As the old saying goes, we are small but perfectly formed!

Iron and Magdalene laundry postcard
The North Inner City Folklore Project is a treasure trove of artefacts and memorabilia which has been donated and collected locally over the past 40 years.

Items on display span the decades of the twentieth century. Many were saved from tenement homes in the North Inner City.

The collection includes irons from the Gloucester Street Laundry (Ireland’s last operational Magdelene Laundry), local tenement rent books, household items (china sets, glassware and ornaments), furniture, religious items, dockers’ buttons, WWII gas masks and coins discovered in the tunnels under the tenement houses in the Monto.

The fascinating thing about these and other artefacts on display is the background stories that people have told us about them.

Audio recordings which capture people’s memories of historic events as well as happenings in their own lives also form part of this rich and varied collection. These recordings have been made over the course of the past 30 years.

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Molly O'Reilly
The collection is still growing.

One recent donation is a brown leather messenger bag with belt, which was used by Molly O’Reilly to carry dispatches between garrisons during Easter week, 1916. O’Reilly was the 14-year-old girl who raised the uncrowned green harp flag above Liberty Hall the week before the 1916 rebellion.

Do you have family memorabilia or stories about life in the North Inner City? We’d love to hear from you:

Here is a small selection of items on display at our premises.

Laying out the dead

When someone died in the tenements, women usually came to the house with the little black box containing religious items, like a crucifix to be hung over the bed or placed in the hands of the deceased. A candle holder with a crucifix, a beeswax candle, a bowl for holy water, also a bar of buttermilk soap to wash the body of the deceased before putting on the burial habit.

Laying out the dead
Dublin Dockers’ Badges and Pay Book

Dublin Dockers’ Badges and Pay Book

A dockers pay book and Dublin dockers badges issued to dock workers by the Trade Union in the 1940s. The badges were worn on coat lapels to show they were members of the Trade Union. The badges were referred to by the dockers as ‘The Button’. ‘The Button’ could be passed on to a family member if the owner was unable to work or passed away.

Molly O’Reilly’s 1916 Pouch

Leather pouch, part of a Sam Brown Belt worn by Irish Citizen Army woman Molly O’Reilly to carry war dispatches from City Hall Garrison to the General Post Office during the 1916 Easter Rising.

A week before before the Rising, Molly was given the honour by the Commandant of the Irish Citizen Army, James Connolly, of hoisting the Green Flag with the Gold Harp over Liberty Hall, headquarters of the Irish Citizen Army.

Molly lived in a tenement house on Gardiner Street near Railway Street.

Molly O'Reilly - slideshow
Margaret Carroll Monto - Copy

The Monto Cross

“In 1916, my great grandmother, Monto prostitute, Margaret Carroll died in number 20 Railway Street.
By her side was her only daughter, Annie Carroll.  Annie had spent 21 years of her life living in Tipperary.
At three years of age, in 1896 her mother, along with two other women and two men were arrested and charged with the manslaughter of a man that had picked up a young Monto prostitute and because of this Annie was “Put Away”.
In 1916, Annie returned to Dublin to nurse her dying mother.
On the wall above Margaret Carroll’s death bed hung this Black Cross. It was often referred to as 'The Girl’s Cross' because it was displayed above the bed of other poor unfortunate dying women who had also been a part of the Monto Street Trade.
Annie Carroll took charge of the Cross and loaned it out to neighbours when any of their loved ones were dying.
When Annie herself died in 1964 the Cross was given to my mother, Mary Coffey neé Carroll.
In later years I was given the Cross. The cross was originally made by James Doyle (1861-1919) of Railway Street, whose wife helped many unfortunate girls in the Monto by renting them rooms to live in and to carry out their business in off the streets.”

Gas masks

Gas mask issued to school children during the Emergency (World War II).

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Magdalene laundry irons

Irons used by women in the old Gloucester Street laundry, the last of the infamous Magdalene laundries to shut its doors in 1996. The back wall of the laundry is across the road from the North Inner City Folklore Project.

St. Patrick’s National School Rolls

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