Posts Tagged ‘ Dun Laoghaire ’

Summer of Heritage 2014: Tours Of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown


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

Symth Eyes Victory In Slovenia

2012 Algarve Cup - Algarve Women's Football Cup: Team Portraits and InterviewsVersatile midfielder Shannon Smyth wants the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team to finish 2013 with a win when they face Slovenia in their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group 1 qualifier in Velenje tomorrow at 4pm (Irish time).

Sue Ronan’s side have lost just once in seven games this year after wins over Northern Ireland, South Africa and Slovakia and draws against South Korea, Austria and Croatia. The only defeat was a 0-1 loss to Finland in the play-off for seventh and eighth place at the 12-team Cyprus Cup in March. Continue reading

Looking Ahead To September: Monster Book Events By The Seaside

bksThe DLR Mountains to Sea Book Festival is one of my favourite literary events on the calendar as it usually has a good range of events for both children and adults. I spotted a flyer for the schools’ events part of the festival, for which booking opens this week. Event organisers Tom Donegan and Sarah Webb have been hard at work since as far back as last year putting together the Family and Schools’ Events Programme. The cost per pupil for the theatre events has been held at €3 which is remarkably good value for an entertaining and educational hour with a favourite writer.

 Several fantastic kids’ authors and illustrators feature in the schools line-up for both the primary and secondary age groups. The festival has built up a good track record for school events and this year the flag is kept flying by appearances from Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey, Patrick Ness and Liz Pichon to name but three. The Patrick Ness event is particularly interesting as it is a Teen Curator Event involving participants from Newpark Comprehensive School. They will interview the author in County Hall, Dún Laoghaire in front of an audience, which is a brilliant opportunity for Ness’s readers. Continue reading

News in Brief-Family Feud “A Bit Of Craic”

fighting-kidsDublin’s new bridge, crossing the Liffey at Marlborough Street and connecting Luas lines on each side of the river, is looking for a name. A list of 85 possibilities were suggested by the general public which has been short listed by Dublin Council to 17. Word of advice to Dublin City Council: don’t ask the public to decide things like this. They will take the piss. Some suggestions in a comments thread on The Times website included: Bosco Bridge; Daniel Day Luas Bridge (nice); Da Plain People O’Ireland Bridge; Jedward Bridge; and NIB favourite, the Feckin’ Bridge.

This year’s Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is going gay. ’The Outing’ aims to offer gay and lesbian participants a matchmaking service to rival it’s straight counterpart with drag shows and ceilìs combined. Music, dancing and matchmaking will be overseen by Panti, ’Drag High-Queen of Ireland’ (who knew we were a monarchy?), at a price of €199 per person, sharing. Obviously they’re confident about meeting Mr or Mrs Right in Clare. Continue reading

Rediscovery Of A Maritime Gem

Earlier this year The Mariner’s Church in Dún Laoghaire, which houses the National Maritime Museum, re-opened after undergoing extensive restoration work. The Maritime Institute of Ireland operates the museum as part of its mission to promote an appreciation of Ireland’s maritime heritage. The Institute took over The Mariners Church for its collection in 1974 for a peppercorn rent, after the church closed for worship in 1972. The then President, Dr Patrick Hillery officially opened the museum in 1978. The historic church (dating from 1837) closed in 2005 for work on the roof, re-plastering, fitting of new lighting and restoration of the stained glass windows. The Institute finally was able to purchase the building outright in 2008.

It has been a long painstaking process to both restore the fabric of the church and then to re- display the National Maritime collection. As part of the work, a new layout incorporates additional visitor facilities into the building. The museum is wheelchair accessible and toilets, a gift shop and a cafe were also added as well as the inevitable Wi-Fi hotspot. However, the work is not yet over, as more funding will be required to complete the Institute’s plans for the future (see website). The President, Michael D Higgins performed the official opening ceremony on June 5th but the museum actually opened its doors to the public in April.

The exhibits cover different aspects of maritime history, though there is no suggested route around the museum. I found myself wandering haphazardly from one piece to another, so perhaps a guided route map would be a useful idea for the museum to consider. One of the highlights of the museum is the Baily Optic, which is an original lighthouse beacon lamp from Howth Head. It forms a fantastic centrepiece sited in front of the beautiful stained glass triple windows. As it rotates, the lens casts beams of coloured light reflected from the stained glass. The lens was operational in Howth Head Lighthouse from 1902-72 before being donated to the Maritime Institute’s collection.

Not surprisingly perhaps one of the most interesting sections relates to the history of the lifeboats and the heroic efforts of lifeboat crews down the years. On display are commemorative plaques recording the names of the earliest RNLI lifeboats in Dun Laoghaire (Kingstown as it was then) in 1862 (The Princess Royal) and 1879 (Hector). The exhibition reminds us just how much sailors and sea going passengers owed the courageous lifeboat volunteers. In 1895, tragically all fifteen members of the lifeboat crew were lost in going to the aid of a sailing ship called the Palme. A walk along the harbour will bring you to a memorial listing the names of the crewmembers lost in the heroic rescue attempt.

There are so many fascinating items to see that I ended up with a long scribbled list. I particularly liked an old wooden filing cabinet, which belonged to John Richardson Wigham, (1829-1906) a lighthouse engineer based in Dublin. The ninety-six drawers retain most of the labels showing where Wigham’s customers were located. He supplied lighthouses as far afield as Melbourne, Bombay (Mumbai) and the Cayman Islands and as close to home as Hull and Liverpool. Wigham obviously managed to keep the world’s lighthouses supplied without the aid of a computerised filing system!

This is only a snapshot of what the museum has to offer so next time you are in the area, stop by and take a crash course in maritime history. For further information, the website is

Transition Dun Laoghaire

Going back to using common sense is what Transition Dun Laoghaire is all about. In a time of a complete lack of confidence in government decisions and the financial system as it stands a group of people in Dun Laoghaire has formed and joined up with a larger network called the Transition Network. The group who are tired of all the negativity surrounding the recession are working together to create positive solutions within the Dun Laoghaire community.  The first step has been creating a community environment. In recent years we have all gotten quite removed from existing within a community atmosphere and become fairly isolated. In years gone by it was perfectly natural to call into your neighbour for a chat and a cup of tea but more and more of us have moved away from that way of life.

Transition towns are a grassroots network of communities that aim to build community resilience as a positive response to climate change, economic instability and peak oil. Adaptability is at the heart of resilience and the transition movement considers resilience as ‘ more than sustaining current models and practises but instead rethinking assumptions about infrastructure and systems that should lead to a more sustainable, resilient and low carbon economy’ (Transition founder Rob Hopkins, 2011). The Transition town movement began in 2004 in Kinsale, Ireland. It has since spread rapidly to 900 towns worldwide and counting. Transition towns within Ireland include Galway, Skerries, Sandymount, East Clare, Skerries, Clonmel, Donegal, West Cork and Wexford.

Activities of Transition groups range from community gardening, skill sharing workshops, harvest celebrations, film evenings. Transition Towns are not a protest group rather a pro positive action group within the community they exist. Empowering people to go back to growing their own food constitutes a large part of what Transition is involved in. As fossil fuels such as oil become scarce, prices rise, causing hardship for families, it makes sense to produce food a lot closer to home. Part of Dun Laoghaire Transition includes a Grow It Yourself (GIY) group who meet every month to discuss and learn more about growing.

Transition Awareness week was run in early March with two movie and discussion evenings and a skill sharing day. Facilitators included Permaculturalist Robert O’Brien and GIY Sandymount  founder Cath Dev. Participants learnt how to sow seeds, improve soil quality, make a raised bed, compost successfully and the principles of permaculture. A World Cafe run by Alex Duffy was held later in the day and included a 7 minute meditation with a discussion on Inner Transition afterwards.

The group currently has 61 members and growing. The next event is a two day skill sharing and film event to be held on the 31st March and 1st April. To join the group and find out more about future workshops and meetings you can join the Facebook group or contact Leeanne Timony on 086 4039868.

By Leeanne Timony

An Alternative St Patrick’s Day: A good long walk

This year we finally cracked and said ‘no’ to Dublin’s big St Patrick’s Day parade. We had come close to it last year and debated the idea of doing something different, but in the end, we still found ourselves lining up on Dame St in our accustomed spot. Even so, this year’s change of plan was still very much of a last minute affair. It is always easier to stick with what you know than try a different activity.

 The proposed alternative last year (and the year before that, come to think of it) was tackling the St Patrick’s Day Harbour2Harbour walk. This is held in aid of the charity Aware which helps people suffering from depression (link below). Walkers can start at either Howth or Dún Laoghaire. You can stop at the half way point if you want, having then completed eight miles or go for the total sixteen mile challenge. It is a great challenge and one that had been niggling away at me for a while.  I could of course do the walk at any time but the idea of participating on a specific day for a worthwhile charity was appealing.

As this was a last-minute decision, I had not arranged to register for the walk or to acquire sponsorship, though registration was available on the day. I imagine many people also make a spur of the moment choice, possibly based on a favourable weather forecast for the day. It promised fine so my daughter and I headed off to Howth. Registration was from 10.30am but we were running a bit late and were heading through town to Pearse Station at about 10.15. The city was beginning to fill up with parade revellers so we had to duck and weave between green hats of all shapes and sizes.

Declining to buy a flag, we scooted down to the dart station and then were virtually overwhelmed by the tidal wave of people coming down the stairs from platform one. Not many people seemed to be going our way today for some strange reason. After arriving at Howth, we set off to forage for supplies to keep us going on our long trek to the Southside. With our registration fee, we acquired a tee shirt each and the all important route map. Full of optimism we set off for our first pit stop at Sutton Cross, munching on a biscuit to sustain our endeavours.

The weather very kindly stayed fine, apart from a few minor spots of rain and some enthusiastic sea breezes. Our next sandwich break was by the causeway to Bull Island and by then we were well on the way to convincing ourselves that this would be an easy peasy challenge. By the time we had walked as far as Pigeon House Road, we were not so sure about this. The problem with starting later was that apart from the odd few walkers, the only fellow walkers we saw were coming towards us from the other starting point. While it was cheering to spot yellow tee shirts coming towards us, indicating that we were still on the right road, it would have been more companionable to be walking alongside them.

Nevertheless, we had a good day out on our first ever St Patrick’s Day walk and managed to walk as far as Booterstown so honour was satisfied. Everyone we saw seemed to be enjoying themselves; a great family day out in a good cause. The only low points of the day were getting on a homeward bound dart that stank of beer and then avoiding drunken teenagers on the walk through the city centre. We could have done without that. But, hats off to the participants and organisers of this year’s Harbour2Harbour Walk. This year attracted a record 1,281 walkers and it was nice to have been a part of that.