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Posts Tagged ‘ Dublin Castle ’

Dublin Tourism Boosted With New Sightseeing Service

Photo:Michael Donnelly.

Transport guru John ‘O Sullivan has launched his latest venture,an exciting Cityscape Sightseeing Tour, which will compliment his regular Dublin coach service.

The four million invested Cityscape initiative is welcomed as a boost to the tourism and employment industry. It has provided 40 new jobs to the capital. The Cityscape experience offers a must-have trip to all the top attractions of the city. In operation since September 23rd , Cityscape makes 28 stops across the city, including Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol and more. It runs very efficiently seven days a week, 364 days of the year at fifteen minute intervals. Continue reading

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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

News in Brief : Backhanders And Blackouts

dobson

NIB is sure we’ve covered this before, but hey, Irish women are the best looking in the world and that’s cause for celebration (drink based traditionally). The ranks made up by a dating site, aptly called BeautifulPeople.com weren’t so positive about Irish men though, ranking them third ugliest on the planet. It’s a small positive though as a few years ago they were ranked the ugliest. Sorry lads.

Talking of beautiful Irish things, we’re going to start selling off our heritage sites to the highest bidder. In yet another example of the Government trying to claw back the cash they splurged on champagne and caviar, they are now going to lease out sites like Dublin and Kilkenny Castles, Derrynane House and Doneraile Wildlife Park to the most persuasive tender. Apparently the rules are that any new commercial usage plans must be in check with the historical heritage of the site so no casinos or hotels will be permitted, unless the brown envelope’s thick enough. Minister for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes said: ‘I don’t know how successful it’s going to be, I have to be very frank.’ Continue reading

First Flight Fest Now History Fest (26 Sept – 9 Oct)

dublin-festival-of-history-620x250

Despite the summer having slipped quietly away, there’s still plenty of festival and cultural activity to be had around the city. Coming up at the end of September is Dublin’s first history festival which promises to be a worthy member of the cultural scene. This is an exciting new initiative from Dublin City Council so any history buffs out there would be advised to check out what’s on offer.

Much of the programme is free of charge but booking will be necessary for most events. Some are simply ‘first come first served’ but it’s as well to check the details. Events have been scheduled for Dublin City Libraries, Dublin Castle (Printworks Venue), City Hall and the Irish Film Institute so check the web site for further information. I’ve certainly got my eye on booking a few events, though deciding which ones to choose will be a tricky task. It’s not often that you get to see the likes of Jung Chang and Simon Schama for free. Continue reading

Sculpture At The Castle: Sand And Science In The Upper Courtyard

A beach has not exactly come to Dublin Castle, but you can see wonderful sand sculptures there until 2nd September (bucket and spade not required). The three huge pieces on show are the work of a group called Duthain Dealbh (which means Fleeting Sculpture) whose members are Daniel Doyle and Niall and Alan Magee. They specialise in making artworks from sand, ice, snow and fire as well as doing art films and documentaries.

The group members all studied Fine Art Sculpture at DIT before forming Duthain Dealbh in 2001. They have created ephemeral artworks for events all over the world and this is their tenth such event in Dublin. For us, it has become something of a summer ritual to go and see the castle sculptures. Almost the best part about the event is being able to watch the artists at work, as it is not often you get to watch a piece of work emerging from the raw material. Sadly, this year we missed the big sculpt-off but headed along on a sunny afternoon (rare enough) to go and inspect the temporary residents of the castle courtyard.

This years’ theme is Bright Sparks, which offers an interpretation of Ireland’s scientific achievement. The sculpture group have artistically turned eighty tonnes of sand into a snapshot of the history of Irish science. My favourite piece was the one representing William Rowan Hamilton carving his quaternion multiplication equation onto Broom Bridge in Cavan on 16th October 1843. For the mathematically curious, the equation in full is i2 = j2 = k2 = ijk = – 1 (not that my skills are good enough to understand Hamilton’s work).

If I quibble about anything, it is that the pieces lack any kind of labelling or interpretation for visitors. There are information panels showing previous work from the artists but nothing about the present, which is not very helpful. Having said that, I suppose it exercises the little grey cells to try to work out what all of the details on the sculptures mean.

Until September 2nd  – for further information see below:
www.duthain-dealbh.com
www.irishsand.com

Lessons from History – the Eucharistic Congress

It has been 80 years of tumultuous change since the last Eucharistic Congress was held on these shores, way back in 1932. Ireland has a different visage, a new one with which to face the 21st century. The hegemonic power of the Catholic Church has been broken in Ireland, as has that of its bedfellow, Fianna Fáil. Secularism rather than religiosity is beginning to determine our course, as people look to themselves and others to guide their lives rather than to a higher power.

The Eucharistic Congress is a week-long event, organised by the Vatican every four years, sort of like an Olympics for the Catholic Church and its people, a gathering of clergy and the religious laity to celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. 12,000 devotees gathered at the opening ceremony at the RDS last Sunday, where events have been held over the course of the week, around 80,000 attending the conclusion at Croke Park. Of course this Congress has been somewhat tainted by the allegations and revelations concerning the priesthood and child sex abuse over the past number of years and amidst a general decline in faith among its once devoted members. Attendants come from all over the world to participate in the air of unity that the Congress brings to those who join; old and young, male and female, come to renew and strengthen their faith. The week-long celebration is over for another four years, and already the talk concerns the legacy of this year’s Congress; whether it is a new beginning for the Church in Ireland, moving towards the inclusion of a young population who feel alienated by the ceremony and rigour of Catholicism, and the disillusion over the scandals which have rocked the Church and its people.

Today, in the 21st century, outside of the Catholic Church at least, the proceedings are met with (outside of interested Catholics) either a polite interest of complete indifference. But roll back the clock 80 years and you would find a country practically quivering with anticipation, and for many different reasons. For in the life of the infant Free State and in particular the newly ruling Fianna Fáil party, the Eucharistic Congress had an indelible effect. Before Ireland’s independence came in 1922, the Catholic Church had grown quite powerful throughout Ireland. And, when the power and influence of the landlord class finally began to wane, the local priests took up the mantle of community leadership. Ordinary people were far less educated when compared to our time, and people would often look to their clerics for advice and guidance. And while the Catholic hierarchy had often been associated throughout Europe with the rich and the powerful, in Ireland the opposite was true; a priest was one of the ordinary people. Of course, it certainly didn’t hurt that the Church often supported the nationalist movements, barring the more violent ones, while their control over the education system ensured a generation of Irish who viewed Catholicism as more than simply their religion, but an innate part of their Irish identity. With independence came the support from the Church of the Free State, and they condemned the rebellion of the anti-Treatyites, and excommunicated them from the Church. As the years passed, Catholicism cemented its position in the new nation. A narrow vision of the events of the previous decades was propagated with citizens celebrated the freeing of a Catholic people from an oppressive Protestant state, ignoring the fact of the involvement of many Protestants in the nationalist movements. In 1929, elaborate centenary commemorations were organised to celebrate Daniel O’Connell and the achievement of Catholic Emancipation, and in the same year, the Pope finally agreed to send a papal nuncio to Dublin, and to receive in turn an Irish ambassador to the Vatican. Following the establishment of the Free State W.T. Cosgrave presided over the Irish helm, alongside a relatively neutral Cumann na nGaedhael government. Protestants were by no means discriminated against, and indeed many were promoted to positions to ensure the views of the Protestant minority were well represented. In 1932, Catholic bishops received a cause for apprehension with the succession to power of Éamon de Valera, one of those who had been condemned for his part in the Civil War a decade previous. However, they need not have worried as ‘Dev’, as he became known, and his Fianna Fáil government were strongly influenced by the Church and their teachings. Fortunately for the man from Clare, one of the perennial Catholic events of his time would be held only three months following his election, cementing his and his party’s place in Irish political history.

Overall, around one million attended the ceremonies that took place during the week in June of 1932. Following the concluding procession through the streets of Dublin, the papal legate, Cardinal Lauri, sent a telegram to the Pope, Pius XI, declaring that the Irish people were uttering the “cry which sums up the tradition, the faith, the very life of the whole nation: God Bless the Pope.” Dublin’s Congress and its success were very clearly appreciated at the Vatican and the official state newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano featured a favourable account of the week’s events. “Everyone is at his post from the Bishop to the clerical student, from the President of the State to the policeman on the street…It is really nothing short of miraculous – for here we see, after a century and a half of attempted laicisation, an entire people proud of its name, but prouder still of its Roman religion.” Triumphalism has been the word used by historians to describe the display of power on the part of the Catholic Church during the Congress and here was clear evidence that the Irish Free State was a Catholic state, and proud of it. Even at the local level, ordinary people were as much a part as the clerics and politicians at the top. Masses of bunting were strung up across the country, and groups and choirs practised and rehearsed for a year to ensure perfection, culminating in the enormous attendance at the week’s events. One can only imagine how the exclusionary feeling of anyone who had the misfortune to belong to another religion, or to none at all. It is hardly surprising that between this power and their already close-knit relationship with the Irish people, the Catholic Church ensured its hegemonic position in the country for decades to come.

But the good news wasn’t solely for the Catholic Church; in the political arena too were the benefits felt. Despite having been excommunicated for his anti-Treaty Republican activities during the Civil War, de Valera had remained a good Catholic, and had retained friendships with various figures throughout the Catholic hierarchy in the country. An impressive speech given in English, Irish and Latin during the state reception for the papal legate at Dublin Castle benefitted his image favourably, and he kept a high-profile throughout the week’s events. Eventually this helped to win him political appeal and when he called an election six months following the Congress, he was able to transform his minority government into a majority, and he remained in office until 1948 while his party was the largest at each general election from that of 1932 until 2011.

On the more negative spectrum, partition between North and South was further entrenched, and it is easy to see why, contrasting the Catholic Free State with the more traditional Protestant Northern Ireland who had fought for so long to ensure the Papists never gained a foothold in their own country. Some Catholics travelling from North to South were the victims of sectarian attacks, perpetrated by loyalist mobs. For Protestant Ulster, the lavish celebrations commemorated an alien religion; they who elevated individual choice and a personal relationship with God above all. The events in Dublin showed a radically different outlook in the Free State, with a high value placed on community and access to God through the clerical hierarchy. While reports from 1932 suggested that Ireland had never been more unified than during those six days, the reality is that the split between North and South was possibly starker than ever before.

Some 300 people who witnessed the events of 1932 gathered this week in a hotel outside Dublin to reminisce over archive footage of the events which helped to define a generation. Now 92 Liam Cosgrave, son of de Valera’s predecessor W.T. Cosgrave, recalled the celebrations with pride. “It was important for the State that we could do it and do it well,” he said. “It meant an awful lot to the country,” he said. “Remember we were only 10 years with self-government. There was a great turnout of Army and Garda and helpers. It was very well organised.” The effects of the 2012 Congress will unlikely be as far-reaching, considering we live in a nation attempting, to an extent, to shrug off its Catholic past. Machiavelli wrote “Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times.” In 2012, we are only now shaking off the legacy of the Catholic Church and the power Fianna Fáil held onto for so long. Hopefully, we don’t make the same mistake twice.

Queen Expected to Visit in May

QUEEN ELIZABETH II’s visit to Ireland, the first to Dublin by a reigning British monarch for more than 100 years, is expected to take place over three days in May.

Discussions on the timing of the visit has delayed her trip however talks between the British embassy and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny are believed to be at an advanced stage.

The decision to brief Mr Kenny is taken as he is widely regarded as the favourite to be the next Taoiseach, succeeding Brian Cowen. However an official invitation to the Queen has not yet been extended.

So far no locations have been finalised, partly for security reasons. However,  the queen is widely tipped to make a speech in Dublin Castle on relations between the two countries.

The Taoiseach began the process of inviting the queen when he met British prime minister David Cameron in Downing Street last June.

The planned invitation is strongly backed by President Mary McAleese, who leaves office later this year.

The timing of the visit has been complicated by the wedding of Prince Charles’s son, Prince William, to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29th.

Mrs McAleese, whose term of office ends on November 10th, has a number of appointments in her diary, including a State visit by Prince Albert of Monaco, to Ireland in April.

The President, meanwhile, will make two State visits of her own: to Spain in late March and to the Netherlands in early May. The presidential election, if one is necessary, will occur in October, although no date has yet been fixed.

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