Archive for September, 2010

Your humanity and your faithful loyalty
Your compassion and your plea for change
Gives me faith in humankind
All the good ones you can find
And all the monsters and the blind……

Damien Dempsey- How Strange.

We’ve been following this one for yonks.

Our first post on the maser/Damien Dempsey collaboration was back in March (March! Jesus this blog is ancient now) which was long before people were ringing into radio stations wondering what all the graffiti meant. Each bit was a surprise in itself, as you’d stumble across them in the most unusual spots. The laneway behind Brogans pub being an example. It has done wonders for the city at the minute. I loved each and every bit of it, and if I was lucky enough to be giving a tour or guiding people around I would frequently stop at one of the pieces.

For the most part, it seemed Dubliners agreed with me. With the exception of the gobshite below, who we posted up back in May, we all seemed happy enough to stroll past and look. A gentle reminder to ‘do something to be proud of’ , to ‘dare to be different’ or to ‘love yourself today’ , as the less common stickers proclaimed.

The highlights were no doubt the bits most of us will never see, the messages inside the walls of prisons.

If one thinks the laneways of town are ‘boring’, imagine what the colour of these pieces did to such surroundings.

It’s come a long way. Now, it’s time to make a few quid for charity. All proceeds from the sale of the works will go to the Dublin Simon Community. Coming into the winter, in a year like this one, charities will find themselves stuck for money. Sadly, in time gobshites like the above mentioned one will take to more of these great pieces around the city, and they’ll be lost. A reminder of one is something I intend to pick up for the house, being lucky enough to have one to hang it up in.

Best of luck to the lads.

They are us exhibition launches
Friday, October 15, 2010 at 6:00pm
Block T, 1 – 6 Haymarket, Smithfield Sq (above Chinese market)



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You’d have to laugh.

While Dublin comes to terms with truckgate today, I got a laugh out of this excellent image doing the rounds from the ICTU protest yesterday at the Dail. Nice one lads, nice one.

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These are everywhere in town. I had to explain to two American tourists at the traffic lights by Poolbeg Street that not alone was the tap water fine, but I’d filled up the bottle I was carrying at home that morning.

This one comes from the bathroom of one of my local pubs. Sticking to the Ballygowan now?

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Enemy at the gates.

This is excellent, TDs discuss truckgate at the Dail this morning.

If you’re not from this parish and confused about the subject at hand, I suggest you read this typically over the top Evening Herald report. Only in the Evenin’ Hedild can a truck parked outside the Dail become a doomsday device rammed through the front gates.

Interesting microphone too. No prizes.

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“The National Graves Association and the Save 16 Moore Street Committee cordially invite you to an information meeting on Thursday 14th October 8pm at Wynns Hotel, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. It is essential that as many people as possible attend this event. TDs, special guests and relatives of the 1916 leaders will be present.”

August 2005: The roof of 16 Moore Street.

Anyone who attended the recent free Heritage Week walking tours around the Moore Street area detailing the fighting there during the 1916 Rising would have come to the conclusion that it is not alone ‘the building’ of 16 Moore Street that is historically important, but the area itself. The buildings the Volunteer and Citizen Army men and women broke their way through, the laneway where they came under intense fire from the Rotunda hospital and the alleyways where some died are as historically important as the building with the plaque.

Growing up in Dublin, I was always fascinated by Moore Street. Even without the historical connection to 1916, the street is worth saving purely for its character today. It is a melting pot of the old and the new, and among the last markets of its kind. I love passing through it.

Under threat from a major planned development, the campaign to save the Moore Street sites continues. Did we learn nothing at Wood Quay? Nothing so clearly shows how a tokenistic historical feature can be dwarfed by an unsuited development. Come along.

“The plan of the property developers, Chartered Land, encompasses around 5.5 acres bordered by Upper O’Connell Street (including the Carlton building, a cinema in previous years), Henry Street and Parnell Street, right back to Moore Street. The objections centre around Moore Street itself and the perceived effect of the development on no.s 14-17, officially designated a National Monument, but also on the effect on Moore Lane. While the objectors agree with the need for development they hope to see one which will preserve the character of the terrace. Some objectors have also stressed their wish to keep the street market character of Moore Street in any development.”
-From a 2009 Indymedia report, located here.

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In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

Woody Guthrie, one of the greatest folk singers of all time, died a horrible death at the hands of Huntingtons Disease. At the age of 55, he passed on, and it would take others like Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott to see to it the next generation would hear his words. His life, short as it was, was an exciting one. His influence is acknowledged by a wide variety of artists today, with Billy Bragg and Wilco putting some of his unsung lyrics to music, while Damien Dempsey mentions his “rebel heart” in his excellent ‘Teachers’, a song which lists his childhood musical influences.

Love Music Hate Racism and Sunday Roast have come together to stage a tribute night to Woody, as a fundraiser for the Huntingtons Disease Association of Ireland. It kicks off with a documentary screening (‘This Machine Kills Fascists’) at 6pm, which is a freebie. At 9pm, there will be a gig kicking off with a wide variety of acts. The doortax is a mere five euro, and it all takes place this Sunday at The Mercantile .

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The market workers of Dublin and others like them knew a very different city from the average worker in the capital today. Before the first bus even rolls through the suburbs now, these workers were often at the end of their workday. Early house pubs opened their doors from about 7am, and it wasn’t unusual to spot a mix of tired workers and those returning from more enjoyable nights in the capital seizing the opportunity presented for a pint.

Alas, the fruit markets are no more in all truth. The docks are quieter now too. Yet Dublin retains a few early house pubs dotted around the city, and this suggests business remained strong long after the shutters came down on some markets for the last time. Amazingly, I’ve never been to one. A 2008 Irish Times report suggested 15 such pubs remain in the capital. Since 1962, no new pubs have been added to the list. They’re a dying breed.

The Chancery.

The Chancery is located right by the Four Courts. By sheer coincidence, we’re coming to it from the direction of Smithfield, an area much changed since the time the markets flourished there. Beautiful apartment complexes, an art-house cinema and the sort dot Smithfield today. The Cobblestone remains, the horses long gone.

Arriving at the door of The Chancery at the early hour of 8am, the first thing you notice are two bouncers on the door. While at first one can be worried by the sight of a bouncer, on second thoughts it can be reassuring. They keep an eye on proceedings, but there is no trouble in the time we’re here. We pass them on the way in, give ‘the nod’, and with it clear we’re in decent condition on entering the place, we don’t hear/see them again, until ‘the nod’ is given again on the way out.

The pints of Guinness are more than decent, and we remark that it’s interesting they can pull a decent pint here at 8am when we’ve seen ‘one pour pints’ chucked out in fancier boozers across the city on Friday nights. On the subject of Friday nights, there appear to be a few other survivors dotted around this place. The milkman? The market worker? No sign of them but.

The ‘locals’, or the people sitting across the bar talking to the barman and each other, are a mixed bunch. With the sun up, this might as well be 3pm in any Dublin pub. One annoyance that hits you on entering the place however is the jukebox. Is there a need for a jukebox to be blaring music at half eight in the morning?

I’m gonna send him to outer space. To find another race.
I’m gonna send him to outer space. To find another race.

I love the song too, but it’s half eight in the morning. Turn it down, or turn it off. The arrival of The Wild Rover leads one of our party to a semi-audible “for fucks sake…” that thankfully goes unnoticed. Somewhere in the world it’s a suitable time to play this stuff, lets be quiet and drink to them.

The early house is clean, and the pubs layout is perfectly fine. What surprises me is the number of people here. I remember a friend telling me you could never open a Wetherspoons in Ireland because “we can’t be trusted to drink sensibly”. Maybe there’s an element of truth in that. In the time we’re here, with the exception of one eejit and his unwanted and unimpressive rendition of ‘The Boys Of The Old Brigade’, we see nothing too out of the ordinary or worrying. We even remark a return visit in the future isn’t an impossible scenario.

So, who does drink at 8am? A much more varied bunch than I expected. On leaving, we do a quick turn and head towards town, and I spot people getting off the 25A bus for work. Getting on the same bus home, there is a distinct lack of market workers, milkmen or dockers. The Chancery is not going to make its way into any ‘Top 50 Pubs In Dublin’ list, and it’s not brimming with the sort of unique character that does see pubs make such lists, but it’s not the hellish boozer some may think looking down on it from the double-decker bus to work. Judging on the crowd inside it, at a time I wouldn’t normally have risen yet, it’ll be here a while longer yet.

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