Bank Architecture in Dublin, A History to c. 1940

Patrick Honohan’s latest book launch speech is here.

9 replies on “Bank Architecture in Dublin, A History to c. 1940”

‘It may not be widely recognised that Ireland, through what is no longer formally called the IFSC, is the 15th largest international financial centre in the world according to tabulations by the IMF.’

That’s very interesting. Given that most of the FDI sector is moving towards services and intangibles, the ‘Irish economy’ is becoming harder and harder to define. Most of the critical stuff is hidden away in private accounting structures.

Ah, but we’ll always have our culture…..

Must say but The Governor is certainly doing his bit for The Aesthetic Turn in Irish Economics … all these book launches surely signify that The Linguistic Turn has eventually found its way to Hibernia …… surely a short volume of sonnets is in the pipeline somewhere, or at a minimum an Ode to the ECB …. or a new translation of a seminal moment from Dante …!

As to that spot of overcrowding in that monstrous architectual monstrosity on Dame Street that the CB presently occupies … well, just down the street one may observe an architectual gem presently occupied by one of the pillar financial pillocks that has brought the citizenry to its knees … and with the powers presently vested in the Governor’s office may I humbly suggest that he serves an appropriate eviction notice [I’m in charitable mood today] of 6 months – well the citizenry has paid billions for it already … and The Governor’s Office might then make said architectural gem available to the Citizenry – the rightful owners. I’m sure Minister Denihan will find some aesthetic use while it awaits its restoration to the glories of 1800 as Ireland defies the Higgs-boson by running its economy and society backwards in time at an accelerating rate …… and who knows, we might even find another lost short story by James Joyce along the way ….

I’ve been away a lot recently…. have I missed something? What is it with all these PH book launches? Or is it some kind of in joke?

pr guy, you beet me to it. What, given the current financial context, the promissory note restructuring / default debate, the bond repayments, Greece etc, is the governor doing writing or even turning up to read, wordy articles about architecture?

Honohan refers to “the austere approach of the Bank of Ireland in its early years in the 1800s.”

He leaves out the reckless lending that the Bank of Ireland engaged in, between 1790 and 1800, when there was a huge building boom in Dublin. The full story of excessive lending, property bubble and subsequent bust after 1800, is well told in the current (January/February) issue of History Ireland magazine. In Seamus Nevin’s article “History repeating: Georgian Ireland’s property bubble” the author draws parallels with our recent property boom and bust, including rezoning and crony capitalism; they even had their own NAMA.

The January/February issue of History Ireland magazine is still on the news stands at Eason’s and Read’s or at (subscription required).

@ davidc,

One of the most interesting things I learned from a Culture Ireland night of a few years ago (on Fitzwilliam Sq.) was that property prices took a hundred years to recover after the Act of Union, when the gentry left Dublin. I’m not too sure that the run up to that was a speculative frenzy. The Act of Union might have come as an unanticipated asymmetic shock (the 1798 rebellion).

BTW, I’ve been reading Arthur Griffith recently (for research purposes); he was torn between admiration for Grattan’s Parliament and the admiration of most of his supporters for Wolfe Tone, who despised what Grattan stood for. I am beginning to worry that, in Greece at least, our history – and more importantly theirs – (Greece is a very fragile political entity) might come to repeat itself.

@ Frank Barry,

In the highly politicised environment of post-Union Ireland the symbolism of the loss of the Dublin parliament meant that the emphasis was placed on the Act of Union as the key factor in Irish economic decline. This is the narrative which still dominates the popular consciousness. Unfortunately, like most historiographical half-truths, this misperception distorts the historical reality. Indeed, Maria Edgeworth wrote a contemporary account where she described how many of the departed Irish parliamentarians had returned to Dublin within a few years of the Union, having found it hard to survive on their incomes in London. As my paper argues, it was rather the seizing up of liquidity, brought about by the overwhelming tax burden placed on Irish citizens upon the outbreak of the French Revolutionary and, in particular, the Napoleonic Wars, that led to what Patrick Honohan described as “the austere approach of the Bank of Ireland [and other Irish banks] in its early years in the 1800s.”

Comments are closed.