DUBLIN, IRELAND 1907
Irish International Exhibition
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Quick List Info
Dates Open - May 4 to November 9, 1907.
Attendance - Total attendance 2,751,113. Payment at gate, 1,361,542 admissions and 13,922 season tickets.
International Participants - 14 nations and colonies.
Total Cost - Cost L340,000 ($1.66 million). Loss of L103,345.
Site Acreage - 52 acres.
Sanction and Type - Prior to the Bureau of International Exhibitions. Would be considered a small scale Special expo like those on the 2-3 or 7-8 years of a decade.
Ticket Cost - Per Capita day ticket cost 0.046L.
Photo top center: Herbert Park Promenade at the 1907 Irish International Exhibition, 1907, Original Source Unknown. Via Invisible-Ireland.com. Column Top: Official stamp of the Irish International, 1907, Postal Service. Column Below: Lithograph of Dublin Bay, 1856-1907, Currier and Ives. Courtesy Library of Congress.
It was a boom year for Dublin and the exhibition had something to do with it. The idea began to germinate at the Irish Industrial Conference trade organization meeting on April 15, 1903. The Irish International Exhibition was brought to incorporation on July 16, 1904, less than three years before what would become opening day after a one year postponement. The expo authority quickly went to work. They leased the site in Herbert Park one year later for three years and contracted for their exhibition building on February 19, 1906. By April 1, 1907 the London Times was reporting a site nearly complete with an ornamental lake. There would be special sections on motorcars, electric lighting, gas lighting, and other miscellaneous industries, plus an art section and archaological section.
The London Times continued their praise after opening day, calling the Opening ceremonies brilliant and successful. They lauded the Canada building. It was handsome. They thought the art section would be the hit of the fair. There would be manufactures shown from Ireland and England, plus exhibits from shipping companies. The Concert Hall would feature bands and other musical performances daily, as noted in the twelve page program espousing the day's events. For those wanting more fun, the amusement section included a Water-chute ride, Crystal Maze, and Rivers of Ireland exhibit. When Lord and Lady Aberdeen closed the event in November before a closing ceremony of eight hundred performers, the Concert Hall was filled.
Above photo. Dublin International Exhibition building in 1907, Original Source Unknown. Via Invisible-Ireland.com. Below: Irish Exhibition Building, Ballsbridge Entrance, 1907. Courtesy Pinterest.
Buildings at the fair included the Grand Central Palace, Palaces of Mechanical Arts, Fine Arts, and Industries, the Concert Hall, Japanese Tea Room, and the Somali Village.
Outside Ireland and Great Britain, the rest of the world focused on the fact that the exhibition was less international than national and colonial. The New York Times contended that it was an exhibition meant to revive dropping imprimatur about Ireland and show Irish progress. They noted that the fair expected forty to fifty thousand visitors per day. That expectation was high. The event drew just north of 2.5 million, which was not enough to engender a profit. So for some, that meant the Irish International was not as successful as they had hoped. This fact was reported continuously in the Dublin weekly paper The Leader, stating the fair was a travesty and costly failure, although the major reason of the editor was that not enough Irish workers had been hired. The loss and less attendance did not help that perception. The guarantors covered the loss and the purported good year for Dublin meant that a deficit was better accepted as part of doing business and promoting Ireland.
Prior to the BIE
Great Britain, Ireland, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Somalia, Scotland, Wales, and four other nations and colonies.
13,922 season tickets were sold for L12,180.
The exposition spend L14,531 on advertising.
The inspiration to hold the fair stemmed from the small Cork International Exhibition of 1902.
The Somali Village was the fair's most popular attraction.
Herbert Park today includes the bandstand and the pond used for the Water-chute from the 1907 fair. There are also some smaller Tudor buildings which remain.
Those in Charge
The Marquis of Ormonde, K.P., was President of the Exhibition. Buildings were designed and erected by Humphreys (Limited), London and Dublin. One of the organizers was Irish journalist William Francis Dennehy. Two others were Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee William Martin Murphy and project manager James Shanks.
Sources: Record - The Irish International Exhibition 1907; Fair News; World's Fair Magazine; Wikipedia Commons; London Times; New York Times; Dublin City Council; The Irish International Exhibition of 1907: Ireland's World's Fair by Patricia J. Fanning, Bridgewater Review.
Photo column top: Women with parasols in Herbert Park during the 1907 Exhibition, 1907. Courtesy National Library of Ireland. Middle: Herbert Park Bandstand, 2009. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Bottom: Limerick Railway Station to the Exhibition, 1907. Courtesy National Library of Ireland via Wikipedia Commons.
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