January 25th 2014
"Taking the form of a 90-minute guided walk, An Ordinary Place will consider the architecture of everyday life in the immediate surroundings of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, threading between the literal present and other points in time and space, examining the mundane in domestic and monumental buildings alike. Disregarding any divide between the formal and the informal or the past and the present, themes will include sleep, washing, shelter, marking out territory, mass housing, and scale."
This was a fantastic walk, with the very knowledgeable Liza Cassidy, author of the Built Dublin blog.
The weather was absolutely awful, but Lisa coped admirably.
We were taking photographs of Bully's acre and noticed a lot of rubble to one side of the cemetery. On closer inspection (this wasn't very close as the gate was locked) this rubble seemed to resemble chunks of carved Portland stone. This was intriguing so a little searching was required. After some investigation we think that these stones are the remains of the plinth from the Queen Victoria statue which once stood outside Leinster House. The statue was mooted in the late 1800 and by 1900 a committee had been formed with well wishes from The Earl of Ross, Sir Reginald Guinness and Lord de Vesci, and a fund set up. By 1902 they had subscriptions of 7K and John Hughes RHA was commissioned.
The statue was unveiled with huge ceremony on 17th February 1908 outside Leinster house which was home to the Royal Dublin Society, 1000 troops on display and seats sold to the event. The statue was a fifteen foot and made of bronze and sat upon a marble base and a Portland stone plinth. 33' in total.
Roll on a few decades and lots of changes have happened in Dublin. Well for one Leinster House was now home to the Dublin Government and it must have rankled to have "the famine Queen" or the 'aul bitch' as she was called by Dubliners, sitting outside your door, though in 1930 they used terms like 'inconsistent with the main objectives' and 'relic of imperialism' to have a statue of this nature at such proximity. In 1933 it was to definitely to be removed and then that was cancelled. In 1948 the reason giving for removing it was to accommodate parking outside the building - an excuse or a diplomatic response! Anyway, it took 8 weeks to move her out and she was shifted out on her back to get her through the gates of Leinster house which caused no end of amusement to the locals. She was taken to the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham for storage. In the 50's there was talk of her going to Canada, but the airfreight was too expensive (the statue weighed 10 ton) and that came to nothing. In 1985 the Australians were looking for a statue of Queen Vic to adorn the newly refurbished QV building in Sydney and the Government offered to them on permanent loan.
Well then she had to be found, she was eventually tracked down by David Keene. After she had been dismantled and stored, some of the smaller statues which surrounded the base had been removed to Dublin Castle. The statue itself was sent down to Daingean Reformatory School, while Kilmainham was undergoing refurbishment and David set off to find her and that it did, sitting in the long grass, "looking surprisingly large at ground level". He did get an invite from the Mayor of Sydney to attend the unveiling in 1995 for his work in tracking her down, but the invite wasn't accompanied by an air ticket, so he could not go.
April 26th 2014
"In just 2 hours, this Fáilte Ireland-approved, award-winning and entertaining walking tour, and explores the main features of Irish history - Dublin's development, the influence of the American and French Revolutions, the Potato Famine, the Great War and the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, the Northern conflict and Ireland today."
Our tour guide was Peter Ballagh who is a graduate of Trinity College. He has worked as a secondary school teacher and with adults with intellectual disability. Currently he is a consultant on publications for the Heritage Council of Ireland and is a specialist in the INTO Heritage in Schools programme, for whom he gives talks on Ireland’s food culture. Since 2001 Peter has worked with EU election observations missions, most recently in DR Congo and Algeria in 2012. He was fantastic guide, and we covered a lot of ground in the 2 hours, literally and metaphorically.
June 9th 2014
Today we managed to get the key to the Huguenot graveyard. We were joined by the students from the print museum who are undertaking a FETAC Level 5 Common Award in Culture and Heritage Studies (Level 5 on the National framework of Qualifications) as well as becoming tour guides at the Museum. For further details on the course see http://www.nationalprintmuseum.ie/fas-cultural-heritage-lti/ and to see more about our trip check out their blog. http://heritagenpm.wordpress.com/author/heritagenpm/
July 16th 2014
One of the loveliest places to work must be Marsh's Library. Surrounded by books in a fantastic building which is over 300 years old set, within beautiful gardens. Well worth a visit if you can't get to Hogwarts. http://www.marshlibrary.ie/
And if you fancy a cup of coffee afterwards, then you must visit the "Little Cafe" coffee shop on Kevin Street run by Parisian Cristina.