This experience was created by combining 'Dublin's Deep Sea Port' Map & Guide and 'North Wall Campshires' Map & Guide, Illustrations by John D. Ruddy.
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The North Wall is an area which stretches from the Custom House in the city centre to Dublin Port. It includes areas such as George’s Dock, Spencer Dock, the Royal Canal, Mayor Street, Guild Street, and Sheriff Street. It was once one of the bustling communities of Dublin’s old docklands where ships would arrive and unload goods; it is now an area of huge contrast, as modern developments grow amidst the remnants of the old port and dockland communities.
The area gets its name from the wall that was constructed along the river Liffey just over 300 years ago to extend the docklands. This allowed former swampland between the river and the North Strand to be reclaimed and divided up into lots in 1717 which could be infilled by the new owners and creating the long standing community of the North Wall.
The Deep Sea Port
On 11th April 1885 the then Princess Alexandra of Wales visited the new extension of Dublin Port, Alexandra Basin, which still bears her name. The event included spectacular displays of engineering prowess organised by the Port Engineer, Bindon Blood Stoney. Demonstrations of his recently built Diving Bell, designed for building the stone walls of the river Liffey, were given as giant machines manoeuvred the massive concrete blocks into their place under the water. To the strains of the band of the Highland Light Infantry, and a twenty-one gun salute, Stoney explained proceedings to the Princess who, as it reached a crescendo, launched a bottle of champagne into the new pier walls, christening it after herself to the delight of the assembled crowd.
By the time the dust had settled, the new extension effectively created two ports. The original Old Dock and George’s Dock area near the Customs House and North Wall Quay would now cater for lighter ships dealing with passenger and cross-channel traffic. Larger ships needing deeper berths would operate at Alexandra Basin or the Deep Sea Port.
In the 1940s, with employment scarce, the Buttonmen system came into use and saw many Dockers specialising in either Cross-Channel or Deep Sea work. Effectively this meant they worked either along the quay fronts or in and around the Alexandra Basin. Because this tour largely deals with the Port area which evolved in the vicinity of the Alexandra Basin end of the Docklands the title The Deep Sea Port Area has been used.
The Five Lamps Arts Festival and Hub is a hub for arts and community development in the North East Inner City of Dublin. The organisation is best known for its flagship event, The Five Lamps Arts Festival; an award-winning annual community-based festival which takes place each spring in the area. The festival promotes a sense of pride in the North East Inner City as a positive, unique and creative place in which to live, work and visit.
Illustration: John D. Ruddy
Development: Róisín Lonergan
Project Manager: Marcela Parducci
Historian: Hugo McGuinness
Design and Art Direction: Eduardo Nogueira
Production The Five Lamp Arts Festival
App Editing: James Louis Smith
Supported by North East Inner City, Dublin City Council and Five Lamps Arts Festival. Digitised and adapted in 2022 for the Port Places App by the Ports, Past and Present project (funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme).
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