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OTD in Dublin: The Irish International Exhibition was opened at Herbert Park

On this day in Dublin in 1907 The Irish International Exhibition opened in what is now known as Herbert Park.

The purpose of the Exhibition, which was a world’s fair that took four years to plan, was to highlight ‘Irish industrial endeavour.’

The Exhibition opened on Saturday May 4 1907, ran to November 9 1907, received 2.75 million visitors, covered 52 acres and made a loss of about £100,000 sterling!

Outdoor bandstand and view of grounds, Irish International Exhibition, Dublin 1907. Credit: Dublin City Library And Archive

The Concert Hall had opened its doors at 10am on the 4th and had to close at 11:30 as it had filled up.

The exhibition was an instant success with 28,150 people going through the turnstiles the following Saturday.

The Water Chute. Credit:Dublin City Library And Archive

Visitors enjoyed food, displays of motor cars, electrical goods, machinery, as well as funfair amusements like The Water Chute (pictured above), the Helter Skelter, the Crystal Maze, a Shooting Jungle with life-like animals, Rivers of Ireland and a Cinematography.

‘The Baby Incubator with Living Infants’

They also got to visit ‘the Baby Incubator Institute with Living Infants.’

An eight-to-twelve-page programme was produced daily giving details of special events of the day and the ever-changing line-up of bands and musical performers.

There was an educational sideshow that had an observatory beehive and also an ants’ nest that was illuminated and magnified.

Visitors in a cafe at the Irish International Exhibition

The closing ceremony was held at 4pm on Saturday November 9 in the Concert Hall.

Although the Exhibition had closed, there were more committee meetings held after.

The building materials were sold off over the next eighteen months, but a problem arose when the Pembroke Township Council demanded £11,000, as the exhibition was supposed to vacate by 29th June 1908, but hadn’t finished their work by then.

Eventually the grounds were enclosed and railings erected around park with a road through it opened to the public and it is now named Herbert Park.

The only reminder of the Exhibition today is the pond used for the water chute, still popular with walkers and duck-feeders.

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