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)


Recently, I was giving a tour of the city to visitors who were as horrified/distraught/confused by the Spire as we all were in 2003. It dominates the street, and it’s frankly impossible to discuss Daniel O’ Connell, the legacy of the 1913 lockout or anything else until you address it.

The questions begin.

“What’s it supposed to represent?”

I explained its official title is An Túr Solas, or Monument of Light, and it is supposed to represent our rise to prosperity, and capture the spirit of modern Ireland.

“Hmmm, I suppose Neil Young should swing by” she noted.

Confused, I asked why.

“Perhaps a performance of the Needle and the Damage Done?”

Genius. You have to love people….

We popped down to Whelan’s last night for the Ones to Watch 2011 Festival.

Five quid on the door, you get a free pint of piss (Heineken) for your efforts, but you’re not there for that in fairness. The line up was stellar. We went along mainly to check out the excellent Hunter-Gatherer, but Toby Kaar was undoubtedly the find of the night. County Cork electronica had the room upstairs dancing away.

Bread by TobyKaar

Were I not working early in the morning (very early in the morning), I’d be there again tonight. Get on it.

Whelans Main Room (Doors – 7:30pm)
Shouting At Planes
Grand Pocket Orchestra
Miracle Bell

Whelans Upstairs (Doors – 11.30pm)
Strait Laces
Hired Hands
Lost Chord

Whelans Upstairs (Doors – 7:30pm)
No Monster Club
Bill Coleman

Whelans Main Room (Doors – 7:30pm)
Heroes In Hiding
The Danger Is
The Casanova Wave

The Village (Doors – 7:30pm)
Planet Parade
This Club (Hoarsebox)
Cashier No 9

Mellows’ last message was delivered to Eamon Martin by a prison officer. It was written at 7.30am and ran:

To my dear comrades in Mountjoy. God bless you, boys, and give you fortitude, courage and wisdom to suffer and endure all for Ireland’s sake.

An poblacht abu!
Liam O Maoiliosa (Liam Mellows)

The above is taken from C Desmond Greaves wonderful biography of Liam Mellows, entitled Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution. Undoubtedly one of the most complex characters of the anti-treaty republican movement, I’ve always been fascinated by Mellows. A great account of what Mellows was like as a man inside Mountjoy can be found in Peadar O’ Donnell’s prison memoirs The Gates Flew Open.

Recently, I saw the letter below. It is the final letter of Liam Mellows, the letter published above in Graves biography. It comes from the personal papers of Paddy Kelly, whose father was a republican prisoner in Mountjoy at the time. Look closely at it however. There are a number of clear edits made to the letter, for example the first line, where “to my very dear comrades…” becomes “to my dear comrades”. “God bless you,” becomes “God bless you boys” and the word “and” is added at various points, replacing the & symbol.

At the end of the letter “Irish first” is added and underlined next to Liam’s name.

Were these edits made by Mellows himself, or are they an early example of spin doctoring? Was the letter edited by republicans for propaganda impact before publication? Several of the letters seem completely different to those in the original letter, yet with others it’s a little less clear.

160 Parnell Street

The Hop House on Parnell St, for some unknown reason, has been a popular haunt for lefties, radicals and fellow travelers for a number of years. There has been a public house on the premises for at least 163 years. It was first named The Rotunda Tavern and then The Shakespeare.

I’ve tried my best to give you a snapshot of the history of 160 Parnell Street (formally Great Britain Street).

Thanks to Shaneew147 for looking up Thoms directory:

1948 – P. O’Shea, Shakespeare Bar
1938 – A.T. Duffy, wine and spirit merchant
1927 – Michl. Hayes, wine and spirit merchant
1914 – Mrs. Potter, grocer & wine merchant.
1894 – Sarah Daly, grocer. & wine merchant.
1884 – Andrew Daly, grocer & wine merchant
1879 – Sarah Ward, spirit merchant
1872 – John Ward, spirit merchant
1863 – John Ward, spirit merchant
1852 – John Ward, Rotunda Tavern
1848 – Daniel Shelly, vintner

The first newspaper reference I’ve found is from 1917 and shows the bar up for sale:

May 21, 1917. The Irish Independent

In 1921, Edward Bullock was up in court for selling whiskey, which he said was, ‘watered by mistake’:

August 27, 1921. The Irish Independent.

In 1923, The Freeman’s Journal reports that the proprietress was fined £10 for having customers in the bar at 10:20pm:

Jan 27, 1923. The Freeman's Journal.

In 1925, The Shakespeare is put for auction:

12 June 1925. The Irish Times.

In 1971, The Irish Independent gave an interesting description of the pub:

Jan 16, 1971. The Irish Independent.

Jan 16, 1971. The Irish Independent.


Also from 1971, this old advertisement which was found by DFallon:

An tÓglach, Summer 1971 (DFallon)

Two snaps from 1974, in the aftermath of the loyalist bombing.

The Shakespeare, 1974.

Another image of the pub in the 20th century.

”]”]The Hop House (with old Shakespeare sign) in 2010:


The Hop House/The Shakespeare. 2010 (Photo - JayCarax)

How wonderfully bizarre.

Robert Briscoe (1894 –1969), former IRA member, Fianna Fail politician and first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, stars as  the special guest on the U.S. game show What’s My Line? in March 1958.

There’s a pretty interesting discussion on the Dublin Theatre Festival towards the end.

The Save 16 Moore Street Committee are pleased to announce that Dublin City Councillors voted by a majority to request the Minister of the Environment John Gormley to extend National Monument designation to the entire Moore Street terrace Nos 10 – 25 . The motion was prepared by Save 16 and proposed by Cllr Niall Ring IND,Cieran Perry IND and Dermot Lacey, Labour.

Patrick Cooney: PRO Save 16 Moore Street Committee

Only Minister John Gormley can make the call, you can email him at: john.gormley@oireachtas.ie

James Connolly Heron speaking at the launch of a plaque to the Connolly siblings of the ICA and Molly O’ Reilly last year. His speech focused on the campaign to save 16 Moore Street.

Heinkel III German bomber.

An unusual one this, a piece from the wreckage of a Heinkel III German bomber. The Heinkel’s were the mainstay of the German bomber squadrons during the Blitz and several crash landed in the Irish Free State, resulting in their crews being interned in the Curragh. Some German bombers did not survive such crashes, and a number of men found their final resting place in the German war cemetery in Glencree.

This piece was salvaged in 1944 at Baldonnell Airdrome by a young Irish army officer and remains in the possession of his family. It was loaned to my father for a project he is working on, in relation to the 70th anniversary of the Belfast Blitz in April.

The piece comes from the planes fuselage and has markings which indicate that it was part of the housing of one of the planes M.G 15 machine guns.

German Kampfgeschwader (A unit of the Luftwaffe) flying out of airfields in France and the low countries carried out the raids over southern and western England and Ireland. The attacks on Belfast on April 15 and May 5 inflicted huge casualties and according to Luftwaffe records involved up to 180 aircraft. Dublin was bombed too, not just at North Strand but also at Dolphin’s Barn and the South Circular Road. More information on the the lesser known Dolphin’s Barn and South Circular Road bombings can be found in Eoin C. Bairéad’s The Bombing of Dolphin’s Barn, Dublin, 1941. This work has only just been released as part of the Maynooth Studies in Local History series.

Continue Reading »

Dublin City Council have launched a new digital collection called Vanishing Dublin which show ‘features of Dublin that have disappeared or changed utterly during the second half of the twentieth century’.

Some of the change is welcome. Few will miss the deprivation of the tenements. Other images are portals into our civic past – we can imagine the workers from Stoneybatter harrying through Thundercut Alley on their way to work at Smithfield or children rummaging for ‘hidden treasure’ through the debris of George’s Pocket.

The photos also tell stories of communities now dispersed. The residents of the Gloucester Diamond and Chamber Street saw their communities transformed. What remains of where they lived is digitally preserved here for them and their descendants.

The gallery depicts a ‘vanishing’ rather than a ‘vanished’ Dublin – one that persists in the memories of those who walked its streets, worked in its shops, drank and sang in its pubs, and called it ‘home’.


Scriven's Alley Racquets Court, John's Lane East, Wood Quay (1950)

Merchants's Arch (1974)

Greene's Bookshop, Clare Street (1971)

Parnell Street (1987)

Golden oldies.

I got these over Christmas and have yet to work out which ones aren’t online and which I should scan up. I’ve been working on getting the Mellows pamphlet up, which offers a very interesting take on one of the most complex characters of the period in question. They’re all quite interesting. Great work has been done by the folks at Dublin Opinion and Cedar Lounge Revolution among others in getting important historical left wing documents online.

They are, of course, far more likely to appeal to social historians than graphic designers!

Workers Republic. Autumn 1969. No.25
(League for a Workers Republic)

Continue Reading »

This Is Not A Love Song

Playlist – Nouvelle Vague by Itubaina Radio Retro

My first ‘ticketmaster.ie gig’ (basically any gig that involves paying for it before arriving at the venue door) of the year is an exciting one. Nouvelle Vague are a truly exciting act, taking on new wave, punk and classic indie tracks with vigour, even reworking The Specials in a way that didn’t make purists like me cringe (If that’s what you’re looking for, I suggest Lily Allen and Blank Expression).

Debut album Nouvelle Vague is a tribute to new wave period classics, and in this house is played to bits. Bande à Part and 3 broadened the scope, with everyone from Echo and the Bunnymen to Soft Cell getting the honour of a Nouvelle Vague reworking.

They roll into town on the 21st, a Friday night (Saturday morning) affair at Tripod . Incredibly, I’ve yet to see them in Dublin.

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