Tag Archives: Dublin

EPIC Ireland – A Journey of A People – A Museum Reviewed


My trip to Ireland’s newest Museum – courtesy of EPIC Ireland.

When I told a few friends I was planning a visit to the Irish Diaspora museum

EPIC Ireland – A Journey of A People

I got some typical Irish begrudging reactions. “That’s just for American tourists” and similar views.

Well begrudgers, you can eat that begrudgery followed by  humble pie. EPIC Ireland doesn’t just live up to its name but redefines the whole museum experience. It delivers history through deft use of 21st Century technology while mixing sparse and thoughtful design in the CHQ building which has a cool history all of its own.

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When you descend into EPIC you are greeted with a charming ‘passport’ to the Irish Diaspora Museum. I see this being embraced by the generations of schoolchildren who will pass though the museum. We are told to stamp our passport (which doubles as a handy map) in each room.

passport

At the entrance you are greeted with columns of dazzling colour and a video of an incoming tide splashed up against the 200 year old walls of the CHQ building’s lower level. The lights are low and this creates a fittingly eerie atmosphere.

entrance

When I think of the Irish diaspora two time periods spring to mind; the mid to late 1800s and the 1960s – 80s. But EPIC, (living up to its name) charts many of the reasons, some of the journeys and many of the kinds of people who left throughout the history of our country from 500 A.D. to our present century.

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Within the ancient walls the designers have considerately fashioned a theme for each room that suits the information being relayed. The first three rooms chart the journey from Ireland to the various countries that my ancestors found refuge. It then proceeds to focus on the descendants of those people who left and the impact they had on those countries.

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EPIC untangles hundreds of their stories at the touch of multiple screens and audio experiences. There are stories of bravery, of hope, despair, creativity, achievement in many spheres, infamy, deception, even cross-dressing and much more. These stories are from both the Irish who first arrived on the shores of their new worlds and in subsequent room the stories of their descendants.

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EPIC delivers a refreshing balance as we hear the positive aspects of our Irish History standing shoulder to shoulder with the negative ones.

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There are also a number of amusing quizzes to take which proves that EPIC is not without a sense of humour.

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One of the many highlights of the tour was reading the scanned letters that Irish immigrants had sent home.  Seeing a digital image of the original letters and reading the words of these ordinary people brought me closer to the struggles of the original Irish Diaspora.

letters

I could go on but I don’t want to spoil the experience any further. I spent three and a half hours there and could have spent the same amount of time again and still not taken in everything it has to offer.

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One more thing, don’t forget to look at the floors.

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This Museum goes to Eleven.

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Dublin Restaurants as recommended by Twitter – May 2016


I don’t usually eat out. When the opportunity arose, with two friends who have lived out of Dublin for more than a few years, I went to twitter for help.

This was my tweet…

‘Dublin twitter foodies. I’m looking for a suggestion for a reasonably priced restaurant in the city centre. @Tweetinggoddess @darraghdoyle‘

Before I list every recommendation I will tell you (briefly) why I chose Avenue.

avenue

A) Avenue was recommended by Darragh Doyle and they instantly responded from their twitter account with their menu!

B) I had actually been there once before for lunch.

I am not suddenly going to turn into a food blogger and demand free meals from anyone in return for words on the internet but I did visit Avenue with my friends and had a lovely early bird meal. I recommend the Pressed Pork for starter and the Onglet I had for my main course.

Thanks to Alanna Feeney for her twitter interaction and the hosting on the night and to Nick Munier for the food!

Thanks to

@darraghdoyle @tweetinggoddess @GinandGriddle @PrettyPPD  and ‏@MargaritaRibotV

for replying to my tweet with the following recommendations.

@catch22dublin

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@Carluccios_ie

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@BeeftroDublin

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@featherblade

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@brasseriesixty6  

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@imonellidublin

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@CaffeItaliano1

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@CocuKitchen

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@Sproutfoodco

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@HAIRYLEMON1

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Flanagans on O Connell St

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And @YamamoriDublin which appeared in two separate recommendations.

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Enjoy your meals!

Is Social Media the Fifth Wall of Theatre? #OnlyInMahagonny


Indulge me.

I would like to introduce you to two men.

Paul Gallagher

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Kurt Furey

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Paul is a travel blogger who has recently returned from South America and has been employed by Threepenny Travel. You can follow him on twitter @paulgallagher92 here and read his blog here.

His first assignment is to track down the enigmatic Kurt Furey.

Kurt is no ordinary man as his twitter handle suggests @kurtthefurey and he has recently been posting some very odd ‘Commandments’ through twitter and his youtube account.

Here is an example.

If you are on twitter I suggest that you give them a follow because if (when) Paul manages to track down Kurt I get the feeling that there will be more than sparks.

Paul and Kurt only exist on social media and they both have a one way ticket to the fictitious city of Mahagonny (pronounced Ma-Ha-Gonny). Mahagonny itself is a city which sprang forth from the mind of Bertholt Brecht and the music of Kurt Weill when they wrote the Opera “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny”.

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Mahagonny stood for everything that is wrong about capitalism as Brecht and Weill saw in 1930s Germany. It is a city that develops initially to provide people with goods but ends up reducing everything to a commodity. A live current which touches many people living in Ireland today.

Over the next ten days you can follow Paul Gallagher as he meets Kurt the Furey who will lead us deep into the corrupt, hedonistic heart of Mahagonny. On the thirteenth of June the fusion of opera, jazz and cabaret that is “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” (produced by Rough Magic Theatre Company and Opera.ie) will be start a short run in the Olympia Theatre.

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This production is reflecting the 4th wall breaking tendency of Brecht who dared to connect straight to his audience and promises to be an almost interactive theatrical experience. The social media skills of Maverick TV have created what you might call a fifth wall of theatre by drawing the online audience into the world of Mahagonny before the run in the theatre begins.

I feel that Brecht would have approved.

Anyone who knows me will appreciate that I love the idea.

The concept was a winner of the Sky Arts Ignition Award

Keep an eye on the hashtag #onlyinmahagonny and enter the city here if you dare…

I, Malvolio – Written & Performed By Tim Crouch At The Peacock, Dublin


You know that game where you choose your ultimate dinner party guests?

Well Tim Crouch has just  made my list.

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You don’t have to know anything about Shakespeare.

You don’t even have to be an adult to enjoy Crouch’s one hour, one man show focusing on Malvolio a minor character from “Twelfth Night”.

You just have to be human.

Crouch greets us as he stands on the stage wearing a variety of grimaces, stained long-johns and a cobbled together hat.  Throughout the next hour we are brought to tears of laughter, mocked, questioned, moved and all the while entertained to a degree I have not felt in the theatre for a long while.

At once a mixture of the story telling of Shakespeare, the cantankerousness of Victor Meldrew, the brilliant absurdity  of Monty Python, the ad-libbing of the best stand-up comedians and the simple depths of the Philosopher Socrates.

Crouch breaks down the usual actor/audience balance and draws us right into the sad life of Shakespearean Malvolio while acknowledging that we are living in 2013. His observations hold a mirror to the role of modern theatre and the maturing audience.

He asks us

“Is this the sort of thing you like?”

Yes, Mr. Crouch it is.

Not to be missed.

I, Malvolio runs until the 23rd March click here before it is booked out!

 
Follow @Beanmimo

“Othered Voices” Dublin 2013: Music and Poetry


I jumped at an opportunity to join an audience at one of the “Othered Voices” events as part of Dublin’s Tradfest in January 2013. It promised to be a representation of marginalised groups’ artistic interpretations of contemporary Dublin.

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Othered Voices was organised by Dublin Counsillor, writer and poet Mannix Flynn.

I had been at a poetry recital last year where some established writers bemoaned the lack of writing in contemporary Ireland.

So I was ready to be enlightened about my country, eager to see how the marginalised artists grappled with the state of our poor country, dying to be roused, moved and optimistic that the contemporary writers would have their bemoans unbemoaned.

I was faced with two female  Hip Hop Rappers and an almost inaudible and angry male Punk Poet.

Ophelia McCabe belted out hardcore Hip Hop tunes and to be quite frank I knew she was angry but about what specifically? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe she didn’t like her synthesiser.


Temper-mental MissElayneous was somewhat more coherent. Her rhythmic message nearly kept to the beat of her off and on accompanying music. Her accent wavered from inner city Dublin to somewhere west of Blackrock, Co. Dublin. She was clever enough to string together and hurl out tried and tested anti-establishment sound bites. But her words came across as empty echoes of archetypal ideologies stolen from oppressed and bygone decades.

The last performer was Jinx Lennon, a Punk Poet from Dundalk who was a little more to my taste than the previous two. Still he either whispered or shouted most of his poems into the microphone, dealing with unemployment and youth violence in a melodic fashion.  He painted Dundalk as some sort of dystopian nightmare you would find in Orwell or Burgess.

Mannix Flynn provided me with the highlight. While he spent most of the evening as compere, he did recite a catchy poem where he described contemporary Dublin and wondered where the ‘Joyces’ have gone.

I believe that everybody has a right to express themselves within the confines of the law. The second part of my sentence belies my own ideology. I believe in the system but unfortunately the system is currently fueled by greed whereas it should be fueled by goodwill.

I believe also that you don’t have to like something because it is true. There are parts of both anarchy and the establishment that need to be changed but it is not by replacing one with the other.

Some say art is whatever you want to be and any reaction is a result. That is a cop out. 

I want my Art to  give me food for thought. 

I applaud Mannix Flynn’s attempt to give a platform to these marginalised voices, everybody deserves a chance.

For me “Othered Voices” seem to trade on rotten lemons and all they cannot have. I was unable to find any answers here only despair and bitterness accompanied by loud and often random noises. At its worst it was was unoriginal and under-rehearsed. I was left wanting a pint.

This Art isn’t for me.

It is too easy for artists to complain, it is easy for anyone to complain, you can hear it everyday on the radio, or read it in the papers or listen to it with your eyes on social media.

But it is not easy to complain constructively and with style, neither is producing great art an easy task.

People are bitter, people are on the dole, people hate the government. It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times… yeah, yeah.

If we don’t start being optimistic and producing a healthy petrie dish for cultural and economic growth, especially and particularly at the margins, our national identity will become warped and twisted.

It has to start with us.

RTE Concert Orchestra at Dublin’s National Concert Hall – At The Movies


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I don’t understand Music in the same way as professionals or enthusiasts. I can’t discern the nuances (I found this out at an early age in school when I lost my way trying to follow classical pieces while reading sheet music). But I do love listening to many types of Music and, as many readers of my blog will know, I love the movies.

I would not normally be rushing to an orchestral performance except this week I got a chance to see “At The Movies” with The RTE Concert Orchestra, conducted by Neil Thompson, in Dublin’s National Concert Hall.

They opened with a medley which was neither on the programme nor was it accompanied by any visuals. After the first clutch of notes I knew that I didn’t need the visuals as Dimitri Tomkin’s score to one of my personal favourite movies, “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946), flowed through me and the story of George Bailey play out in my mind.

The intro alone will make you want to sit through the whole movie.

We were then treated to clips from the below classic movies (hover over the images to find the Composers).

I found myself lost in the movie scenes and felt guilty about not noticing the orchestra. I managed to forgive myself because this was partly the point of the night. The fact that I was being sucked into the scenes reflected how well the Orchestra and Conductor were in synch with the individual clips.

The performances were punctuated with small doses of trivia about the composers.

My favourite was about, the aforementioned Dimitri Tiomkin, who gave this speech for the Oscar he won in 1954. As his colleagues, family and friends were waiting for the obligatory thank you part of his speech he wrapped up with…

“Lady and gentlemen, because I working in this town for twenty-five years, I like to make some kind of appreciation to very important factor what make me successful to lots of my colleagues in this town. I’d like to thank Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss, Richard Strauss, Beethoven, Mozart, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov. Thank you.”

This kind of an evening is a treat for Movie and Music lovers alike.

So if you get one chance to go to any movie related live orchestral performance, no matter how odd it may strike you at first, do give it a chance.

Of course all the clips made me want to watch these classics again.

Keep an eye on both links below as I am sure they will be quavering around the subject of movies again soon.

The National Concert Hall Dublin

The RTE  Concert Orchestra

Culture in Dublin – Summer 2012: 3 of 3: Music


Dalkey Jazz & Lobster Festival

I thought my weekend was full already with a wedding on a Saturday (that’s a full one for me anyway) until I heard about the New Dalkey Lobster & Jazz festival.

I grew up Dalkey, still live close by and I visit it at least once a week for a business meeting or an evening pint with friends…  sometimes I jump off the train and stroll through for the sake of it.

So even though it made my weekend now bulging at the seams, I planned to sandwich the Saturday wedding with the opening and closing events of this new festival.

The Discovery Gospel Choir

I sat in the Church looking at the familiar altar and remembered the dusty transformation from it’s predecessor.  My faith used to lurk in a dark and empty room but was exposed by Catholicism which shone through a chunk  of my teenage years as an Altar Boy. When that light shone into the room, it was bright and empty, the only shadows held the doorknob and sat on the window ledge, they didn’t hang about either.

Ollie McCabe of Select Stores introduced The Discovery Gospel Choir who arrived into the church and danced their way on to the altar. Instantly the mood of the audience was lifted. The hour sped by as they chose a mixture of African rhythyms, classic soul tracks and their own original rap prayers which reverberated so energetically I was afraid that the Church was going to need to build another Altar. While the building stayed together, it was the pews that had difficulty keeping the audience sitting down.

They sung and danced. Their colourful costumes filled the altar and mesmerised the people who watched with awe.

It did nothing to make me want to believe in God again but intricate and positive sensation certainly reinforced my belief in music.

Then it was time to go to the lovely wedding in Wicklow where I witnessed (for the first time) a marriage take place in front of a massive stone hearth and burning log fire.

Sunday proved to be seedy. I was armed to the teeth with tea and a dog as my companion when I made it back to Dalkey to see The Camembert Quartet play in the same Church Car Park.

The Camembert Quartet

I had seen them on television but never live. They are an incredibly tight band and played familiar tunes with professional ease, the sharp dialogue they had with the crowd  consisted of the lead singer not letting a gap between songs pass without taking a swipe at the affluence of Dalkey and the people who lived there. As good as they were the only time people started dancing to them was with the addition of Catriona O’Sullivan as she joined them and belted out a rocking rendition of “Proud Mary”.

Dalkey was packed and the Lobster Festival seemed to be a huge success.

Congratulations to The Dalkey Business Group who spearhead the obviously attractive event.

The Discovery Gospel Choir.

The Camembert Quartet

Caitriona O’Sullivan

The Dalkey Business Group

Select Stores

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