Originally Parnell Street was part of the ancient road connecting the old city to northern coast, with Father Matthew Bridge connecting Church Street and Wood Quay in the east, to Ballybough and Fairview in the west.
During the 18th century development of Amiens Street and Annesley Bridge provided a new coast road, while Parnell Street and its continuation to the east, Summerhill, became home to Georgian architecture.
The western end of Parnell Street has been substantially redeveloped in recent years. Virtually all of the original Georgian architecture was destroyed and subsequently replaced by buildings of much larger scale.
The eastern end of Parnell Street, having remained comparatively undeveloped, is now home to a thriving immigrant community. Most notably, a large number of authentic Chinese and Korean restaurants have lent the east side the reputation of being Dublin's "Chinatown". There is also a significant presence of African and East and Central European businesses at the eastern end.