Custom House, Dublin

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXXII

The old Custom-house stood on the site of houses now comprised in that part of Dublin known as Wellington-quay. Here a locality was selected, in the reign of James I., for the purpose of "erecting cranes and making wharves." This street, now so busy and populous, was then in the suburbs, and is described in the lease, A.D. 1620, as "a certain parcel of ground, lying in or near Dame-street, in the suburbs of the city of Dublin." A new Customhouse was erected about the period of the Restoration, with the addition of a council-chamber, where the Privy Council and Committees of the House of Commons were accustomed to assemble.

By an order of the Privy Council, 19th September, 1662, the Customhouse-quay was appointed the sole place for landing and lading the exports and imports of the city of Dublin. In 1683 the public Exchange of Dublin was transferred from Cork House to the Tholsel, a building erected early in the reign of Edward II., and described by Camden as built of hewn stone. Here the Mayor was elected on Michaelmas Day, and the citizens held their public meetings. A clock was set up in 1560, no doubt very much to the admiration of the citizens. A new Tholsel or City Hall was erected in 1683, on the same site, and there was a "'Change," where merchants met every day, as in the Royal Exchange in London. Public dinners were given here also with great magnificence; but from the marshy nature of the ground on which the building had been set up, it fell to decay in 1797, and a new Sessions-house was erected in Green-street.