This plaque commemorates Joseph Holloway (1861–1944), Architect and Theatre Critic, who designed the first Abbey Theatre.
Born in Camden Street, where his father had a bakery, Holloway was educated at St Vincent’s in Castleknock. Following the death of his father, in 1874, the family moved to 21 Northumberland Road, where Holloway lived until his death in 1944.
After studying at the Dublin School of Art, in 1890 he joined O’Callaghan architects, in Kildare Street, Dublin, and after 6 years he began working for himself in 1896.
Holloway’s most famous work was the remodelling of the Mechanics’ Institute and Theatre on Lower Abbey Street as the first Abbey Theatre, which opened in December 1904.
He gave up architecture after the First World War, and, having a private income, he was able to devote himself to the theatre. A great supporter of the Irish Literary Theatre and then Irish National Theatre, he attended almost all rehearsals and first nights.
Over his lifetime he accumulated a vast collection of material relating to Irish theatre, which adorned every inch of his house, including programmes, playbills, prompt sheets, and paintings and sketches of theatrical personalities.
More significantly, he kept a diary or journal which amounted to 25 million words on Dublin’s theatre world. Although criticised by the likes of Sean O’Casey and Frank O’Connor, the diaries are an invaluable source for the history of Irish theatre.
Holloway died in 1944 and his huge archive was donated to the National Library of Ireland where it is catalogued as the Joseph Holloway Collection.
The plaque was unveiled by Councillor Dermot Lacey on 28 June 2023.