Part of Dublin's original sea wall, which is almost 300-years-old, and a number of other artefacts, including dockworkers' pipes displaying political and trade union branding, will go on display in a newly-restored Victorian electricity substation at Dublin Port.

Dublin Port is 300 hectares in size, but this will be the first building on the estate which is open to the public to visit.

The brickwork from the 1720s was uncovered during the restoration of the substation which lies at the entrance to the port on Alexandra Road in Dublin.

A glass-bottom floor allows people to walk over the 18th century sea wall, from which the nearby East Wall got its name.

The building had been slated for demolition in 2016, but Dublin Port applied for it to be made a protected structure and spent €3 million restoring, renovating and extending the small rectangular building which is now one of the smallest museums in Dublin.

James Kelleher, head of special projects at Dublin Port, said the building had become unstable due to the volume of traffic from trucks that rumble past its entrance every day and because it was built over a former sea wall, saying the building had essentially been "defying gravity".

He said: "It was about to fall down in 2017. There was a massive structural crack in its side wall. The reason for that we found out was the old east wall, the 300-year-old wall that we discovered was running right below it, creating a fault line within the building itself.

"The building was leaning by a couple of inches literally to the east so you had to hold it up first of all, it was defying gravity and then when the new works began you had to put in its internal structural skeleton, excavate the old wall and then come up with a meaningful design that displayed the historic wall in an effective way."

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However, the sea wall was not the only treasure that was unearthed during the restoration project.

The ordinary port worker's story

Clay pipes from the 19th century, which would have been smoked by dock workers and have logos declaring allegiances to the Charles Stewart Parnell republican movement and trade unions, were also discovered.

They are thought to be some of the earliest examples of political merchandise in Ireland.

Marta Lopez of the Dublin Port Archive said the pipes tell the story of the ordinary worker of the docklands.

"They're significant for social history. The people who work here, their names might not have been in documents and newspapers so these and the traces of their day-to-day life," she said.

19th century clay pipes with logos declaring allegiances to the Parnell republican movement were also unearthed

"One of the pipes has Parnell, leader of the Home Rule movement. The badges are on the side, normally they’re in the middle, so they’re almost concealed, so they can decide when to show their political affiliation or not."

It will be used for small-scale events such as lectures, poetry readings and theatre performances and it is hoped to bring a new cultural amenity to the East Wall area of north Dublin.