Passing along Stephen's Green the other night, I was moved to contrast the excellent system of illumination which has been installed with an account which I had just read of the lighting conditions around this square at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was then lighted by twenty-six oil lamps, many of which failed to keep lit during the night. There was danger in walking round Stephen's Green at night in those days, unless one was well armed, on account of the numerous footpads, who took advantage of the darkness.
A Mr William Witherington, resident in Grafton street in 1785, complained on oath to the Paving and Lighting Authorities that the lamps in Grafton street were not lighted until after dark, and that they were all extinguished before five in the morning. He also stated that the globe in front of his door had not been cleaned for three months, and suggested that the lamplighters did not get enough oil, or that, if they did, they were using it for some other purpose. A newspaper of the same year prints an account of an accident to a clergyman, who was dangerously injured by falling into a great hole at the entrance to Great George's street from Dame street when coming home late at night, and blamed the Corporation for the fact that there was no street lamp anywhere near the scene of the occurrence.
The Irish Times, December 22nd, 1930.