Archive for October, 2010

A Random Drop Inn: Doyles

Credit to flickr user FungeP

This place has always been a sort of unofficial Trinity student bar. It is a favourite post college boozer of the Trinity faithful, or in some cases a favourite between lectures haven. Downstairs is cozy, often quiet and the Guinness good. Upstairs? I’ve not been in a while. The night before Halloween seems as good a night as any to visit.

Am I boring? Far from it I would hope. I’m in the minority here tonight though. All around me I spot costumes, ranging from Dr. House (It’s Not Lupus!) to Super Mario. I’m in my civies, feeling a little left out as even the barmen have made the effort. A signboard behind the bar shows the drink ‘specials’. €4 a Miller? Is that a ‘special’? We’re in a pub remember, not a nightclub. It’s all a bit steep.

The DJ is knocking out 80s and 70s classics for the most part, to a room in which nobody seems to have been born before 1989. One of those all time classics, Safety Dance, has the place shaking.

What a song in fairness. I’ve been patiently waiting for any chance to somehow work that into a Come Here To Me post. I can retire happy now.

Anyway, the DJ. It’s not doing much for me. I’d stop short of ‘doing a Morrissey’ and leading a chorus of Hang The DJ, but it feels like a wedding anniversary in a GAA club and we’re all too young to remember these tunes really. The crowd is very nice and mingle among each other (rare to see these days sadly) and there are no airs and graces about the place, but it doesn’t do much for me. After another Miller, we’re off in a taxi for The Button Factory.

Downstairs remains one of my favourite spots for a cheeky pint, and I can’t conclude this piece without giving a shout out to what have to be among the soundest doormen in Dublin (no airs and graces comes to mind again….), but upstairs feels like a pub attempting to be a nightclub. Stick to the plain downstairs and you’ll be fine.

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While reading Francis Costello’s excellent The Irish Revolution and its Aftermath, 1916-1923, I came across these three fantastic pictures. What struck me first was that the fact that I didn’t recognise any of them. The second thing that was surprising was that I couldn’t find any of the pictures online after a rake of google searches. So, I scanned them onto my laptop and re-touched them a bit using I-Photo. Enjoy.

Francis Costello, The Irish revolution and its aftermath, 1916-1923: years of revolt (Dublin, 2003), p. 220

Francis Costello, The Irish revolution and its aftermath, 1916-1923: years of revolt (Dublin, 2003), p. 225

Francis Costello, The Irish revolution and its aftermath, 1916-1923: years of revolt (Dublin, 2003), p. 227

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What’s another year? Hard to believe another season of football in the capital is over. This is the time of year when many will go into hibernation, unimpressed by antics across the sea. For me, it’s a time to turn to Scotland, but it’s not the same really is it? Below, to mark the end of the season, we bring you some of the best displays from the capital, or involving the capital. Great credit is due to the people at the Irish Ultras Movement blog, who have been fantastic in getting displays up online quickly.

Sligo Rovers lads Forza Rovers had a hell of a year, producing top class displays time and time again. This small banner was a beautiful tribute to a young Shelbourne F.C player murdered in the capital.

Most clubs seemed to up their own efforts when facing the Sligo lads, though one Shamrock Rovers banner on an away encounter west simply read ‘ULTRAS NOT ARTISTS’. At a home encounter against the Sligo men, the SRFC Ultras produced this gem.

In Inchicore the Shed End Invincibles produced some crackers, and like the Sligo lads were capable of producing displays week after week. The appearance of SEI stickers around the city and county meant they likely joined the SRFC Ultras on the City Council litter lists.


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DCTV are still knocking these out, excellent weekly ‘Dole TV’ pieces. This episode makes for particularly interesting viewing, with someone on hand from the Liberty Citizens Information Centre to explain just how you actually do go about applying for the big D. The usual mix of news, politics, humour and music features.

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An interesting character I came across while reading Liam Cahill’s ‘Forgotten Revolution: Limerick Soviet 1919′. Farren was one four trade union leaders who traveled to Dublin to offer their support. He is described as having ‘had taken part in the 1916 Rising and was one of a group of trade union leaders with nationalist sympathies who were arrested afterwards’ [1] In the June 1915 College Green by-election, he came bitterly close to beating John Nannetti of the Irish Parliamentary Party. [2]

I haven’t been able to find much more information on him. This Irish Times obituary is probably the best I’ll come across.

Does anyone know if he actually took part in the Rising and if so, where he fought?

Monday, March 28, 1955 (1/2)

Monday, March 28, 1955 (2/2)

[1] Liam Cahill, Forgotten revolution: Limerick Soviet 1919 : a threat to British power in Ireland (Dublin, 1990), p. 109

[2] Pádraig Yeates, Lockout: Dublin 1913 (Dublin, 2000), p, 575

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Ballyfermot Late Night League is being run in conjunction with the BASE youth Centre at Kylemore Park on Thursday nights at the following times.

Times: 6pm to 7pm (12 to 13years old)
8pm to 10pm 14 to 17years old

If interested pleae contact The BASE Damien Finneran or FAIDCC Michael Moore on 087 9805772.

Late night soccer is once again taking off around the capital. Normally with the support of local youth groups and authorities, the games give young people something positive to do with their time, taking young people off street corners and uniting them around a love of the beautiful game. The social positives of late night football are obvious. Crime falls in areas where the games have taken off, and a recent report in the Sunday Tribune made for interesting reading.

“On an average Friday night before the soccer league was running, gardaí at Ballymun received an average of 89 call-outs to deal with anti-social behaviour. But since the league has been running, the average number of call-outs relating to youngsters has been just 44 – half the previous amount. “

League of Ireland clubs have given their support to the ventures, in fact it was through Saint Patrick’s Athletic I heard of the Ballyfermot league. Let’s hope it works out in the area, which is soccer mad to say the least.

The Late Night League (LNL) idea comes from the Football Assocation of Ireland, and so far has been a roaring success. They used to joke that getting good at football was one of the only ways to get out of working class Dublin, hopefully being good at football however will give kids a sense of pride in their own communities, not to mention create a bit of craic.

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“Luke (Kelly) also opened our eyes to the working class songs from the north of England. Songs that we never knew existed before. The geordie songs. The songs of the miners….”

One of my biggest regrets of the summer just gone is missing the excellent Frank Harte Festival, a tribute to one of the cities greatest singers, the late Frank Harte. He was raised only a stones throw from me in Chapelizod. There, his father ran the public house ‘The Tap’. Frank, an architect by trade, was not alone an unrivalled singer but also a collector of songs.

“The thoughts of a song dying with a singer or lying in a book or a tape on a shelf gathering dust fills me with horror.” So wrote Frank in his introduction notes to his timeless ‘Songs of Dublin’ collection.

Singing Voices was a collection of five broadcasts Frank did for RTE. We’ve only stumbled across them here and they all make for excellent listening. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Songs of work and social protest – The Labouring Voice

Famine Songs – The Hungry Voice

Songs of the capital city – The Dublin Voice

Songs of Emigration – The Irish American Voice

Traditional singing styles in Ireland – The Singers’ Voices

They can be played over here, on the RTE site.

Also, here are two tunes from Frank I had uploaded months ago with the aim of sharing with you to promote the festival. The Shan Van Vocht is a song dealing with the 1798 rebellion, while Building Up And Tearing England Down is a well known song about Irish emigrants in England.

Shan Van Vocht by Frank Harte.

Building Up And Tearing England Down- Frank Harte

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Inspired by a post here yesterday on the upcoming Cor Klaasen exhibition from the Vintage Irish Book Covers blog, the younger brother has taken the initiative to upload some bookcovers from our own collection.

There are a rake more to follow. You can see the first few here.

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I had a dream last night. It went like this. Its a cold, dark Friday evening;  I am in Dalymount Park, on the steps of Block G in the Jodi Stand. With ten minutes to go in the League of Ireland’s last round of games, Shamrock Rovers are trailing 2 – 1 to Bray in the Carlisle Grounds and Twigg has just been sent off for dissent. Bohemians are drawing 1 – 1 with a scrappy Dundalk team here in the home of Irish Football when Paddy Madden is brought down twenty yards out from goal, right in front of us.  After some pushing and shoving, the wall is brought back the required ten yards. Killian Brennan takes four steps back, makes the run up, before gloriously dipping the ball over the wall and… well, I woke up.

The cruel things life does to you. Waking up mid- dream is one thing, but having a real life dream turn into a nightmare is another. Last week,  Bohs were on the pig’s back, (some might say literally,) needing two wins over an injury struck Galway side (who, despite their lowly position have caused us problems all year) and a Dundalk team we’ve beaten twice already this season (and, well, lost to once.) We all know what happened. Galway won 3 – 2 and dare I say it, the ramifications sent tremors down the spines of League of Ireland fans everywhere. It left Shamrock Rovers in pole position to win their first league title in 6, 066 days precisely. While on Friday’s performance, Bohs don’t deserve to win the League, that isn’t going to stop me wanting them to win it.

Pat Fenlon has chastised his players, saying he doesn’t want to see them until before this Friday’s showdown with Dundalk. Captain, Owen Heary has admitted that the team wasn’t up for the fight. Where were the battling qualities present for the unbeaten run stretching back ten games prior to Friday? Thats the question every Bohs fan is left asking. The possibility of an historic three-in-a-row has likely gone amiss. And yet they were still applauded off the field by the travelling support. Certainly not as a gesture of thanks for their performance over the previous ninety minutes. More a salute to the last three years; a goodbye and a thanks for the memories. They had better remember that this Friday if they’re going to finish this season with their heads held high.

We pray to the Spirit of Hunt to lead us to a miraculous three- in- a- row

I spoke in the build up to the Dublin Derby of 2010’s run- in being a battle of the bottlers, and while it makes for heartbreaking rather than heart racing football, that’s what it has become. Bohemians look set to part with, whether they can miraculously clinch the title or not,  a great period in their history. Three fantastic years, some heartbreaking moments aside, that will stick with me in the bleak times ahead. The squad of players that we have now will leave come season’s end, there’s no doubt about that. And with some of those players reported to be making a move to Tallaght Stadium, it will sicken me to see former players (and one in particular who has grafted for Bohs when others played like they couldn’t be bothered,) turn out in green and white next season.

Two League titles, Setanta Cup Champions (and by default, Champions of Ireland,) a League Cup and an FAI Cup in three years. People say we shouldn’t be looking to the past when the future is scarily unclear. What does it hold? In the short term, Pat Fenlon has said he will honour his contract, which ties him to the club until 2013. And while I would love to see the most successful League of Ireland manager of recent years to stay with the club, at his current rate, we just can’t afford him. He says he’ll field a team of kids next year if he has to, and maybe he’ll get the required out of them, hopefully so.

Pat Fenlon's Bohemians in a pre-season friendly against Drumcondra, 2011.

The days of players chasing big contracts around the League have thankfully come to an end; and while the circumstances that have led to this are unfortunate, at least it might bring some realism back to the LOI. Three years ago, there were players making more at Bohs than some players in the upper echelons of the English Championship. So who knows, a part- time Bohs next year may still be able to field a team, if only because players won’t be able to find a wage elsewhere. Bleak times, preceeded by an amazing past.

A bleak future, preceeded by an amazing past. Bohemian FC of 1907/08, from Storie di Calcio

All this talk of dreams and nightmares and the chance of victory, however remote, is still there. This Friday, come 21:35 or thereabouts will tell whether I’m a visionary, a lunatic for having hope or just an unwavering dreamer. To be honest, I couldn’t care less which if things go our way. Maybe I’m mad for holding onto the vague hope that we can do it. But isn’t it madness that drives most of us to follow this league of ours anyways?

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Airtricity League Premier Division leaders Shamrock Rovers’ clash with Bray Wanderers will be shown live on RTÉ television and to a worldwide audience on RTÉ.ie/sport.

If Rovers win the match, which will be screened on RTÉ Two and on RTÉ.ie, they will secure their first league win in 16 years, while a draw should also see them clinch the title.

Rivals Bohemians can only win the title if the Hoops are beaten by Bray, or if Rovers draw, the Gypsies will have to win by five goals.

Great news that should see half the LOI faithful glued to the couch. To the Bohemian F.C faithful, and the more cautious Hoop,I give you this. It can happen…..

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One of the highlights of Culture Night for me was an excellent exhibition of vintage Irish bookcovers from Niall McCormack’s collection. In my own house we’ve an impressive enough collection of O’ Casey’s, O’ Faolain’s and O’ Flaherty’s, but nothing near the excellent collection McCormack has built up. I have been attempting to bully the younger brother into scanning some up online somewhere, and I hope he will soon.

Now, that culture night exhibition is being followed up with an exhibition on the work of Cor Klaasen.

“The Vintage Irish Book Covers blog are very proud to be presenting this exhibition of Cor Klaasen’s wonderful book and record cover designs. We have been looking through the Klaasen familys’ archive of Cor’s work and selecting the most interesting and striking pieces for inclusion in the show. The record sleeves alone will make this exhibition unmissable for anyone interested in graphic design, illustration and visual culture in general.”

Cor Klaasen (1926-1989) was a Dutch illustrator and designer, who became an Irish citizen early in the 1960s and worked here for O’Kennedy Brindley Advertising while also designing many excellent book and record covers. I knew nothing of him before hearing of this exhibition. There is a sizeable collection of his work on the exhibitions site here.

All details are on the poster above. The event takes place at adfferentkettleoffishaltogether, and this recent Come Here To Me post on the past life of the premises may interest a few of you.


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Game On! Review

The Barbican Art Gallery in London had a real brain wave with this one. Like footage of Italia 90 or the times when you spent more time in the air than in the airport, people are nostalgic for classic video games to say the least. I actually still have a Sega Mega Drive upstairs, and next to it there is a Nintendo Gamecube. Her run didn’t last long, granted.

Game On! gives the visitor the chance to play dozens of classics at the top of O’ Connell Street, these ranging from Street Fighter to Donkey Kong and whichever ones made you an anti-social git as a child. Personally, it was a combination of Sonic and various sub par football games. I was skeptical of visiting this exhibition owing to the door-tax at first, but now it’s €5 an hour Monday to Thursday. An hour became two. Two nearly became three.

The first video game, the rubbishly titled Spacewar,features here. The game that led to the downfall of the western youth. Arcade games feature prominently here, but space is given also to consoles. Atari, Sega, Nintendo…… it’s difficult not to feel much older than you are. Video games change rapidly of course, and this is evident as you walk through the exhibition. Young kids literally laugh at games you thought were advanced in their day. When you get up to Halo you kinda see what they were laughing at. We’ve come a long way.

The complaints I heard were excellent. Saturn Bomberman is only 6 player , being among the better ones. Playing Pong on a big screen is priceless but, as is watching the new generation who started with FIFA 08 or something higher getting frustrated with the oldies. “Fuck this! I haven’t got the patience!” is heard on more than one occasion from people more familiar with Grand Theft Auto than the Sega Mega Drive.

The exhibition examines the contributions of various regions to video game culture, from the Japanese to the Americans. Looking at some of the leading developers from each region, you get hands on with some of the leading games from afar. All games are set to free mode (they’d want to be!) though sometimes you will end up waiting. Many of us are here to play the same games it seems.

Is it worth a visit? It is now. The price has dropped. It is worth a five Euro note. In fact, as I proved, it’s worth two. Near the end we’re shown examples of what may be ahead of us in terms of video gaming, and it makes you wonder if one day kids will laugh at Halo and the sort. No doubt they will.

Game On! runs at the Ambassador until January 30

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