Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

I'm posting at Sepia Saturday today.

The suggested theme:
 164 16 February 2013 : Let's slow things down to sepia speed. There are tortoises, pipes, watches and all sorts of other things in this picture.

This is me sitting on a tortoise in the Dublin Zoo probably in 1953 or 54.

Dublin Zoo was opened in 1831 by the then Royal Zoological Society of Ireland, which had been founded the previous year. The animals were supplied by its counterpart in the UK, London Zoo.
I am sure it was nothing like zoos today. It was probably amazing for people to be able to see so many different animals.

Senior Times

A period of great change began in the Zoo in the 1940s. Although few animals were replaced during the war, visitor numbers rose at an extraordinary rate. In 1940, the Zoo received 150,000 visitors but by 1950, more than 348,000 people were coming through the gates.   Sundays were so busy that cheap entry ceased. Tickets for members’ dances, dinners and other social events were in such demand that newspapers hinted that they were available on the black market. The refreshment room in Haughton House frequently filled to capacity and visitors had to bring their own sugar. Around the Zoo Sarah the Asian elephant was giving rides to children and young chimpanzees were being brought out to meet visitors.

This timeline and photo are from the Dublin Zoo website.Bull Elephant Rama-1900

1833The entrance lodge to the Zoo was built for £30! You can still see it today!
1838To celebrate Queen Victoria's Coronation the Zoo held an open day - 20,000 people visited, which is still the highest number of visitors in one day.
1844The Zoo received its first giraffe
1855The Zoo bought its first pair of lions. These bred for the first time in 1857.
1868-9An aquarium, a lion house and the Society House (which still stands) built with funds from a government grant.
1876Reptiles shared the aquarium; it officially became the reptile house in the 1890s
1898Haughton House opened, providing tea rooms for members upstairs and animal enclosures downstairs.
1916Getting in and out of Phoenix Park became difficult during the Easter Rising and meat ran out. In order to keep the lions and tigers fed, some of the other animals in the zoo were killed!
1939-1945During World War II the popularity of the Zoo soared despite the difficulty in replacing animals who died. The public donated food for the animals and, after the war when fuel was still difficult to acquire, trees were chopped down to heat the houses.
TodayThere are still parts of the zoo that date back to the very beginning - why not come along and see them for yourself!


  1. You have a photo of yourself on a tortoise?!?!?!?! What fun!!!

    I didn't visit the zoo when I was in Dublin... if I ever make it back there I'll have to check it out!

  2. That is a fabulous photo. Most kids get shots of themselves on ponies, but you have a tortoise! How grand!


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