DERELICT UNDERGROUND PUBLIC TOILET
Freestanding underground public toilet block, constructed c.1900. Carved granite plinth having perforated metal roundels to east and west elevations. Wrought-iron railings with stylised shamrock heads. Cast-iron ventilation shaft with stylised foliage to shaft. Granite stairs with tiled walls leading from street level, with wrought-iron gate.
Located at the Liberties crossroad junction of Kevin Street, New Street South, Dean Street and Patrick Street. At one time the area was known as Four Corners of Hell as there was a pub on all four corners of the crossroads.
This underground public toilet block at the junction of Kevin Street and New Street was one of a number that were built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in response to an increasing demand for public facilities in the city. Underground facilities such as this were partially hidden from general view in order to satisfy Victorian perceptions of decency. It retains many of its historic features including railings, gates and decorative ventilation shaft.
It caught me by surprise, when I first paid attention to it about six or seven years ago, especially as I should have been aware that these facilities existed having gone to school in Leeson Street and college in Kevin Street.
There are two separate entities – a small park and an underground public toilet. In 2019 the City Council announced that the building would be brought back into use as a cafe as soon as practical but as you can see that plan did not go well.
When I first noticed the structure I thought that it was an old monument or memorial but upon seeing the entrance I realised that it was an underground public toilet block.
In the 1950s and 1960s there were about seventy public toilets in Dublin but all of them have been closed.