History of Dawson street – part 2 by John Fennell
The History Of Dawson Street. part 2.
In my first blog I set out to explain the foundation of Dawson Street and its architect and
developer Joshua Dawson, Now as the 18th century progressed the east side of the street quickly came to be the
developed as town houses with large gardens, by the county nobility and clergy of the
While the development on the west side where the Design House is located was, not so
rapid so that ultimately the builders designed terrace houses in the vacant spaces. These
tended to be occupied by shopkeepers who traded on the ground floor, and the owners
lived above the shop where they also had their workrooms.
As these shops started to offer a wide choice of merchandise, a trend started making
Dawson Street one of the most fashionable and popular shopping areas in the city. .
Close by was Kildare Street and separated by the eastside of Dawson Street and some
land., whose owner Viscount Molesworth determined to create a street bearing his name
joining Dawson Street and Kildare Street. His objective to allow the nobility living in
Kildare Street, close to the Duke of Leinster access to Dawson St.
Josiah Dawson had harboured similar thoughts but was hesitant to approach Viscount
Molesworth and was secretly delighted when the latter approached him. He reluctantly
agreed to pull down’s 15 and 16 Dawson St. on the understanding Molesworth would be
responsible for all demolition and building work
Thus almost by good fortune the connection was made presenting the future possibility of
increased rents to the developer Dawson.
In 1750 there were five dressmakers and milliners, six drapers, three tailors and breeches
makers, four pharmacies, five saddlers and harness makers, two gymnasium’s one of
which was for women
The popularity of Dawson Street as a shopping destination remained for more than 90
years until construction of Carlisle Bridge (now called O’Connell Bridge, linked Sackville
Street to the south in the city