Irish Town is at the commercial heart of the city of Gibraltar. In the period when Gibraltar was Spanish, the street was called the Calle de Santa Ana. It was also the venue for a convent for nuns, founded in 1587. When Gibraltar was taken from Spain by an Anglo-Dutch force in 1704, The Convent of Santa Clara was abandoned by the nuns and the convent of La Merced was taken over by the Royal Navy as a storehouse and apartments for the victualling clerks. In due course, the street became known as Irish Town.
The original Irish residents were probably Irish women immigrants who came to Gibraltar in late 1727 and early 1728. They were sent out to provide female company for the troops. The street is currently a location for a synagogue, a former meat market, former warehouses and a merchant house - an example of this can be seen in Sacarello's coffee shop. The ground floor was a merchant's shop and the first floor was a store, accessed from the street by a winch on the exterior of the building.
Probably the most significant public building on Irish Town is the former Victorian police station of 1864 and was the headquarters of the Royal Gibraltar Police until 1984.
The bustling commercial Irish Town, in the early 20th century, included tobacco factories, coffee roasting works, and many shipping offices. The character of the street changed in the latter 20th century when the street was pedestrianised. In addition to its traditional activities and its many shops, the street embraced a new leisure and gastronomic character with its numerous shops, bars and restaurants.