For almost 30 years, The Ark in Temple Bar has provided the children of Dublin – and Ireland – with the opportunity to experience and participate in art and culture.
Dublin.ie visited The Ark to learn more about what’s on offer for children and families today.
What The Ark Dublin is all about
The Ark is a dedicated cultural centre for children. It was the first of its kind in Europe – quite a forward-thinking facility for this little island.
It was founded after the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of The Child, which safeguards children’s right to access culture and art. The Ark “believes in every child’s
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 ̵
Sunlight Chambers: An overlooked Dublin jewel
‘Sunlight Chambers’, it says over the door of the office building at 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. And not many people were taking in the view. They were too busy watching for gaps in the traffic thundering along the quays. As a result, they missed out on one of Dublin’s architectural jewels.
What people should be doing is looking up…
With its arched windows and overhangin
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
The greatest story ever strolled
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.
Supporting street art and thwarting vandalism
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 20th century Dublin landmarks, such as the Poolbeg electricity station and the now-demolished concrete silos at Boland’s Mill. You may have seen some of his work in Dublin’s Jam Art Factory.
Fergus studied visual communication at Dún Laoghaire College of Art and Design – now IADT – and works from a shed in Irishtown. Dublin.ie sat down with him to find out more. He tells u
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
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
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.
With its rounded name and huge dome centre – befitting of a maternity hospital – The Rotunda sits in the centre of Dublin’s north inner city, closing off the top of O’Connell Street. An end, containing so many beginnings.
Surrounded by shops, theatres and the Garden of Remembrance, The Rotunda Hospital has long been at the heart of Dublin’s history. Throughout famines, protests, pandemics and revolution, it has quietly continued on with the ordinary business of life.
The Rotunda Hospital’s history and origins
Founded in 1745 by Bartholomew Mosse, The Rotunda is the oldest continuously-running maternity hospital in the world.
Dr. Ruth Johnson is Dublin’s City Archaeologist and she is charged with protecting, managing and investigating the city’s oldest heritage – much of which is underground.
As well as conservation projects, Ruth has input into new developments across the city and a role in policy development advocacy. We spoke to her about how she works and what’s going on across the city – under the ground, in our oldest graveyards and in half-hidden houses.
In conversation with Dr. Ruth Johnson
Ruth began her career working on a community excavation project in Yorkshire, while doing her A-levels. This piqued her interest in archaeology and she went on to do