The Vexillologist

It’s a fine brisk November morning when Dublin.ie meets up with Ed Boden at his office in Blessington Basin, the north side’s secret park. But we are not here to talk about Ed’s job as chief of parks today. No, we are talking about another curious string to Ed’s professional bow. Curious, quirky and colourful. Because Ed is the Dublin City Council vexillologist. “He’s the what?” I hear you say. Well join the club, I said it myself. But if you are stuck for the answer, we’ll give you a clue. A clue that comes from a recent Nobel Laureate who told us “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.” Flags. It’s unli

Read More

A City of Words: Slam Sunday

Slam Poetry made its loud and unruly debut in early 1990s urban America, delivering vociferous, impassioned political postcards from the marginalised edge. It’s argued that hip-hop was slam’s mentor. But there’s also a debt there to the jazz-drenched free-form prose of the 50s Beat artists. Then, of course, the potent raw energy of Punk played its part. Today we’re at Slam Sunday, Dublin’s main slam show. The popular monthly event has Temple Bar’s Filmbase packed out as usual. It’s 6.30pm and the crowd of some 100, all armed with tea and biscuits, are primed. A handful wil

Read More

A City of Words: Jonathan Swift

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

Read More

Dublin Uncovered: Skerries

A seaside town that’s worth its salt all year round. North of Dublin city in Fingal you’ll find the seaside town of Skerries. Bustling in summer months, the beaches are full to the brim with tourists and city dwellers looking to dip a toe in the sea. But Irish seaside towns take on a different vibe during the autumnal months and Skerries is still worth the excursion beyond September. At this time of the year, you’ll find plenty of people braving some wind for a good ol’ stroll along the seafront. The sea air, a tried and tested cure for what ails ya, feels just as good in your lungs in November as it does in July. The name Skerries originally comes from the Norse w

Read More

Creative Dublin: Laura McGann, Documentary filmmaker

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

Read More

Dublin Treasures – The Rotunda

With its rounded name and huge dome centre – somehow 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, it has long been at the heart of Dublin’s history, quietly getting on with the ordinary business of life throughout famines, protests and revolution. Founded in 1745 by Bartholomew Mosse, the Rotunda is the oldest, continuously-running maternity hospital in the world. 9000 babies are born here every year while all about them the cogs of the city whirr and roll. The new

Read More

The infamous UCD Superleague

The UCD AIB Superleague, within the amateur footballing community of Dublin, is renowned for both the disorganisation and passion of its teams. Often referred to as, The Hangover League, matches take place on Saturdays and Sundays with teams of misfits and football enthusiasts who don’t have the commitment to play for a ‘real’ team in the Dublin league. In college, football is often a decent ice-breaker when meeting new people. In fact, that rule applies to all walks of life, not exclusively college. The conversation often leads to the question, “So, do you play for a team?” If you respond with, “Oh yeah, I play in the

Read More

A Playful City

Jane Jacobs, the doyenne of urban planning, believed that the success of any city owed a lot to the “intricacy of pavement use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes”. She wrote, in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, “There must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street. The buildings on a street equipped to handle strangers, and to ensure the safety of both residents and strangers, must be oriented to the street. They cannot turn their backs or blank sides on it and leave it blind.” But what happens when the residents and strangers are themselves blind to their surroundings, always in a

Read More

Community excellence in Ballybough

Dublin City Council’s Sports, Leisure and Community Centre in Ballybough, has recently won four awards. How come? How has the centre helped the community? And what’s so great about Ballybough Community Centre? We talk to some of the people behind its success. Treacy Byrne sat in an empty building and wondered whether the doors would open. The year was 2009, and Ireland was in the grip of a catastrophic economic crisis. This crisis would go on to ravage communities across Ireland, including Ballybough, a disadvantaged part of inner-city Dublin. But in Ballybough, some of the worst

Read More

Dublin Treasures: Irish Writers Centre

Although the Irish Writers Centre has long been a place for keen readers and writers to attend readings and launches, or to take part in one of the many writing classes on offer covering every topic from memoir to ghostwriting to autofiction, the centre can at times be overlooked because of its location, tucked away as it is away from the bustle of the city, beyond the trees of the Garden of Remembrance.

Read More

The Ruby Sessions

Sometimes the queue for the Ruby Sessions is so long that it snakes down the stairs of Doyle’s pub and out the door around past the old plaque on the wall that says “Good times are coming/Be they ever so far away” and down into the dark and puddles of Fleet Street. If you find yourself that far back, your chances of getting in are very far away indeed. These are the nights when word has leaked out into the world that a ‘Very Special Guest’ will be taking to the mic of the renowned live music night, and for the price of a six euro charity donation, you too could be part of the intimate gathering that surrounds the candlelit stage. Ed Sheeran, Damien Rice, Paulo Nutini, T

Read More

Museum Dublin: Rock’n’Roll

Walking through Temple Bar on a midweek afternoon, the sounds of céilí bands and lads on guitars belting out U2 covers tumble out onto the street every time a pub door swings open. Buskers are so much a part of Dublin culture that Glen Hansard starred in an Oscar winning film about them. Phil Lynott’s statue off Grafton Street is often draped in rocker pilgrims from around the world, a replica of Rory Gallagher’s rusty guitar hangs over his own designated corner near Meeting House Square, and Whelan’s is a mecca for any serious music lover. Dublin’s rock heritage is as legendary as its literary one, with the city punching well above its weight on the international scene

Read More