Dublin History

The Prussians are impressed

The DRB has a delightful glimpse of Dublin and Irish life in 1835 by a Prussian vistor:

On my way to Mr.W. I saw a gathering of people in the distance and thought that I had once more found a street preacher. But it turned out to be no Scottish sermoniser but rather, as someone called it, “an Irish amusement.” Two lads, naked to the waist, were involved in a fight, neither like noble Greek wrestlers in Olympia nor even like skilful boxers in a match, but rather in a monstrous punch-up. After they had beaten one another black and blue and almost to a bloody pulp, one of them collapsed unconscious into the filth of the gutter. Within no time he was grabbed by the arms and legs, his mouth prised open and half a quart of whiskey poured in and a bucket of water dashed over his whole body. Then the two crazed fighters were set upon one another anew like mad dogs. Meanwhile the two Masters of Ceremonies were engaged in an astonishing and uninterrupted action. To make room, they hit out at the spectators with big whips in such a way that no-one in the first three rows escaped the worst imaginable lashes, a single one of which I would not have recovered from in four weeks. There it seemed to make no more impression than if one of us were to say: “Please be so kind as to step a little to one side.