Dublin 1660-1860

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    • #705228
      Paul Clerkin

      Rereading this again…. first time in years…. Craig has some gas utterences…..

      “Essex Bridge survived until 1874, when the modern mania for flat bridges caused its supersession by the ugliest bridge in Dublin.”

    • #718277
      John Callery

      An absorbing read (on Dublin’s architecture and street life of the period ) brings me back to the long hot summer of 1995 when I read it for the first time.

      Page 88:

      “On one occasion the Liberty Boys, driven back as far as Thomas Street, managed to rally their forces and pursue the Ormonde boys to the Broadstone, a distance of nearly a mile. The vanquished were treated with incredible ferocity: the Butchers cut the leg–tendons of the Weavers with their long knives, or the Weavers hoisted the Butchers and left them hanging by their jaws on their own meat-hooks. But they were, it seems, to some extenth respectors of youth and rank”

      Northside southside rivalry, still continues. Pats v Shells and the 9 points dispute!!

      [This message has been edited by John Callery (edited 08 March 2002).]

    • #718278
      Rory W

      They respected youth and rank because the “Trinity Boys” would get involved in the fracas and the Butchers would hang them by their gowns rather than doing them any serious harm. They must have been quite a sight!

      Cracking read, which I first read as a sickly child of 10 and it awoke the interest in Dublin in me – thank you Maurice Craig

    • #718279

      Very sorry to hear of the death last week of Maurice Craig.

      No words can describe the debt we owe him.

    • #718280

      Buying this book brings back a lot of memories for me.

      My copy of Dublin 1660 – 1680 is the 1969 re-print published by Allen Figgis Ltd., now held together with much cellotape, and I’m pretty certain that it was the first book that I ever bought . . . . must have been in the early to mid ‘70s.

      I remember having walking around it several times in the Hodges Figgis bookshop on Stephen’s Green and giving it a good thumbing, before deciding that it would be well worth the 80p price tag the next time I came into funds.

      I remember that the opportunity to get back into town and buy it came around with the next, always welcome, bunk-off-school eye appointment at the Eye and Ear. I can distinctly remember the consternation when this particular appointment turned out to be one of those rare occasions when the Eye and Ear felt the need not just to shine their little pencil light around the place, but actually load me up with freaky eye drops which made vision impossibly blurry.

      I remember doing a passable impression of Mr. Magoo afterwords in trying to get across town from Hatch Street to Stephen’s Green and I remember feeling my way around the bookshop and picking out Dublin 1660 – 1860 with considerable difficulty.

      I remember lying on my bed later and waiting with great impatience for the drops to wear off so I could finally start reading my new purchase and I remember hoping to Christ that I hadn’t just bought Wuthering Heights.

      Rest in peace Maurice Craig and thank you for many many contented hours reading and re-reading.

    • #718282

      The Irish Times – Saturday, May 21, 2011
      Architectural historian inspired people to cherish city’s heritage

      MAURICE CRAIG, the distinguished architectural historian, writer and poet, who has died at the age of 91, did much to persuade Irish people that our historic buildings were of national importance and should be saved from demolition.

      Almost a lone voice at the time, his masterly, comprehensive and elegant book, Dublin 1660-1860: The Shaping of a City , was published in 1952. It took 13 years to sell the 2,000 copies of the first edition, by which time many buildings had been pulled down without comment or protest.

      As Craig once wrote: “Architecture is the most accessible of the arts; yet paradoxically, it is the least noticed by people at large and is commonly thought by them to be arcane mystery.”

      He was born in Belfast, the son of a successful ophthalmic surgeon, whose father had had a business in Ballymoney of ironmongery, hardware, building materials, watches and clocks. “James Craig Ballymoney” is occasionally still to be seen on clock faces.

      After school at Castlepark in Dalkey, Shrewsbury in England and a few months in Paris, he took up the scholarship he had won to Magdalene College Cambridge, where he lived in the rooms Parnell once had.

      Returning to live in Dublin and meeting Patrick Kavanagh in the street, he told him he was going to write a book on the poet Walter Savage Landor. Kavanagh said he should do it as a doctorate at Trinity College Dublin, and he did.

      In 1952 he joined the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments in England. He once went to No 10 Downing Street in connection with door knobs. Having finished his business, he came out of the front door, stood for a few seconds so the curious crowd could speculate on who he could be, and then put on his bicycle clips and pedalled off.

      In 1969 he was appointed full-time executive secretary to An Taisce for the year that it had obtained funding.

      He wrote several books including The Volunteer Earl, a biography of Lord Charlemont who built the Casino at Marino – “small, perfect and almost totally unaltered . . . it is great fun even if it is not much use.”

      Others included Dublin City Churches, Classic Irish Houses of the Middle Size – which was widely acclaimed, though sometimes called Country Houses for the Middle Class – and The Architecture of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1880. He also wrote books of poetry.

      His volume Irish Bookbindings 1600-1800 came out in 1954. He was extremely knowledgeable on the subject, and had spent many hours in the Long Room at Trinity searching along the shelves on the long summer evenings with the librarian, Billy O’Sullivan, looking for special bindings.

      As a child, Craig had wanted to be a painter, but he realised he could not draw. He had a great interest in music and would have liked to be a composer, but was not good at playing. At the age of 18, he fixed on becoming a writer.

      He was a fine builder of large ship models – he made a magnificent model of Guinness’s SS Clarecastle. The man who had commanded her, after looking over the model very carefully, said, “It is exact.”

      Another interest was motor cars, and for a time he drove a D8 4-litre Delarge with Figonie coachwork.

      Among those who acknowledge his influence and inspiration is Frank McDonald, Environment Editor of The Irish Times. “Long before I met Maurice Craig, I had read his great Dublin book – Dublin 1660-1860: The Shaping of a City – and, as for so many others, it opened my eyes to the value of our architectural heritage. It’s to him that I owe the inspiration to begin writing about it myself when it was still under attack in the 1980s. I can never imagine him other than being surrounded by books.

      “He was undoubtedly Ireland’s leading architectural historian and one of the most important chroniclers of Dublin’s heritage and history.”

      He was married three times; to Beatrix Hurst, Jeanne Edwards and to Agnes Bernelle. He is survived by his son Michael and daughter Catherine by his first marriage.

      Maurice James Craig: born October 25th, 1919; died May 11th, 2011

    • #718281
      Paul Clerkin

      “The architecture of Ireland from the earliest times to 1880” was the first architecture history book I bought – way back as a school kid.

    • #718283

      Dublin 1660-1860 was the book that helped me “get it” about Georgian Architecture, which in my time growing up in the sixties and seventies, in many parts of Dublin, were largely ruined tenements let fall into decay by a succession of rogue landlords.

      I had the privilege of being involved in the re-use of two areas of historic Dublin when I worked for a firm of architects in the city-

      1 Palace Street and 4 Exchange Court – aka the McKee Clune Clancy Building, and where I met Peter Pearson, author and his family, who lived in “The Sick and Indigent Room-Keepers Society” building beside No. 1

      25-29 Upper Merrion Street, opposite Government Buildings (the old School of Engineering) and across the lane from what is now the Merrion Hotel.

      Merrion Street had been left in a disgraceful condition by a government department and required extensive strengthening and rebuilding to structurally stiffen the terrace, some of the walls of which on the upper floors would move when you pushed against them. Heady days. LOL!


    • #718284
      Paul Clerkin

      Also worth noting that the most recent copy of Dublin 1660-1860 features a photo sourced from archiseek as its cover…

    • #718285

      Go on Paul, post the cover and the original reference – you know you want to!



    • #718286
      Rory W

      RIP Maurice Craig, read 1660-1860 followed by Destruction of Dublin during a childhood illness – cue angry 11 year old ranting to kids about the destruction of Georgian Dublin whilst contemporaries talked about Wham and Culture Club. Ah…difficult childhood memories

    • #718287

      We need a former nine year old to post now;

      . . . . when I were lad . . . read book in braille . . . . with left hand crippled in mine . . .

    • #718288

      Sorry to read, last week, of the death of the Knight of Glin, particularly so soon after the loss of Maurice Craig.

      In the case of the Knight, once you overcame the initial hostility to the notion of over-privilege and title, you couldn’t help being mesmerized by the astonishing level of expertise. The 18th century in particular has lost two of its greatest interpreters, these are two men it will not be easy to replace.

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