It measures 49m width at its southern end, 46 m at the north, and is 500 m in length. During the 17th century, it was a narrow street known as Drogheda Street (named after Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda). It was widened in the late 1700s and renamed Sackville Street named after Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset. until 1924, when it was renamed in honour of Daniel O’Connell, a nationalist leader of the early 19th century, whose statue stands at the lower end of the street, facing O’Connell Bridge.
Welcome aboard the Bandwagon Bus! See our city, hear our stories and sing our songs as we take you on a sing-along tour of Dublin while being serenaded with beautiful Irish ballads. Below are some points of interest and sites that we will be passing by today.
Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance is a memorial garden at Parnell Square, commemorating the lives of all those who died during Ireland’s struggle to gain independence from the UK. This location was chosen for its close ties to Ireland’s history of rebellion; indeed the entire area was renamed after the Irish nationalist statesman Charles Stewart Parnell.
As we make our way towards Trinity College we will pass by the James Joyce Statue and alongside the River Liffey. Here we will sing ‘The Ferryman’ a monologue by a former pilot of a ferry on the river to his wife.
We drive slowly towards Merrion Square, singing the famous ‘Raglan Road’. We know that there will be a few of you singing along to this beautiful song based on Patrick Kavanagh’s poem. Merrion square was laid out after 1762 and was largely complete by the beginning of the 19th century.
Built in 1710 by the merchant and property developer Joshua Dawson, after whom Dawson Street is named. Dublin Corporation purchased the house in 1715 for assignment as the official residence of the Lord Mayor. It retains this purpose to this day.
Now we ride on, passing the Bank of Ireland, an old parliament building.
Listen to the Bandwagon musicians play their version of ‘Dublin Saunter’ as we pass by the epic Bank of Ireland Parliament Building that has become an iconic piece of architecture in the city of Dublin.
We are nearly half way through the Bandwagon Bus tour when we pass by Dublin City Hall built between 1769 and 1779 by Thomas Cooley. Irish Republican Sean Connolly was shot on the root of city hall during the Easter Rising. Now we are rolling past the City Castle. Built in 1922 it was the seat of the British government’s administration in Ireland. After learning the history of Dublin Castle we are ready to hear one of the most loved Irish ballads ‘The Auld Triangle’. This song was first performed publicly as a part of the play The Quare Fellow (1954) by Brendan Behan.
The earliest manuscript dates Christchurch Cathedral to its present location around 1030. In 1742 the cathedral choir together with the choir of St Patrick’s cathedral sang at the world premiere of Handel’s Messiah in nearby Fishamble Street
We make our way into the history Liberties area which houses five of Dublin’s top tourist attractions. It is home to the famous Guinness Brewery. With over 1.2 million visitors per year it is one of Ireland’s most famous tourist spots and you can have a pint of the black stuff while you are there. King Henry II granted to the Augustinian monks certain privileges and powers, which enabled them to control trade in the area. They remained connected to the city but had their own laws, hence the term ‘liberties’.
It’s time to pay tribute to one of Ireland’s greatest entrepreneurs with a song called ‘General Guinness’. In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on a disused brewery at St James’s Gate, Dublin for an annual rent of £45.
Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the new County Gaol for Dublin. It closed its doors in 1924. Today the building symbolises the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Public hangings took place at the front of the prison. However, from the 1820s onward very few hangings, public or private, took place at Kilmainham.
The park dates back to 1662, when the Duke of Ormonde fenced off land north of the Liffey and established a Royal Hunting Park for visiting British monarchs. The ornate landscape covers approximately 1,752 acres and was opened to the public in 1747. The park is home to half the mammal species found in Ireland. It also houses Dublin Zoo, one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions with more than 700 animals and tropical birds from around the world. It was founded in 1830 and opened to the public on 1 September 1831, with animals from the London Society, making it the third oldest zoo in the world.
The Four Courts was built between 1796 and 1802 by the architect James Gandon, who also designed the Custom House. The Four Courts and surrounding areas were held by Commandant Edward Daly’s 1st Battalion during the Easter Rising in 1916. Some of the most intense fighting of Easter Week took place in the Church Street, North King Street and North Brunswick Street area.