Experimental Archaeology

In a corner of University College Dublin’s suburban campus, archaeologists are building houses using thousand-year-old methods and casting bronze tools in fire pits using moulds they’ve made themselves. Brendan O’Neill, a PhD student in UCD’s School of Archaeology, has built a wooden roundhouse as part of his research. It took him about thirty days’ work over the course of ten months to complete. He wove hazel rods from a managed forest in the Irish midlands to create walls and a roof, which is topped with heather to help waterproof the structure. Inside the house, there’s a surprising amount of space. A central fireplace surrounded by stones is unlit. O’Neil

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Science in the City

A couple of weeks ago, astronomers at the Alma telescope in Chile discovered a supermassive black hole near the centre of the Milky Way. It is said to be one hundred thousand times more massive than the sun and roughly 1.4 trillion kilometres in length. When we read a science story, it is almost always sensational news. However, a lot of science stories go under the radar of the ordinary non-scientist, primarily because we simply don’t understand it; it’s too complex unless it’s a news story on a topical subject that we can relate to, like space or cancer research. A number of outreach programmes set up by the

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The Yard Crew

They’re a group of lads from around the Liberties. Late teens to early 20s, bustling with animation. Bit of slagging about who is going to talk to Dublin.ie. Probably a bit of slagging about the guy from Dublin.ie. But these are decent guys. You could probably place a safe bet that one or two of them might be no stranger to a bit of mischief in their day. So what they are up to takes you a little bit by surprise. If someone outside the gate told you that these guys were making salad bowls inside the yard, “get up the yard!” would be your likely response. But this is the Yard Crew, part of the Solas Project. The

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The Lilliput Press

On a quiet corner in Stoneybatter, behind a quaint but unassuming shopfront lies renowned Dublin publishing house, Lilliput Press. The door is wide open when I arrive, and the sunshine falls in on a room lined with bookshelves. Two men sit on a sofa by the window, leaning over a coffee table covered in books. The door of founder Antony Farrell’s office sits ajar, and inside there is the busyness of a thoroughly active office; heaped manuscripts, teetering book stacks, handwritten letters taped to the wall. After he ensures I have a coffee and a bit of fruit to snack on, I sit on a chair in amongst the chaos of the heaving room. Antony sits behind his desk, peeling a mand

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Dublin’s most unusual student clubs & socs

Anyone for capoeira? Fancy an evening of food and drink? Or how about spending time with some serious Harry Potter fans? Universities and colleges in Dublin have a strange and eclectic mix of student clubs and societies. Yes, there’s soccer and GAA, but what about caving & potholing or sepak takraw, a type of kick volleyball? Yes, drama and debating are to be expected, but did you know that you can also join student societies with a focus on comedy, animation or meditation? Sam Blanckensee graduated from UCD last year. In his final year, he founded the

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Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature

Dublin residents are by now familiar with the UNESCO emblem on programmes and posters for the city’s many literary events, but it was only on the 26th of July 2010, that Dublin was designated a City of Literature by the cultural arm of the United Nations. The fourth city to receive such a designation, after Iowa City, Melbourne and Edinburgh, it was a recognition of Dublin’s lively contemporary literary scene built on the strong foundation laid by past masters.

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Building the Dublin Dashboard

Imagine if Dublin had an instrument panel: a set of gauges and graphs that revealed to its residents the precise current state of their home town. Professor Rob Kitchin and his team at Maynooth did exactly that. And they built it, online. It’s called Dublin Dashboard. Dublin.ie: What’s on Dashboard right now that the ordinary person might be interested in? Robin Kitchen (RK): Probably the real time page where you can see how many spaces there are in the car parks or what the sound levels are or what the pollution levels are or how many bikes ar

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The National Library

It’s still early in the morning when I walk up the steps to the National Library. Standing on the porch, through the fence I can see the TDs totter up the path next-door, folders underarm, heading into the Government Buildings. This Kildare Street building has housed Dublin’s main public reference library since 1890, and in Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he describes students gathering here to smoke and chat. Inside, it is quieter than even a library should be although there are a few eager types waiting in the lobby. A cleaner polishes around the bronze bust of Senator Mi

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Language Dublin: Goethe-Institut

‘Since it opened in 1961’, says the brochure, ‘the Goethe-Institut has broadened the professional and personal horizons of 50,000 people who have attended its German courses’. Currently housed in Fitzwilliam Square while it awaits the refurbishment and extension of its Merrion Square HQ round the corner, its director is Dr Thomas Lier. Thomas is from Bavaria. Don’t call him ‘Bavarian’, though. That, Dublin.ie learns, would be like calling a Cornishman ‘English’. Because Thomas is really a Franconian, from Wurzburg, and Franconia was an autonomous region until Napoleon kicked it into Bavaria. ‘Wurzburg has a very strong con

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A City of Words: Temper-Mental MissElayneous

The popularity of spoken word is on the rise in Dublin and one of the stars of the scene is Elayne Harrington, AKA Temper-Mental MissElayneous. She’s a rapper and slam poet from Finglas and a standout female performer on a male-dominated scene. Dublin.ie first saw Elayne perform at a women’s storytelling night in Temple Bar’s Project Arts Centre. With her trademark hairdo of curlers in her fringe, the bold red lips and her warrior stance, she was defiant and gutsy. She set her words to the beat

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Dublin’s Masters in Creative Writing

Creative Writing Postgraduate Programs have long been a staple of the academic world in the United States. Prominent writers, among them Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, and Joyce Carol Oates, have worked as creative writing professors since as far back as the seventies. Yet despite Dublin’s literary heritage and wealth of authors, it has only recently come to be recognised as a centre of excellence for such courses; now it attracts scores of hopeful young writers from around the world every year. “You can’t teach people to be creative. You can only accelerate the pace at which people are developing creatively, which is a very different matter.” These are the words of

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Museum Dublin: The Dead Zoo

You stroll in the door and you walk back in time... Back into a world of Victorian exotica. With the polished wood, the old brass fittings and the glass cases, you feel enveloped in the comfort you find in a good old pub. But this isn’t a pub. This is a place of learning. Or to be more precise, this is a place of fun. This is the “Dead Zoo” or as it is more formally called, The Museum of Natural History. Situated between Leinster House and the Attorney General’s Office, this is a real gem of a museum. It’s been going now for some 160 years and not only is it one of the oldest public museums in the country, it’s also one of the most popular. Each year some 320,000 people visit the museum and enjoy all its Victorian charms for free. “Yes it’s free in,” Education Officer of Archaeology and Natural History, Siobhán Pierce exclaims proudly. Siobhán is joined by the Education Assistant, Geraldine Breen.

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