Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Medlar Bridge

The Medlar Bridge - with thanks to Dublin City Council

I read in the paper that the HSE are to set up a maternity hospital on a site on Davitt Road, not far from St. James's Hospital with which it will be linked, and that this will involve a new bridge over the Grand Canal.

Now that Rosie has her bridge over the Liffey, I want to get my spake in early on the naming of this new bridge over the canal.

In 1934, my granduncle, PJ Medlar, as a member of Dublin Corporation, was to the fore in promoting the erection of a bridge over the canal connecting Maryland estate and Basin St. at the back of the South Dublin Union which subsequently became St. James's Hospital.

When the canal was eventually filled in between Dolphin Road and the original terminus at Grand Canal Place, the bridge went and is now no more.

In the course of my family history research I have come to see that bridge as the Medlar Bridge (though the colloquial use was The Mettler or The Cage).

I think it would be a fitting recognition of PJ's service to the people of the area from 1920 to 1942, both as a Councillor and undertaker, if the new bridge were to be named The Medlar Bridge. On the political side, PJ had strong Republican links, and he has also entered the folklore in the phrase The Medlar's Gotcha and in the mention of his Medlar and Claffey undertakers in the song The Inchicore Wake.

There is also a Northside/Southside dimension as PJ campaigned for Alfie Byrne whose constituency was on the Northside.

Lord Mayor, Alfie Byrne, welcoming the Papal Legate
to the 1932 Eucharistic Congress.
PJ is to the right of De Valera.

You can follow up other links below:

Summary piece on PJ in Pue's Occurrences

A more extended cameo from my family history page.

Supporting page for my talk in Dublin City Library and Archive. This page has lots of background links.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It would be pithy - and local - anyway.