Then and Now: the delights of Lucan

Browsing the British Library Labs images corpus for works on the subject of Ireland, I came across this familiar-looking image:spa hotel lucan

This is an ad from the 1892 guidebook Visit Ireland, from Irish Tourist Development (an early Bord Failte?) and compiled by F. W. Crossley.  (You can see the other images from this work here.)  There’s a lot of fascinating stuff in this guidebook, but I’m particularly interested in this ad, so I downloaded the complete PDF of the guidebook to get a closer look at it:

lucan spa hotel irish tourist development

Anyone who has stayed in the present-day Lucan Spa Hotel, which is incidentally where my aunt and uncle had their wedding reception in the late 1970s, might be interested to note that a week’s all-inclusive stay in 1892 was to be had for a mere £3 and 3 shillings, and that a vehicle (perhaps a jaunting car?) would be sent to pick them up at the railway station, if they sent advice notice by telegram or letter.

lucan spa hotel then and now
The facade has changed very little since the 1890s.

Page 15 of Visit Ireland describes Lucan in glowing terms… focusing primarily on the delights of the Spa Hotel and the many health benefits of its suphuric water treatments.  Perhaps a small promotional consideration was paid to the editors of the guidebook?

Lucan is mentioned in our novel corpus – characters from The House by the Church-Yard, in neighbouring Chapelizod, go to and from Lucan.  However, no mention is made of any health benefits (or, indeed, scenery), and since the book is based in the 1700s, they are obliged to go on horseback.  Persons wanting to visit Lucan in 1892 were able to catch a modern steam-powered tram from the Phoenix Park Gate, running every five minutes, for the reasonable sum of 2d.

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