on pavement grey

Where you can find the London addresses that were important to famous Irish people and of people who were important to Ireland.

Holloway, Hampstead and Holborn – he has lived in important places



Patrick Kavanagh died 50 years ago today, poet and novelist enjoyed London and lived at 20 Williamson St, Holloway N7, 35 Downshire Hill, Hampstead NW3 and 33 Great James Street, Holborn WC1N where he finished The Green Fool.


His work is rich with references to London; the musician faltered over his fiddle in Bayswater London (Memory of My Father) and he listed the ass’s tack in Ealing Broadway (Kerr’s Ass).


With thanks to Patrick Kavanagh: A Biography by Antoinette Quinn.

Also, while it didn’t turn up the Kavanagh connection, pastlivespresentstreetshampstead.blogspot.com may be of interest to you.


350 years on today and still relevant



Jonathan (Dean) Swift writer of Gulliver’s Travels, among other great works, was born 350 years and a day ago. While he visited London often, he stayed with Alexander Pope at Pope’s Villa 21 Cross Deep, Twickenham TW1 4QG (now Radnor House School).

He Died For a Dream

Tom Kettle, Nationalist MP and poet born Artane, Dublin is commemorated on the Parliamentary War Memorial in Westminster Hall.

He left us the lines, “…Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor But for a dream, born in a herdsman’s shed And for the secret scripture of the poor”. From, To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God.


image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Aberdeen connects Dollis Hill House with Áras an Uachtaráin

John Hamilton Gordon (Lord Aberdeen) owned and lived in Dollis Hill House, London NW2 from 1881 until 1897 where his illustrious guests included William Gladstone and Lord Randolph Churchill. (Mark Twain was later to stay at the house).

Lord Aberdeen was twice Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in 1886 and again in the critical years 1905 to 1915 during these years he lived in the Viceregal Lodge in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, now the residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin.

Incidentally, in an upstairs window of Áras an Uachtaráin, a constantly lighted lamp signifies the love and and remembrance on the island for those who leave it while welcoming them home. Maybe this is the Irish tomb of the unknown warriors?

Sunday June 4th at 10:30 you can join Tony McDonnell as he takes you through a different stratum of Irish society in his walk ‘Where the String Broke’, starting at Camden tube station. More details on his website.

Then on Friday 9th June at 2:00 he will be filmed for the Irish Post doing a guided walk from St Paul’s Cathedral.  It’s not a usual one – but you will be welcome, have great craic – and it’s free.

dollis hill house

image courtesy of wikimedia commons


Celebrating Oliver Goldsmith

This weekend, the London life of Oliver Goldsmith (featured here earlier) will be celebrated in one of Ireland’s longest-runing literary festivals, the Oliver Goldsmith Festival near his birthplace at Ballymahon, Co. Longford .

It’s good craic and Oliver would surely approve. Take a look at http://www.olivergoldsmithfestival.com


The First Woman Bishop



A slight change of direction to mark international Women’s Day, Wednesday 8 March.

St Bride’s Church Fleet Street EC4Y 8AU, honours Brigid (Kildare), one of Ireland’s best known saints. She was mistakenly and irrevocably consecrated a bishop thus gaining equal status about 1,500 years ago.

If you cannot visit the church, then a visit to its website is recommended – www.stbrides.com  Here, in its rich history you can learn how its steeple inspired the traditional, tiered wedding cake and about the well-known couple who renewed their vows here on March 5 2015. 

image courtesy of      Wikimedia Commons

image courtesy of Wikimedia commons


Three free tours, a hundred-thousand welcomes and a big thank you


Next, and slightly overdue, a hearty welcome or ‘cead mile failte’ to our new followers. We hope you are enjoying this perspective of London.  


Also overdue, a big thank you or ‘go raibh maith agat’ to London Street Views and London Details, two excellent sites that name us among their favourite sites. We will return the compliment and provide you with a link to them very soon.


Finally, our great, blue-badge friend, Tony McDonald, has been busy, he has organised three walking tours featuring the Irish history and geography of London:

March 16th is London and the 1916 Rising, in and around Whitehall

March 17th (St Patrick’s Day) The Emerald City Tour, from St Paul’s to Covent Garden

March 18th is, When the String Broke, a tour of Irish Camden.

All are free, a part of the Mayor’s St Patrick’s Day events  – so go now to www.walkinglondonhistory.co.uk for the details. Tell him we sent you – please.


Give at least one of his walks a try, he can really bring information like this to life.



The ‘big fellah’ lived in London for nearly a third of his life

Michael Collins, revolutionary, born 1890 in Sam’s Cross near Clonakility Co Cork. He left there in 1906 to work in London where he lived and worked for nearly a third of his life.


In 1914 he moved into a flat at 5 Netherwood Road, W14 which he shared with his sister Hannie. A discreet plaque commemorates its illustrious resident.

Around the corner and behind the Olympia Exhibition Centre at 23 Blythe Road W14, is Blythe House, the Post Office Savings bank where he worked until 1910.


Thanks to Katie Walsh for sourcing these gems.

For more information, especially on Collins’ life in London, see Michael Collins: A Life by James Mackay, Mainstream Publishing 1996.


photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons


He inspired a royal pardon and years later, inspired Hollywood

Colonel Thomas Blood, adventurer and inspiration of films was born in Co Clare during 1618. His most impressive escapade was not just his attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London but to be rewarded with a royal pardon, money and land.

He lies by the Church of St Margaret, Westminster SW1P 3JX





Less famous but just as formidable as her sister

Eva Gore-Booth, poet, dramatist suffragist and human rights activist was born in Co Sligo (1870). She rests at St John-at-Hampstead, Church Row, Hampstead NW3 6UU.

(Her sister Constance also features in this blog.)




Sam Maguire, more enduring than Sam Allardyce

Sam Maguire, born Mallabracca 1877, died 1927. Sat on the London County Board with Liam MacCarthy. Recruited Michael Collins into the IRB. London Hibernians to their All-Ireland finals at the turn of the century. Worked at Mount Pleasant Post Office, Clerkenwell EC1A 1BB. Best remembered by the All-Ireland senior football trophy, The Sam Maguire Cup.






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