The autumn of 1913 was a time of immense upheaval in Ireland. Battle raged on the streets of Dublin as workers sought to secure a basic rights to be a member of their trade union of choice. Four hundred employers had banded together and locked out those workers who refused to renounce membership of the ITGWU.
Tragically, a local disaster served to highlight the appalling living conditions of Dublin’s working class. On the evening of 2nd September 1913, just days after the commencement of the Dublin Lockout, disaster struck Church Street. Two tenement houses at No. 66 and 67 collapsed leaving seven people dead, many more injured and 100 homeless. This coming September, Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project are hosting a weekend of events to mark the centenary of these tragic events.
While local people and wider Irish society was shocked at the loss of life, Dublin’s working class had been living in the city’s decaying slums for decades. In 1913 the city’s tenements were home to 87,000 people housed in 5,322 tenement houses. A staggering 29 per cent of Dublin’s population lived in tenements, with 28,000 citizens living in dwellings declared unfit for human habitation. Primitive sanitation, poor health and high mortality rates were hallmarks of life for those forced through poverty to live in the tenements.
On the weekend of 6th and 7th September the Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project will host a series of events to commemorate the lives of those local people killed in the Church Street tenement collapse. (See overleaf for details). Please join to remember us to remember those killed so tragically in our neighbourhood 100 years ago.
6.30 p.m. Free walking tour of Dublin tenement life followed by the laying of a wreath at the site of the collapse. Meet at Larkin statute, O’Connell Street.
8 p.m. Launch of Pamphlet on the Church Street Collapse and Dublin tenement life in the Cobblestone pub, Smithfield.Followed by social by ‘Lynched’. You can find a map of the local area here
Saturday 7th, 5p.m.
5pm: The story of church street tenement collapse, Capuchin day centre, Bow St. Smithfield.
Speaker: Christiaan Corlett author of ‘Darkest Dublin. The story of the Church Street disaster and a pictorial account of the slums of Dublin in 1913’
Followed by a social in the Cobblestone pub Smithfield.
All venues and the local Luas stop are marked on the map below.