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Evening Herald, 2 October 1920.

In the early twentieth century, some of the most interesting voices in Irish public life, including Socialist leader James Connolly, expressed their support for the idea of an international language.

A constructed international auxiliary language (differing from natural languages, which develop over time), Esperanto was the brainchild of Polish inventor L. L. Zamenhof. In 1887, under the pseudonym Doktoro Esperanto (Doctor Hopeful) he published Unua Libro, in which he introduced and described this new international language. Zamenhof did not believe that his constructed language would replace existing national tongues, but that it could exist alongside them and make human communication easier. The father of this ambitious project was twelve times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and there are streets named in his honour all over the world, including in Israel, Italy, Brazil, Catalonia, the UK and Poland. Zamenhof’s vision of international parity was certainly a romantic one, telling one gathering in 1905:

In our meeting there are no strong or weak nations, privileged or unfavoured ones, nobody is humiliated, nobody is harassed; we all support one another upon a neutral foundation, we all have the same rights, we all feel ourselves the members of the same nation, like the members of the same family, and for the first time in the history of human race, we -the members of different peoples- are one beside the other not as strangers, not like competitors, but like brothers who do not enforce their language, but who understand one another, trustfully, conceitedly, and we shake our hands with no hypocrisy like strangers, but sincerely, like people.

Writing to the Freeman’s Journal in 1902, E.E Fournier expressed a belief that “it is high time that the attention of the Irish people should be directed to a language which appears to have completely solved the problem of providing an international means of communication without prejudice to the use and study of an existing national language.”  Anyone curious about “a movement so full of possibilities for good” was encouraged to attend classes at the offices of the Celtic Association, 97 Stephen’s Green. Fournier, a distinguished intellectual and physicist, was at the very forefront of the Celtic Revival in Ireland and an early champion of Esperanto.

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James Connolly

Even earlier that this in 1899, James Connolly used the pages of his weekly The Workers’ Republic to outline his own belief in the need for a universal language, though not one that stood in conflict with existing languages:

I believe the establishment of a universal language to facilitate communication between the peoples is highly to be desired. But I incline also to the belief that this desirable result would be attained sooner as the result of a free agreement which would accept one language to be taught in all primary schools, in addition to the national language, than by the attempt to crush out the existing national vehicles of expression.

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Number 98 Parnell Street (previously Great Britain Street) is a “terraced two-bay four-storey house” built in circa 1810. It served as the Healy family grocers from the mid 1800s until the early 1960s.

Unusually the proprietor James Healy was a Dublin-born publican as can be seen here for the 1901 census for the family.

1901 Census Return form for James Healy and family, 98 Parnell Street.

It was taken over  by well-known Dublin hurler Mick Bermingham and was under his stewardship until around 1982.

An advertisement for Mick Bermingham’s, 98 Parnell Street. Credit – Munster Express, 3 September 1971.

The pub was known as The 98 in the late 1980s; The Thornbush in the 1990s and then operated as Zagloba for the growing Polish community in the mid 2000s.

Its most recent carnations – the Dublin Supporters Bar and The Dubliner- were known for its cheap drink offers and all-day karaoke.

Dublin Supporters Bar, 2011. Credit – Paolo Trabattoni.

Dublin Supporters Bar, 98 Parnell Street pictured in 2013. Credit – Broadsheet.ie

In the last couple of months, it has closed, revamped and re-opened as The Luggage Room Bar. Going for the budget hipster look, it offers ‘student nights’, ‘pitcher Wednesdays’ and ‘Brazilian parties’.

The Luggage Room Bar, Halloween 2017. via Facebook.

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Evening Herald, 4 September 1978.

In a former life, one of my great areas of academic interest was the so-called ‘Animal Gangs’ of 1930s and 1940s Dublin, and some of that research was eventually published. I was fascinated more by the folk memory around the gangs than anything else I think, and enjoyed delving into the newspaper archives and Garda intelligence files.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about Dublin in the 1970s (before my time, but by considerably less than the Animal Gangs). Just as the media panicked in the 1930s about the Animals, the so-called Bugsy Malone Gang of the north inner-city frightened the powers that be and the press. Taking their name from the hit 1976 gangster comedy film, the gang was comprised of very young teens who made a name for themselves primarily through a series of daring ‘jump overs’ in the city, that is leaping over bank counters before making off with their takings. In time, the name seems to have been applied more widely to all youth crime by some journalists. The gang have warranted passing mentions in studies as diverse as Diarmaid Ferriter’s Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s, Garry O’Neill’s Where Were You? and several histories of Dublin crime gangs. The primary reason for their passing mentions in the later is the alleged involvement of Gerry Hutch, or ‘The Monk’, in the gang. A 2000 article in the Irish Examiner went as far as to claim that “in the 1970s, the Bugsy Malone gang was effectively led by Hutch. This gang of Dublin inner city youngsters were in to all kinds of crime, especially so called jump overs.”

The first most people would have heard of any such gang was a report in the Sunday Independent in late January 1978, which noted the presence of a young gang “being compared to the mini Chicago criminals in the box-office film hit, Bugsy Malone“. It detailed how the gangs 13-year-old “Godfather” had been arrested in the aftermath of a raid on the O’Connell Street Northern Bank, during which £1,400 was snatched after “the daring raid was carried out by hurling a bottle through a plate glass door.”

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Sunday Independent, 23 January 1977.

Reports of the gang sometimes appeared only pages away from advertisements for the film of the same name. By the early months of 1978 the movie was out of the picture houses, but the gang remained, now being refereed to as “infamous”. The Minister for Defence bemoaned how an organised gang of juvenile criminals was “roaming the streets of Dublin, openly cocking their noses at the Gardaí and courts.”

It all took place against the backdrop of an explosion of cases in the Children’s Court, where the number of charges brought against juveniles had reportedly soared from some 5,000 to  25,000 in just a decade. While not excusing the actions of any gang, the Irish Democratic Youth Movement, aligned with Sinn Féin the Workers’ Party (SFWP), rightly pinpointed “appalling housing conditions, inadequate education and the total lack of recreational facilities” as issues which “create an environment which breeds crime and violence.”

The sheer volume of bank robberies in the city in the late 1970s was remarkable in itself – spanning everything from paramilitary organisations to organised crime groups. Some went unreported until court dates (if there were any) but the youth of this particular gang ensured their escapades were always covered in the press. It was even suggested that they’d established something of a headquarters on Lower Gardiner Street in a former trade union building, which the Independent christened the “Bugsy School.” The gang were sometimes pinpointed by the press for other criminal activity, such as arson:

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Irish Independent, 1 June 1978.

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self at 70

“Self portrait on my 70th birthday, in Borsolino hat and cashmere silk-scarf from Milan, and Dublin Thornproof-tweed suit, Oleg Cassini tie from Goodwill shirt from same source, kitchen window mid-day, I stayed home and worked on Selected Poems 1947-’95 after returning from Walker Arts Center reading – Beat exhibition weekend. Monday, June 3, 1996. N.Y – Allen Ginsberg (photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]” (Image from Allen Ginsberg Project)

In 1993, the celebrated poet Allen Ginsberg arrived in Ireland for the first time. Always counter-cultural and sometimes controversial, Ginsberg was his own man throughout his entire life. The Irish Press noted before his visit that “Ginsberg is now in favour with a new generation who find the music their parents listened to more exciting that their contemporary soulless techno-pop”.

Ginsberg’s political activism often made headlines. An active opponent of the Vietnam War and American aggression in South America, he was deported from Cuba in 1965 for publicly condemning the treatment of homosexuals there. In terms of his own literary output, he is undoubtedly best remembered for Howl, a masterpiece which was dragged through the courts in a 1957 obscenity trial. Widely considered one of the great works of contemporary literature, it captured the madness and spirit of the Beat Generation to which Ginsberg was so central, alongside people like Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke. In my youth, I stumbled on it after becoming obsessed with Kerouac’s On The Road (a teenage rite of passage for the angsty), which began a journey into the output of related writers.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz.

– From Howl.

Ginsberg performed in Dublin’s Liberty Hall before a packed crowd in October 1993. In interviews leading up to his visit, he noted what lured him to Ireland wasn’t money, but the promise that Theo Dorgan of Poetry Ireland would procure him a new tweed suit. One contemporary report noted that “after a little shopping around, Dorgan found that Kevin and Howlin tailors on Nassau Street did a variety of the ‘thornproof’ tweed and it was there that Ginsberg was outfitted. The irony of the company’s name wasn’t lost on him either.”

Ginsberg’s Liberty Hall appearance was the stuff of legend, leading one journalist to write that “there hasn’t been such a rare gathering of the tribes, the true heads of our time, since Dylan played Slane Castle.” The great, the good and Bono were among the attendees. The Irish Press noted:

He considered the choice of Liberty Hall as an ideal venue for his reading last night. He liked the labour connection. He still believes in all his original causes. When I left the show, he was still singing. Maybe he’d still there in Liberty Hall this morning, playing to the ghosts of Larkin, Connolly, O’Casey and God knows who else. An unforgettable fire.

self at 70

Irish Press report on Ginsberg visit.

In a postcard, Ginsberg noted with delight that “Part of my Dublin fee was great grey tweed suit so now I look like an elder Irish gentleman crossing customs borders.”

The suit meant a lot to Ginsberg. Three years after his Dublin visit, he donned it for a self portrait,along with his “Borsolino hat and cashmere silk-scarf from Milan”. Some accounts suggest he was buried in it. Kevin and Howlin remain open for business today on Nassau Street, almost twenty-five years after dressing one of the greatest poets of his generation (or any other).

In terms of music history, we’ve generally been more focused on punk, soul, reggae and rockabilly but Come Here To Me! has looked occasionaly at the city’s rave, dance and club culture. For example, we’ve examined legendary 1980s gay-disco Flikkers;  iconic DJ Paul Webb; the 1998 techno tune ‘Northwall’; a general overview of sources for the history of Dublin’s dance culture; a look at the after-party scene in 2011 and a reference to the early-morning techno gigs in The Dark Horse (now a Starbucks).

Soundtracksforthem.com was an Irish group blog active from 2006 until 2010. It was a wonderful mix of music, politics, film and art. The architect was one James Redmond (aka Reddy). Highly influential to the development of Come Here To Me!, Soundtracksforthem.com gave a deserved platform to a gang of mischief makers and friends of ours with enigmatic nicknames like ‘Chief’, ‘Krossphader’ and ‘Cogsy’.  From 2010 onwards, Reddy transferred his work and energy into Rabble magazine and I take great pleasure in remembering those early organising meetings and first number of issues. But all during this time, Reddy was working away on researching, producing and editing a documentary film called ‘Notes on Rave in Dublin’.  Premiered at the Dublin International Film Festival 2017 over two-sold out dates in February, the film explores the glorious, early days of the underground dance music scene in Dublin.

One of those interviewed in the documentary is Simon Conway. Throughout the 2000s, Simon ran the much-lauded Electric City nights and Selectah Records. I first got to know Simon through his wonderful Forza Italo disco nights in the Odessa club. Along with the Con Artist thinking-man’s football nights in the Sugar Club and the Out to Lunch takeovers of Tengu, Simon somehow also has time to run The Yacht pub in Ringsend which is one of the best boozers in the city. Full stop.

These two powerhouses – Reddy and Simon –  have joined forces to bring you a solid night of entertainment this Friday 1st December across two venues.

Things kick off in Liberty Hall at 7pm with three presentations from individuals working on some exciting cultural projects:

  • John Byrne will talk about a forthcoming compilation called Quare Groove which unearths a collection of Irish Groove, Punk-Funk, & Electro tracks from the 1970s to 1990s. It’s due out on Allchival (All City) in January 2018.

 

  • Ciaran Nugent of Power FM will chat about his many years of collecting flyers from the golden era of Dublin clubbing.

 

  • Garry O’Neill, editor of the vital ‘Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture and Street Style 1950 – 2000, introduce his new book which focuses on the history of record shops in Dublin.

This will be followed by a panel discusison, hosted by music journalist and DJ Kate Butler, with author Kevin Barry, DJs Liam Dollard, Francois Pittion and Aoife Nic Canna who were at the forefront of things in the late 1980s and 1990s and Sunil Sharpe who is Ireland’s most significant contemporary Techno export.

Event poster.

Around 9pm, ‘Notes on Rave in Dublin’ will be shown on the big screen.

But the night doesn’t end there. Oh no. The party is moving next door to The Wiley Fox (formerly The Pint). Here, a collection of the city’s best DJs will be spinning tunes until the wee hours.

Upstairs:

Breen (Vision Collector/DDR) x Sias (Repeater Collective/DDR) x Melly (Repeater Collective/DDR)
+
DJ Kit-Kat Tennis League

Downstairs:

Garry O’Neill / Francois + more TBC

Tickets for the screening –  €12. Tickets for the after party – €12. You can pick up a combo deal for €20. Available from Eventbrite.ie

 

 

restored

The original Archer’s Garage, Irish Independent 11 March 1953.

Archer’s Garage, where Sandwith Street meets Fenian Street, is a beautiful Art Deco building – but it isn’t quite as old as it looks.

Over the June Bank Holiday weekend in 1999, one of Dublin’s more peculiar buildings was illegally razed by a developer, leading to massive controversy. The developer in question signed a legal agreement with Dublin Corporation to rebuild the structure, which prevented prosecution for the act of senseless vandalism, and was preferable to a fine of a million or jail time! An Taisce noted that “it is the first time a developer has had to restore a listed building in Dublin.”

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Evening Herald, 12 October 1999.

Archer’s Garage took its name from R.W Archer, the first man to import Ford cars into Ireland. Archer attended Dublin’s first motor car show in the RDS in 1907, which began a love affair with cars. At ninety years of age, he was still reportedly working three days a week in the garage in 1967!

Completed in 1946, the garage was designed by Arnold Francis Hendy, who was also responsible for the beautiful Pembroke Library.  While Art Deco buildings certainly stand out in the city (the GAS building on D’Olier Street being particularly popular), there is a richer history of Art Deco style architecture in this country than one might first think, highlighted recently by this excellent piece in Village magazine. Perhaps the most celebrated Art Deco architect to work in Dublin was Housing Architect Herbert Simms, whose public housing units (in particular the Chancery House scheme beside the Four Courts) remain popular. The Art Deco buildings of Dublin are, like most schools of architecture, a mix of public and private buildings.

The reconstruction of the demolished garage was scheduled to begin in September 1999, just months after its demolition, though work didn’t start until 2001. When completed, the building was widely praised. Still, it is difficult to disagree with the assessment of BuiltDublin.com that something just isn’t right:

For me, it’s impossible to shake off the Pet Sematary feeling about the building – not the demonic possession aspect, but the creepiness of reanimation. There isn’t an ‘undo’ function after demolition, and however grand words like ‘reinstate’ might make the process sound, this is a building completed in 2000 to a best-guess version of an 1940s design, and I can’t see how that’s desirable or anything other than a very particular pastiche.

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The reconstructed Archer’s Garage. (Image Credit: Creative Commons, Kolleykibber )

 

 

Check out our music history section for lots more articles on the bands, venues and records of the late 1970 and early 1980s Dublin music scene.

The Resistor EP front. Credit – Sam (CHTM!)

The Resistor EP back Credit – Sam (CHTM!)

After a number of years of searching, I finally got my hands today on a rare Dublin New Wave 7″ from The Resistors.  All thanks to the wonderful photographer Wally Cassidy who is helping to sell his friend’s record collection.

Titled ‘EP for Jeanie’ and released in 1980, it was the the one and only output from the band’s own label ‘Break Records’. The contact person for the record company listed on the single is Marcus de Cogan who was Ents officer of UCD Student’s Union  in 1976/77.

The Resistors, who were active from 1978 until 1983, were described by music journalist Neil McCormack at the time as playing “reggae tinged new wave pop”. The band comprised of:

  • Peter McEvoy – Vocals
  • Paul O’Reilly – Guitar
  • Pat Hamilton – Guitar
  • Tim McStay – Keyboards
  • Valentine – Bass
  • Brian ‘Bun’ Curran – Drums

Three of the band had previously performed together in The Noise Boys (1978-79).

All three songs on ‘EP for Jeanie’ were composed by keyboardist Tim McStay.

The Resistors live. Credit – Bert Versey (via http://u2theearlydayz.com/)

The record was produced by Brendan ‘Brenny’ Bonass who had played guitar with a host of Dublin beat/blues/rock bands in the 1960s and 1970s including The Inmates, The Uptown Band, The Stellas, The Chosen Few, Rockhouse and Stepaside.

It was engineered by Ken Kiernan, who had co-founded Keystone Studios in 1977 and played guitar and keyboards with Pulling Faces, and Brian Masterson, who had co-founded  Windmill Lane studios in 1978, and played played bass with jazzy-rock groups Jazz Therapy and later Supply, Demand and Curve .

The record featured saxophonist Dave McHale, formerly of Stagalee, The Boomtown Rats amongst others, who sadly passed away in 2009.

The front cover photograph was taken by Colm Henry.

Side A

‘Jeanie’ is an up-beat track with strong two-tone and mod revival influences.

Side B

‘Takeaway Love’ is a decent power-pop tune.

More of the same with ‘End Of The Line’

The band’s second single ‘That’s It‘ (1983) is probably even more rare with not a single copy ever sold on Discogs since 2000. It’s a collector’s item as Phil Lynott produced the b-side. Luckily, I was recently passed down a copy and will get around to digitising it as soon as possible.

 

 

 

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