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

established church.


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.

images (2)

XJF260635 Tailor, reproduction of a woodcut by Jost Amman (1539-91) from 'Le Moyen Age et La Renaissance' by Paul Lacroix (1806-84) published 1847 (litho); by French School, (19th century); lithograph; Private Collection; French, out of copyright

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