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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

There’s not much left by the way of pre-boom buildings on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. Row upon row of mis-matched shining steel and glass structures tower over the few remaining Victorian warehouses and enginehouses, relics of an era when Dublin’s docks bustled with industry. One warehouse that has managed to survive, a double gabled redbrick building that sits where the Samuel Beckett bridge meets the Southside boasts two unusual and very original features.

The warehouse at 30- 32 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay was built in the 1890’s and was once home to the Dublin Tropical Fruit Company, who occupied the premises for decades. It has played host to plenty of drama in its lifetime; in the mid-thirties, a young teenager fell to his death from the roof, the sixties saw a long running strike on the premises and the eighties saw a fire come close to gutting the building. On 16th April 1950, a ship named the Abraham Lincoln arrived into Dublin bearing tonnes of bananas bound for the warehouse. When the ship made port, it was discovered that its cargo of fruit was already too ripe for sale, leading the company to refuse it and the ship’s crew to dump tonnes of black skinned bananas overboard. Alexandra basin was lined with scores of people waiting for the chance to grab any that might float ashore, whilst rowboats set out from Ringsend with the aim of getting to the booty first. Gardaí struggled to maintain order as hundreds of children tried to force entry into the basin. (Irish Press, 17/4/1950.) The building later housed offices belonging to U2 and is now home to a software company.

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Representation of Anna Livia, photo credit- Simon Conway

Anyway, to the point of the piece. Over the doors of the building, hang two recognisable figures- two granite keystones representing Anna Livia and the Atlantic, replicas of which appear elsewhere along the River Liffey. Originally sculpted by the eminent (though self-effacing as some records state!) Edward Smyth, they had once adorned the archways of Carlisle Bridge, the structure that predated what we now know as O’Connell Bridge. The bridge was remodeled in the late 1870’s and the granite keystones were removed- Carlisle Bridge having had three arches with a hump rising high above the water below, Anna Livia and Atlantic were deemed too large to fit the lower elliptical arches of the bridge. The new bridge had arches which sat much lower over the water, and the keystones would need to be replaced. They were remodeled by Charles W. Harrison and the originals sculpted by Edward Smyth somehow ended up on the facade of the warehouse on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

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Representation of The Atlantic, photo credit- Simon Conway

Smyth (1749- 1812) was a sculptor and modeler who served an apprenticeship under Simon Vierpyl (Clerk of Works  for the Casino building in Marino) and later worked for a Dublin stone cutter named Henry Darley. His work was mainly ornamental, according to the Dictionary of Irish Architects, that is until Darley recommended him to one of the leading architects working in Ireland at the time, none other than James Gandon in the early 1780’s. James Gandon being one of the most sought after architects of the time, Smyth rose to prominence under his patronage and went on to sculpt some of the most recognisable features on some of Dublin’s most famous buildings. From humble beginnings he was to become a wealthy man.

The building at Sir John Rogerson's Quay, photo credit- Simon Conway

The building at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, photo credit- Simon Conway

Looking out over College Green from the roof of the Old Parliament, stand his figures of Justice, Wisdom and Liberty. His works are dotted around the Custom House; the 14 keystones representing 14 Irish rivers on the building are his, along with the Arms of Ireland- a Lion and a Unicorn standing either side of the Irish Harp. He was also responsible for work on a number of churches throughout Dublin, ornaments, statues and coats of arms at Kings Inns and you can add his name to the debate on something we’ve looked at before- who sculpted the anthropomorphic figures playing billiards and other parlour games on the windows of The Kildare Street Club? In her “This Ireland” column in the Irish Times in March 1975, Elgy Gillespie noted that it wasn’t until the 1950’s that discovery of Smyth’s keystones on the building at Sir Rogerson’s Quay was made, quoting Harold Leask (architect responsible in part for the reconstrucion of the GPO) in the Royal Society of Antiquaries Journal on their discovery. That column, and anything I’ve read on the subject, neglects to mention how the heads managed to make their way from Carlisle Bridge and onto the facade of a building on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. Another reason why, when walking around this city, you should keep your head up because who knows what you might find!

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I was down on Charlemont Street yesterday to take some pictures of the going’s on down there, namely the tearing down of the flats, as well as Ffrench- Mullen House, named after Madeline Ffrench Mullen, the republican activist and feminist, and driving force behind the construction of nearby St. Ultan’s Hospital for Women and Infants in 1919. Ffrench- Mullen House has yet to be touched by the jaws of the machine below, but has been stripped back to a shell and it’s only a matter of time.

2charl1The demolition of the buildings is a controversial one, for while there was a planning application submitted for a regeneration and redevelopment project incorporating housing, offices and commercial units, permission has yet to be gained for all aspects of the plans.

2charl2Proximity to a main road, nearby homes and offices means the demolition is slow work, with the machine slowly munching it’s way through the roof and brickwork as seen in the images below.  Unlike yesterday, there weren’t many around watching the work, apart from a few women watching from balconies nearby. 2charl3

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2charl6Work, weather and interest permitting, I’ll try get down each evening until they’re gone.

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As reported by our good friends across at Rabble, the Charlemont Street flats started to come down this week. Tuesday saw demolition begin on Ffrench- Mullen House, designed by Michael Scott, one of the most renowned Irish architects responsible for amongst others, Busaras and the Abbey Theatre. I dropped by on my way home from work, as the day was drawing to a close and workers were beginning to down tools. Will try get along tomorrow to see how far along they’ve gotten.

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I was hanging around the site for half an hour or so. In that time, dozens of people walked around, took a look at the flats, a couple of pictures and headed off. Most of them knew each other so I’m guessing they were from the area. These lads stayed here throughout, as did the women below, who looked like they were being interviewed. One of them called a workman over and asked for a bit of the rubble, just managed to get a shot off in time.

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The last picture is of the front wall of Ffrench- Mullen House, mentioned in the intro. The poster is of course, by the good man Maser, whose work adorns the walls of the Bernard Shaw not far away.

Anyways, as I said, I’ll try get over tomorrow for another look.

 

 

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Pere-Lachaise in Paris may hold the remains of Oscar Wilde, and may be known for its beauty and grandeur, but in Dublin, we have several cemeteries to match it in splendor, and one that holds amongst many others, the remains of Wilde’s direct descendents. Mount Jerome Cemetery, like many of Dublin’s burial grounds, sits innocuously behind high stone walls in the middle of Harold’s Cross. But behind the walls lies a resting place of almost 50 acres that has seen over 300, 000 burials.

You don’t generally think of a cemetery as a place to go sightseeing, but Mount Jerome, bought by the then newly formed General Cemetery Company of Dublin in 1836 and receiving its first burial in September of that year is an example of Victorian affluence worth a look for the enormity of some of the tombs alone. Hidden Dublin by Frank Hopkins notes that while it was envisaged that the cemetery would host both protestant and catholic burials, the first catholic burial did not take place there until the 1920’s, when Glasnevin Cemetery was closed due to a strike. James Joyce mentions the exclusion in Ulysees, saying

Then Mount Jerome for the protestants. Funerals all over the world everywhere every minute. Shovelling them under by the cartload doublequick. Thousands every hour. Too many in the world.

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Imposing structures, like the Cusack family vault below can be found across the graveyard. One of the most imposing structures in the cemetery, it was built to house the remains of James William Cusack, doctor and prominent member of the Royal Dublin Society in 1861, and continues to receive the remains of his descendents, E.P.C. Cusack Jobson was the last to be buried there, as recently as 2004.

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Judging by the family crest on the door, the below vault belongs to someone by the family name of O’Shaughnessy; it stood out because instead of a family name in the centre, “per angusta, ad augusta” appears. From Latin, translated it means “through difficulty, to greatness.”

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There are various parts to the cemetery, and you can see from plot to plot how burial customs changed over time. From statement making vaults like the Cusack one, to the less grandiose, door into the side of a hill one’s like the O’Shaughnessy one. There are several paths leading down below ground level to lines of doors like the ones above and below. The graveyard is still in use, so the variation between crumbling tombstones and collapsing ground and modern twelve by four graves makes it a walk through time.

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The first post from me in a while this, and a bit of a mixed bag. The first four are from the Tivoli carpark, post-this years grafitti/ skate jam. The second two are dropped in to break up the post, the first a sign  spotted at the council offices in Rathmines, and the second, a group of workers abseiling down the side of Liberty Hall. The second lot of graf pictures is from the back of the Bernard Shaw, easily the best spot in Dublin for ever changing talent. Inside and out, the walls are covered with pieces from Dublin’s best artists, including our good friend Maser; the “Swim” piece is his, and was a work in progress at the time the below was snapped.

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It was never going to last forever; summers in Ireland rarely do, but when we had it, we had it good. The forecast suggests that we’re back to the four seasons in one day we know and love but who knows what lies around the corner; a couple of weeks down the line we might actually have blue skies that aren’t the catalyst for rucks out in Portmarnock… Here’s a few snaps I took this weekend on a couple of cycles that spanned Dublin Bay from Killiney to Howth.

bikes Starting on Sunday, a skip down the coast-road as far as Killiney. It looked like half of Dublin had the same idea as the road to Bray (our intended destination) quickly resembled something like the M50 at rush hour. Getting up and down the hill at Kiliney is hard enough at the best of times, trying to skip between Range Rovers and convertibles made it all the harder. We called it a day at the spot above and headed slowly back.

towerThe Martello Towers along the coast are something I’ve always meant to look at in depth but haven’t gotten around to in yet. Here’s a view through the trees of the one on Dalkey Island.

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I always re-iterate the fact that there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be when the sun is shining than Dublin City. So heading down to Ormond Place to check out the grafitti wall there, and seeing the skyline as it is in the image below, I couldn’t help but take the camera out for a shot. skyline Ormond Place (behind Fibber’s Rock Bar) is apparently a designated grafitti spot set up by the Dublin City Council, and there are some fantastic pieces on it. I’ve covered three other such spots, I’ll link to them at the bottom of this set. Dublin is lucky to be home to some absolutely amazing artists, and say what you like about tagging, beautiful street art brightens up a city. 026

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I opened with a moody sunshine snap, so I’ll close with a moody night-time one. O’Connell Street came to a stand-still, with the backdrop of a near full-moon peeking out from the clouds behind the Spire. 010

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Other “Writings on the wall” sets:

https://comeheretome.com/2012/11/01/the-writings-on-the-wall/

https://comeheretome.com/2012/11/07/the-writings-on-the-wall-part-ii/

https://comeheretome.com/2012/11/22/the-writings-on-the-wall-part-iii/

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