I worked in Clonskeagh for many years and walked along Beaver Row five days ever week and was disappointed by the fact that I never saw a beaver ignoring the reality that beavers are not native to Ireland and I did wonder why it was named "Beaver Row".
A few weeks ago I discovered that a Mr. Joseph Wright operated a beaver hat company in Donnybrook and he built a row of houses for his workers. Unfortunately many of the hatters living in Beaver Row suffered serious neurological damage and other symptoms due to exposure to mercury used in the hat-making process and this explains the expression "as mad as a hatter".
Donnybrook Fair was a fair that was held in Donnybrook, Dublin, from the 13th century until the 1850s. It has given its name to an Irish jig, an upscale supermarket chain, a broadsheet ballad, and is a slang term for a brawl or riot.
In the year 1204 King John of England granted a licence to the corporation of Dublin to hold an annual eight-day fair in Donnybrook. In 1252 the duration was extended to fifteen days. Over the years the terms of holding the fair changed slightly, until in the 18th century it was held on 26 August on Donnybrook Green for a fortnight (14 days).
By the beginning of the 19th century the fair had become more a site of public entertainment and drinking than a fair proper, and many attempts were made to have it abolished. However, the licence-holder had by law the right to hold the fair, and refused to bow to public pressure.
The licence had been passed from Henry Ussher (died 1756) to William Wolsey, who leased it in 1778 to John Madden and then sold it to him in 1812. A committee, The Committee for the Abolition of Donnybrook Fair, was established to acquire the licence in order to put an end to it, and it was finally bought from John and Peter Madden in 1855 for £3,000, under the auspices of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Joseph Boyce.
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