BY ALEX GREANEY
Following the bombardment of the Four Courts on 28 June 1922, some Anti-Treaty fighters retreated and took up a new position in a number of buildings located between Cathedral Street and Findlater Place.
This area became known as ‘The Block’, and included a number of hotels, including The Gresham, writes Alex Greaney.
Most of the local residents and business owners cleared out of the area for safety’s sake, but one man, James Green, stayed on at 8 Cathedral Street where he lived and ran a men’s hairdressing shop. While The Gresham and the other buildings in ‘The Block’ were eventually engulfed in flames on 5 July, his diligent efforts in preventing the spread of the fire meant that most of Cathedral Street survived intact.
To show their gratitude for his efforts, James Green’s neighbours and business colleagues presented him with a silver pocket watch and a wooden wall clock. Fixed to the front of the clock was a brass plaque which recorded that the clock had been given to James Green by a few business friends in recognition of his Services during the disturbance, June 1922. Decades later the clock was donated to Kilmainham Gaol Museum by James Green’s daughter, Carmel Bradley.
Last year, in anticipation of its centenary, the clock underwent a process of restoration and repair. On 21 July, the Kilmainham Courthouse building echoed with the sounds of its beautiful chimes, as the clock went on public display for the first time. A special exhibit to accompany the clock includes the silver pocket watch that James Green was also presented with in 1922.