Tunnels visible on O'Connell St.

Tunnels visible on O'Connell St.

Postby J. Seerski » Sat Jan 24, 2004 4:57 pm

This needs its own thread....

While heading down O'Connell Street on 19A I noticed from the top deck a Warren of substantial tunnels approx 20 feet from Clerys where the footpath is being laid. I am very suprised no archaelogical team is busy investigating this discovery - it may be the vaults of 17th century housing which used to fill this part of Dublin before the construction of Sackville St.
Also, the tunnels' distance from the buildings suggests that these tunnels are not those belonging to the original 18th century housing.

Finally - there construction from hand made (as opposed to regular machine made) brick would appear to substantiate the belief that these are quite old.

I know if such an investigation was begun it might hold up the project - but it would give us a better idea as to the origins of the area - and maybe, just maybe, it was a primative attempt at a Metro!:)

Seriously, this is a fascinating discovery and it seems to be ignored - I doubt it will be investigated once the granite is laid...
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Postby dc3 » Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:00 pm

Do not underestimate how far cellars used to extend under the street.

Next time you walk around Merrion Square just look at the coal holes at the path edge.

Both Kildare Street and Leeson Street, and as we all now know Harcourt Street, have cellars or wine vaults which run well out into the street.

Presumably, O'Connell Street, when widened, did not lose the cellars from earlier building.

O'Connell Street also had underground toilets until fairly recently.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:41 am

I passed by yesterday and was furious to discover that most of the trench had been filled in already!
But the sight of one archway and wall was enough to get me excited.
They would indeed appear to be hand-made brick and quite a part of an exposed wall was made up entirely of the small square variety, rather than the usual rectangle-square-rectangle etc.
It's extraordinary to see the crumbling old development juxtaposed with the new granite paving, and the cars and buses roaring by overhead, oblivious to what lies 3 feet underneath.
I couldn't belive how far out from the terrace they are, much farther than say Harcourt St, they run right under what is now the new road carriageway, they could go as far as the central median - that's over 75 feet!

Indeed they're so far out I wonder whether they are the basements of the long-forgotton Drogheda Street, a terrace of which ran along what is now the central median.

Here are two pictures, one a map of Sackville Mall and Drogheda St, note the terrace in question in the bottom right of the pic, and the amount of plots making it up.
The second is of the Wide Streets Commission terrace about 30 years after completion, of which these basements could also be part of, which is perhaps more likely. Note the arched shopfront closest to the edge of the picture is identical to that of the last Wide Streets Commission shopfront on Dame St.
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Postby JJ » Tue Jan 27, 2004 12:42 pm

Graham,
I think you are correct. During the construction of the LUAS substation in O'Connell street the works were suspended for about four weeks to allow the excavation of some walls. These included the rear walls of the houses shown on your map, a section of garden wall and part of an earlier quay wall.
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Postby Rory W » Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:28 pm

I believe that Clonmel house on Harcourt Street (now looking slightly neglected - it's the one with Saagar Indian Restraunt in the Basement) had a tunnel under the street and across to the Iveagh Gardens (part of which was once the Clonmel House Gardens). Just an interesting one to note
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Jan 28, 2004 3:15 pm

Apologies for the woeful resolution of those pics.
Thats interesting JJ, I heard about the discovery of the quay wall, but not of the walls of the gardens of Drogheda St.
Just on a related issue, does anyone know when Sackville Mall was removed from the street, I've never ever read or heard anything about its removal, perhaps it was demolished in the 1880s with the development of O' Connell Bridge and other works?
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