Trams, a social network of an urban life.

The first wave of trams (streetcar in the US) which went into service were horse drawn and began life as a means for industrial haulage, carting heavy products such as stone from quarries to cities for sale or exportation. This lead to a steady and natural evolution into modes of passenger transport. Thus creating a network of veins throughout the city, linking the suburban limbs to the beating heart of the city centre. The dawn of electricity and gas powered trams graced the network system causing these veins transformed into throbbing arteries of social interaction between the cities inhabitants.


These arteries of transport and travel can be seen throughout the rising metropolis’ of world dawning from an industrial age. Each city maintained its own unique style of tram ans some still do. London, Dublin and Cork had two tiered trams meandering their city streets, whilst in cities such as Los Angeles and Vienna they used a single tier. They quickly became social points of contact for citizens as passengers, they became mobile advertisement boards for businesses and places of work for drivers and engineers alike.

Tram from Sutton to Howth.

Getting into the festive spirit.

With motor cars only available to the exceptionally wealthy the tram/streetcar became ideal methods of transport for those unable to afford the expensive luxury of the car. In Dublin, family’s could commute to seaside towns such as Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) and Howth for a ‘day out’. They could be out walking the promenade by day and back under the city centre smog by night. It was a liberating service, connecting the suburbs that would later intertwine with the modern metropolis.

A ghostly past.

A ghostly past.



Image i: National Libray of Ireland. 1959. National Library of Ireland Catalogue. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 November 15].

Image ii: University of Southern California. 1957. USC Libraries. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 November 15].

Image iii: Irish Photo Archive. 1956. Irish Photo Archive. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 November 15].

Image iv: National Library of Ireland. 1920. National Library of Ireland Catalogue. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 November 15].


The public park hits The Pale, Dublin’s emergence into modernity.

(Rory O’Donnell 113516707)

Dublin, the primate city of Ireland, the raiding vikings settled here in 831 AD and fought off the local Irish until 1014 AD. Then the English began to make their influences felt upon the city from 1170 and thus the city became part of the British empire right up until 1922, but empires come and go the city still remains. Due to the Liffey Dublin has a rich history as a settlement site spanning further beyond that even of the vikings. Maps of the cityscape from this period of its history is based predominantly on speculation and interpenetration of the old viking section on the south banks of the Liffey One of the earliest thought map is John Speeds titled “Dubline” dated 1610 (Fig.i).

Dublin, 1610

Here we can see the Anglo- Norman influences upon the city, defensive city walls enclosing the city creating the barrier between outside the city and that which is the city core. Although one can see vast expanses of open green areas, one shouldn’t mistake them for public spaces, on the contrary. These were regions under control from local ruling aristocrats, only available to the wealthy of society.


Dublin, 1764

In (Fig.ii) a map by Jacques Nicolas titled “Plan De LaVille De Dublin” (1764) one can see the influence of mainland Europe creep in upon Dublin right into the cityscape with the emergence of St. Stephans Green, one of the oldest urban parks in the world (the large square to the bottom right of the map).

Dublin, 1836


Dublin, 1883
The influence of modernity slowly moves into the Dublin sphere. This emergence is seen through the development of public space within the urban city and increases in tandem with the vast urban expansion. This increase is seen in the arrival of both Merrion Square and the significantly smaller Fitzwilliam Park. Their arrival is seen in (Fig.iii) in the map created by Chapman and Hall in 1836. Note again further urban expansion in (Fig.iiii) a map produced in 1883 by Letts, Son & Co. These mark Dublin’s entrance into the teeming metropolis which it is seen as today and its ties to modernity traced through the transformation of these public spaces.


David Rumsey Historical map collection (