The National Museum of Ireland… No, wait a second: ‘the National Museums of Ireland’. That’s right, there’s actually four of them – at four different sites. Three of them are purpose-built; the buildings have always been museums: that’s the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street, the Archaeology Museum on Kildare Street and the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co Mayo. The fourth site, Collins Barracks – which accommodates the Museum of Decorative Arts and History ̵
Whether you’re into music, theatre, art, literature, history and heritage or comedy, you’ll find some cultural happening to suit your taste.
‘Sunlight Chambers’, it says over the door of the office building on the corner of Parliament Street and Essex Quay. What a lovely name! But why is the building called that? Facing north across the Liffey, it certainly wasn’t catching many rays when Dublin.ie visited on a day in December. With its arched windows and overhanging eaves, it looks like an Italian palace, built perhaps for a cadet branch of the Medici family c1500. But hang on a second, what’s with the strange 3D decorations stuck on the walls of the first and second storeys? There’s nude babies, a donkey, a man building a boat, two men constructing an arch, a bunch of Renaissance-styl
Renata Sperandio is the director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Dublino, the Dublin branch of the Italian cultural institute. Renata, from Belluno in the Veneto region of Italy, has been in Dublin for three years. She has another three to go before her next posting. And, God bless her, she’s learning Irish – with the help of Duolingo, the well-known Irish language learning app. ‘Duolingo’s on my phone too’, says Dublin.ie. ‘It’s terrific.’ ‘Is it?’, asks Renata. ‘Well, yes it is’, I explain. Duolingo does an excellent job indeed. But it’s got its work cut out for it – because, make no mistake
Pitching itself as “the greatest story ever strolled”, the Icon Walk cracks the heart of the Irish people wide open and tie-dyes the backstreets of Temple Bar with its vibrant colours. Like spokes from a hub, the walk’s rainbow-painted laneways radiate outwards from The Icon Factory, a gallery and shop at the corner of Aston Place and Bedford Lane. Founded in 2009 by Barney Phair, this not-for-profit artists’ co-operative is run for the benefit of the many creatives that ply their wares here. These streets are an unexpected treasure trove of culture and colour, splashed across spray-p
Galia (pronounced Ga-lee-ah) Arad is just back from playing support on Marc Almond’s UK tour. Last year, she toured Ireland with Jack L. She regularly tours Europe with Jools Holland, most recently playing support for him at the 3Arena in Dublin. And she owes it all to Shane McGowan and his manager Joey Cashman, who in a strange, unexpected way set Galia’s music career in train and took her from small-time gigging in New York to centre stage at the Royal Albert Hall. Coming from a classically trained background, Galia moved to New York from her Indiana home in her early twenties to pursue a singer-songwriter career with a musical style that she calls “Bob Dylan meets
Fergus O’Neill is the graphic designer responsible for the “Feck It, Sure It’s Grand” line of products. He also created a series of prints depicting twentieth-century Dublin landmarks such as the Poolbeg electricity generating station and the monumental concrete silos, now demolished, at Boland’s Mill. He studied visual communication at Dún Laoghaire College of Art and Design, now IADT, and works from a shed in Irishtown. Keep Going, Sure It’s Grand. That could be the motto of the Irish Dublin.ie: Tell me about “Feck It, Sure It’s Grand”. It was in part based on the Brit
2017. The 350th anniversary of Jonathan Swift’s birth. Word of the year according to Collins Dictionary: ‘fake news’. But, says Swift expert Brendan Twomey, there was plenty of that about in Dublin back in the early eighteenth century. To keep Swift’s name in the papers, his printer frequently made up stories about him, his celebrity friends and their amusing escapades. Gulliver’s Travels itself is a sort of fake news; the book purports to be an account of the actual travels of an actual voyager. Also according to Collins, usage of the word ‘Swiftian’ peaked back in 1959. But don’t get the idea that Swift’s legacy is on the wan
Today we’re meeting Victor Andresco and Laura Martín, director and cultural officer respectively at the Dublin branch of the Instituto Cervantes, the international Spanish language and cultural organisation. Dublin is a place that is somehow familiar to the Spanish, Victor reckons. It’s not exotic or strange, he says – and he means that in a good way. Spanish people often send their children here to learn English, he points out. His Dublin taxi driver might very well own a holiday home in Spain. And there are other links, too. “We Spaniards feel very close to you”, he says, “s
John Lambert, aka Irish musician Chequerboard, is by his own admission, “not a megaphone person,” however his music is being heard loud and clear around the world. Chequerboard’s most popular song on Spotify, Opening the Gates, has had almost 11 million streams, a pretty phenomenal achievement for the Dublin man whose gentle atmospheric music comprises looped acoustic guitar and textured electronica. Sitting down for a chat in the coffee shop of the Chester Beatty Library, John is modest about this unexpected success and candid about the winding road to it. Chequerboard’s ambient music was born from no
Laura McGann’s documentary, Revolutions, traces the growth of roller derby in Ireland. It’s full of outspoken characters and breakneck action, and it tells the compelling story of the birth of a sport – the creation of something new – in recession-era Ireland. McGann, originally from Newbridge in Kildare, studied media at Ballyfermot College of Further Education and film at Liverpool Hope University. She returned to Ireland in 2010, when ‘a lot of things were winding down or ending’ in the country. Roller derby ‘was starting and had a really great energy about it. So, I think the timing
Just to be clear, the position of Historian in residence doesn’t come with an actual residence. ‘More’s the pity’, says Cathy Scuffil, who is the Historian in Residence for that LA-sounding bit of Dublin known as ‘South Central’. This is one of the six sectors of Dublin – each based on electoral districts – that now have their own historian. Tara Doyle of Dublin City Council runs the programme, which builds on the success of the 1916 commemorations and a surge in interest in history in general. She sums it up very simply: ‘it’s all about letting historians talk to people about history’. This doesn’t mean that it’s simple to do, however.
Dr Ruth Johnson is City Archaeologist for Dublin city and is charged with protecting, managing and investigating our oldest heritage, much of it underground. As well as conservation projects, Ruth has input to new development projects across the city and a role in policy development advocacy. We sat down for a chat to find out how she works and what’s going on across the city, under the ground, in our oldest graveyards, our buried monasteries and in half-hidden, forgotten houses. How did you first become an archaeologist Ruth? I worked on a community excavation project in Yorkshire while doing my A-levels after which I did a Primary Degree in archa