This photograph was taken by Helen Spellman in the early 1960s and shows Prospect Hill all decorated with banners and flags. There appears to be the beginnings of a religious procession at the very top of the hill, which presumably was the reason for all of the colour.
Prospect Hill was so called because of the wonderful view of the city one had from the top. It was on the route of the main road (Bóthar Mór ) into the city.
For a few years in the 1950s, it was the scene of the annual Soap Box Derby. An Tóstal was a festival organised at the time to promote various forms of Irish culture, and to extend the tourist season, and Prospect Hill was an ideal and very popular location for these soap box races. In May 1957, an estimated 4,000 people came to watch and such was their enthusiasm that the large number of stewards, assisted by the gardaí, radio vans, and rope barriers, had great difficulty in keeping the course clear of spectators. All kinds of homemade soap boxes would come hurtling down the left side of the hill and everybody wanted to see them and be part of the excitement. For the record, the 1957 championship was won by Maurice Connolly from Threadneedle Road, with Eamonn Walsh from Fairhill in second place and Kevin McMahon from Munster Avenue in third.
Just out of picture on the right was The Golden Key pub; next was O’Connor’s tailors; O’Flynn’s lodging house and hairdressing rooms; Dan Madden’s; Pat Burke’s; Bertie Collins’; Pierce’s butcher shop, the Divilly family lived upstairs; Maguire’s leather shop; Mitchell’s; The entrance to St Patrick’s Avenue; Kelly’s shop where they sold bags of bran and meal, Mr Kelly kept cattle, he would drive them in the gate next to the shop, and milk them there, and then deliver milk in the vicinity; O’Flaherty’s B&B and cafe; Mick O’Brien, a builder; Kelly’s shop where they sold ice cream and sweets; O’Sullivan’s; Brogan’s; Greaney’s; Miss Mahon’s; and Duffy’s tailors.
Out of picture on the left was Gilmore’s pub; O’Sullivan’s American Hotel; Lydon’s Bakery; Miko Hynes, later let to Martin Nohilly; Giblin’s Hotel; Curran’s Hotel, a small part of which was let to Joe O’Flynn; Mrs McDonagh; PP Redington; Madden’s, Mr Madden was a gardener for the Bolands who lived in what is now The Ardilaun; the Hughes family, who also delivered milk, first on a pony and trap, later in a little van; Heffernan’s; and Butler’s.
A good while before this photograph was taken, a man known locally as ‘Stan Box’ lived near Forde’s Garage. He was referred to as ‘A Grind’, in other words a man who would give you a ‘rally’.
If you would like to know the names and ages, etc, of all the people who lived on Prospect Hill in 1911, then you should visit nationalirisharchives.ie and look at the 1911 Census. It is a very simple site to navigate and is a wonderful resource for anyone trying to research their own family in any part of the country.