Cork Street

"The Highway to Dolfynesberne" marks the southern boundary of The Liberties

23.11.23

Life, Love The Liberties

Local historian Cathy Scuffil takes a look at at Cork Street and the lands of Donore.


In 1177, the lands of Donore and meadows ‘with the mill’ were granted to the Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr by King Henry II creating the Liberty of Thomas Court and Donore. The Abbey took its name from St Thomas Becket, the martyred Archbishop of Canterbury.

This Liberty later came under the control of the Earl of Meath.

Cork Street (1728) named for the Boyle Family, Earls of Cork was one of the ancient Slighes of Dublin, linking the early settlement with Limerick and Cork.  As groups of houses were built at different times, each terrace had their own individual names.  The many cul-de-sacs branching from it, are a result of private developments constructed in the back gardens of former larger residences.

Two unusual terraces, Ivy and Pyro, accessed through doorways in Cork Street.  Nearer Dolphin’s Barn there is Vauxhall Avenue (formerly Cottages).  All these places are connected to Mr. John Hodsman, Firework Manufacturer.  Ivy Terrace and Vauxhall Avenue commemorate places in London where his firework displays took place. Pyro relates to ‘pyrotechnist’. Donore Avenue was originally called Love Lane West.  Mr. Hodsman, is listed as living here in the early 1900s. in Love Lane West, the original name for Donore Avenue.

The large building beside the parklet was formerly called the Fever Hospital and House of Recovery, built on the Widow Donnelly’s orchard.  This layout is a perfect example of state-of-the-art hospital architecture, based on ventilation and separation of infected fever patients from those on the road to recovery.  The early Trustees were drawn from many well-known and influential people in Dublin society of the time, including many Quakers and the Guinness family.  During the Great Famine (1845-1847) sheds and tents were erected in the grounds to accommodate the huge number of patients who attended for treatment from all over Ireland.  In the 1950s, when Cherry Orchard (Ballyfermot) Fever Hospital opened, the Cork Street Fever Hospital became Brú Chaoimhín, a community nursing home.  This closed in 2011, the site is now used for HSE services.

Directly opposite on Cork Street is the unusual James Weir Home for Nurses.  Built in 1903 to provide accommodation for nurses working in the Cork Street Fever Hospital.  Scottish born James Weir was a grocer, wine and whiskey merchant. His will he left legacies for hospital works. The nurses home continued until the 1970s when the building transferred to psychiatric services.

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