ARBOUR HILL AND STONEYBATTER
Every time I publish images of Arbour Hill or Stoneybatter it is almost guaranteed that someone will claim that a specific image is not of a location in Arbour Hill/Stoneybatter. On the 24th February I explored a section of Dublin 7 which I have decided to describe as Arbour Hill, Stoneybatter or both. At a later date I will photograph specific streets. There are are about one hundered photographs in the series.
Located on the north side of Dublin’s River Liffey, Arbour Hill (historically known as Cnoc an Arbhair, or “Hill of Corn”) is a neighbourhood steeped in Irish military and social history. Its streets exude the echoes of past struggles and offer a fascinating glimpse into Dublin’s working-class heritage.
Arbour Hill’s most prominent landmark is undoubtedly Arbour Hill Prison. This historic prison has held many notable figures in the fight for Irish independence, and its graveyard serves as the final resting place of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, making it a place of pilgrimage for many interested in Irish Republican history. To the south, you’ll find Collins Barracks, now part of the National Museum of Ireland. This former military barracks dates back to the early 18th century.
Several streets within Arbour Hill hold their own unique stories.
Stoneybatter, known for its attractive terraced houses, was once a Viking settlement and played a pivotal role in the 1916 Rising. Aughrim Street, located nearby, was the birthplace of the philosopher Edmund Burke. As you move towards Prussia Street, you’ll pass the former location of the Royal Barracks, another historical military site.
Other landmarks of note include St. Bricin’s Military Hospital, formerly King George V Hospital, and the beautiful Church of the Sacred Heart. This neo-Romanesque church, with its distinctive dome, is well worth a visit for its architecture.
While Arbour Hill doesn’t offer extensive tourist attractions per se, its primary appeal lies in its historical importance and its atmosphere. A stroll through its streets reveals the legacy of Irish nationalism, social struggle, and a resilient working-class community.
There’s some overlap and historical blurring of the lines between Stoneybatter and Arbour Hill, making a completely clear distinction tricky. Here’s what you need to consider:
Historically: Parts of what we now consider Stoneybatter were traditionally included within Arbour Hill. The areas were closely linked, with shared social and working-class histories.
Modern Perception: In recent times, popular perception has shifted. Stoneybatter has emerged as a distinct trendy neighbourhood, with its own identity and a certain “hipster” cachet driven by cafes, restaurants, and a more artistic feel.
No Official Boundaries: There are no formal or legally defined boundaries dividing Stoneybatter and Arbour Hill. Where one begins and ends depends on who you ask.
Useful Landmark: Many locals use Arbour Hill Prison as an informal reference point. Anything to the north and west of the prison is more firmly considered Stoneybatter, while the areas directly around the prison tend to be associated with Arbour Hill.