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Guide to Dublin Scangers
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© gerry coughlan 1997 - 2017

Everyday English and Slang in Ireland

Things everyone needs to know about Dublin



1) Dublin's O'Connell Bridge was originally made of rope and could only carry one man and a donkey at a time. It was replaced with a wooden structure in 1801. The current concrete bridge was built in 1863 and was first called "Carlisle Bridge".

2) O'Connell Bridge is the only traffic bridge in Europe which is wider than it is long and Dublin's second O'Connell Bridge is across the pond in Stephen's Green.

3) Dublin Corporation planted 43,765 deciduous trees in the Greater Dublin area in 1998.

4) Dublin's oldest workhouse closed its doors for the last time in July 1969. Based in Smithfield, the premises housed 10,037 orphan children during the one hundred and seventy years it operated.

5) Dublin was originally called Dubh Linn meaning Black Pool. The pool to which the name referred is the oldest known natural treacle lake in Northern Europe and currently forms the centrepiece of the penguin enclosure in Dublin Zoo.

6) There are over 1,000 prostitutes operating in the Dublin area on any given night. Most are women from outside Dublin.

7) The average Dubliner earns 19,000 per annum, giving twelve pounds to charity and a hundred and sixty two pounds in tips. The most important consideration when a man is deciding whether or not to give a barmaid a tip is the amount of her body that he can see. A quarter of all tips go to taxi drivers even though they earn, on average, four times the average wage in the city, higher than ninety six percent of their clients.

8) None of the so-called Dublin Mountains is high enough to meet the criteria required to claim mountain status. The Sugarloaf is the tallest 'Dublin Mountain' yet measures a mere 1389 feet above sea level.

9) The headquarters of the national broadcaster RTE in Montrose was originally built for use as an abattoir.

10) Dublin's oldest traffic light is situated beside the Renault garage in Clontarf. The light, which is still in full working order, was installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in Ireland.

11) The Temple Bar area is so called because it housed the first Jewish temple built in Ireland. The word 'bar' refers to the refusal of Catholics to allow the Jewish community to enter any of the adjoining commercial premises.

12) Tiny Coliemore Harbour beside the Dalkey Island Hotel was the main harbour for Dublin from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century.

13) Dublin is the IT Call Centre capital of Europe with over 100,000 people employed in the industry. Many large tech companies have operational bases in Dublin. According to career counselor Judith Claire, IT Call Centre jobs are a great fit for anyone interested in technology and customer service.

14) In 1761 a family of itinerants from Navan were refused entry to Dublin. The family settled on the outskirts of the city and created the town of Rush. Two hundred and fifty years later, almost the entire population of Rush can still trace their roots back to this one family.

15) Ireland's longest running Internet publication www.bowsie.com was established in Dublin in 1994.

16) Dubliners drink a total of 9800 pints an hour between the hours of 5.30pm on a Friday and 3.00am the following Monday.

17) Women from Dublin are the least likely to become pregnant through casual sex. Women from Meath are the most likely.

18) Dublin is Europe's most popular destination with travelling stag and hen parties. There are an estimated six hundred 'pre wedding sessions' every weekend in the capital.

19) Harold's Cross got it's name because a tribe called the Harolds lived in the Wickow Mountains and the Archbiship of Dublin would not let them come any nearer to the city than that point.

20) Leopardstown was once known as Leperstown.

21) The average 25-year-old Dubliner still lives with his/her parents preferring to spend their money on fast cars and clothes rather than a mortgage.

22) Dublin vets charge up to fifteen times more for animal health services than their counterparts outside the capital.

23) Two radio stations attract over 90% of all listeners in the Dublin area.

24) There are twelve Dublins in the United States and six in Australia.

25) Buck Whaley was an extremely wealthy gambler who lived in Dublin in the seventeen hundreds. Due to inheritances, he had an income of seven thousand pounds per year (not far off seven million a year at today's prices). He lived in a huge house near Stephen's Green which is now the Catholic University of Ireland. He went broke and he had to leave Ireland due to gambling debts. He swore he'd be buried on Irish soil but is in fact buried in the Isle of Man in a shipload of Irish soil which he imported for the purpose.

26) The Burke Brothers were Dublin's 1960's equivalent of the Kray twins. They weren't actually brothers but second cousins.

27) The converted Ford Transit used for the Pope's visit in 1976 was upholstered using the most expensive carpet ever made in Dublin. The carpet was a silk and Teflon weave and rumoured to have cost over 950.00 per square meter.

26) There was once a large statue of Queen Victoria in the Garden outside Leinster House. It was taken away when the Republic of Ireland became independent and in 1988 was given as a present to the city of Sydney, Australia to mark that city's 200th anniversary.

29) The largest cake ever baked in Dublin weighed a whopping 190lb's and was made to celebrate the 1988 city millennium. The cake stood untouched in the Mansion House until 1991 when it was thrown out.

30) A pint of Guinness in Dublin can cost as much as 2.75 or as little as 2.10p depending on where you drink.

31) Dubliners are more likely to buy a stranger a drink than locals from any other area of the country are.

32) The Radisson St Helens Hotel in Stillorgan sells the dearest pint in Ireland.

33) There are forty six rivers in Dublin city. The river flowing through Rathmines is called the River Swan (beside the Swan Centre). The Poddle was once known as the 'Tiber' and was also known as the River Salach (dirty river), which is the origin of the children's song "Down by the river Saile". It is also the river whose peaty, mountain water causes the Black Pool mentioned above.

34) Saint Valentine was martyred in Rome on February 28th eighteen centuries ago. He was the Bishop of Terni. His remains are in a cask in White Friar Street Church, Dublin. He is no longer recognised as a Saint by the Vatican.

35) The statue in Dublin's O'Connell Street is commonly known as the 'Floozy in the Jacuzzi' while the one at the bottom of Grafton Street is best known as the 'Tart with the Cart'. The women at the Ha'Penny bridge are the "Hags with the bags", James Joyce's statue is called the "Dick with the stick" and the Chimney Stack with the new lift in Smithfield Village is now called the "Flue with the View". The Millenium Spire is being called the "Stilleto by the Ghetto" and the "Stiffy by the Liffey".

36) There is a fountain in College Green with some ghastly statues of angels. This stands on the spot where there was once a statue of King Billy on a horse. It was blown up six times before being completely destroyed by a bomb in 1946. The wreck was taken to a corporation yard and the horses huge lead testicles were melted down and used to repair a pipe.

37) St Michan's Church was called after St Michan and St Stephen's Green was called after St Stephen.

38) Montgomery Street was once the biggest red-light district in Europe with an estimated 1600 prostitutes. It was known locally as the "Monto" and this is the origin of the song "Take me up to Monto"

39) Dublin boasts more homosexuals per capita than San Francisco.

40) Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda lived in Dublin in the eighteenth century. His job was naming streets. He called several after himself. Henry Street, Moore Street, Earl Street, Drogheda Street. Drogheda Street later became Sackville Street and is now O'Connell Street. He didn't like to see the 'of' from his name left out so when he was naming a small lane (off O'Connell Street) he called it "Of Lane" (it's gone now).

41) Nelson's Pillar was blown up in 1966 to mark the fiftieth annivarsary of the 1916 rising. It now lies in a heap in a valley in County Wicklow.

42) Leinster House in Dublin was originally built as a private home for the Duke of Leinster. At that time, the most fashionable part of Dublin was the North Side and he was asked why he was building on the South Side. He said "Where I go, fashion follows me.!" ..... and to this day the most fashionable part of Dublin is the South Side.

43) Tallaght is one of the oldest placenames in Ireland and it means "The Plague Cemetery"

44) There are five areas in Dublin whose names end in the letter 'O'. Fewer than one Dubliner in 20,000 can name them off by heart.
They are..... Rialto, Marino, Portobello, Phibsboro and Pimlico.

45) Kevin Street Garda Station was once the Palace of the Archbishop of Dublin.

46) The original name of Trinity College was "Trinity College Near Dublin". The capital was a lot smaller then.

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