How Dublin’s transportation system evolved during the 19th and early 20th century

Laura Hallissey 115474362

In this blog I will be delving into how transportation has improved and developed in Dublin from the 19th and early 20th century due to modernity. As we can see from figure 1 Dublin was a place with many modes of transport there was people on horse and carts, cycling bikes and indeed using horse drawn ominbuses and trams. As Michael Barry states ‘Horsepower had been the principle means of connecting Dublin to the rest of the country’. Therefore is it clearly conveyed that at this time in society horses contributed hugely to the transportation of people in the cities.


Figure 1: Photo shows the many modes of transport in Dublin during the 18th century on one of the main streets in Dublin

Before the invention of the horse omnibus service, the poor had to stay located within walking distance of their place of work as walking was their only mode of transportation as we can see in figure 2. The invention of the omnibus service ‘liberated the poor’ (Barry, M 2014) it allowed them to seek jobs further away as they now had a reasonable mode of transport. This development in transport services improved the quality of life for everyone in the city not just the upper class who could afford the private horse drawn carriages.


Figure 2: Shows a hard working poor man walking home from a days labour indicating the class divides the horse and carriage transportation brought.

Despite the success of the Horse drawn omnibus the terrain, especially of the cobbled streets of Dublin was uncomfortable for all involved which seen the development of horse drawn trams. In the construction of these tram lines, workers were brought in from the country which in time contributed to the development and expansion of the suburbs around Dublin to cater for these commuting workers (Barry, M. 2014). Trams were more expensive which therefore seen the class divide again become evident in the city as we can see in figure 3. The occupants of the tram are very well dressed showing the upper class dominance.


Figure 3: The well dressed upper class in Dublin can be seen accessing a horse drawn tram, the fact it is only men seen on the tram suggests the gender inequality at the time in Ireland


Figure 4: the horse drawn tram can be seen in full force in this powerful image

As Dublin moved into the early 20th century Dublin’s transportation system was of a high standard only to be improved even more with the electrified trams of 1911 replacing the horse drawn trams which had replaced the horse drawn omnibus. Signalling the standard of living was constantly being improved in Dublin. The final photo captures the many conventions of transport that existed in Dublin at that time



Figure 5: This photo depicts a busy Dublin street showcasing its many modes of transport



Anon, 2015. Historic B&W photos of Dublin, Ireland (19th century). MONOVISIONS. Available at: [Accessed November 1, 2017]

Barry, M., 2014. Transport in 19th Century Dublin. The Irish Story. Available at: [Accessed November 1, 2017].

Kaller, B., 1970. Restoring Mayberry. Public transportation 3: Horse Power. Available at: [Accessed November 1, 2017].

Lovindublin, 1970. PICS: These Stunning Photos Show Dublin From The Late 1800s. Lovin Dublin. Available at: [Accessed November 1, 2017].

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