GEN-TRIVIA-IRELAND-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-TRIVIA-IRELAND > 2004-07 > 1091114188
From: ConnorsGenealogy <>
Subject: Dublin trivia
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 08:16:28 -0700
George has been busy, here's an interesting article thanks to him and
the Ireland Newsletter..
Sun, Jul 18 04
MGM lion born in Dublin, and other curiosities
THE first traffic lights in Dublin were installed at the junction of
Merrion Square and Clare Street, on August 27, 1937, and the first
parking meter on Wellington Quay on January 14, 1970.
These facts, and many more, can be gleaned from The Little Book of
Dublin, published last week.
Did you know that the Union Jack, that great symbol of Britishness, was
first flown not in England but over Dublin, on January 1, 1801, to
celebrate the Act of Union? The Irish Rugby Football Union were so
attached to it that they flew the Union Jack and not the tricolour at
all matches until 1932, when the President of the Executive Council,
William T Cosgrave, intervened.
The weather and the cab drivers haven't changed much. According to
Wakeman's Guide to Ireland (1890), a tourist asked a cab driver what the
three statues on the top of the GPO represented. He was told the 12
apostles. When he inquired about the other nine he was informed, "With
weather like this they only come out three at a time, takin' their turns
Tom Galvin also explains the mystery of the numbers of Dublin buses.
They follow the system used in the days of the horse-drawn tram, which
ran from the city centre outwards in a clockwise direction from south to
The Normans were the first spec builders in Dublin, building Dublin
Castle (completed in 1230) and others in Castleknock, Drimnagh, Dalkey
and Clondalkin, as well as the first bridge over the Liffey, at the site
of the present Fr Mathew Bridge, in 1215.
While the current city fathers have problems with an estimated 3,000
roaming horses in the greater Dublin area, in medieval Dublin stray pigs
were a cause of anxiety. In 1454 all Irish were banned from the walled
city and those who were left colonised what became Irishtown.
Dublin Zoo got its first pair of lions in 1855, and when food supplies
dwindled during the 1916 Rising the lions were fed while other animals
had to suffer the hunger. On March 20, 1927, the lion Cairbre was born
in Dublin, and went on to international fame in the logo of MGM film
studios. The famous Halfpenny Bridge opened in 1816 and continued to
charge people crossing the Liffey a toll until March 25, 1919. In 1972,
Dr Dermot Ryan became the first Archbishop of Dublin since the
Reformation to attend a service in Christ Church Cathedral.
We learn that, at 205 feet, the Wellington Monument in the Phoenix Park
is the tallest obelisk in Europe. And that when the Bank of Ireland
built its new HQ in Baggot Street, the quantity of bronze manganese used
was so great that it affected the worldwide price of the product.
Dublin street names are a wealthy source of anecdote. Frederick Street
was named after the eldest son of George II, the only member of the
British royal family to be killed by a cricket ball. Mountjoy Square is
the only real square in Dublin, measuring 600 feet in length and width.
Other little-known facts to argue about are that the Boot Inn at
Cloghran is the oldest pub (1593), rather than the Brazen Head (present
building dated 1710); that the Dublin-born art director Cedric Gibbons
designed the Oscar statuette, and that the bugle blown to launch the
infamous Charge of the Light Brigade was sold by McNeill's music shop of
'The Little Book of Dublin' by Tom Galvin (New Island)
Pat Connors, Sacramento CA
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