The History of Dublin, Ireland

Dublin was founded in 841 by the Vikings and was named Dubh Linn, meaning black pool. During that time, the living conditions were primitive with wooden hut houses and thatched roofs of which none had chimneys or glass windows.

The area was known for craftsmen such as blacksmiths, carpenters, jewellers, leather workers, and the slave trade. Dublin also had a wool weaving industry during that time.

The inhabitants of Dublin during this time were slowly converted to Christianity, which gave way to the first Bishop of Dublin to be appointed in 1028. Dublin had setbacks many times due to wars between Irishmen and Vikings, but the town managed to recover each time.

The town of Dublin grew large and became the most crucial town in Ireland with a population of 4 000 in the 11th century. The people of Dublin traded with the English cities of Chester and Bristol.

A Norman, The Earl of Pembroke (also known as Strongbow), invaded Ireland in 1169, which led to the killing of townspeople and the Viking king and his followers fleeing by sea.

Strongbow declared himself as king of Leinster in 1171 and during this time, the Viking king wanted to recapture Dublin and return to Ireland with an army. The mission was unsuccessful as the Vikings were crushed and their king captured and executed.

When the English king became Lord of Ireland, Dublin became the colony of the Merchants of Bristol. From there on, Dublin became home to many people from Bristol and Southwest England. The English ruled Dublin for centuries onwards.

A fire destroyed Dublin in 1190, but the city and its walls were rebuilt.

A channel was built in 1224 to bring fresh water into the city and the main street got paved in the 14th century. Despite methods of improvement, the town remained unsanitary during the medieval era.

The first mayor of Dublin was selected in 1229 and by the 13th century, the city expanded with a population of over 8 000. Fairs that were like a market during the Middle Ages were held in Dublin once a year for a few days. Dublin exported hides, grains, and pulse while things like iron, poultry, and French wine got imported.

A Scottish army besieged Dublin in 1317, which led to another fire outbreak that destroyed a massive amount of buildings.

In 1537, Lord Fitzgerald was angry over his father’s (the English king’s deputy) execution, which led to the murder of the Archbishop and an attack on the castle. These rebellious attempts failed and Fitzgerald was executed when reinforcements arrived from England.

Later on, Henry VIII declared himself head of the church. The people of Dublin were unhappy about some religious changes that were made, but the overall living conditions improved and Dublin was prosperous during the 16th century. A plague outbreak in 1579 caused the death of thousands of people.

Another plague occurred in Dublin in 1604 but the population continued to grow and by 1640, 20 000 residents were living in this city. Once again, a disease broke out in 1650, killing a large part of the population, which caused Dublin to depopulate exceedingly.

As Dublin recovered, it began to prosper again in the late 17th century. During this time, Phoenix Park was laid out and a second bridge was built in Dublin.

New houses that were built in 1670 consisted of brick and tiled roofs to prevent fire outbreaks. The city expanded during the 17th century with new establishments like The Blue Coat School, The Tholsel, town hall, and a Royal Hospital.  Trading of linen and wool continued to grow with England after the industry got boosted by French Protestants that arrived in Dublin.

Even though there was still a great deal of poverty in the 1700s, conditions continued to improve, especially for the middle and upper classes.

The Marsh library was built in 1702, the first fire brigade was established in 1711, and St. Ann’s Church was built in 1720. Along came streets, hospitals, Ranelagh Gardens, College Park, and the Botanic Gardens during the 18th century. An act passed by the Irish Parliament created a body of men who had the power to widen, clean, pave, and light the streets of Dublin. Later on, the coach-making industry grew large, the O’Connell Bridge was built, a police force was established, and Guinness was brewed in Dublin.

During the 19th century, fevers like typhus led to fever hospitals to open in the city. The poverty level was still very high and illnesses common among the poor.

The construction of bridges continued and the Royal Canal was opened in 1817. The Dublin fair was stopped in 1855, but the city gradually improved in the 1800s. From 1824 gas was used to light the streets but this shifted to electrical lights when the 20th century arrived.

From 1838, the population of Dublin increased because of many starving people that came to town due to new soup kitchens that were set up in the streets of Dublin.

Amenities improved, attractions like the Zoological Gardens became popular, and museums opened in Dublin. A new fruit and vegetable market and a fish market also opened during the 1800s.

In 1916, the Easter Rising took place in the city of Dublin but the British managed to crush the rebellion.

During the 1930s a slum clearance began and it continued throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

Furthermore, redevelopment of the city took place, which included demolition of beautiful old buildings and slums that were replaced by newer estates on the outskirts of the town. While the textile, brewing, and distilling industries declined, more modern sectors like electronics, chemicals, and engineering appeared.

The city of Dublin continues to thrive in the 21st century with a population of 527 000. Today, this city contains all the needed amenities and facilities that can be found in a city of its size. Its vast history and many attractions make Dublin a wonderful and exciting place to visit for tourists from around the world.