A friend of mine who was originally from the East Wall area which is nearby accompanied me today and I noticed that he was nervous about visiting Sheriff Street because he remembers it as it was back in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Sheriff Street area might be defined as Upper and Lower Sheriff Street, Mayor Street, Guild Street, Commons Street, Oriel Street, Seville Place, Crinan Strand and Mariner's Port. Sheriff Street had a reputation as a run-down area with a high crime rate. Issues with poverty and crime peaked during the heroin epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. In the late 1990s, the Sheriff Street flats (St Laurence's Mansions, St Bridget's Gardens and Phil Shanahan House) were demolished and this area became quieter. Although the area has been redeveloped it still remains a mainly working class area.
Traditionally, work on the docks provided employment for local men, but the arrival of containerisation led to mass unemployment in the late 1980s. During the late 1970s and early 1980s I actually worked for a number of shipping companies based here and all the companies that I was involved with were downsizing rapidly [not that downsizing was a word in common use at the time].
Luke Kelly of the band The Dubliners was born in Lattimore Cottages, 1 Sheriff Street, a quarter of a mile from Dublin's main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street. His place of birth has since been demolished. Stephen Gately of Boyzone was also from the area.
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