Great Britain Street

This week’s featured place is Great Britain Street, where the priest of the “The Sisters” lives (or is lying dead, rather).parnellbritain

The street is particularly interesting in that shortly after the 1891 death of Charles Stewart Parnell, a leading Irish Nationalist, the name was changed from “Great Britain” to “Parnell” Street. This booklet published by the Dublin Civic Trust gives some more info on the history of this iconic street as well as its current thriving cultural significance. The booklet includes historical photos as well as building plans for store fronts. Although there’s no “Drapery,” in the diagram, one table shows that between 1845 and 1900, the number of “[c]lothiers, tailors, haberdashery, hosiery and drapery” businesses on the street fell from 17 to 6. The authors accredit this to “a decline in the quality of the street, away from the specialist uses of old towards a business community mainly serving the domestic demands of the local tenement population.”

Here’s the text of “The Sisters” where the street is referenced:

“The next morning after breakfast I went down to look at the little house in Great Britain Street. It was an unassuming shop, registered under the vague name of Drapery” (11).

Author: Jasmine Mulliken

Jasmine Mulliken is Digital Production Associate at Stanford University Press. Prior to that she spent five years as Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Oklahoma State University. She has a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and specializes in 20th-Century British Literature, Digital Humanities, and Digital Literacies.