Beggars Bush: A Perambulation through the Disciplines of History, Geography, Archaeology, Literature, Philology, Natural History, Botany, Biography & Beggary

Announcement: Andrew Yarranton England’s Improvement 1677

In England’s Improvement by Sea and Land to outdo the Dutch without fighting Andrew Yarranton wrote “We are almost as Beggars-bush, and we cannot tell how to help our selves”. The work was one of the first promoting inland navigation on rivers & canals, amongst other modern economic ideas (including the establishment of a national land registry). It was influential because it gave the economic arguments for such projects rather than the technical aspects of their construction.
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Posted: March 30th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , | No Comments »


John Clavell A Lost Prologue to The Beggars Bush ?1637

A Begger haunts, where he good Dole receives

The Nigard stoppes, for he, his prayers, deceaves,

Your Liberall Charrity from open Palmes

Makes us this confident to Aske your Almes

The Beggers have their Motives: Soe have wee

They crye their loss of Limbes, Age, Insanitiee

Theise our Infant days w’yee, yet: our Playes

(Though wee act none but such as got the Bayes)

Are Old: our habites too are meane: the same

Our action maimed, decrepit, feeble, Lame,

All movers of compassion: Let that fall

(as usuill) & your Charity mends all

For as A generall Rule wee ever make it

Not what? Or how we Act? But how you take it.

This prologue to Fletcher & Massinger’s play The Beggars Bush (1622) survives in one manuscript copy in the notebook of John Clavell, with notes, copy letters, epigrams and remedies.  They were probably written by Clavell in 1637 when he was in Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 24th, 2012 | Filed under: Writers, Speculations, The Play | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »


Rainsford St Theatre Dublin The Royal Merchant or Beggars Bush 1734

In her memoir and history A Narrative of a Residence in Ireland 1814 to 1815 (Henry Colburn, London, 1817, p.68) the writer Anne Plumptre recorded the following incident in Dublin, which seems to have taken place in 1734.

In response to an extravagant production of Henry VIII at the new Aungier Street theatre the rival Rainsford Street theatre put on a play she describes as The Royal Merchant or Beggars Bush “in which a mock pageant of the coronation of King Clause threw such complete ridicule on the serious one in Henry the Eighth that the latter ceased to attract. Thus the keen edge of the satire being blunted, King Clause also speedily sank into oblivion.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 21st, 2012 | Filed under: The Play | Tags: , , | No Comments »


Dublin, Donnybrook – False Trails Beggars

The usual explanation of the place name Beggars Bush is that it was a haunt of highwaymen or beggars. However, the record of Beggars boush in 1573 undermines these later explanations at Dublin, Donnybrook. Many historical works on Dublin give this. I believe they are examples of the tendency to adopt restrospective romantic explanations. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 30th, 2011 | Filed under: Places, Speculations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Dublin, Donnybrook – False Trails Prints

There are four early prints purporting to show Beggars Bush at Donnybrook. It is difficult to identify these with any recorded features or with each other. It seems that the two later prints take liberties with the features to present an artistic scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 30th, 2011 | Filed under: Places, Speculations | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »


Dublin, Donnybrook – False Trails Baggotrath & Folly

At the date of the earliest record in 1573 Baggotrath Castle would have been a prominent landmark in the countryside south east of the city. As However, as the record refers to both it appears to exclude the possibility that the place name Beggars Bush was an Anglicisation of Baggotrath. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 30th, 2011 | Filed under: Places, Speculations | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Dublin, Donnybrook – False Trails Lazars Hill

In 1573 “the Old Shore” of South Dublin continued to Townsend Street, then called Lazey or Lazar’s Hill (also Louseyhill, Louzy Hill and Lowsyhill) from the leper hospital. This is too far away to have any direct connection with Beggars Bush at Donnybrook.
I have encountered an article by Sean Donnelly which speculates that connects the two sites in Dublin through Poor Robin’s An Almanack of the old and new fashion (1694) which says “Since the King of the Beggars was married to the Queen of the Sluts at Lowzy-Hill near Beggars-Bush, being most splendidly attended by a ragged Regiment of Mumpers.” I do not believe this has anything to do with Dublin. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 30th, 2011 | Filed under: Places, Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Dublin, Lucan, Ireland Begarsbush 1704

Rocque’s Survey of Dublin (1760) shows Begarsbush over three fields running north-south west of the lane south from the Lucan to Palmerston road (now the N4). The site roughly corresponds with what is now Ballyowen Park. It is opposite the gate house to the park marked Hermitage, and an area marked Woodville. Taylor’s Map of Dublin (1816) shows Beggars Bush running west-east across the same lane, and appears to show the area as being a small hill. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 25th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


Anon Whiskey on a Sunday c.1959

The text is a popular Irish folk song, adapted from a song written by Glyn Hughes called The Ballad of Seth Davey. Hughes was a musician based in Liverpool in the 1960s.  It appears to include a chorus which is older, possibly dating back to the eponymous Seth Davy. At some stage the song has crossed the Irish Sea where the original reference to Bevington Bush has been replaced with Beggars Bush, taken from the place in Dublin. Possibly the place name has travelled in the other direction and was inserted to add Irish colour to the song to make it more attractive to the large Irish population in Liverpool. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


David King The Ol’ Beggars Bush 2000

David King is the singer and songwriter with the Irish/Californian folk-punk band Flogging Molly. He was brought up until the age of 17 years in the Beggars Bush area of Dublin. The song on their album Swagger (2000) tells of this depressed area, which he described in an interview as “a gray and ugly space”. The usage is from the place name, although the tone of the song, in particular the second verse, is consistent with the traditional literary usage. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »