This is a collection of 40 photographs taken 17-18 May 1916 by Thomas Johnson Westropp, 1860-1922. Westropp placed them in an album entitled, ‘Ruined buildings in Dublin after the Sinn Fein rebellion, April-May 1916 by Thomas Westropp, photographed May 17th & 18th 1916’, which he presented to the Royal Irish Academy on 13 June 1916.
Westropp is best remembered for his antiquarian scholarship and the many articles he published on the antiquities of the west and south of Ireland in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy and the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. He produced thousands of drawings of antiquarian interest. He had trained as a civil engineer at Trinity College Dublin. This training and his subsequent dedication to the surveying and recording of the ancient buildings and monuments of Ireland, honed his powers of observation and his eye for detail. In order to photograph the ruined buildings in Dublin city centre, Westropp would have had to acquire a British Army pass. It is evident from the photographs that he climbed to the roofs of surviving buildings and to the top of Nelson’s Pillar to gain views of the sites behind the surviving facades.
The images show the reduction of many of the city centre’s key buildings to rubble, with only the facades and some internal walls standing, for example the General Post Office, Clerys department store and the Imperial Hotel, on Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street). We can see the bombed-out Liberty Hall, Beresford Place, the Custom House, the Four Courts, Eden Quay, the Henry, Talbot and Earl streetscapes and Clanwilliam Place on the corner of Mount Street.
The Royal Irish Academy Library is pleased to make these images available as a contribution to the 1916 corpus of knowledge.
Collection description written by Siobhán Fitzpatrick, Librarian, Royal Irish Academy.