Joe Higgins Bingo.

There’s an election on the way. You might have heard that.

Expecting to see plenty of Joe Higgins on the television, a friend from the
Red Writers blog has created Joe Higgins Bingo, or a potentially very dangerous drinking game for those on the left.

Here are some Higgins catch phrases you should listen out for. Get a kebab in (he’s up against a Lenihan, by chance….), a few bottles of red lemonade and enjoy.

Stand Down Cowen

Dublin’s hardest working ska/reggae band The Bionic Rats re-work The Beat’s classic Stand Down Margaret.


TODAY MARKS the newest chapter in the storied history of Dublin’s oldest surviving charity. The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society is probably also the one with the oddest name.

Today the society – which was established in 1790 – is moving up in the world, sort of, as it changes location from 34 Lower to 74 Upper Leeson Street.

In reality, the change, which moves them farther from the city centre, is necessary for the organisation’s survival. Put simply, it can no longer afford the rent during a time when donations are scarcer and requests for help more frequent.

So yesterday, paintings came down, mementos were taken off the shelves and hundreds of years of Dublin city’s history was packed into boxes to be moved to a new home across the Grand Canal. – The Irish Times

We learn today that the The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society is moving address once again. Before Leeson Street, they were based on Palace Street (Dublin’s shortest street with only two addresses) from 1855 to 1992. Here they left one of Dublin’s best loved Ghost Signs.

This is a jeu d’esprit, a fusion of the real, the fantastic and the legendary, by a writer of amazing technical virtuosity.

So began the 1939 review of Brian O’Nolan’s classic At Swim Two Birds inside The Irish Times, a paper he was all too familiar with one could say. The reviews latter assertion that “it is quite impossible to give an accurate idea of the contents of the work” is something that will resonate with many!

In it’s first six months, a mere 244 copies of the work were sold. The warehouse of Longman’s, the works publisher, were destroyed by a German bombing during the second World War and that, for a period, marked the death of At Swim Two Birds.

My favourite of the authors works, Blue Raincoat are staging a production of At Swim Two Birds in the Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar.An excellent review of the companies production can be found at the site of the Irish Theatre Magazine, written by Patrick Lonergan of NUI Galway.

At Swim Two Birds is a genuine celebration of the theatrical: it sent me back to the original novel – but it also left me waiting impatiently for an opportunity to go and see the play again.

The play will run from February 22 to March 5, and tickets are available from the Project Arts Centre online.

A pint in The Palace and a trip to the theatre is in order.

100 exciting things…

… you didn’t know about the city centre!

Thanks to Eif C for sharing.

Lots of familiar places: Hop House, Mary Abbey, Freemasons Hall and Sunlight Chambers.

Lots of new ones: Wittgenstein plaque, Old Burton Building and Blessington Basin.

Great idea. View it better here. Props to Designing Dublin

Anyone else found this in their inbox? Living in a city where the letters IMF are humorously said to stand for ‘Imposing Misery Forever’, to find they want to give you OVER HALF A MILLION QUID for nothing is a nice start to the day. I forwarded it to brian@deptoffinance.ie.

Incredibly, this comes on the same day as my winning of the Nigerian Lottery, despite never purchasing a ticket.


We are pleased to inform you that Unclaimed Funds Reconciliation Committee newly setup by the International Banks for reconciliation and development (World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) based on series of petitions we received from international bodies such as cooperate bodies and non governmental organization (NGO) on the inability of some government of different countries in the world, commercial banks and world lottery organization to settle their clients contract debt, inheritance and winning prize fund.

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While historically, and perhaps understandably, The Abbey Theatre takes centre stage in this city, mainly because of it’s connections with Synge, Yeats and O’Casey and their associations with the 1916 Rebellion, its sometimes easy to forget that there are, and were a plethora of other theatres, not only The Gaiety, The Olympia, The Gate, but a long list of many more.
I came across the picture below, of a building on the corner of Poolbeg Street and Hawkins’ Street with a stone columned pallisade and cast iron and glass canopy while flicking through the excellent dublin.ie forum recently. It started me thinking about the recent publishing by the Dublin City Council of images of Dublin’s vanishing and forgotten features (see JayCarax’s piece on that here ) and about actually how much of this city has been erased. Streets, buildings and sites of archaeological significance were destroyed; eradicated in the name of progress without thought of their value, socially and historically, to future generations.

The Theatre Royal Hippodrome, Credit to Cosmo on dublin.ie for the picture

One such building is the Theatre Royale Hippodrome/ Winter Gardens on Hawkins’ Street. The only reason I know of its existence is because of a flash of interest when I first saw the picture above, did a quick search and found the poster below. Dating from 1919, these were turbulent times in Dublin. The Declaration of Independence was declared at the 21st January assembly of Dáil Eireann, and hostilities in the War of Independence began on the same day with Dan Breen and Seán Treacy’s attack on two RIC constables who were escorting explosives in Soloheadbeag, Co. Tipperary.

The Evening Telegraph front page, from the morning of January 22nd, 1919

There is not too much information on the Theatre Royal Hippodrome available. It is known that there were four in existence; the first was on the site of the still running “Smock Alley” theatre, the second on Hawkins Street, (the site of the image above,) where it ran until it burned to the ground in 1880. This theatre re-opened in 1897 with a capacity of 2, 300 (compare this to the Olympia, which nowadays holds 1, 100) and ran until 1934 when it was demolished and replaced by the fourth theatre which opened in 1935 and ran until 1962. The picture is estimated to be from around 1906/ 07, which suggests it is from the third incarnation of the Theatre.

Poster for the Theatre Royal Hippodrome for 16th June 1919, credit to Matthew from http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk for permission to reproduce here.

Two events stood out for me in reading about the theatre. The first was Charlie Chaplin’s appearance here as a young man in 1906 as part of an act called The Eight Lancashire Lads (1.) The second was the attempted assassination of British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith here on July 19th 1912, not by Irish Revolutionaries but by militant English Suffragettes (2.) Their first attempt involved a hatchet thrown at him by one woman as his carriage passed the GPO on O’Connell Street. While it missed him, she did succeed in striking John Redmond, the nationalist leader. The second involved three women who attempted to set fire to the Theatre as Asquith was about to speak.

The Irish Times report stated:

Sergeant Cooper, accompanied by his wife and Colour-Sergeant and Mrs Shea, was sitting in the dress circle of the theatre. About a quarter to nine, when the performance had concluded and the people were going out, he saw a flame in the back seat, just in front of the cinematograph box.

With the presence of mind that one should expect in a soldier, he rushed to the place, and found that the carpet was saturated with oil and ablaze. He and Colour-Sergeant Shea beat the fire out with their mackintoshes. Just as they had succeeded in this, under the seat there was an explosion, which filled the dress circle with smoke.

At this moment Sergeant Cooper saw a young woman standing near. She was lighting matches. Opening the door of the cinematograph box, she threw in a lighted match, and then tried to escape. But she was caught by Sergeant Cooper and held by him. She is stated to have then said: “There will be a few more explosions in the second house. This is only the start of it.”

From the Irish Times archive.

From the posters, I get the feeling that the Theatre was the anti- thesis of the Abbey which stood a mere 100 yards away as the crow flies, albeit the other side of the River Liffey. An advertisement which I have been unable to reproduce (but can be seen here on the arthurlloyd.co.uk website) has the adage “God Save the King”  amid advertisements for “Hammam Turkish Baths, Sackville Street” and open daily “Winter Gardens” serving “Teas, coffees and light refreshments,” delights the majority of Dubliners at that time could only dream about.

As far as I know, nothing remains of the Theatre Royal Hippodrome today. From the photograph above (and from deductions that the construction work in the background was the construction of he Sheehan Memorial on Burgh Quay,) its been worked out that the National Aviation Authority  stands on the site formerly occupied by it. There is now a housing scheme off Pearse Street named after the Winter Gardens, but searches for more information have thrown up little more than (apart from advertisements for apartments for sale and to let,) the poster above, the picture of the Hippodrome, the Irish Times article and a brief history of the theatre in a book called “Dear, Dirty Dublin: A City in Distress.” Published in 1982, this book has a great paragraph on the Gaelic Leagues denunciation of the demise of Irish culture as a product of the hegemony of imported English popular culture. While in the early twentieth century, the Abbey Theatre put paid to the notion that Irish culture was condemned to obsucurity, the book also has a great quote from Padraig Pearse as he proclaimed the Dublin of his day held:

Nothing but Guinness porter. Her contribution to the world’s civilisation (3.)

Due in part to some of the works that have made their debuts in The Abbey Theatre, Dublin has proven itself to have contributed more than just Guinness porter to the world. Who knows how much more we could have contributed if sites of historical and cultural relevence such as the Theatre Royal and the Viking Settlement at Wood Quay not half a mile down the same side of the river weren’t trampled on and replaced by drab, dour, and most importantly “conventional” buildings.


(1.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_Royal,_Dublin

(2.) http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0719/1224275016332.html

(3.) Dear, Dirty Dublin: A City in Distress by Joseph V. O’Brien, Page 23. Can be read here.

Jonathan Swift: unlikely to appear in Fade Street.

Finished the exams (YES!) for a few hours now, and I decided to mark it by picking up a book from the library that I wasn’t actually obliged to read. Post exams, reading is actually a pleasure again. I went with a work from the Civic Trust, as they’re among my favourite Dubliners. I’ve always loved the irony in their offices being located so close to the Wood Quay monstrosity.

They’ve published some excellent studies of individual Dublin streets, looking at the development of the street and the factors that make them unique, with a particular focus on architecture. I ran with the Thomas Street edition,my great-grandmother was from Cornmarket and I’ve long been fascinated by the Liberties.

The information provided on Number 34 Thomas Street was particularly interesting:

The site of Frawleys is also significant, as it was formerly owned by the Quaker, Joseph Fade. Fade established himself in business on the site around 1715, and rapidly became one of the city’s most important bankers, having two streets named after him: Joseph Lane, which has subsequently been demolished and Fade Street, both off South Great George’s Street.

The book noted that Fade had been mentioned in some of the poetry of Jonathan Swift, and a look around revealed one example quite quickly. Within Will Wood’s Petition To The People Of Ireland (1725) there is mention to Fade and another famous Dublin banker of the day.

You will be my thankers,
I’ll make you my bankers,
As good as Ben Burton or Fade
For nothing shall pass
But my pretty brass,
And then you’ll be all of a trade.

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Toy Soldiers.

I always loved these, in fact they’re undoubtedly my favourite Christmas present ever received. Put somewhere too safe, one would always be missing. Now they’ve pride of place on the mantlepiece. The detail in the Starry Plough flag is incredible. I used to love being taken to model shops where alongside the endless trains and cars, you’d always find the British regiments of the Crimean war or the 6th Airborne Division complete with a miniature Pegasus Bridge, but never see Irish history in miniature and painted form!

Anyone have anything similar? I often wonder just what would have been produced in 1966 for example. Got anything to share?

Rumours abound on Boards.ie that Kennedy’s, a fantastic little pub, on George’s Quay has closed down.

Another victim of the recession? Can anyone shed any light?

Update: J. Kennedy’s Facebook page states that the bar is only closed for repairs.

Pictured in 2009. Credit - JeffHanway

New tourist trail for Dublin

A TOURISM trail which will stretch from the gates of Trinity College to Kilmainham Jail and has been called the “golden mile” is being developed by Fáilte Ireland.

The trail will take in some of Dublin’s best known landmarks, including Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse creating an east-west trail which it is hoped will be a major attraction for visitors to the capital.

The trail is being developed in conjunction with Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works and the Dublin Civic Trust and plans are due to go to the Fáilte Ireland board for approval imminently.

It is envisaged that the trail will employ full-time guides and amateur performers depicting historical scenes from events such as the hanging of Robert Emmet in Thomas Street, the site of which is another landmark on the proposed trail. – The Irish Times

We’ve already touched on James Connolly’s 1902 Yiddish election leaflet before. Below is the translated version copied from Saothar 13. Also worth reading in the issue is Manus O’Riordan’s excellent article entitled ‘Connolly Socialism and the Jewish Worker’.

The following is the 1902 Yiddish leaflet authored by Boris Kahan, Secretary of the East London Jewish branch of the SDF, as translated for Saothar bu Sid Resnick, of the US Yiddish Communist newspaper, Morning Freiheit, on 12 May, 1987, the 71st anniversary of Connolly’s execution.


On 15th January, the Municipal elections will take place and you are asked to consider for whom to cast your vote. But, before your reach your decision we, Jewish Social Democrats, wish to say a few words.

There are three candidates on the list for the Wood Quay Ward: you have here a Home Ruler, another a publican, and one labour candidate of the Irish Socialist Republican Party, James Connolly, who is supported by the Dublin United Labourers Union.

For which of the candidates will you vote on 15th January? For the Home Ruler, the candidate of the bourgeoise?

No, you cannot and you ought not do that! It is the bourgeoise which always has the bag of gold before its eyes. Everything that stands in its way, everything that does not agree with its gut interests it tramples underfoot no matter how sacred that may be. It is the bourgeoise that arouses race hatered, incites one people against another and casuses war. The bourgeoisie is the cause of Anti – Semitism; with its press it provokes hatered of the Jew and seeks to throw the blame for everything upon the Jew in order to deceive the people and conceal its sins against its own people.

No, you cannot vote for the Home Ruler, the candidate of the bourgeoisie! The Home Rulers speak out against the English capitalists and the English landlords because they want to seize their places so that they themselves can oppress and exploit the people. No mater how nicely and well the Home Rulers talk or how much as friends of man they seek to appear or how much they shout about oppressed Ireland – they are capitalists. In their own homes they can show their true colours and cast off their revolutionary democratic disguise and torment and choke the poor as much as they can. And you, Jews, what assurance do you have that one fine day they will not turn on you?

You ought to vote for the Socialist candidate and only for the Socialist candidate. The Socialists are the only ones who stand always and everywhere against every national oppression. It is the socialists who went out onto the streets of Paris against the wild band of anti-Semites at the time of the Dreyfus case. In Austria and Germany they conduct a steady struggle against anti – Semitism. And in England , too, the Socialists fight against the reactionary elements who want to shut the doors of England against the poorer jews who were driven to seek a refuge in strange land by the Russian government’s brutality and despotism.

The Socialist candidate is the only one for whom you ought to cast your vote.

In conclusion, a few words to you, Jewish workers of Dublin. Upon you rests the obligation to support the Socialist candidates as much as you can. The aims of the Irish Socialist Republican Party ought to be close to you. These are your own interests, the interests for which every knowledgeable worker must fight. These are the objectives for which every worker must strive. What does this party want? It wishes to abolish that system of private ownership under which the working class is condemned to labour, to create the wealth of the world and enjoy for itself absolutely nothing It wishes to construct a system in which the worker shall have the right to benefit from his labour and live a free, happy and enlightened life without bosses and rulers over his body and soul.

Jewish workers! No matter how small your numbers as you can achieve much. Do your duty and work earnestly had in hand with your Irish brothers. Canvass for votes, vote yourself and persuade others to vote on the 15th of January for the Socialist candidate, James Connolly.

With Socialist greetings,
The East London Jewish Branch of the
Social Democratic Federation.

You must cast your vote at the New Street School
James Connolly, 26 Fishamble Street, Dublin.

James Connolly (1902)

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