I took this photo a few weeks ago when I was out for a lunchtime stroll. I really like these quaint little red brick terraced houses on Doris street in Ringsend in Dublin 4. Doris street is located in an area called South Lotts, which was reclaimed marshes along the South of the river Liffey in Dublin. I believe these houses were built-in circa 1905, as I can’t find any reference to Doris street in the 1901 census and they appear in the 1911 census.
When I got home, I searched the 1911 Irish census to see who once lived on this street. I find the old census entries fascinating, I love finding out about families from the census, it is one of the reasons I love old houses and I would love to buy an old period property one day, that you can see who went before you and the house has a history. The census gives a snapshot of the lives of the folks who lived there once. On Doris street, some of the inhabitants were employed in the nearby Dublin Port in maritime related jobs. For example, in no.1 Doris street, a John Dunne lived here with his wife and an Uncle and they took in lodgers, John worked as a Steamship Stoker and in no. 11, Matthew Ward Senior lived here with his wife and daughters and his son Matthew Junior, both father and son were employed as Sailors.
Irish Glass Bottle Company
In a number of other residences on Doris street, the inhabitants occupations are related to the nearby Irish Glass Bottle company which was located in Ringsend, the majority of which, were English natives, perhaps brought over by the company due to their expertise. James Cooper was originally from England and in 1911 he lived in no. 34 Doris street and was a Bottle Blower, James had a boarder staying in his house, a Robert Irvine from Scotland and he also worked as a Bottle Blower. In no. 46, William Hall from England worked as a Bottle Maker and in no. 22, Robert Goslin originally from England worked as a Bottle Maker and in no. 36, a George Gannon from Dublin, worked as a Bottle Maker.
Ringsend was an ideal location for a glass bottle company at the time, as to make glass you need sand and also coal to melt the sand, been nearby to Dublin bay and the Port ensured easy access to both, with sandbanks and the imported coal delivered into the docks. This short video made by the Dublin City Public libraries, gives a brief history about the Irish Glass Bottle company which was established in Ringsend in 1871.
Other inhabitants professions on Doris street in 1911
Looking at that one street, it looks to have been a prosperous street in 1911, far removed from the tenement slums that were prevalent in many parts of Dublin inner city at that time. In nearly every house, the residents are listed as being in employment, the street is made up of, a mix of working class Catholic and middle class Protestant families living there at the time. Catholic men were mostly employed as Labourers, in Stables, Warehouses, factories, at the Port, Tram Conductors and as Firemen and the young single women were employed as Envelope Makers, Type Distributor, Seamstress and Dress Makers. While many of the men employed in the Glass bottle company who lived on Doris street were English Protestants.
Today, Doris street has a mix of young and old inhabitants, old Ringsend natives and skilled Irish and foreign workers, in a hundred years, I am sure the census will show many of the inhabitants worked in the nearby Google and Facebook companies.