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Archive for May, 2012

It looks like the folks at Dalymount Park are miles ahead of the competition with this offer for the upcoming Euro 2012 competition. Dalymount of course was once the home of the national side, and saw some hugely important moments in Irish football history. It’s current condition is a national disgrace. There’s more information on the deal at bohemians.ie

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I reckon it has to be the No. 16 which goes from Kingston (Ballinteer) to Dublin Airport. A total of 31 stops. At least 25km.

Anyone know of a longer route?

16 bus journey

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International coverage of the Easter Rising in Dublin has long fascinated me, and I have a decent collection of newspaper reports from abroad in the immediate aftermath of the rising. One of my favourites is the Portland Daily Press for May 1 1916. It reported that German officers bodies had been found in Dublin, and also reported on local expressions of support with the rebels among the Irish community in the U.S. The papers report about the “Countess of Markievicz” is interesting, noting a supposed eyewitness account of her shooting and killing a guard in front of Dublin Castle. It’s fascinating to see how news travels and is distorted or in some cases completely fabricated.

Below are some reports from the paper:

FIND OF BODIES OF TWO GERMAN OFFICERS AMONG DUBLIN DEAD.

London, April 30- Three passengers who arrived on this mornings Irish mail steamer, had an opportunity to observe the situation in Dublin at 6 o’clock Saturday evening. Just before sailing from Kingstown, two hours later, they heard a report of the unconditional surrender of the rebel leaders. Earlier in the day the lull in the fighting was attributed to a shortage in the rebels’ munitions. At the same time this reported seemed to be be belied by the sound of heavy artillery and machine gun fire, which was distinctly heard as the ship cast off.

A young officer living near Dublin, told of circumstantial reports of the findings of the bodies of two German officers with the rebel dead in Sackville Street. The representative of a large manufacturer of engines and machinery, who took an exhibit to Dublin for the spring show scheduled at the Ballsbridge grounds, which was subsequently commandeered by the military, brought interesting and fresh news.

NEWARK MEETING VOICED APPROVAL OF REVOLT IN DUBLIN

Newark, N.J, April 30- A resolution was adopted at a meeting of Irishmen here tonight approving the rebellion in Dublin and asserting that in the present crisis it would be a crime to “sit complacently by with sealed lips and palsied tongue” while the “enemy of centuries” bound their native land “to the chariot of empire”.

“To claim that even Home Rule has been secured for Ireland is to impeach our intelligence and make short of our credulity” said the resolution. “We have just reason to be skeptical of England’s good faith, and, if we were satisfied with Home Rule, which we are not, we should have to see some tangible results other than the suppression of newspapers that express the true Irish feeling, the denial of the right to emigrate, and the imprisonment, banishment and enforced conscription of Irishmen, before we would be convinced that English hypocrisy was a thing of the past.”

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Some nice agitprop from Italian left-wing group Militant.

The James Connolly image is based on the cover of Fearghal McGarry 2011 book ‘Rebels Voices from the Easter Rising’.

The quote is as follows:

If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs. – (Shan Van Vocht January, 1897. Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), “James Connolly – Selected Writings”, p. 124.)

James Connolly – Militant

Durruti – Militant

Chess board – Militant

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I’m a big fan of the Facebook page ‘Humans of New York’, and in excess of 118,000 other people are too. It ‘s a fantastic idea, photographing New Yorkers as they go about their business, and in many cases giving a brief bio or background information. In the last few years there was an explosion in ‘street style’ blogs, but they tended to say nothing about anything beyond where someone bought their jeans.

I stumbled across ‘Humans of Dublin’ today. A relatively new Facebook page, with a modest following of just under 800 users, but deserving of much more. Pop over for a look. The below are just a selection of images from the site. We wish them every success.

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Competition for the most expensive pint of Guinness in Dublin here, I somehow found myself in The Quays in Temple Bar recently and was obliged to pay a staggering €5.60 for a pint. Its one of those pubs with the bad kind of trad blaring out at three in the afternoon so you’d expect it to be that bit more expensive than normal but… €5.60?!

Whilst there, we got chatting to a couple from Paris who asked us if these were “typical Dublin prices?” When someone from Paris complains about the price of a pint, you know you’re doing something wrong…  Anyone else know of a more expensive one?

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The unmarked final resting place of Captain Ingram of the Dublin Fire Brigade.

This is a monumental year for the Dublin Fire Brigade, with it marking 150 years in the service of the people of the capital. Yet many will be surprised to hear that the first Chief Officer of the Dublin Fire Brigade, Captain James Robert Ingram, is today buried in an unmarked grave in Mount Jerome Cemetery. Recent research has brought to light the fact that Ingram, who modelled the first Dublin Fire Brigade on that of New York City, died not fighting the flames of Dublin but rather due to tuberculosis.

Dublin has had provisions for fighting fires since the late sixteenth century, indeed Parish churches were required to keep buckets and ladders in an ordinance of 1592, but the city itself purchased its first fire engines in 1711. In 2011, the 300th anniversary of this event passed the city by without being marked in any way. Saint Werburgh’s Church on Werburgh Street boasts the oldest surviving fire appliances in the city. Such appliances are said to be origins of the term ‘parish pump’, a term more often heard in Irish political life than fire fighting today.

In 1862, Dublin got a municipal fire service, established following a series of serious fires in the city, including one at the Kildare Street Club in November of 1860, which cost three lives and destroyed the home from home of the Anglo Irish ascendency. The contemporary fire service of the city dates back to 1862, established by an Act of Parliameant. In its search for a man to lead this new service, the Dublin Corporation turned to James Robert Ingram, a Dubliner who had learned the trade on the streets of New York, despite having been born in the Irish capital in 1830. Ingram had emigrated to New York in 1851, first earning a living as a bank note engraver, before joining the Niagra Hose Company in Lower Manhattan, one of the many colourful volunteer fire companies which made up the New York Fire Department. Ingram was an active member of the Freemasons during his time in the United States. His firefighting experience in the United States made him the perfect candidate in the eyes of the Dublin Corporation to head up their new planned ‘Department’ at home.

With Ingram’s appointment, the ‘Dublin Fire Department’ as it was initially known was born. Ingram recruited 40 men, many of them previously sailors, and perhaps in tribute to his former colleagues in the New York Fire Department, Dublin’s earliest firefighters wore a uniform of red flannel shirts. The officers of this new service wore a uniform which was a copy of the frock coat and kepi of a United States Army officer.

Ingram’s headquarters was established at South William Street, in the premises which in later years would become the Civic Museum. This incredibly important historic site, Dublin’s first firestation, is unmarked today with no plaque upon it informing Dublin of what once stood opposite the location of the Pygmalion bar and club today. There was also a substation at Winetavern Street, on the site of what is today the Civic Offices.

Ingram’s small band of firefighters found themselves up against many different threats in Victorian Dublin. The tenements, mills and factories of Dubin all presented their own dangers. The Corporation decorated many of these early firefighters for their efforts. At times, Ingram would find himself having to resort to most unusual methods. On one occasion Ingram stemmed the flow of burning spirits from a distillery in the Liberties by loading horse manure onto the streets, and on another occasion he dealt with a ship drifting into Dublin Port ablaze by ordering the Royal Navy to open fire on it and sink it into the bay.

This heroic public servant, a remarkabe character, died in May of 1882, twenty years after his return to his home city to found what we now know as Dublin Fire Brigade. He died at the young age of 52. For a man who had fought the flames of New York and then Dublin, it was tragic that tuberculosis would claim his life. This shocking fact has now become clear through a recently discovered report from Captain Thomas Purcell, a later head of the Dublin Fire Brigade who, in 1892, would compile a list detailing the cause of death for members of the brigade in the decade prior. The nature of Ingram’s job brought him into the tenements of Dublin, where tubercuosis was rife among the working class and impoverished of the city.

With such focus on the 150th anniversary of the Dublin Fire Brigade, will the final resting place of the founder of Dublin’s public fire service be marked? It is believed the Dublin City Council wish to mark the anniversary through the erection of a city centre statue and a number of social events, but perhaps a marker, a simple stone, could be spared for the man who started it all?

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The history of the Dublin Fire Brigade is documented in Tom Geraghty and Trevor Whitehead’s study ‘The Dublin Fire Brigade’, issued by Dublin City Council. Las Fallon’s upcoming study on trade unionism and republicanism within the Brigade will be published later this year by South Dublin County Council.

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A Come Here To Me classic, Paul (or eh…Phil) McGrath and his first appearance in a Saint Patrick’s Atheltic match programme.

The Irish Football Programme Club are holding their Annual Programme Fair this Sunday. It will be held in St Andrews Resource Centre, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, running from 10am to 2pm. There will be a large selection of programmes, tickets, books, badges and other football memorabilia on sale. It’s always a good day out, and features plenty of League of Ireland programmes which should keep many CHTM readers happy.

Perfect weather for a kickabout afterwards too.

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The removal of the Queen Victoria statue from Leinster House.

Writing from the Phoenix Park on August 6th 1849, in a letter addressed to the Belgian King, Queen Victoria noted that “you see more ragged and wretched people here than I ever saw anywhere else.” Victoria’s visit occurred at a time Ireland was still in great anguish following the famine, and Victoria has rather unforgettably come to be remembered as the ‘Famine Queen’.

In 1895, The Nation newspaper noted that Irish migrants in New York had celebrated Victoria’s Jubilee with “the most appropriate celebration”, staging demonstrations and distributing political literature to highlight their view that:

some of the benefits conferred upon Ireland during Victoria’s murderous reign: Died of famine 1,500,000; evicted 3,668,000; expatriated 4,200,000; emigrants who died of ship fever, 57,000; imprisoned under the Coercion Acts, over 3,000; butchered in suppressed public meetings, 300; Coercion Acts, 53; executed for resisting tyranny, 95; died in English dungeons, 270; newspapers suppressed, 12.

Victoria passed in January of 1901, having made her last visit to Ireland the year prior. That visit had been met by considerable protest. Helena Molony, a republican activist who was active with the Inghinide na h-Éireann organisation, a name which translates into ‘Daughters of Ireland’, noted that the organisation came into being primarily out of opposition to Victoria’s visit. She noted that “it came into being as a counterblast to the orgy of flunkeyism which was displayed on that occasion, including the exploitation of the school children- to provide demonstrations of loyalty on behalf of the Irish natives.”

In 1902, The Irish Times wrote that John Hughes,R.H.A, who had been commissioned to prepare a statue of Victoria for placement in Dublin “had risen to the heights of the task which he was called upon to undertake, and the result is a piece of workmanship as dignified as it is beautiful.” The paper outlined their belief that the work would “increase the reputation of Mr. Hughes, and add materially to the artistic wealth of Dublin.”

It was unveiled on February 17th 1908 in the grounds of Leinster House at a ceremony which saw about 1,000 troops on parade, and a large number of invited guests. The Lord Lieutenant was chosen to unveil the monument, and he noted that “we are assembled here to dedicate this noble work of art to the perpetual commemoration of a great personality and a great life.” The statue of Victoria, made of bronze, was an impressive 15 foot. Its location placed it “before the Museum of Science and Art and the National Library, and in front of the historic building, Leinster House, now the home of the Royal Dublin Society.” The RDS had also become to a statue of Prince Albert, after initial efforts to place him at College Green had failed. Henry Grattan would instead occupy that space.

The statue as it sat on the Leinster Lawn (NLI)

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Instant Party (1980s Mod band)

Tudor Rooms, 1985. (Upload – Karl Bates)

While Dublin had a thriving mod and scooter scene in the 1980s, it seemed to produce few bands. Even fewer who recorded anything. (The Blades, obviously, should be mentioned at this point along with The Zen Alligators, Side One, The Commotion and The Experiment).

Instant Party were a three piece mod band, active from the early 1980s to 1986. They released a self-titled and self-produced three track demo tape in 1984.

Instant Party demo tape (1984). Thanks to Irishrock.org

Thanks to the users ‘lastdayofjune’ and ’9jpt’ on Youtube, the three songs from the demo tape and a bonus fourth are available online:

1. Instant Party – The Times That Change Us

2. Instant Party – The Smalltown

3. Instant Party - Summertime

Bonus, The Real Life. An acoustic demo from Ken.

- Ken Sweeney later went on to record as Brian and is now Entertainment Editor of the Irish Independent.

- Peter Devlin went on to play with The Devlins who packed out The Button Factory last September.

- Alan Bates today plays drums with both Slam and The Modfathers.

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Illustration from G.Ivan Morris’ ‘In Dublin’s Fair City’ (London,1947)

Recently, I did a brief post concerning John Harvey’s great 1940s book on the city of Dublin, which was halfway between a guide book and social commentary on the city. I thought G.Ivan Morris’ excellent ‘In Dublin’s Fair City’ (London, 1947) was equally deserving of a feature on the site.

The author was a Dublin publisher, who we’re told “in the midst of an unprecedented pressure of business, has taken the time to write this book for the guidance of visitors to Ireland.” We’re told at the outset that the book is “intended to represent an imaginary Dubliner who, in the casual way so typically Irish, is showing his English friends around the city and neighbourhood of Dublin, and who, without any set order, is commenting on people, places and things as he meets them.”

On arrival in Ireland many of one’s pre-conceived ideas will be shattered. The stage Irishman, who for years was Ireland’s only advertisement abroad, will appear as he really is – a complete figment of the imagination of ignorant theatrical people.

G.Ivan Morris’ book is clearly written by a man with a great love for the city, but also in places his frustrations with the Irish system and culture of the day are evident. He informs visitors that it is true “books by nearly every one of Ireland’s leading writers are banned” and that “if there is no free expression in a country, the cream of the writers usually leave it.” Religion and politics he notes “are curiously blended in Ireland” and “the English are masters of tact and diplomacy, and, when they come to Ireland, they studiously avoid arguments about religion and politics, realising the Irish have deep feelings about these two subjects.”

He notes that “another subject not too safe for discussion is Communism, which is most unpopular in Ireland, as the church is strongly opposed to it. Despite this, there is a bookshop in Dublin specialising almost exclusively in Russian and Communistic literature.”

Morris writes at length on the pubs of Dublin, and the pub culture and the changing role of the pub in Dublin life:

Since women have broken loose and invaded the bars and lounges, it is growing increasingly difficult to find a man’s pub in Dublin where one may stand up to one’s pint and tell stories without having to glance nervously around every few minutes to make sure that there are no ladies within earshot.

He singles out Davy Byrnes’, The Palace and the Metropole on O’Connell Street, and notes that “drink in Dublin is quite plentiful, and is only half the price it is in England.” The above quote dealing with women in pubs is interesting, but so is his remark that “only in the poorer-class districts have the women been kept in the background” with regards pub culture. The pub, he writes, is where “the gravest political questions are thrashed out and settled.”

Unsurprisingly, Nelson’s Pillar features in the study, and Morris writes that:

Many people wonder why he is allowed to remain there, now that Ireland is free, but the general feeling is that the cost of taking down the Pillar would be out of all proportion to the kick the Dubliners would get out of it, and so it remains.

Interestingly, with the Second World War just over, Morris talks about how the city was bombed by fascists, and notes that “Eire, despite her neutrality, did not get off scot-free in the life and death struggles between the great nations of the earth”, and he tells us that hundreds of German children from the Ruhr Valley were taken into Irish homes “in which there is no room for the doctrines of Nazism.”

Morris gives an impression of a city in which cycling was a much more common place practice than today, noting that “the cyclists of Dublin are a sight to behold, especially during lunch hour and between five and six o’clock in the evening, when they appear in thousands amidst the traffic of O’Connell Street, and the numbers of them rival Holland and Denmark.” Little has changed in ways though, and he notes that a wave of cycle thefts has swept Dublin in recent times.

Should Ireland become “money-minded”, Morris writes, “she will be ruined.” Were such a situation to occur, we’re told that “she will slip down to the bottom of the scale and take her place as just another money-grubbing holiday resort.” Dublin is a city which is old, but in which its inhabitants are “young in spirit and outlook, rather like children living in a stately house, filling its rooms with gaiety and the vigour of youth.”

Morris’ brief book on Dublin, at 118 pages, is interesting in many ways just as the John Harvey book we featured recently from the same period is. We’re told that to be fully enjoyed, the book must be regarded not as a book but rather a person, “one who knows his Dublin and his fellow countrymen intimately, and is not afraid to throw a brick at them when a bouquet is not deserved.”


G Ivan Morris
‘In Dublin’s Fair City’
(London, 1947)

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An interesting short video from the Irish Jewish Museum in Portobello, showing their ambitious plans for expansion.

The Irish Jewish Museum has reached the stage where the existing building is woefully inadequate to enable fulfilment of its significantly important goals. Countless valuable artefacts and community records are in storage for want of adequate display space and the Museum also cannot accommodate the increasing demand of visitors, so an enlargement and upgrade project has been announced by the Museum’s management.

In 2010, we featured the museum in a brief feature. It is a fantastic museum, and worth taking the time to visit if you haven’t.

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