Grafton street can hold its own with other Dublin thorough fares in exhibiting the changes which a century and a half can bring about in a street's appearance and fortunes. The genesis of its name belongs to Henry Fitzroy, first Duke of Grafton, 1663, son of Charles II, and the first printed reference to it is contained in a statute of the year 1708. The street, however, had been partially formed some years before the close of the seventeenth century, when a portion of it was set as wheat land at the annual rental of 2s. 6d. an acre. The southern part was known as "Crosses Garden," and a city assessment of 1712 records an allocation for "making a Crown causeway through Grafton street." Sir Thomas Vesey, the benevolent Bishop of Ossory, died in Grafton Street in 1730, and Louis du Val, manager of the Smock Alley theatre before Sheridan's regime, lived there as early as 1733. It was the address of Mrs Rebecca Dingley, the friend of Swift and the companion of Stella, till 1743; and here John Hawkey, the most profound classical critic of his time, opened a school in 1746. Amongst an interesting array of booksellers, taverns and lottery offices, the following Peers had houses in Grafton street: - Lord Kinsale, 1778; Viscount Grandison, 1783; the Earl of Dunsany, 1786; Lord Massy and Lord Newhaven, 1791. The famous Marquis Wellesley, son of the Earl of Mornington, was born at his father's residence there in 1760.
The Irish Times, January 27th, 1931