O'Connell Street is Dublin's main city street. It runs in a north-south direction and was originally named Sackville Street. It was given its present name in 1924 to honor Daniel O'Connell, who was a great Irish Nationalist of the 19th century.
It is a long wide street with many significant monuments, historical buildings and retail outlets lining either side of the wide thoroughfare.
A statue of O'Connell is located near the O'Connell Bridge. The monument still bears the bullet holes from the 1916 and 1920 uprising against British rule. Other important sites along the street include Dublin Castle, City Hall, Clerys department store, General Post Office and one of the world's tallest sculptures called the Spire. This Spire is located on the site of a previous tall monument of Nelson, the British Naval hero, which was deliberately destroyed by Irish Nationalists in 1966.
There are also a number of monuments honoring prominent Irish people throughout history including Jim Larkin, labor and trade unionist; Sir John Gray, who played a major role in supplying Dublin with water; Father T. Mathew, Founder of the Temperance Society; and Charles Parnell, Irish Nationalist. Most of these are positioned along a paved strip located in the center of the street.
Originally, O'Connell Street was mainly a residential area with many elegant, rich homes. During the unrest and uprisings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most of the buildings were destroyed and much of rebuilding took place in the early days of the new Irish Free State.
The street is the hub of commercial Dublin with many retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and offices, it can therefore get very crowded and noisy. Most of the buses pass through here and traffic congestion can be a problem.
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