Today, throughout Dublin there are over 32,000 lamps of different types lighting the city. These standards are intermingled and representative of every era since 1825. The older lamps are easy to spot with their heavy ornate decoration. Lamp standards are generally prefabricated in at least two sections, base and head. Accidents and subsequently transplants can happen often causing different base/head combinations, and many recent heads often cap bases of different eras.

Early Street Lighting in Dublin

A form of private street lighting began in Dublin as early as 1616, when the Candlelight Law was passed, "compelling every fifth house to display a light within prescribed hours of the night for the guidance of street-users". By 1697, public lighting was for the first time undertaken in certain sections of the city by contract. Candle lighting gradually gave way to oil lighting after this time.

Gas Street Lighting

The first piped-gas lamp appeared in Dublin in 1825, and gas was used up to 1957, although it was overtaken by electric light in its later years. In 1866, the three major gas companies then lighting the city were amalgamated to become the Alliance and Consumers Gas Company, then lighting the city as far as Kilmainham, Fairview and Rathmines.

Electric Street Lighting

The opening of the Pigeon House generating station in 1903 extended electric lighting to almost all major streets in the city centre including Rathmines.

With the introduction of their electric lighting scheme in 1903, the Rathmines Urban District Council erected a selection of lamp standards to suit the lighting requirements of the street in question. The older lamp standards are of two general sizes, ranging from the larger type, approximately 9m high, found on the main routes out of the city to the smaller type, approximately 4.5m high appearing on the less important routes and residential areas. Antique standards are described in terms of base and neck and height.

Dublin City Public Libraries

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