Friday, December 15, 2017


Dublin from railway bridge at Hollybrook,
c. 1850, by Edward Radclyffe

The Clontarf Atlas is a magnificent work of art.

It is the first volume in a new series of Town Atlases dealing with the suburbs. I have not seen the town atlases themselves so this is my first introduction to the series and it blew my mind.

The illustrations are really high class and seeing them across a two page spread is wonderful. You can really appreciate them at that size.

There are black and white engravings like the one from which I reproduce a detail above.

Beached boats at Clontarf
looking north, 19th cent., by O. M. Latham

There is this beautiful watercolour from which I have just reproduced a detail.

Royal Charter School, Clontarf Road
looking east, 1794, by William Ashford

And there are full blown pictures like that from which the above is a detail.

Late 17th Century, Clontarf

Then there are the specially drawn thematic maps in a clear and very attractive style.

Parish of Clontarf 1868

And the more conventional OS type maps, but in great detail and relating to different periods.

This is probably the right place to mention that every page in the volume is perforated at the inner margin so pages can be taken out and arranged to form eg larger maps.

The detail above shows the building of my first school as it was in 1868. When I go to the comprehensive text I find that it was built in 1823 and acquired by the RC Church for a school in 1940. I spent a year there in 1949/50 in Miss Hayde's class (babies). In fact, during my relatively brief stay, I actually kicked teacher. I also find that Dollymount Park, where I lived then, was built in 1949, so it all comes together.

The text takes you through Clontarf from a fishing village, through a Township and finally a classy suburb. The gazetteer type entries (if that's what they're called) give you comprehensive information on roads, buildings, institutions and the like.

I must really compliment the authors here for picking up (p 56) the typo on the gate of Brian Boru's Well. This was first pointed out to me by Seán Cromien, a former Secretary of the Department of Finance, who has an eye for such matters. Even some local historians missed this one.

Some photos below from the launch in RIA on 6 December 2017.

Colm Lennon, author

Mícheál MacDonncha, Lord Mayor & Michael Peter Kennedy, President RIA

Lord Mayor shares a joke with Colm and Raymond Gillespie

Raymond is an editorial board member of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas.

Full marks to all concerned in the production of the CLONTARF ATLAS

Check out Colm's video on the volume

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