Toy Collection

As impressive as the decorative art of the Georgian period is, examination of the material culture, the ordinary objects used by people everyday, can reveal much about the lives of contemporary citizens of Dublin.

Some of the most interesting pieces on show in the museum, such as two early 19th century dolls houses in the nursery illustrate the pastimes of the type of children who would have occupied a house such as Number Twenty Nine. The children's quarters were tucked away in the attic at the top of the house, free from unnecessary decoration, such as carpets and plaster work. In the Beatty family, at least three of the boys, Edward, Frederick, and Thomas, went to Trinity College, where they most probably were boarders. Their sister, Olivia married at the age of 15.

Toys were expensive so they were often hand made wooden toys such as the Chinese yo-yo, or diabolo (diable in French),often called "devil on two sticks". Less well off families could buy cheaper toys often made out of paper - soldiers, dolls, rooms with figures to put in them, all to be cut out and made up by the children at home. Outdoor games included skipping and using a skipping rope was a common pastime for both boys and girls. Hopscotch was also another popular outdoor game.

The Gallery Section.

Those educated in the home may have been taught by a governess such subjects as english, history, geography, music, needle work, and a continental language, probably french.

After lessons, late morning and early afternoon would have presented an opportunity for the family to take some air, possibly in the adjacent Merrion Square park. In winter darkness would have curtailed this and other activities and children would have partaken in evening entertainments in a formal way, perhaps performing a song or a word game for their parents and their guests before being withdrawn to bed.

By contrast , poorer children would have worked hard in such houses. For example, chimneys would have been swept by children, despite the existence of machines that could do this job "with superior cleanliness and effect". At least up until 1829, and probably later, children in Dublin were being sold into the service of master sweeps, suffering injury, deformity, and often death, from the age of seven until they grew too large to fit the narrow chimney passages of Dublin.