Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Once a staple of this here blog, our “monthly” pub crawls have become somewhat sporadic of late. We only managed to fit in five last year, the last taking place all the way back in June, making it 114 pubs that we’ve visited on the crawls alone. Add in another 30 pubs or so that we’ve done on “Random Drop Inns,” I make it that (including the five pubs here) we’ve visited and reviewed 149 pubs in the city.

The back story… for anyone that doesn’t know the story by this stage, once a month or so the three writers behind this blog, joined by a small group of friends, visit five Dublin pubs and then write about our experiences. A different person each month picks the five pubs and makes sure not to give away any details beforehand. This month was my turn, and for the first pub crawl of 2013, I decided to drag people out to Ringsend, from where we could make our way back into town, stopping in a couple of spots along the way.  I’ve always loved Ringsend; standing on Bridge Street, you’re a fifteen minute walk to Grafton Street and less than that to Sandymount Strand. Perfect.

The Oarsman, from their official Facebook.

The Oarsman, from their official Facebook

Meeting the other two and KBranno in town at five, a Leo Burdocks and a taxi in the lashing rain later, we headed over the canal and into The Oarsman. A very busy spot this and my first impression was that… Christ, this place is a relic; but in a good way! The pub doesn’t appear to have changed too much inside or out for donkey’s years. There has been a business on this spot since 1882, and a pub here since the sixties. The original grocers shop became the snug area inside the door (where we were lucky to nab seats, kudos to Paul R for that,) and the pub was extended out the back. A long narrow layout means ordering a pint from the beautiful old wooden bar is awkward enough. The stairs down to the jacks is halfway along it on the right, meaning if the seats at the bar are taken and you’re ordering, chances are you’re blocking someone’s way. Nonetheless, we weren’t left waiting and ended up staying for a couple of pints apiece, at €4.45 a pop. The most expensive pint of the crawl but still, relatively cheap compared to pints closer towards town.  A lovely pub this and a place I’ll be back to, if just to try out the food they’ve recently started to serve.


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The plugs for Look Left magazine on this blog are important and I sincerely hope that readers aren’t getting tired of them.

Look Left is going from strength to strength and increasingly becoming an important magazine within Irish politics (and the culture sphere). There’s no doubt in my mind that CHTM! would be plugging it even if we had no involvement in it.

Yours truly has a short interview with Joe Mooney of the East Wall History Group and an article looking at the politics of The Specials (I’ve previously looked at The Blades and The Pogues).

Donal Fallon, Esq has a fascinating piece on Dominic Behan, the slightly overlooked brother who was, arguably, as equally as talented as Brendan.

There are also interesting pieces on issues as diverse as the recent successful Quebec student strike, the left wing FMLN government in El Salvador, workers co-ops in Belfast and a debate on the legalisation on drugs. As always,  there’s strong interviews. This issue includes one with progressive Dublin footballer David Hickey and up and comingclass-conscious Dublin hip-hop MC Lethal Dialect.

48 pages for €2? It’s a bloody bargain. Pick your issue up in any Easons store, now.


Look Left, Issue 12. (Design – Claire Davey)


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The historiography of any period is never complete. For young historians, the period known commonly as the ‘Irish revolutionary period’ can appear one with little room for new writers, with so much written on the pivotal events and personas.

Thankfully, recent years have seen historians engage with the ‘Irish revolution’ in new and exciting ways, moving beyond the macro and looking at individual events and themes in greater detail. A particular effort of note would be Mercier’s top class ‘Military History of the Irish Civil War’ series, but in the field of biography O’Brien’s new ‘Sixteen Lives’ series will see first biographies of some of the executed leaders of 1916 published. New Island books have launched ‘1916 In Focus’, with Paul O’Brien’s study of the Four Courts garrison during Easter Week the first work in the series.

O’Brien’s last effort, ‘Uncommon Valour’, which looked at the South Dublin Union, was reviewed here on the blog in February 2010. Looking at key battles and events in Easter 1916, O’Brien has managed to turn events that take up a few paragraphs in broad-histories into full works, which gives you an in-depth look at some characters who somehow often manage to escape from the narrative of other works.

The Four Courts is more so associated with the Civil War in the popular memory of Dubliners, but some of the bloodiest events of the Rising occurred in the area around the courts. The area which saw heavy fighting during the Rising between the 1st Battalion of the Irish Volunteers and British Military Forces was an area home to some of the poorest Dubliners in tenement dwellings, not far for example from the buildings which had collapsed on Church Street in 1913, killing seven. Edward Daly commanded the forces which occupied the Four Courts and surrounding areas. He would later be executed for his role in the week.


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When I look out out my window, I think three things… One is the thought that I might not be in this gaff too much longer, with the bank now owning the place and actively trying to flog it to the highest bidder, the second less depressing thought is wow, this view still amazes me, and the third, hmmm, that Farrington’s place, wonder what that’s like.

Well, I had thought the third until a couple of weeks ago when I made a brief stop in there with a couple of CHTM! comrades. I liked it so much that I persuaded DFallon to call in with me on Friday for an early evening swift one; and its the perfect place for this. While from the outside, it can be compared to the Temple Bar only a few doors down, it exudes much less a “tourist kitsch” feeling, rather an “I know we’re in Temple Bar, have to appeal to tourists but we’re much more serious than that” feeling. If you get what I mean.

My favourite thing about the pub though? They stock Brewdog, and in particular 5AM Saint, an absolutely beautiful Red Ale, the kind of drink that you feel a little bit guilty about paying over the odds for but when you taste it, you know its worth it! They also stock a wide selection of Brewdog’s other bottled creations, Trashy Blonde, Punk IPA and Zeitgeist included, and the barman, who pulled up a stool beside us and had a chat, let us in on a secret… that they’ll soon be getting Punk IPA on tap, only the second pub in Dublin to have it. So I can see myself going back.

Internally, the pup reminds me somewhat of the Mercantile or The Oak, not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, and alongside Brewdog, they’ve a wide range of Irish Craft beers, unusual for a Temple Bar pub, where the staple is four Guinness taps in a row and Diageo branding all over the place, catering to tourists crying out for “a drop of the black stuff.” I went for the 5AM Saint, and tried another beer that they had on special, I think it was O’Hara’s, smoked golden ale (or something to that effect,) and at €5, it compares well with spening around €4.80 on a mainstream lager in any of the pubs around the place.

Its definitely a place I can see myself dropping into the odd time, a nice little spot for one or two pints and a look out the window on a rainy day. The bar was spotless and well run, empty glasses dispensed with as soon as we had fresh pints in front of us (a pet hate of mine is a bar the pulls the glass as soon as you’ve finished it,) the barstaff were spot on, for a pub in TB, it had locals, who all seemed friendly enough, oh and they do food too. I’ll drop in later on in the week to see if they’ve fulfilled their promise regarding Punk IPA, and if so, I’ll bang up a comment here.

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A bit later than normal getting this up, but just to flag that the new Look Left is in stores now…

Look Left

LookLeft 9 – only €2 – includes;

Reports on student protests, Occupy Dame Street, turf wars in Kildare, AFA action against Nick Griffin, defending health services, the community fight against drugs, Occupy Wall Street, the sex industry, doctors in El Salvador, Ship to Gaza, turmoil in Egypt, the Greek Communist Party , Belfast’s Fresh Claim Café, WP Northern Ireland conference

Interviews with PUP leader Billy Hutchinson, America Radical Fred Magdoff, Rapper Captain Moonlight

Main Feature; Ireland’ addiction to low corporation tax and Corporate Imperialism

Features; Occupy – where to now, Revolution in Cork City FC, Friedrich Engels on Ireland, Irish Graphic Novels, book reviews, the Jemmy Hope Column and Around the Left (news from progressive organisations)

Views; WP President Mick Finnegan on Budget 2012, Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy on the need for an EU referendum


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Reviews a week after a gig don’t generally make sense so I’m sorry. My excuse here is that a gig it took me two days to get over and then a further three days to get my act together and get the pictures up online whilst struggling to get coherent words together to get out into the blogosphere MUST have been good. That, and the fact that I haven’t written a review or well… anything on here in ages. (Again, my apologies.)

The legend that is Bik McFarlane

Probably Dublin’s worst kept secret started doing the rounds last week after it was announced  Brendan “Bik” McFarlane was to play his first gig in Dublin. The secret being that Damien Dempsey was to share the stage with him in a fundraiser for the Preda foundation, an organisation whose purpose is the ” promotion and protection of the dignity and the Human Rights of the Filipino people, especially of women and children.” Initially to be held out in the Setanta Club in Ballymun, due to circumstances  beyond the organisers control it was moved to Cassidy’s on Westmoreland Street in what I think may have been the first gig downstairs since its recent re-opening. DFallon has spoken of Cassidy’s highly on here before and I love the place so much its starting to vie with Brogan’s for my local, and thats saying something.


And what a night it turned out to be. There was nobody stealing the limelight at this gig, both of the lads more than willing to chat to the seventy or so people who paid in, mingling with the crowd and sharing the mic. There was definitely no headliner and no support, each of the lads equally supporting the other – Bik got up, then Damo, then Bik, the two of them, Damo again before it became a bit of a free for all. Cassidy’s was the perfect venue for the gig; no stage, no queue for the bar and an appreciative audience.


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LookLeft – in Easons countrywide and good independent bookshops and newsagents

In the latest issue of LookLeft, your truly has report from the Peter Daly commemoration and a piece on Garry O’Neill’s Where Were You? while Master Fallon has an article on Ultra culture in the League of Ireland.


Can trade unions lead a fight back?
Paul Dillon examines the strategic choices which face the trade union movement North and South

LookLeft looks at how class defines health outcomes

NAMA: So why was it created?
Nama plays no constructive economic role so why was it created asks Conor McCabe

The importance of politics
Historian Brian Hanley takes a look at the life of socialist-republican George Gilmore

ESB – ‘It’s Your energy…for now”

Slaves and Slavery
– William Wall looks at the economics underpinning the Magdalene Laundries

Tom Redmond on Left Unity

Reports from Bodenstown

Tomás MacGiolla – An enduring legacy

Fighting austerity in the Banana Republic of Italy

An Uncertain Future – the Arab Spring

A toxic Triangle– Gavan Titley examines the media’s role in the growth of Islamophobia.

Saving the Euro and the cowardice of Social Democracy – Influential Greek economist, Yanis Varoufakis,

Interview with the authors of White Riot and history of Punk


Three pages News from working class communities and the left

Five pages of Reviews

The Jemmy Hope Column

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Strolling around Hodges & Figgis yesterday a couple of new Dublin related books caught me eye, the first I’ve seen for the Christmas market

Dublin 1911 edited by Catriona Crowe (Royal Irish Academy) €20.00 RRP

The book will start in January 1911 with the New Year newspapers and work through the year’s events to explore themes such as poverty, health, the flight to the suburbs, leisure and transport. The Royal Irish Academy are working with the National Archives to produce a book which wil give people a chance through rich illustration, fold-out census reports and previously unpublished photographs to experience the Dublin of 1911.

Dublin 1911 - Catriona Crowe

Victorian Dublin Revealed: The Remarkable Legacy of Nineteenth-Century Dublin by Michael B. Barry (Andalus Press) €28.50 RRP

This is Dublin as you have never seen it. The surprising wealth of Victorian buildings throughout the city, including those hidden from the public gaze, is revealed here. Skilfully interwoven with these illustrations is the story of that important many-faceted era, being the formative years in which were created the foundations of the modern city. Written in a highly readable style, this entertaining book is essential for those who wish to explore the intriguing history and heritage of Victorian Dublin.

Victorian Dublin Revealed: The Remarkable Legacy of Nineteenth-Century Dublin - Michael B. Barry

Memories of Baggotonia: Bohemian Dublin from Wilde and Joyce to Beckett and Behan* by Brendan Lynch (The Liffey Press) €19.95 RRP (* Seems to be another version known as Prodigals and Geniuses: The Writers and Artists of Dublin’s Baggotonia)

Memories of Baggotonia: Bohemian Dublin from Wilde and Joyce to Beckett and Behan - Brendan Lynch

For online shoppers, you can get the three for €64.05 (with free delivery) on Books Depository or for €79.62 (includes delivery) with Amazon. A tidy saving of €15.57 for going with the former.

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Rabble (Issue 1) out now

a disorderly crowd; a mob : “he was met by a rabble of noisy, angry youths.”
• ( the rabble) ordinary people, esp. when regarded as socially inferior or uncouth.

Last weekend, the poor unsuspecting population of our fair city were greeted with a new agit-prop free magazine Rabble. Think The Slate meets Red Pepper with a dash of Mad Magazine.

5,000 copies were printed and over half, in a very short period of time, were distributed right around the city – cafes, pubs, dole queues and shops.

Rabble’s manifesto (call to arms!) is loud and clear:

Those behind this effort know each other from alternative media and street mobilisations, from raves, gigs and the football terraces, or by just living in the village that is Dublin. We range from people raising their families in the city, to community and political activists, to artists, messers and mischief-makers.
With this paper we will  do something more than join the ad rags and mouthpieces for power that comprise most of the city’s freebies. We want to draw stories from the harsh realities of the city and sketch paths towards building Dublin as we’d prefer it. Consider this an effort to breathe new life into journalism in the city, as well as a space for emerging writers. Down the line, expect original story-telling and explorations of the boundaries between photography, new fiction, journalism and art.

rabble stands within, and with, Dublin as it struggles from below against the ghost of the Celtic Tiger and the state it left us in. We support those who fight with a new world in their hearts and encourage those who create cultures that seed hope in bleak times. Try to imagine a newspaper acting like a melting pot of connections, not just between emergent cultural scenes and everyday life, but also between social movements and power structures.

Yours truly has an interview with Garry O’Neill (author of the upcoming Where Were You? – photographic history of Dublin youth culture) on page three, which can be read here.

Find a copy of the newspaper in real life.

Write for us.

Comment on any of the articles.

Give us money.

Like us on Facebook.


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I don’t have much to say about the accompanying pictures except anyone I’ve taken into DiFontaines on Parliament Street (and there have been quite a few, I’m pretty much in love with the place) has left there feeling like they’ve just eaten the best pizza in the city. And they’d be right in feeling so.

The connection with Fun Lovin' Criminals still remains obviously!

Once found attached to the legendary (I’m not sure whether legendary good way or legendary bad way,) Eamonn Doran’s, it was subject to many drunken visits post now sadly defunct “CHTM’s Crew Friday Nights.” Anyways, €4 for any slice of Pizza in the awesome new spot, go for the sausage/ pepperoni/ ham, it will leave you salivating at the thought of more!

Where I go for my post Casa Rebelde / Brogan's eats!

And yes, it is better than Ray’s Pizza.

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Casa Rebelde, (Rebellious House or Tí éirí amach if you are so inclined) opens its doors this week. For those who haven’t been awaiting it as eagerly as us here, Casa Rebelde is a clothing shop with a difference, and the brainchild of a good comrade of ours. The tagline in Casa’s logo sums it’s philosophy up: “Clothing for the discerning football fan and revolutionary,” and while the shop will mainly stock t-shirts, jerseys and accessories, it’s message is intended to run deeper.


Casa are bringing over clothing ranges from St. Pauli, Copa Football, Goal Soul, PG Wear, Partisano and Fire and Flames as well as printing their own range of t-shirts. Designs include a cracker depicting John Giles in his heyday and Alf Ramsey’s quote, “As I look at all the talent and character at my disposal today, my one regret is that John Giles wasn’t born an Englishman” and one of Paul McGrath featuring alongside Ché Guevara, sharing a similar silhouette.


Some more images below… Search “Casa Rebelde” on Facebook for more full details and information on new products as they come in.


T- Shirts stocked include some designs from the collections below:

Look out

According to Dixie from Casa Rebelde, “We are Ireland’s only store selling solely Football and Political t-shirts, t-shirts that have never been sold on these shores before. Who says sport and politics don’t mix? Here is the proof that they do and do so stylishly.” He really seems to be going about it the right way, getting in some cracking designs from PG Wear embracing the “Against Modern Football” idea and pasting images of football mixed with those of revolution and civil diseobedience on the walls…

The shop

 Also hoping to stock merch from LOI fan groups, limited shelf space will be made available; for those interested, mail casarebelde@gmail.com .


I’ll get some pictures of the finished shop this evening… I really can’t wait to start spending money I don’t have! Casa Rebelde can be found at 6 Sprangers Yard in Temple Bar- Its the laneway parrallel to Central Bank, where the back door of the Foggy Dew is…

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This June weather is great isn’t it? Hail, wind, then sunshine, then rain, some thunder and then sunshine again. Such was yesterday in Dublin. Hail in Swords, but to be fair, the City Centre wasn’t too bad and myself and the DFallon lad went for a leisurely stroll and took in grub and a few pints.

Boojum, for anyone who hasn’t yet sampled their delights, is quite simply the business and is becoming my favourite spot for a Saturday morning hungover burrito for breakfast. Located in Mick Wallace’s “Italian Quarter,” you can’t go too far wrong at €6 for an absolutely packed burrito with shredded beef, pinto beans, rice, salsa, guacamole and cheese. Throw in a bottle of beer and you’re laughing. I strongly advise people to give it a go.

Burritos for breakfast

Crossing the Millennium Bridge I spotted the below, a great, simple piece that I’d love to see more of in the city. The glut of bloody ugly buildings with boring facades that popped up over the last two decades could do with a bit of brightening up.


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