,000 in 1851, falling to 245,000 by 1891. Suburban growth more than compensated for the decline in the city, although after a brisk expansion in midcentury, it tailed off during the 1880s. City and suburbs entered another phase of expansion during the 1890s, which continued up to the eve of World War I. In 1911 Dublin and its suburbs had a population of 400,000, but Belfast, with a population of only 20,000 in 1800, was Ireland's largest city.
A commercial and administrative city, offering limited industrial employment, Dublin failed to attract significant immigrants from rural Ireland; in 1841 just over one-quarter of the population was born outside Dublin city and county; by 1911 the comparable figure (in an enlarged city) was under 30 percent. Non-Dubliners were best represented among the professional and middle classes and domestic servants; general laborers were overwhelmingly Dublin born. Many skilled and unskilled Dublin workers migrated to Britain, some settling permanently. Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe began arriving in Dublin in the 1880s; the only other significant non-Irish group in the city were the garrisons of British soldiers.
Epidemics of fever, smallpox, and cholera were a regular feature of Dublin life until the 1870s, but despite their disappearance, Dublin's death rate declined at a much slower pace than other cities in the United Kingdom; until the 1880s, deaths regularly exceeded births. Infant mortality, which was below the average for U.K. cities until 1890, was 20 percent above that average by 1914. The death rate among adults was significantly higher than in British cities, with tuberculosis and respiratory disease the major killers. Tuberculosis peaked in Dublin several decades later than in Belfast or in British cities; poverty, overcrowding, and poor hygiene were significant factors. By 1911 completed family size in Dublin was slightly below the Irish average, and there is evidence that some Protestant families were controlling fertility.
Many of the industries found in late-eighteenth-century Dublin had catered to the landed gentry; during the nineteenth century, these trades tended to stagnate or disappear because landed incomes were less buoyant, and the Act of Union of 1800 (which abolished the Irish parliament) lessened the attractions of the Dublin Season. Guinness's Brewery, which claimed to be the largest brewery in the world by the 1880s, employed fewer than two thousand workers; the distillation of Irish whiskey employed less than five hundred. General laborers, many in casual employment, accounted for between 20 and 25 percent of the workforce. Most women were engaged in laundry work, dressmaking, and domestic service; there were few openings for young boys or girls. The coming of the railways resulted in a major expansion in Dublin port. By 1875 Dublin was Ireland's largest port and the fifth largest in the United Kingdom, but the growth in port activity tailed off sharply during the 1880s, as did investment in the port. By 1907 Dublin ranked twelfth among U.K. ports; Belfast was ninth.
Because of a surplus of general laborers, the gap between skilled and unskilled wages was higher than in British cities, and casual employment was common. In 1908 James Larkin (1876–1947), a fiery and charismatic labor leader who had previously worked as a union organizer in Liverpool and Belfast, began to enroll Dublin laborers and dock workers in his Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. Larkin's militant tactics initially achieved some gains for the workers, but in 1913 Dublin employers decided to face Larkin down by dismissing all workers who failed to sign an undertaking not to join the union; the 1913 Lock-Out lasted for several months and ended in defeat for the workers.
By the close of the eighteenth century, the Wide Streets Commissioners had laid out the modern Dublin streetscape. The opening of the magnificent Custom House (1791) and Carlisle Bridge (1791–1794) by the architect James Gandon (1742–1823) shifted the axis of the city to the east, away from its Viking and medieval roots. Port development migrated to the north banks of the river Liffey, and this together with the growing trade in live cattle (who walked to the port) spelled doom for the formerly fashionable north city streets and squares. They were converted into tenement housing for dock laborers, casual workers, and prostitutes—their habitués have been well captured in the plays of Sean O'Casey (1880–1964), and the "Night-town" scene in Ulysses by James Joyce (1882–1941). Fashionable Dublin retreated to the southeast of the city and the adjoining suburban townships of Pembroke and Rathmines. Suburbia offered an escape from disease and poverty, from higher local taxes, and from a city that was increasingly being taken over by Catholics and nationalists.
In 1840 Dublin Corporation was transformed from a closed corporation, dominated by a small and largely self-perpetuating body of freemen, to one elected by property owners. Daniel O'Connell (1775–1847), member of parliament (MP), became the first Catholic lord mayor since the Protestant Reformation and immediately used the office to launch a campaign to restore the Irish parliament. O'Connell went to some effort to retain a Protestant presence in Dublin Corporation—inaugurating an informal arrangement where the office of lord mayor was held alternatively by a Catholic/liberal and a Protestant/conservative, but this pact broke down during the 1860s as tensions rose over Italian unification, disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, and the refusal of a government charter to Dublin's Catholic university. The city's Protestant population fell by ten thousand (19 percent) between 1861 and 1871. During the 1880s, the triumphant Home Rule party further eroded Protestant/unionist representation in city politics through a strong campaign for voter registration and militant tactics, such as refusing an address of welcome to the visiting Prince of Wales. The 1898 Local Government Act (Ireland's equivalent to Britain's 1888 Act) increased the electorate from eight thousand to thirty-eight thousand, resulting in a modest labor representation. However, Dublin Corporation continued to be dominated by supporters of the Irish Nationalist Party; labor and the newly emerging Sinn Féin Party failed to establish a significant presence.
The post-1840 Dublin Corporation was frequently accused of corruption. However, some of the criticism reflects Protestant resentment at losing power. Between the 1840s and the 1860s, the membership of Dublin Corporation included a significant number of the city's business elite—brewers, distillers, railway directors, and prominent merchants—but by the 1880s it was increasingly dominated by the city's publicans, many of them also tenement landlords. During the 1860s, Dublin Corporation successfully carried out a major water scheme, but a main drainage scheme was not completed until 1906, and for many years the river Liffey acted as the city's main sewer. The delay was mainly due to financial difficulties—the city's income was substantially reduced in 1854 and did not return to the 1850 level until the mid-1880s. Dublin Corporation attempted to revolve this problem by extending city boundaries to include the adjoining suburban townships, but the latter proved adept at resisting their efforts. In 1900 the city absorbed the poorer suburbs to the north and west, but the prosperous southside townships of Rathmines and Pembroke remained independent until 1930, largely thanks to the support of the Irish Unionist MP Baron Edward Henry Carson (1854–1935), whose father had been a property developer in both townships.
By 1914 Dublin Corporation had provided housing for 7,500 persons, 2.5 percent of the population, a proportion that they claimed was greater than in any other city in the United Kingdom; local authority and philanthropic housing combined accounted for almost 20 percent of the city's housing stock, yet in that year twenty thousand people were living in one-room tenements, and an official inquiry estimated that fourteen thousand new houses were urgently needed. The relocation of working class families in the suburbs did not begin until the 1920s.
Dublin's National Library, National Gallery, and National Museum are nineteenth-century foundations. In 1815 the Royal Dublin Society (RDS, founded in 1731) purchased Leinster House, the former townhouse of the Duke of Leinster, which became the society's library and museum. In 1853 the RDS organized the Dublin Industrial Exhibition with the financial assistance of railway magnate William Dargan (1799–1867). In 1857 the society erected a Natural History Museum on its grounds with government assistance; thirty thousand books from the RDS's library formed the nucleus of the National Library that opened in 1890.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, Ireland's leading learned society, the Royal Irish Academy (founded 1785) accumulated an impressive collection of Irish antiquities and manuscripts, and in 1852 they moved to new premises in Dawson Street that included a dedicated museum and library. When the Science and Art Department at South Kensington opened a museum in Dublin in 1890, the Royal Irish Academy's collection became the nucleus of the antiquities collection. The museum was renamed the National Museum in 1908.
Theater and music formed part of Dublin's cultural fabric, but they were not represented in any buildings of significance; the Abbey Theatre, founded in 1904 in Dublin's down-at-the-heels north city, achieved its reputation for pioneering contemporary Irish drama despite precarious finances and modest premises.
In 1800 Dublin had one university, Dublin University, founded in the sixteenth century, and its single college, Trinity College. During the nineteenth century, Dublin University followed a pattern similar to many other universities, opening professional schools in law and medicine and expanding its curriculum to include natural sciences, history, and economics. Catholics were admitted in 1793, but they were precluded from becoming scholars or fellows for many decades. In 1854 John Henry Newman (1801–1890) opened the Catholic University in the hope that it would become "A Catholic Oxford in Ireland," but although the foundation stone for university buildings was laid in the northern suburb of Drumcondra in 1861, lack of funds meant that it was not constructed. The Catholic University, renamed University College Dublin, survived as a small college with a liberal arts program and a medical school until 1908, when it became a constituent college of the new National University of Ireland.
Catholics constituted a majority of Dublin's population from the early eighteenth century, but the penal laws meant that all prominent religious buildings were the property of the established church. The two Church of Ireland cathedrals, Christ Church and St. Patrick's, date from medieval times and were extensively renovated and partly remodeled in the second half of the nineteenth century. The Catholic pro-cathedral (1816) reflected the pre-Catholic Emancipation era: it was erected on a minor street in the north city. Most of the early Catholic churches were erected in poorer quarters; later constructions were more ostentatious befitting a growing Catholic assertiveness. John Henry Newman remarked that the (unfashionable) north side was "the specially Catholic side of Dublin"; the northern suburb of Drumcondra became the home to Catholic seminaries and the residence of the archbishop. Religious institutions catering to all denominations flourished during this period: schools, universities, hospitals, orphanages, and charities were all denominationally based, as was recruitment by many private employers. One Dubliner recalled that "From childhood I was aware that there were two separate and immiscible kinds of citizens: the Catholics of whom I was one, and the Protestants who were as remote and different from us as if they had been blacks and we whites" (Andrews, p. 9).
By 1914 Dublin was anticipating the return of devolved government with the establishment of a Home Rule parliament, but these plans were over taken by World War I and the 1916 Easter Rising. Between 1916 and 1923, large areas of central Dublin were destroyed by rebellion and civil war. The new state inherited a capital city that was very different from the city of the Irish parliament of the late eighteenth century: more Catholic, more nationalist, somewhat down-at-the-heels—a city that is best captured by Joyce's Dubliners or Ulysses.
Andrews, C. S. Dublin Made Me: An Autobiography. Dublin, 1979.
Craig, Maurice. Dublin 1660–1860. London, 1992.
Daly, Mary E. Dublin: The Deposed Capital, 1860–1914. Cork, 1985.
Hill, Jacqueline. From Patriots to Unionists: Dublin Civic Politics and Irish Protestant Patriotism, 1660–1840. Oxford, U.K., 1997.
McParland, Edward. "Strategy in the Planning of Dublin 1750–1800." In Cities and Merchants: French and Irish Perspectives on Urban Development, 1500–1900. Edited by Pierre Butel and L. M. Cullen, 97–108. Dublin, 1986.
Vaughan, W. J. Ireland under the Union, I: 1801–1870. Vol. 5 of A New History of Ireland. Oxford, U.K., 1989.
——. Ireland under the Union, II: 1870–1921. Vol. 6 of A New History of Ireland. Oxford, U.K., 1996.
Whelan, Yvonne. Reinventing Modern Dublin: Streetscape, 1900–1966. Dublin, 1999.
Mary E. Daly
DUBLIN. The rapid physical, economic, and demographic expansion of Dublin in the late Middle Ages came to an end in the mid-fourteenth century. The most striking feature of the long period of stagnation that ensued—which lasted until the early seventeenth century—was the cessation of the suburban growth previously promoted by the Anglo-Norman monastic foundations. As a result, the city's core remained within the old walled settlement, which was located on the south side of the River Liffey, nearly a mile from where the river met the sea at Dublin Bay. In keeping with its position as Ireland's main port and the administrative capital of the English lordship, the city was secure against contraction. Even disruptive changes such as were caused in the 1530s by the dissolution of religious houses as part of Henry VIII's efforts to promote a Protestant Reformation could be turned to at least partial advantage; it encouraged some redevelopment and contributed to the emergence of the wealthy Catholic Old English elite that exercised a dominant command of civic politics in the second half of the sixteenth century. By this time also, the city had recovered from the devastating effects of the Black Death (1348), though its population continued to suffer the effects of epidemic disease. According to contemporary estimates, 3,000 people, or one-third of the city's population, then reckoned at 9,000, succumbed to plague in 1575. Modern assessments, however, put the city's population around that time at a more modest 5,500 to 8,000.
The condition of the city improved greatly from the early seventeenth century as, following the decisive military defeat of the native Irish, a new ruling elite—the New English—comprising soldiers, officials, settlers, and artisans, who arrived in substantial numbers from England, displaced the previously dominant Catholic patrician families. Dublin grew rapidly as a commercial, administrative, and industrial center as a result. This was not without interruption, notably during the war-torn 1640s, but the setbacks experienced then were soon reversed, as the growth of the city's population from about 20,000 in the 1660s to 45,000 in 1685 attests. Propelled by the immigration of English and French Protestants (Huguenots), the population had doubled again by 1730 when it exceeded 90,000. The city continued to grow rapidly, but the main engine of demographic growth thereafter was the in-migration of Catholics from the countryside, which pushed the population to 182,000 in 1798. The denominational character of the city was transformed in the process; in 1715, the city's population was nearly 70 percent Protestant, whereas in 1798 it was 70 percent Catholic.
Rural dwellers were drawn to the city in large numbers by the prospects of employment. One of the most vibrant sectors was construction, as the wealthy aristocratic elite (which also sustained a network of fine craftsmen, luxury goods sellers, and aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual endeavors) stimulated a building boom that transformed much of the city. As a result, not only were graceful townhouses and elegant public buildings introduced into the much reconfigured old city (to which the Wide Street Commission  made an important contribution) but extended suburban development flourished as well, promoted by ambitious developers who oversaw the construction of classical Georgian squares and long streets of imposing houses with distinctive red-brick fronts to the southeast of the old city and north of the River Liffey. The relocation of the Custom House closer to the mouth of Dublin Bay was no less critical since, in tandem with a new easterly bridge, it moved the center of the city out of its old walled town and half a mile closer to the sea. It also linked the various major developments of the eighteenth century, which was critical to Dublin's emergence by the end of the eighteenth century as the "second city" of the British Empire and one of the most improved cities in Europe.
See also Cities and Urban Life ; Cromwell, Oliver ; England ; Ireland ; Plague .
Cosgrave, Art, ed. Dublin through the Ages. Dublin, 1988. An informed and informative collection of essays.
Dickson, David. "The Demographic Implications of the Growth of Dublin 1650–1850." In Urban Population Development in Western Europe from the Late-Eighteenth to the Early-Twentieth Century, edited by R. Lawton and R. Lee, pp. 178–189. Liverpool, 1989.
McParland, Edward. "Strategy in the Planning of Dublin 1750–1800." In Cities and Merchants: French and Irish Perspectives on Urban Development, 1500–1900, edited by L. M. Cullen and Paul Butel, pp. 97–108. Dublin, 1986.
Dublin, the capital city, is located on the east coast of Ireland, on both sides of the River Liffey along a wide sweeping bay with mountains to the south that shelter it from the prevailing southwesterly winds. This situation ensures low annual precipitation (averaging 750 millimeters) but can exacerbate problems of air quality. Growth has accelerated since the mid-1990s and the population of the built-up area is approximately one million, with another half million in the hinterland. Dublin is a primate city, that is, a city which dominates the urban system, in that it has five times the population of Cork, the second largest city in the Republic. The city is low density: Over 85 percent of housing dates from the twentieth century, and most dwellings are one-family, three- or four-bedroom houses. Apartments in the central area have become popular with young professionals only since the 1990s. In 1991, 75 percent of households were homeowners and only 15 percent occupied public housing.
Dublin is the center of government administration and the location of most of the corporate headquarters in Ireland. Three out of four workers are employed in the service sector by 37,000 service companies. The most important sectors are business and financial services, information technology, and public administration. There are some 1,300 manufacturing companies with concentrations in electronics and engineering, food, drink, tobacco, and paper and printing. Companies are generally small; only forty employ more than 1,000 people and about 200 companies have 200 or more workers. There are over 800 overseas companies, including some 350 U.S. companies, mainly in software, electronics, and financial services. Over 40,000 people are now employed in tourism. The importance of this industry has grown steadily, and the city is one of the most popular city destinations in Europe, attracting 4.4 million visitors annually.
Since the mid-1980s government-supported programs of urban renewal have eliminated much inner-city blight and attracted people back to the city center. The docklands have been redeveloped into an international financial services center, and there has been significant investment in the development of the city's tourism industry. The city center is low-rise, with few buildings over ten stories. High-rise buildings will be permitted in the future in specifically designated areas. Issues of concern to the city authorities include managing traffic (particularly, reducing the use of private cars for commuting), limiting urban sprawl, and managing waste disposal.
The History of the City
In Celtic times there was an important ford on the Liffey, and this may have supported a small settlement. There is also evidence of a monastic establishment. In the ninth century Vikings established a raiding base along the river, and by the tenth century Dublin had developed into an important Viking trading town. It passed into the hands of the Anglo-Normans in the late twelfth century and became the center of the feudal lordship of Ireland. By 1610, the date of the earliest surviving map, Dublin was a small walled town (approximately 12 hectares) on the south bank of the Liffey with substantial suburbs on both sides of the river. The combined population of the town and suburbs is estimated to have been 10,000, with 3,800 within the walls. Little remains of this city today, with the exception of two cathedrals, Dublin Castle, and elements of the street plan.
Dublin flowered in the eighteenth century as both city authorities and private speculators developed the city beyond the medieval walls. A Wide Streets Commission established in 1757 oversaw development and acted as a planning authority for almost a century. The city was provided with wide, straight streets, residential squares, and impressive public buildings—the Four Courts, Custom House, and Parliament buildings—in a style greatly influenced by contemporary European ideas. By 1790 the city's elegance and charm was widely admired in Europe.
In the nineteenth century a number of circumstances combined to produce serious social problems. In the years after 1801, following the implementation of the Act of Union, the economy of the city suffered as many wealthy citizens moved to London. More importantly, the better-off moved in large numbers to legally independent townships just outside the municipal boundary, thus reducing the tax base of the city. Two townships south of the city, Pembroke and Rathmines, became particularly important as higher-status enclaves. At the same time many people migrated from the countryside to the city, fleeing abject poverty and sometimes famine. They found themselves in a city without sufficient labor-intensive industry to absorb them productively. By 1851 the city's population had risen to 258,000 from 182,000 (in 1800), and there were problems of public health and housing of such intensity that it was well into the twentieth century before they were satisfactorily addressed. Nonetheless, Dublin continued to function as an important regional center, many infrastructural improvements were undertaken, and the better-off continued to come to the city for business and recreation. The municipal authority, Dublin Corporation, was reformed under the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act of 1840, and control quickly passes into the hands of the national politicians. Tension resulted between the Corporation and the British and unionist establishment, which continued until Irish independence. This manifested itself in many ways—for example, in arguments over the naming and placement of civic monuments and in the failure of the Corporation to win approval for the absorption of the Pembroke and Rathmines townships into the city.
The suburbs grew dramatically during the twentieth century. The southeastern sector, the location of the most successful nineteenth-century townships, expanded and retained its high social status. Extensive programs of social housing from the mid-1920s onward also produced large suburban developments. In the south city these were mainly to the west, creating a west/east social gradient. However, north of the Liffey, the social geography of the city did not develop such a clear-cut pattern, and areas of different social status are smaller and less spatially differentiated. Until recently, the trend in Dublin was towards suburban living, and most of the inner city experienced population decline. Industry also moved from the increasingly congested central areas to cheaper and more accessible sites in suburban industrial estates and business parks. Nonetheless most employment continues to be located in the city center, and the lack of an efficient public transport system together with increased car ownership has made commuting more time consuming. As a consequence, new housing developments in older and more central suburban and inner city areas have proved very popular since the 1990s.
For most of the twentieth century, Dublin grew without a strategic plan and with a fragmented system of local government. There was no real attempt to manage change until the 1960s when, following a state-sponsored strategic review, the Myles Wright Report, it was decided to concentrate growth into new towns on the western edge. Attempts to continue strategic planning in the 1980s and 1990s came to nothing, but the Irish government intends that urban growth in the twenty-first century will be managed in the context of a national and regional strategy.
Brady, Joseph, and Anngret Simms, eds. Dublin through Space and Time. 2001.
Clarke, Harold B., ed. Medieval Dublin: The Making of a Metropolis. 1990.
Daly, Mary E. Dublin, the Deposed Capital: A Social and Economic History, 1850–1900. 1984.
de Courcy, John W. The Liffey in Dublin. 1996.
MacLaren, Andrew. Dublin: The Shaping of a Capital. 1993.
Pearson, Peter. The Heart of Dublin. 2000.
Prunty, Jacinta. Dublin Slums, 1800–1925: A Study in Urban Geography. 1998.
DUBLIN , capital of the Republic of Ireland. A small Jewish group apparently lived there in the Middle Ages since the Exchequer of the Jews at Westminster had an Irish branch. In the middle of the 17th century, some Spanish and Portuguese Marranos settled in the city, including Francisco and Manuel Lopes Pereira and Jacome Faro. According to tradition, a synagogue was founded in Crane Lane around 1660. Military operations in Ireland after the revolution of 1689 attracted a few more Sephardi Jews, and the community knew a short period of relative prosperity. In 1718 a cemetery was purchased with the assistance of the London Sephardi community, which advanced the Dublin congregation money to meet its debts and lent it some scrolls of the Law. During the 18th century, the original Sephardi element died out, and was replaced by Ashkenazi immigrants. By 1791 the congregation had fallen into complete decay and the borrowed scrolls were returned. The community was revived in 1882 by East European immigrants. It increased considerably with the Russo-Jewish immigration at the close of the century. Many of the Jews of that time engaged in peddling, small business, and small financial transactions (moneylending and pawnbroking). In the course of time the Jews moved into shopkeeping, manufacturing, and the professions. There has been considerable emigration over the years, especially among the younger generation. In 1968 the Jewish population numbered approximately 3,600 and maintained seven synagogues (including one Progressive) with the usual congregational institutions. James Joyce's Ulysses depicts certain elements of Jewish life in Dublin at the beginning of the century. Paradoxically, many literary visitors to today's Dublin come to see the route taken on "Bloomsday" by James Joyce's Leopold Bloom. Isaac *Herzog, later chief rabbi of Israel, was chief rabbi of Dublin 1919–36. Immanuel *Jakobovits was chief rabbi from 1949 and Isaac Cohen from 1959. Robert *Briscoe was lord mayor from 1956–57 and from 1961–62, and his son in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s the Jewish population numbered approximately 1,300. In 2004, after some renewed growth, it was estimated at about 1,500.
B. Shillman, Short History of the Jews in Ireland (1945), passim; Shillman and Wolf, in: jhset, 11 (1924–27), 143–67; Huehner, ibid., 5 (1902–05), 224–42; C. Roth, Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950), 56f; L. Hyman, Jews of Ireland (1972). add. bibliography: D. Keogh, Jews in Twentieth Century Ireland (1998); R. Rivlin, Shalom Ireland: A Social History of the Jews in Modern Ireland (2003).