THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2023
I came across a tourist guide which claimed that in addition to its Georgian architecture, Upper Dominick Street is also known for its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and pubs. There are plenty of places to eat and drink on the street, from traditional Irish pubs to hip cafes and restaurants. There are also a number of independent shops selling everything from clothes and accessories to antiques and curios.
The above is a totally false description as there are in reality no shops, cafes or restaurants. There are three pubs but T O’Brennan’s went on the market with an asking price of €800,000 in September 2022 and ceased trading as a pub but is available for rent for €30,000 per year, with the 7-day publicans licence included. Close to half-way along the street there is the Dominick Inn [Formerly called The Phoenix then Paddy Murphy’s] and I could never really decide if it was operational as a pub but recently I came across the following comment online “The Dominick Inn was dormant for a goodly while during the Covid crisis and pandemic panic. It reopened briefly but shut subsequently. After a few such sputters and dribbles, it eventually gave up the ghost at some indeterminate date.” [https://www.thedublinpublopedia.com/blog/thedominickinn]. At the Broadstone end of the street there is Cumiskey’s which appears to be doing well … next door there is/was Jay’s restaurant/cafe which first opened in 2018 but closed about two later because of Covid-19 restrictions [according to Google Maps it is currently temporarily closed].
The Western Way in Dublin is a road that connects Constitution Hill to the south-west with Mountjoy Street to the east. It was created in the late 19th century as a circulation route for the Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR) Broadstone station.
In 1877, the MGWR was granted permission to close 150 yards of the canal branch line and construct a new forecourt for the station. This involved building a new road, which was named Western Way. The road was built over the Foster Aqueduct, which carried the Grand Canal over Dominick Street Upper.
Western Way was constructed using high-quality materials, including cast-iron railings and granite gate piers. This reflects the wealth of the MGWR and the importance of the railway to the city’s economy.
The road was originally lined with villas and terraces, but these have been largely replaced by modern development. However, Western Way retains some of its Victorian character, and it is a popular route for walking and cycling.
Here are some of the key events in the history of Western Way:
1841: The MGWR opens a train station at Broadstone.
1845: The MGWR purchases the Royal Canal.
1877: The MGWR is granted permission to close 150 yards of the canal branch line and construct a new forecourt for the Broadstone station.
In the late 18th century, Upper Dominick Street underwent a transformation, becoming the preferred residence for affluent merchants and members of the gentry. Elegant Georgian townhouses, adorned with intricate stonework and classical features, lined the street, creating an air of sophistication.
The construction of the Broadstone Railway terminus in the mid-19th century further enhanced the street’s appeal. The proximity to the railway station made it convenient for commuting, attracting even more residents to Upper Dominick Street.
As the city’s population grew, the demand for housing increased, and Upper Dominick Street faced the challenges of rapid urbanisation. In the late 19th century, the Dublin Artisan Dwellings Company (DADC) initiated a large-scale redevelopment project, replacing some of the older townhouses with tenement blocks.
Dominick Street Upper is/was dominated by a terrace of brick apartments blocks built to designs by T.N. Deane & Son for the Dublin Artisan Dwellings Company. The D.A.D.Co. built some 3,600 dwellings from its foundation in 1876, initially building multi-storey blocks of flats at Buckingham Street (1876), Echlin Street (1876) and Dominick Street (1878). Similar to Deane’s tenements on Echlin Street built 1876-77, they are composed of five-bay four-storey blocks faced in brown Athy brick with red brick dressings, with two apartments per floor flanking a central stair hall. Referred to at the time as tenements, this simply meant a multiple tenant building, without the negative inferences of overcrowding. Minimal Gothic vocabulary was employed, with pointed arch entrances. The elevation is stepped on account of the slope of Dominick Street Upper. Development began on Dominick Street Upper in the 1820s, but largely remained undeveloped until the Broadstone Railway terminus was built in the mid-nineteenth century. To the rear facing King’s Inns are two-storey Temple Cottages, also built by Deane & Son in 1876.