Perhaps you think you already know everything about Dublin. However, there is always more to discover! Over the past few weeks we introduced you some of the hidden treasures in Dublin: secret places you can´t miss – Part 1 and Dublin: secret places you can´t miss – Part 2. Are you prepared to find more interesting places? Here you have Part 3. Check it out!
The story of the Wall Mural at Sunlight Chambers
Dublin has some excellent architecture but to fully appreciate it you need to pay attention and look up. There are many buildings at eye level that will surprise you. One of them is located in Parliament Street and Essex Quay and it is known as Sunlight Chambers. It was built in 1901 in an Italian style and the finest part is the two frieze panels along the building and the story behind them. At first sight they might look like classical scenes, but they are not. Actually, they talk about the history of hygiene. The building was constructed as the Irish headquarters of Level Brothers, the British soap and detergent manufacturers. Sunlight was, in fact, one of the soap brands at the time. If we look carefully, we can see there are a lot of people washing clothes, images of washing baskets, oils and smellies. It has been described as “The story of soap”.
Ben Dunne´s Bullets at the Little Museum of Dublin
The Little Museum of Dublin hides a lot stories about Ireland’s capital. As part of the collection, there is a particular piece that tells us an interesting story: Ben Dunne´s Bullets. Why have these bullets become so popular and are exhibited mounted on a stone from the Armagh cemetery? Ben Dunne, for those who do not know, was an important Irish entrepreneur and businessman, founder Dunnes Stores, one of the largest department stores in Ireland. In 1981,Dunne was kidnapped by the IRA when he was on his way to open a new store in Northern Ireland. Before his release, two of his abductors gave him a couple of bullets, telling him that he was lucky because they could have used them on him. Scary!
Plaque for Father Pat Noise at O’Connell Bridge
On the west side of O’Connell Bridge there is a plaque in honour of Father Pat Noise, a famous priest who died in an accident on the River Liffey. However, after years of research experts have confirmed that this person never existed. It is a hoax! So why design a plaque in honour of a fake person? It might be that it was designed to replace the control box for the city´s ill-fated Millennium Clock. In 2007, Dublin City Council removed the plaque but a replacement appeared after a few months. It seems that someone wants the plaque there!
Synods Hall Bridge
St Michael’s Church was embedded in the Synod Hall of Christ Church Cathedral during the restoration of Christ Church by George Edmund Street. However, they were two unrelated buildings, in fact, the buildings are constructed in very different styles. However, for a city where it rains very often, there was a need to build a covered walk away. Sometimes the need defeats good taste. Nonetheless, the construction can be visited by buying a combined ticket for Dublinia and Christ Church.
In Temple Bar there is hidden a very old tower; Isolde’s Tower, discovered in 1993 during an archaeological dig. The construction is from the 17th century. However, official documents tell us that the tower was founded even before, in the 13th century, but at the time was mostly covered. The tower had to be strong, as its role was to defend the city as part of an extension to the city walls in Anglo-Norman Dublin. Its name was taken from King Aonghus, a king from the 6th century.
This beautiful hall was built between 1866 and 1869 and it has been the headquarters of Irish Freemasonry for 150 years. Victorian fashion decorates the rooms of the building, where the Masonic Fraternity is administered. Furthermore, here we can find the Grand Lodge Room, a museum, the Prince Masons’ Room and the Hand Chapter Room and a visit is by appointment only. The building is also rented by the general public, for meetings, book launches and concerts. The tours are very interesting; the tour guide will tell you absorbing stories about the Illuminati, fake Moon landings and human lizards.
Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum
It seems that Howth is one of the parts of Dublin that has the most hidden secrets. In our past blog posts, we told you about the mysterious footprints on the pier and the history behind them. This time the hidden gem is in a Martello Tower. Inside we can find an unusual museum of vintage radios, gramophones and communication devices: the Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum. This particular name doesn’t come from the musical instrument but from a comment made by Seán Lemass (a former Irish Prime Minister) in 1950. When he walked into the studios of Radio Eireann he asked the controller “How’s the hurdy gurdy?”, referring to the radio services.