Darkest Dublin cover

Darkest Dublin.  The story of the Church Street disaster and a pictorial account of the slums of Dublin in 1913.


Christiaan Corlett

Published in 2008, 222pp, paperback, illustrated

Published by Wordwell Ltd

Darkest Dublin is a pictorial account of Dublin’s slums in 1913 as documented by John Cooke, who presented his findings and photographs to the Dublin Housing Inquiry on 24 November 1913. Cooke’s photographs – which now form part of the photographic archive of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland – provide a horribly vivid visual account of the slum conditions at that time. They present a rare surviving portrait of a side of the face of Dublin generally left in the shade by contemporary photographers, providing a snapshot of the conditions that prevailed in the city at a particular moment in time. They are unique in more ways than one, however, not least in the fact that they form a clearly defined collection of photographs dealing with a well-defined subject-matter. The narrative of the Darkest Dublin story is essentially told by the photographs themselves. To this pictorial record, however, the Darkest Dublin story adds the largely forgotten events of the Church Street disaster, which provided the catalyst for a series of events that culminated in the Dublin Housing Inquiry. It was with this Inquiry in mind that the Darkest Dublin photographs were taken.

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