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Charles Haliday

Historian (1789–1866)

Charles Haliday (1789–1866) was an Irish historian and antiquary who made significant contributions to the study of the history of Dublin, being particularly interested in the Scandinavian antiquities of the city. He was born in Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary in 1789. In 1812, after spending a short time in London as a clerk in Lubbock's Bank, he settled in Dublin and became a wealthy man trading in bark on Arran Quay — a business his late brother's father-in-law gave up to him.

In 1832, when cholera first appeared in Dublin, he became a campaigner for improved living conditions among the city's poor, a role he was to play for the remainder of his life. The following year, he was elected a Member of the Ballast Board, a corporation for improving Dublin harbour and superintending the lighthouses on the Irish coast. He also served for many years as consul for Greece, Honorary Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in Dublin, and a Director of the Bank of Ireland.

In 1834 Haliday moved to Monkstown, County Dublin. In 1843 he bought Monkstown Park, previously the residence of Lord Ranelagh, which he demolished and rebuilt. His new house had a large library to house his growing collection of books, pamphlets and tracts on Irish history. It also included a large facade and a tower Folly which both are protected structures today. Haliday was an avid collector of antiquities and compiled one of the largest private collections of Irish historical works. At his death his library comprised more than 29,000 pamphlets relating to Ireland, in addition to innumerable books, tracts, ballads, and broadsides.

In 1847 he was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 1850 he began to research the history of the port of Dublin on behalf of the Ballast Board. It was this work which led him to undertake a detailed study of the city's Scandinavian history — a period that had hitherto been almost entirely neglected by scholars.

Charles Haliday died at Monkstown Park on 14 September 1866; he was buried nearby in Carrickbrennan Churchyard. His work on the early history of Dublin, The Scandinavian Kingdom of Dublin, was published posthumously in 1881. His vast collection of antiquities was inherited by his widow, Mary Hayes, who presented it to the Royal Irish Academy the following year.

His estate at Monkstown Park has since been used as a education premises. Corrig School (Monkstown Park School) operated there from the 1880s until the early 1920s. Since 1950 it has operated as the location for CBC Monkstown Park.