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‘Giddy girls’ and immorality in Dublin
Sackville Street in the daytime. According to members of the Irish Women Patrols, this area of Dublin City appears to be 'one great low saloon' between 9.30pm and 11.30pm. Photo: Photo: National Library of Ireland, L_CAB_00001

‘Giddy girls’ and immorality in Dublin

Dublin, 18 October 1915 - A member of the Irish Women Patrols has written the following account of what happens on the streets of Dublin in the night-time:

‘The whole locality of Sackville Street between 9.30pm and 11.30pm appears to be one great low saloon where young girls, soldiers, sailors, and civilians loiter about. It goes to one's heart to see how very young most of the girls are; also to see how drunk many of them are. The awful boldness of these men and girls appals one. They accost one another without apparently any shame, and more times than I can count I have turned my flashlight onto dark doorways and corners in laneways and disclosed scenes that are indescribable.'

This report was endorsed by the suffragists Anna Haslam and Mary Hayden who note the ‘destruction’ of large numbers of ‘innocent, but perhaps giddy, girls’ on the streets and lanes of Dublin.

Left: a letter from the Chief Secretary's office to Anna Haslam, founder of the Dublin Women's Suffrage Association, offering support to the setting up of Women Patrols to prevent harm coming to young women in areas where soldiers were stationed in Dublin.  Right: a pamphlet attempting to recruit women to join these patrols. Click for full documents. (Images: National Archives of Ireland, CSO/RP 1915, 2654)

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.