Archive for September, 2011

A door that certainly would stop you in your tracks.

This is the place to go to if your in the market for religious antiquities or “church art”. Though immediatelly beside the Rotana Cafe, it is connected to Christy Birds antiques shop the next door down.

The Crypt (31b Sth. Richmond St.). Photo credit - Jay Carax

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I’m pleased to announce I’ll be one of the panelists for the upcoming History IrelandHedge School
on the Animal Gangs of the 1930s. The Hedge School will take place at the NLI on Thursday, October 13 with a 7pm start. According to the NLI site, no booking is required.

I’ve discussed the Animal Gangs in the past on the Moncrieff Programme for Newstalk and 1930s Dublin is something we’ve dealt with frequently here in the past. I will post the finalised panel soon and more information as I get it.

The so-called ‘Animal Gangs’ are a staple of Dublin folklore, remembered by some as Robin Hood figures who protected the poor, or as brutal thugs whose nickname reflected their savagery. The story of the Animal Gang sheds light on the social history of inner city Dublin in the 1930s, when some of its inhabitants came to the attention of both paramilitaries and the police, and ended up passing into urban legend.

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This is why Ireland is doomed.

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Hmmmmmm, I don’t know about this:

1) Arthur Guinness is dead a while.
2) Some of these Dubliners are not Dubliners at all. Louis Walsh was born in somewhere called ‘Kiltimagh’ in Mayo.
3) Georgia Salpa, really?
4) They’ve omitted the entire cast of Fade Street.

What a city this is.

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That’d be The Workman’s Club in Inchicore, not the one on the quays ;)

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The Daniel O’Connell statue on O’Connell Street is undoubtedly the grandest statue in our city centre, commemorating ‘The Liberator’ O’Connell and standing at the top of what was once Sackville Street in a Dublin gone. The statue of O’Connell himself dates to 1882, the work of John Henry Foley, and boasts some revolutionary bullet holes on close-inspection.

Granite foundation stone laid for monument in 1864

On the day of the laying of the foundation stone in 1864, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Peter Paul MacSwiney told the crowd of thousands that:

The people of Ireland meet today to honour the man whose matchless genius won Emancipation, and whose fearless hand struck off the fetters whereby six millions of his country men were held in bondage in their own land….

It is of course a great irony that O’Connell’s monument should contain the bullet-holes of Easter Week 1916 as it does, with O’Connell a constitutional nationalist opposed to the use of violence to bring about political ends. This statue quite literally saw Irish nationalism move from a constitutional movement to a insurrectionist one, when it found itself caught between the sniper fire of Sackville Street and the rooftops of Trinity College Dublin. One wonders what O’Connell would have thought of James Connolly, one of the leaders of that rebellion, giving the title A Chapter of Horrors: Daniel O’Connell and the Working Class to a chapter in his excellent Labour in Irish History!

Yet it is so often forgotten today that while Irish republicans put bullet holes into this great statue, Irish loyalists almost done away with it. On December 27 1969 an explosion at 4.30am damaged the statue representing the ‘Winged Victory of Courage’. This attack was later claimed by the Ulster Volunteer Force.

The figure of Courage in the statue ironically contains a bullet hole of Easter 1916 itself. She is shown strangling a serpent, with her left hand resting on a fasces. In the breast of this figure perhaps the bullet hole the most Dubliners are familiar with is found!

The explosion rocked the capital, with one taxi driver telling The Irish Press “the whole car and the bridge seemed to shake with the explosion. It was one tremendous wallop and then the crash of glass almost together.”

Incredibly, days following the bombing of the monument, an explosion would occur at Ship Street near Dublin Castle, neat to detectives HQ. It has stressed in media reports it was believed no connection existed between these explosions, yet reports into this explosion in the Irish Independent noted that:

A phone call received at Independent House on Saturday night named three of the five Belfast men who, the callers said, were responsible for the monument explosion. The anonymous caller said the men were all members of an illegal organisation and that two of them were explosives experts and ex-army sergeants who had been discharged three months ago from the Royal Rangers for suspected political activity.

The bombing of the O’Connell monument was not the first attack on an Irish nationalist monument in the south by Ulster loyalists, nor was it to be the last. Wolfe Tone’s grave at Bodenstown had been attacked too, the irony of northern protestants attacking the graveside of a leading United Irishman lost on many at the time. Later, in 1971, an explosion would destroy the Wolfe Tone statue at Stephens Green. Newspaper reports noted that “the statue was wrecked, leaving only the base. Huge slabs of the bronze sculpture were hurled 20 feet in the air.”

The attacks on O’Connell and Tone are interesting as much has been written on statues from the other political tradition which were attacked and destroyed in Dublin, but little is said of the attacks on Irish nationalist icons. It is undeniable attacks on monuments like the King William of Orange statue on College Green, Nelson’s Pillar, Lord Gough’s monument in the Phoenix Park and others represented a dangerous sort of cultural warfare, but it should be remembered loyalists too engaged in such attacks. Dublin is fortunate many lives were not lost while this dangerous game was being played over the iconography of the Irish capital.

Lord Gough, one of those no longer with us.

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Spotted up by The Bernard Shaw drinking establishment, this will go down well with the Garda Street Art Division.

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Just Follow the Floodlights

You know that old turn of phrase “You should never judge a book by it’s cover?” I really hope it doesn’t apply to Brian Kennedy’s book “Just Follow the Floodlights,”  being launched in Dalymount Park’s Phoenix Bar after the Bohs vs UCD game on Saturday October 8th. Why? Quite simply because the front cover of the book is stunning.

The picture, taken by Peter O’Doherty sums up Bohs, and the league for me. A far cry from super stadiums in the wilderness of suburbia,  the picture depicts Connaught Street and the Dalymount Park floodlights. Its always something I love on the trip up to Dalyer when the evenings start getting darker toward season’s close; walking up the NCR, Peters Church in front of you and the floodlights blazing to your right; I don’t know how to explain it- theres a sense of personal smugness to be honest, a certain sense of pride. 

Experiences like the above are all too sadly rarely catalogued in this League, as there is an absolute dearth of material published on the League itself. In saying this though, there are some around covering individual teams, a notable nod to “There’s Only One Red Army” by Eamonn Sweeney,  a great read that goes some distance towards summing up the madness (or some might say empirical reasoning) that drives us to follow this League of ours.

A beautiful cover for whats sure to be a very interesting book!

Kennedy’s book promises to be the first to catalogue the history of all 47 clubs that have played top flight football in the 110 year history of our League. Alongside “numerous nostalgic photographs, amusing anecdotes and larger-than-life characters” the book doubles as “… a supporters guide as I travelled 2856 miles to all 21 clubs over four months to write about things like admission prices, record attendances, rivals, quality of programme and the all important taste of a hot coffee and price of a burger…”

Back of the book….

Launch night details: http://www.thebohs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16964

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Johnny Mallon (aka Johnny Eagle, born 1928) set up Dublin’s (and Ireland’s!) first tattoo parlour in the early 1960s. I reckon around 1961/1962, anyone have an exact date?

Johnny Eagle Snr. pictured in The Irish Press (April 07 1961)

His father and his uncle were both tattooists. One of eleven children, two of his brothers moved to Britain where they also became involved in the tattoo business.

Johnny Eagle’s first shop was on Earl Street off Meath Street. He later moved to 82 Capel Street.

Skins and Bootboys waiting outside Johnny Eagles on Capel Street. Early 1970s?

In the early 1980s, Johnny Eagle’s son, Johnny Jr., started work with him in the parlour. He is now a well-known and respected tattooist on an international scale.

As it looks in 2011. (c) Monosnaps

Himself and his partner Mary opened up a second parlour at 1-2 Eden Quay in 2009.

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We’ll be right back!

It’s been a busy week here at HQ we admit. We’re all off now until Monday with the Dublin St. Pauli Supporters Club to see Hamburg’s best in action. The above pint is as close as you’ll get to any Arthurs Day coverage this year, maybe that’s for the better.

If you are in the capital this week never mind Arthur, make the most of Culture Night.

My tips for the night would be:

1) The brand new Little museum of Dublin
2) The old library of Trinity College Dublin (amazing how few Dubliners visit that one isn’t it?)
3) The Freemason’s Hall on Molesworth Street
and 4) The recently launched museum inside the General Post Office on O’Connell Street.

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Spotted this morning next to the Jervis Street Luas stop. Pretty sure it wasn’t there yesterday but then again, I hadn’t had my morning coffee when I walked past the spot then. I’m of the opinion things like this brighten up dreary canvasses and make this city a more interesting place.

Spotted this morning

And yet someone has had a go at it already…

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Spotted this on the Porterhouse Facebook page, can’t fault this:

So we have had many many people asking over the weekend if we are giving out pints of Plain Porter on Arthur’s Day. So ok, here’s the deal, first of all congrats to our good friends down the road at St James’ Gate Brewery for 252 years of brewing. So as a gesture to all good things that are stout, we will be giving away pints of Plain Porter between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. Just ask for Dan in Temple Bar and Robin in Central on Thursday 22nd Sept.

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