The horrible history of Smithfield and Stoneybatter

For the thousands who were condemned to die in medieval Dublin, Stoneybatter was where they were hanged. Some of the modern street names preserve this gruesome history. The name ‘Hammonds Lane’ (between the Four Courts and Smithfield) originates from “Hangmans Lane”. From the medieval city the condemned were brought across ‘Hangmans lane’ before travelling along ‘Gibbets Mead’ to the gallows (the term gibbet is an alternative name for a gallows). ‘Gibbets mead’ is now long gone, but in the medieval period it headed in a north westerly direction in the region of Smithfield square. Hammond

Exactly where the gallows were situated is not certain but in the later 14th century an account described “the hill towards the north where the gallows anciently stood’ while another account in 1192 stated the gallows lay close to barns of Priory of Christchurch. This would indicate the gallows lay in or around Arbour Hill given its name derives from the Irish ‘Cnoc an Arbhair’ meaning “Hill of the Barns’!

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