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St. James’s Gate

What’s important?

‘In 1804 there were 55 brewers in Dublin including the Guinness Brewery which, by the 1830s, was the largest brewery in Ireland. Today, the brewery is the biggest industrial complex in the City centre, covering a site of c.60 acres and providing some of the most distinctive features of the City’s skyline. The brewery was established in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, in an area which already housed two significant Dublin distilleries – Power’s Distillery and Henry Roe’s Distillery. A brewery is known to have existed at St James’s Gate since 1670, and it was this site which Arthur Guinness took a lease on in 1759 and began to brew a new beer known as porter… In the early twentieth-century, Guinness was reckoned to be the largest brewery in the world and the company also fulfilled a significant social role through the provision of medical services, sports and leisure facilities, educational schemes and even housing for its employees.’I

Historic Street Surfaces

‘The areas around and within the Guinness Brewery contain some of the finest examples of the 19th century sett-layers craft in the City. Many of these surfaces are undisturbed and homogeneous paving of either granite or diorite surviving to demonstrate considerable loadbearing ability in an industrial location, in particular in Robert Street and Rainsford Street area. Many surfaces integrate redundant tramlines and other metal features which serve also as a memorial to the industrial origin of the area.

The area along the quays retains remains of historic flagstone pavements with some kerbs remaining and some granite flags on Heuston Bridge.’II

The Digital Hub

“The Digital Hub is a community of people – artists, researchers, educators, technologists, entrepreneurs and consumers, all working together to create innovative and successful digital media products and services which support their future.”III

The City Watercourse

‘Dublin has had a supply of piped water since the thirteenth-century when the City Watercourse was laid out with water diverted from the River Poddle into a channel at the Tongue Field (north of the present Sundrive Road) which was then taken via the present Rutland Avenue and Dolphin’s Barn Fire Station on through Dolphin’s Barn to James’s Street. A basin was constructed near James’s Street which served the more elevated parts of the City. The earliest distribution system from the basin was by way of open channels along High Street and Thomas Street. Various regulations were introduced over the years to improve and ensure the quality of the water. Allowing animals to graze beside the open watercourses, dumping of any sort and washing of clothes were among the numerous malpractices prohibited.’IV

St James’s Graveyard

St James’s Graveyard is the largest of the old cemeteries in Dublin’s inner City and one of the oldest. All manner of people have been buried here – from 1916 volunteers to Augustinian Friars from the nearby monastery on Thomas Street. It was the last resting place of Sir Toby Butler (1650-1721), James II’s solicitor general who advocated against the penal laws. As far back as 1577 an annual fair took place on the ‘Feast of St. James’ when the graves were decorated with ornaments made from white paper. The church had a strong connection to Santiago De Compostela in Northern Spain said to be the burial place of St. James. Pilgrims bound for Santiago would gather outside St. James’s Gate, before walking the route to the port to embark on the long voyage to Spain.

  1. Carraig and McMahon, M. Dublin City Industrial Heritage Record – 2004-2009 Phase 6 South Central Area Vol. 1 Dublin City Council
  2. Lotts Architecture and Urbanism. (2010) Historic Street Surfaces in Dublin Conservation Study and Guidance Manual. Dublin City Council. Heritage Council.
  3. Stephen Brennan, Director of Marketing & Strategy, Digital Hub. Dublin
  4. Carraig and McMahon, M. Dublin City Industrial Heritage Record – 2004-2009 Phase 6 South Central Area Vol. 1 Dublin City Council

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