Public Transportation in Dublin in the late 18th and early 19th centuries

The 1800’s where often ‘considered a period of decline for Dublin’ but ‘also saw much of the Irish capitals’ infrastructure improve dramatically’, (Barry 2014). From the mid to late 18th century systems such as horse drawn omnibuses and trams where the main form of public transport in Dublin. These forms of transport improved the quality and liveability of the city and enabled people to live at greater distances from their work. Furthermore most of the jobs created by these new modes of transport where given to country people, (National Archives of Ireland 2014). These people coming from the country undoubtedly where given much greater opportunity of experiencing other sides and ways of life, better living conditions, and an all-round better quality of life.


Horse drawn tram on Westmoreland Street Dublin.

Before these services where available on a large scale, Dublin would have been quiet divided, socially and spatially. When these systems where brought in it made the city much more local and allowed for different classes to mingle. Next to come was the electrified tram. This was to even further change the social and geographical landscape of Dublin. ‘There were, by 1911, 330 trams operating on lines which ran for 60 miles along the city’s roads, drawing the suburbs tightly to the city’, (National Archives of Ireland 2014).


Two trams meet at a cross at Terenure cc 1900. This image seems to paint a much more modern picture of Dublin, just a few years on from the horse drawn trams.


Tram 169 at corner of Grafton and Nassau Street. This is an interesting photo as it contains three contrasting modes of transport and from left to right in chronological order !

This blog has been oddly positive about these new forms of public transport, and one should wonder what the other side of the story was. Even though the electric trams where available to most people through-out the city it is hard to believe that there was not a level of discrimination amongst the upper classes that used these services. Where there people that could not use these services because of their class? It has become clear to me through my research of photos from this era that, in the city, the people that where on the street or using public transport where predominantly wealthy ’CLAR_026

Man with umbrella standing on Nassau Street. Note how upper class these people appear to be[]=language%3A%22English%22&filter[]=format%3A%22Photo%22&filter[]=publishDate%3A%22[1897+TO+1904]%22&page=1&view=grid

<>. Barry, M 2014, ‘Transport in 19th Century Dublin’, The Irish Story, accessed 5 November 2014
<>. The National Archives of Irleand 2014, accessed 5 November 2014,</></>

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