Author Archive

A Weekend Of Dodder Walking

green

I was out walking along the River Dodder on two separate occasions last weekend, enjoying the lovely sunny weather. At times, it was just like summer; on reflection, it was probably better. On Saturday I took part in the Dodder Heritage Walk, organised the Dodder Action Group, joining forces with the Dodder Let’s Walk and Talk group. I wasn’t counting heads, but according to Dodder Action’s Facebook page, around a hundred people turned out to support the event. Architectural historian Rob Goodbody led the Heritage Walk with Tim Clabon from the Irish Wildlife Trust, strolling from Rathfarnham Bridge down towards the Packhorse Bridge in Miltown.

Most days find me walking either along or near the Dodder but there is still much that I don’t know about the river’s life and history. Thanks to Tim Clabon, I now know the name of the pink flowering plant proliferating along the riverbank as well as learning something about identifying otter hangouts. The flower by the way is a Himalayan Balsam and is actually an invasive species, although a very pretty one. Tim explained about otter slides, where otters gained access to the water and showed us one. You have to be up very early to catch your otter, and probably very quiet too so we didn’t stand much chance of seeing one on Saturday afternoon. It would however be worth getting up early to spot one, now that I have some idea of where to look. Continue reading

Advertisements

Summer of Heritage 2014: Tours Of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown

dlrevents_ep_505-x-700

I am firmly into cultural brochure and leaflet mode to ensure that I don’t miss anything in my local area before September. I struck lucky with DLR County Council’s Summer of Heritage brochure. It lists no less than twenty tours you can take during the summer in the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown area. Plenty to keep you occupied during July and August with the bonus that all of the tours are free and all are suitable for children (with extra care needed in some properties). It’s also worth noting that you can take a tour of the Dalkey Castle and Heritage centre for free as part of this Summer Heritage series. These special tours are at 10.45 on Mondays and Thursdays until 4 September. You can browse the site after the tours and if you’ve never been to Dalkey Castle I would recommend this as a great opportunity to see this showpiece of Dalkey’s history. Perhaps unusually, the Castle and Heritage Centre have a Writer’s Gallery celebrating the diversity of the area’s talented writers, as well as the expected mediaeval artefacts and weaponry.

I’ve long meant to get around to visiting Cabinteely House and this summer I have finally managed it as part of the DLR Summer of Heritage. Guides run 60-minute tours every Wednesday and Saturday until 7 September. On tour days, there are four events beginning at 2pm, no booking required. We went along in good time to catch the first tour as it gave us the chance to have a look around the park first. Cabinteely Park was once part of the estate that belonged to the house’s successive owners. We have the former Dublin County Council’s determination to control planning to thank for having the ninety odd acres of beautiful parkland. The descendants of the last owner of Cabinteely house, Joseph McGrath were rather keen on building all over it, having previously sold off the contents of the house. Next to the main house, the old stables and a granary building have survived and now house an arts centre and a cafe. The cafe has outside seating that looks onto a Japanese garden established in the courtyard; it’s a lovely place to while away an hour or so. Continue reading

Summer Of Culture At The Castle

Dublin Castle Summer Season 2014

This summer, Dublin Castle seems to be trying to be a one-stop cultural feast. The OPW site is as usual playing host to the sand sculptures exhibition but there’s lots more besides marvelling at Duthain Dealbh’s incredible sand creations. This year children will have the opportunity to build sculptures at the castle and win a prize into the bargain. Prizes will also be on offer for winners of the ‘Family Trail’ challenge on July weekends. Amidst all of the summer revelry, an event at the Chapel Royal commemorates the centenary of the beginning of World War I, ‘Music, poetry, songs and propaganda from both sides, this 50 minute drama will inform, move, surprise and perhaps even amuse’. The War of Words is at 7.30 pm on 28 July and tickets are €6 from Entertainment.ie. Continue reading

‘Tracing the Lines’: Exhibition of Sketches Inspired by ‘If Ever You Go’

tracingthelines

I’ve been along to see an interesting exhibition at the RIAI Architecture Centre in Merrion Square, which consists of sketches inspired by the poetry collection If Ever You Should Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song which was this year’s ‘One City One Book’ choice. I missed the launch, which was on Tuesday evening with co-editor Pat Boran and contributors Catherine Ann Cullen, Nessa O’Mahony and Mark Granier reading from the anthology.

There are thirty-nine black and white drawings by architect Sean Dorman, who literally got on his bike (well, to be more accurate a Dublin bike) during April, and visited many of the city locations mentioned in the poems in the anthology. Each of Dorman’s dated sketches incorporates a section of a historical Dublin street map (for example John Rocque’s 1756 street map), echoing the map theme from the book and lines from the relevant poem. Dorman was quoted as saying that ‘I found this project to be an exciting and illuminating experience as it connected me with two greats: our poets and our town’. Continue reading

Writing And Ideas At Borris House In Carlow

borris

The lovely Borris House in Co Carlow is once more to be the backdrop for a wonderful variety of literary, cultural and journalistic discussions. The ‘Festival of Writing and Ideas’ will run over the weekend of the 14th and 15th June. It is part of the Carlow Arts Festival, though it is run independently of it and is curated by Vivienne Guinness, Eleanor O’Keeffe, Catherine Heaney and Hugo Jellett. I was also interested to note that they put all of this together without Arts Council Funding which is a great achievement.

I’ve been looking through the programme to see what’s on offer this year and I discovered what is generally known as an ‘All Star Line Up’ which makes visitors to the festival spoilt for choice. If you buy a day ticket for either Saturday or Sunday (35e) which is excellent value then you can go along to any or all of the events or if you prefer, tickets are available to buy individually. Continue reading

Giro D’Italia Doesn’t Disappoint

giroditalia

This is a bit of a departure (and not just for the riders) as I usually focus on museums, gardens and the like, but this was one of those ‘once in a ….’ type of events even for a non-cyclist. I’d go so far as to say that I’m a born again cycling virgin as I gave it all up many years ago after falling off a couple of times (rather painfully) and decided that it wasn’t for me. Not only can I not ride a bike, but I also know very little about competitive cycling. Having got my lack of credentials out in the open let us proceed with my experience of the Giro D’Italia 2014.

Sunday afternoon found us sauntering through Dublin city centre debating where to stand for the best view of the race. Having suffered from terrible vantage points at the St Patrick’s Day parade many times, we gave ourselves plenty of time. The only snag with doing that is that you have an awful lot of standing around. Map in hand, we headed down towards Nassau Street with the intention of pitching camp near to the finishing line in Upper Merrion Street. We saw some pink bunting around, but there wasn’t as much festive decoration on the streets as we had expected which was disappointing. There were plenty of pink rain ponchos around however. Continue reading

A Poetic Month In Dublin: ‘One City One Book’

dublin

Yes, it’s that time of the year again in Dublin’s fair city when we are all encouraged to read one book with a Dublin theme. ‘One City One Book’ is one of my favourite cultural events of the year so I cannot let it go by without a mention. This year for the first time since its inception in 2006, the organisers have plumped for a poetry anthology rather than choosing a novel. The collection is entitled If Ever You Go: a Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (Dedalus Press) which was created by Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth especially for this event. Moreover, this poetry collection is heavy on contemporary writers so that the Dublin on the page will be one that many of us will nod in recognition at seeing in print. Continue reading