Local History

of Temple Bar Medical Centre

The medical centre is housed in a building with a listed facade that dates from the early nineteenth century. We know that in 1850 an engraver occupied it by the name of Robert Mahony and in more recent times it was an optician's shop and prior to that it was the business premises of a razor blade company. Another occupant, a Jewish jeweller by the name of Aaron Figatner, was even mentioned in the Sirens episode in James Joyce's Ulysses.

Wellington Quay was the last of the Liffey Quays to be constructed. It was named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, following his victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at the battle of Waterloo. The nearby Halfpenny Bridge was also named in Wellington's honour and was originally known as Wellington Bridge when it was officially opened in 1816. The Wellington Monument in the Phoenix Park (located one mile up the River Liffey) is further acknowledgement from the city of Dublin of the Iron Duke's major victory. It is interesting to note that the bronze relief panels on the Wellington Monument were cast from French canon that were captured at the Battle of Waterloo.

The easternmost section of today's Wellington Quay used to be known as Custom House Quay and was the site of the original Custom House, which was located in the vicinity of the present day Clarence Hotel. In the early nineteenth century Essex Bridge (site of today's Grattan Bridge) was the westernmost bridge across the Liffey. Below that point the Liffey was a tidal estuary until the Quays were completed, the construction of Wellington Quay being the final link in that major construction project.