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Dublin After the Rare Oul Times
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Dublin After the Rare Oul Times

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A social and cultural commentary on my recent visit to Dublin

A social and cultural commentary on my recent visit to Dublin

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  • 1. Dublin After the Rare Oul Times A cultural commentary on a visit to Dublin by The Irish Blogman in October 2009 Soundtrack is Mick Fitzgerald’s song, October, from his recent album, Damage Limitation (Pecha Kucha-style presentation -20 slides with text)
  • 2. There were signs of recession in Dublin: bookshops, record stores, cafes, even pubs had shut down. There were a few vacant shops on Grafton Street, including a black hole where the Thomas Cooke travel agency was. Very fitting, since the company perpetrated a dark, dirty and abrupt closure process on its workers in August. Some changes might be classed as improvements. The window of this former wine shop in Temple Bar was being used for an art display by participants in RADE -Recovery Through Arts/Drama/Education (www.rade.ie)
  • 3. Not far away from the RADE show, was this provocative display. The Ryan Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse had all but disappeared from the headlines in October. But some creative person/s set up this performance art piece, pasting pages from the report onto hoardings on this vacant lot . It was a somewhat obscure location. I wanted it to be more central and visible, say outside the Dail or the General Post Office
  • 4. Grafton Street is still Busker Central. This band took pole position at the top of the street near St Stephen’s Green and entertained passers-by
  • 5. Only one day of my visit to Dublin was marred by rain. I went to see the Dublinia exhibit at Christ Church which gives access to St Michael’s Tower. The sun burst forth late in the afternoon for a final flourish, as the rainclouds scurried away. That’s when I got this dramatic photograph of the northside
  • 6. Two more views from St Michael’s Tower, one to the south and one to the west
  • 7. The outside views were equally stunning
  • 8. I took a stroll around my old stomping grounds in the Liberties and the Tenters.This is one of the very old Dublin street names, harking back to a time when country and city life were closely intertwined. Around the corner is Ebenezer Terrace where I grew up. We lived in number 18 for many years and then in number 24. It was the same house but when six new houses were built some residents got new numbers. Years ago, one of the familes that lived on Cow Parlour tried to get the name changed. It was so undignified and who cared about all that oul history.... Fortunately, their revisionist effort was not successful.
  • 9. The corner of The Coombe and Pimlico is a focal point of the Liberties, one of Dublin’s oldest areas. The legendary and unique fiddler, Tommy Potts, lived on The Coombe. These streets were home to a thriving traditional music scene when I was growing up. Now the area is one node of Dublin’s new multi-cultural communities.
  • 10. The most puzzling development in the old neighborhood was the re-purposing of this building as a church. This was the site of O’Keefe’s the Knackers, a slaughter-house whose foul smell permeated the whole area. On good days, the more pleasing odors from the Guinness Brewery would overcome the putrid scents from O’Keefe’s.
  • 11. My sister, brother and brother-in-law are members of Kilcock Golf Club in Co Kildare. It was at its best on this beautiful autumn day while they golfed and I walked
  • 12. Ranelagh is one of the most desirable areas of Dublin. It’s within walking distance of the city center. But then, almost all of Dublin’s central area is eminently walkable. I walked everyday or took a bus or the Luas --known to many Dubliners as the Daniel Day. The citizens are still adjusting to the Luas street cars. There have been a number of accidents with pedestrians, cars and even with buses
  • 13. The signature Luas bridge in Dundrum.
  • 14. The cafe at the National Gallery, one of my favorite places to visit and hang out in Dublin
  • 15. St Stephens Green is Dublin’s Central Park. It’s an oasis of cultivated calm surrounded by city bustle. Poet Paula Meehan’s new book of poetry, Painting Rain, has a fine sequence of poems about the sycamores in the Green.
  • 16. Dublin is a friendly place still although an increasing number of people choose to cut themselves off from the city experience. Driving when they could be walking, Texting when they could be talking, Living out their desperation, Locked in I-Pod isolation. That cohort of marooned individuals included Roddy Doyle, who I spotted one day marching along College Green with the tell-tale white earbuds. Was he just taking a break from soaking up the urban ambience? If Emile Durkheim was still around, he might offer this new term for alienation: I-nomie, A form of self-imposed, social disengagement from the essentially cooperative pact that underlies city living. These folks are, in a word, I-blivious.
  • 17. A new form of transportation was recently introduced in Dublin: bicycles that can be rented and returned at various locations for travel around the city. It has been well received by locals and tourists although there were reports that some bikes had already been stolen. Only a few Irish people have returned to working in the service industries. Most restaurants and cafes are still staffed by non-nationals. One French- style restaurant where I had an excellent -and very reasonably priced- dinner was staffed by non-Irish but the chef was a solid Irishman, from the midlands
  • 18. Something was lost in translation in the window of this sports bar
  • 19. Pecha Kucha takes its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat“. It is a presentation format based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds of commentary. Dublin’s Third Pecha Kucha night was held recently
  • 20. Thanks for lending your eyes. Go raibh mile maith agaibh!