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THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!

For me personally, Granby Park was never a ‘pop-up’ project. Nothing about it appeared suddenly and easily overnight and much of what made it exceptional was the way in which it has, and continues, to resonate.

For anyone who was involved, Granby was more than a series of temporary structures and installations, it was also about a process – a process about which we are still learning and one that perhaps we don’t yet have the right words for.

To all the thousands of people who helped make Granby Park happen, and the 40,000 visitors who came over one month, the impact of your kindness has been epic. And a plain old ‘Thank You’ seems inadequate.
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How can we really thank the builders, architects, designers, artists and local residents who one damp winter came to a workshop on Strand Street to hear us out? And who day after day, month after month, as one year rolled into the next, continued to suspend their disbelief and put their hearts into plans for Granby Park?

Or the people who came on board later to help us build, open and run the park? It was nothing short of mind-bending to see them turn up every day in their hoards with their DIY and gardening tools, their kitchen steel-toed boots, their laptops. Even now, even after the park has closed, offers of help and materials are STILL coming in.

Of highlights, there are so many; the little lady who climbed three flights of stairs in sweltering August to hand me her yarn-bomb knitting; the couple who turned up on site with a barbeque to feed volunteers; the hostel owners who took in Granby out-of-towners; the individuals who trusted us with the things they cared about and care for – plants, trees, books, art, materials.

If any one of these examples seem unremarkable, consider this: over the past two years those of us who have worked on Granby have witnessed acts like these, literally, in their thousands.

Out of vacancy, has come generosity and for me, a refreshed understanding of space, history and what it means to be here and to be socially engaged with challenge, disappointment and hope.

In the absence of the ‘right’ words, and in what seems to be the middle of a much wider dialogue, I can only say how humbled I am by the experience of working with so many good souls. Everyone should be a volunteer coordinator at least once in their lives!
THANK YOU the volunteers: the youth workers, community workers, artists, academics and researchers, funders, musicians, writers, social activists, builders, engineers, gardeners, cooks, critics, collaborators, anyone who wore a glorious oversized yellow hi-vis jacket and everyone who made Granby Park 22 Aug – 22 Sep 2013 happen!

The History of the Granby Park Area

Today’s blogger is Ronan Stewart and in his own words he’s ”an Independent researcher, writer and gardener living in Dublin, having recently completed a masters in History from the University of Cambridge”

Ronan’s post provides an interesting and detailed history of the area around Granby Park since the 18th century.

As with all the blog posts, the opinions stated are those of the writer.

On Thursday, 22nd August 2013 a new, if brief, ‘pop-up’ park staffed by volunteers was opened on Dublin’s north-side inner city. This is Granby park, the newest addition to many new exciting voluntary projects going on around the city. This is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the problems of lack of services such as parks and general recreational facilities, and of course, housing, for most of Dublin, and especially in the recession-lashed Northside inner city.

Yet it is also an opportunity to reflect on the city’s past, and learn from it, as well as some of the mistakes and problems which have occurred when it came to making decisions about how to manage housing. It is an opportunity to reflect on the past greatness which the recently derelict site of Granby possesses. And it is an opportunity to reflect on the vivid and varied tapestry of humanity and stories of people who lived out their lives here, growing up, marrying, having children then finally passing away.

I will thus attempt to provide a brief history of Dominick Street, focusing on the area around Granby Park wherever possible.

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A composite map of Dublin up till 1540. Note St. Mary’s Abbey as well as the few roads which would form the basis of the Northside. Courtesy: OS Survey Ireland, and Richview library.

The area of Granby and Dominick Street did not exist before the 18th century. Before that, this area had been in the medieval parish of St. Mary’s Abbey, then the following church. Though it is hard to conceive now, the concrete-enclosed Dominick street area seems to have consisted mainly of orchards and vegetable gardens up till the 1720s at least.

The first construction work on the future Dominick Street was commissioned by Sir Christopher Dominick in the early 1720s. Dominick was a physician who had originally purchased the land in 1709. With other landlords already constructing housing estates around the local area, he built a large house on the present Dominick Street, and he leased an adjoining site to Lady Alice Hine.

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This 1728 side-on map by Charles Brooking shows the area around Dominick Street as fields, with Trinity College (church tower on left) and Dublin castle (towers to the right) and the Dublin mountains in the background. This was at a time when this area was an expanding suburb not unlike noughties Dublin. Courtesy: Richview library and OS Ireland.

Dominick died in 1743 and his widow let in lots for building a new street which would be called ‘Dominick Street’ a decade later, though she kept a hold of the property in number 13. These lots were essentially carved up by different builder-speculators who were forerunners of today’s failed Celtic-boomers, though their works, unlike their distant descendants, were not destined for the ghost-town scrap-heap.

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John Roque’s map of 1756, showing the first few houses of Dominick Street built on the future Granby Park, on the bottom south-east right hand side of the street. Note the Orchards and vegetable plots nearby. Courtesy: OS Ireland and Richview library, UCD.

The 1756 map of John Rocque above records five houses already constructed, on the present site of Granby Park. It is ironic that these first houses were amongst the first to meet the acquaintance of the wrecking ball during the later 1950s culls. Further building was proceeding along by 1757, with Dominick’s son-in-law, Usher St. George, letting out further lots.

Thus commenced the construction of one of the most beautiful Georgian areas of Dublin. In fact, up till 1957 Dominick Street was the grandest surviving Georgian Street north of the Liffey, long, broad and flanked by terraces of tall spare brick houses with pedimented stone door cases.

Amongst the most well-known builders was Robert West, who took on at least five plots on this street alone. Several of the surviving houses there were built and decorated by West (though it is possible his role in this is somewhat exaggerated), such as Nos. 39-43 and 21-22, which have surviving Rococo and Italianate frames.

No. 40 has a rather elaborate tripartite door case made of Portland stone with Scamozzian Ionic columns carved foliage panels above side lights. But the piece de resistance is at No. 20 lower Dominick Street. Its outside is very poor, but the inside sumptuously beautiful, with cherubs and various depictions of naturalistic scenes such as birds and garlands, angle cartouches, chinoiseries borders, strap work elements and busts. It was built by Robert West from 1758-1760 for the Hon. Robert Marshall, a justice in the court of Common pleas. Upper Dominick Street would have to wait and was only completed in the 1820s.

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Faded, or not-so faded glory: Lime plaster-work at no. 20 Dominick Street. Courtesy of Richard Ireland, photo reproduced in Cathedral communications website: accessed 17-09-2013.

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Dominick Street and Granby Row to the north-east around 1780. Map Courtesy Richview library, OS Ireland.

In the meantime, the area from which Granby Park itself takes its name was taking shape.

A block away to the East, the west side of Parnell square, originally known as Granby row, was laid out between 1758 and 1773 , with the first houses opening in 1766, though some sort of line had existed in Granby row as early as 1728. This Granby row was named after the then-famous Marquis of Granby, John Manners, (1721- 1770) a war hero from the Seven year’s war between Britain and France.

Granby led cavalry regiments with immense bravery during a charge at the battle of Warburg (Germany) in 1760 where they drove the French cavalry across the river Diemel, killing hundreds. His hat and wig were shot off during the battle, and he was forced to salute his commander without them. This was unusual – usually, officers had to be wearing headdress before they saluted officers. As a result, Granby’s cavalry regiment, the prestigious Royal horse guards (Blues) were allowed the tradition of saluting without their headdresses. Granby would go on to help win the battle of Villinghausen in 1761, and would eventually have numerous pubs named after him in England thanks to good treatment of troops who would go on to found these premises.

Granby lane and Granby place, which back on to Granby Park, were named after his son, Charles Manners, the fourth duke of Rutland (1754-1787) who was the viceroy and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, dying in Phoenix park lodge thanks to excessive claret (wine) consumption.

On this road, No. 29 was another house completed by Robert west in 1770. Ironically, No. 29 would supposedly be a safe-house for the Irish nationalist leader Michael Collins during the war of independence (1919-1921).

The area was heavily dominated by the aristocracy, however there was already a spattering of barristers, attorneys and physicians as well as other professionals, who would slowly become the dominant classes on these streets, because they (unlike most of the other lower classes) could afford the heavy rents.

In 1775 Emily Olivia St. George, who was the granddaughter of Sir Christopher Dominick, married the Second duke of Leinster, William Fitzgerald (1749-1804) and number 13 Dominick Street became Fitzgerald’s property.

According to Seamus Scully, the daughter of a caretaker in these two houses would later happily recount: ‘Number 13 was the residence, with lovely period furniture and a number of valuable pictures- original paintings by old masters – on the drawing and dining rooms. The hall, covered with black and white large tiling, held a cosy, covered ‘booth’ for the hall porter. Number 13′s mews were covered with an ornamental pear tree, number 14′s with Virginia creeper… a gravel path ran down the garden and there were lawns on each side, with two raised circular groups of ornamental shrubs. The Fitzgerald family, aunts, uncles, of the duke all stayed at number 13 when visiting or passing through Dublin…. they were charming people – kind, interested in their employees and their families’. Numbers 13 and 14 were the Leinster estate offices early on, with gardens running back to Granby lane.

This area was fully a part of greater historical events happening at that time, and it knew its fair share of scandal. No. 11 was occupied in the 18th century by Sir Hercules Langrishe, who helped form the Irish volunteers with Henry Grattan and Napper Tandy. However, in the aftermath of the 1798 rebellion, when the act of Union (1801) had been pushed through the Irish parliament linking both countries ‘forever’ and demolishing any sense of home rule, it would transpire that Sir Henry had accepted a bribe to abstain from the momentous vote against it!

The act of Union would cause a property crash in Dublin as many of the nobility and lords who were connected with the Irish parliament were forced to go to London to join the parliament there, taking their money, and often many dependents with them, and property prices bottomed out.

This property crash would help cause the long-term flight of large numbers of the nobility from Dominick Street, and the street slowly became poorer, though the increasing population crisis which would lead to the Irish famine probably played its part along with other factors like the predominant flight of the nobility to the suburbs.

This is a brilliant illustration of how unexpected, large-scale political events – and mistakes – can often have knock-on effects on neighbourhoods, and lead to total changes in local communities.

Decline sets in: the 19th century

For the time being however, Dominick Street / the future Granby Park was still a prosperous area, and was increasingly occupied by working professionals like solicitors and surgeons. If we take number 1 lower Dominick street, this was occupied by William Dargan, a railroad contractor. 20 years later, Sandham Symes, an architect, and Robert Symes, a Barrister, were at number 58, though no. 13 remained in the possession of the Dukes of Leinster. The Earl of Howth had a house at no. 41, though it was eventually sold to the Carmelite friars in 1854. This house along with numbers 39-42 were converted to a school and from 1902 it was occupied by the Sisters of the holy faith. This property was only sold in 1981 following closure.

When the Broadstone railway station opened in 1847 up the road and near the entrance to upper Dominick Street, several hotels and boarding houses were introduced to the street catering to its passengers. For example the Midland hotel took on guests from the great Midland railway from Mullingar and beyond.

By 1850, the formerly ornate no. 20 had become the school for the parish of St. Mary’s, and Dominick Street also appears in some of the later Sean O’Casey’s writings, referring to a miserable and sadistic school run by the ‘scowl-faced, pink, baldy, whorey old-headed teacher, Slogan!’

From 1846-1861 the church of St. Saviour was laid down and completed in an elegant Gothic revival style, influenced by French designs by the architect James Joseph McCarthy and now the key church for the then-expanding Dominican order.

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St Saviours church, photo taken by Robert French between 1880-1900, as part of the Lawrence photograph collection. This church stands on the site of the former Dominick residence. Courtesy: Irish national Library.

Records of the time indicate that the population was fairly varied. Granby lane in 1847 had an inspector-general for lunatic asylums, a surgeon and a vintner, amongst others, while George cook owned one of the local board and lodging houses.

For the local area, the most common surnames, in descending order of numbers, perhaps indicates the increasing importance of Irish – Catholic Irish – in the area as time went on: Byrne, Murphy, Doyle, Lynch, Moore, Kelly, Kennedy, Smith, Farrell, Martin.

No. 36 was the birthplace of Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865), an Irish physicist and astronomer as well as mathematician, whose work included a re-assessment of the old Newtonian laws of physics and would help lead to new theories on electro-magnetism and eventually quantum mechanics. His daughters Laetitia and Eva Hamilton would go on to become Irish landscape painters.

JS Sheridan le Fanu (1814-1873), was born at 45 Lower Dominick Street into a family of Huguenots, and amongst many works he would complete one of the first modern vampire stories, Carmilla, which predated Bram Stoker’s own work by 25 years. It is a lurid tale of a vampire which winds its way into a family and starts feeding off of the daughter of an English officer.

But by then, conditions in the street were worsening. The creation of the slums started in the 1880s, and this has been blamed on the so-called slum landlords. These individuals bought the Georgian houses cheaply and sublet them, often with up to eighty people occupying one of the large houses so that they could gain maximum rent.

The 20th Century

By 1900, half of Dominick Street had undergone a savage conversion into tenements and was essentially a slum. Often, large families (Census reports frequently indicate up to eight to a room) were reared in one room, poorly fed and clothed, and these were cruelly ideal conditions for disease.

This was not helped by an often fractious county council guided by Laisse-Faire as well as divide-and-rule policies (depending on the presiding British government of the time).

We still see glimpses of the past here, and the census reports of 1901 and 1911 along with other sources indicate that the situation was not simply a constant depression-wrought period of continuous social degradation with no hope at all reminiscent of Angela’s Ashes. Attempts were made to maintain and improve some of the dwellings there. For instance in no. 13, there was work done on the stables kept by the Duke of Leinster, probably by the contractor J and P Good around 1902-1903. Indeed, the Earl of Antrim, continued to live just around the corner in Granby row.

In 1914, two shops were reconstructed in no. 28-29 by the contractor W.A. Clarke, from Fairview. Even later on in the middle of the darkest days of the 1950s, number 24 would see the rear of a store there rebuilt so not everything was ‘Bug-Ridden, Rat infested’ doom and gloom as one later author would put it.

So what struggles did many of these, to us, seemingly anonymous individuals who lived there face? Did they find love? Did they serve in the Great War, the War of Independence, or the Civil War, either for or against any side or not care at all? Did they squander their meagre (or perhaps not-so-meagre) money, or slowly claw their way up the social ladder? Did they enjoy drinking or abstain? This cannot be answered here – but suffice it to say that for many, conditions were not pleasant. But it wasn’t always as simple as that.

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Map of Lower Dominick Street, 1907 Courtesy: Ordinance survey of Ireland

At John West’s number 20, the former school, the Dominican order ran an orphanage there from 1927. Seamus Scully, who grew up here later, remembered ‘the scared children [from the orphanage] with shaven heads, clad only in unhappily uniforms and noisy hobnailed boots’

With independence, religious devotionalism was high in the 1920s, and many resorted to extreme asceticism to combat the scourge of drinking which had so badly affected many Irish people. A well-known incident involves Matt Talbot, (1856-1925) a reformed alcohol addict who had turned into an ascetic. On 7 June 1925 he apparently dropped dead on his way to the Dominican church in Granby Lane. He was found to be bound in chains and cord, revealing the full extent of the devotion to his god. He was known for his extreme devotion to the Virgin Mary and he is well respected – even revered – by religious Catholics both in Ireland and abroad and is regarded as a patron of men and women suffering from alcoholism for his battle with addiction and asceticism.

Later on in the 1930s, the Midland hotel was owned by a supporter of the Right-wing Irish politician / Soldier Eoin O’Duffy, where men would gather prior to being sent on the failed expedition to support Franco’s nationalists in the Spanish civil war.

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Dominick Street, feted during the international Eucharistic congress in 1932. Independent newspapers. Courtesy: Irish national library.

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Children running on Dominick Street, 1930s. Photo taken by Maurice Craig, reproduced by Peter Pearson, in The Heart of Dublin, pg. 428.

By the 1950s the whole area was severely run-down, and moves were made to demolish much of Dominick Street so that the county council could construct new accommodation which would be better suited to the local’s needs. The demolitions started with the lower east side, then finished with the lower west side buildings.

The tenements which had been so vividly evoked by Sean O’Casey, former residences of lords and ladies past as well as the touchstones for so many stories of the great and good, were replaced in the late 1950s and early 1960s by undistinguished brick-clad galleried apartment buildings by Desmond Fitzgerald. Out of sixty-six houses recorded in 1938, only ten survived the tenement-pogroms of these once magnificent if shabby buildings.

An angered Desmond Guinness would bemoan the destruction: ‘In 1957 alone, Dublin has lost half of Dominick Street’. Nonetheless, No. 20 would survive and indeed, much of its stucco and plasterwork ceilings have recently been restored, thanks to help from the heritage council. It is currently the headquarters of the National Youth Federation.

The flats which replaced the Dominick street tenements themselves have received their fair share of criticism as being unsuited for modern living conditions, poorly fitted out, lacking in facilities and so on, and the housing project cannot really be considered a long-term success, though it has been considered that they provided ‘much needed’ accommodation for the residents. Until Now.

The Context of Granby Park

It is important to understand that the present plans of Dublin city council to regenerate the local economy and then placed in suspended animation due to the economic crash of 2008 is just the latest in a long line of similar debacles which were caused by unforeseen circumstances.

The planning of Dublin city’s housing has, much like any other city, been fraught with the danger of dealing with unexpected political events, environmental occurrences, and of course, recessions which can vivisect the most grandiose plans by hitting where it hurts: at the nation’s or individual’s purses.

For instance, in Eccles street prior to the 1798 rebellion, there had been plans for an extensive ring-road and railed park at the centre with roads radiating outward, yet this was scuppered unexpectedly by the death of its patron, Luke Gardiner or Lord Mountjoy, during the battle of New Ross as well as the following act of Union.

Similarly the development of the buildings around D’Olier Street which now house the Irish times was also delayed by the same act of Union which would help scupper Dominick street’s long-term prosperity, and it would hang in the air, undeveloped and looking for interested developers, for years.

Obviously, an appreciation of the history of previous failure and the consequences for residents is always something we should keep in mind – yet this is preaching a well-worn sermon that needs little further telling.

In any case, the visitors to Granby park should know one thing: they are arriving in the latest in a long line of developments of this area, however temporary. It will be exciting to see how the next chapter of Dominick Street and Granby Park will unfold. Perhaps, at last, it is time for Dominick Street to return to its former greatness.

Bibliography

# Please note that all map and photograph references are below the photographs themselves, and all efforts have been made to acquire permission from the relevant parties.

Douglas Bennett, The Encyclopaedia of Dublin.

Joseph V. O’Brien, Dear, Dirty Dublin: a city in distress.

Cristine Casey, Dublin, the buildings of Ireland.

Paul Clerkin, Dublin street names

Maurice Craig Dublin 1660-1860

Frederick O’Dwyer Lost Dublin

CT McReady Dublin street names

Peter Pearson, The heart of Dublin, resurgence of a historical city.

Seamus Scully, The Dublin Rover

Author unknown, The Dublin Almanac and register for 1947

Edel Sheriden, ‘Designing the capital city’, in Joseph Brady, Anngret Simms, Dublin through space and time

R.A. Stradling. The Irish and the Spanish civil war, 1936-1939: Crusades in conflict

Cathal Crimmins, Julia Crimmins and John Greene, ‘Architectural appraisal and environmental report on the former Irish times premises, D’Olier street and fleet street, Dublin 2’

Sources online

Archaeological Survey of Ireland Map viewer :

http://webgis.archaeology.ie/NationalMonuments/FlexViewer/ , accessed 15/09/2013.

Census of Ireland 1901 & 1911:

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ , accessed 15/09/2013.

Dictionary of Irish architects:

http://www.dia.ie/ , accessed 15/09/2013.

Ordnance Survey Ireland online:

http://maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,591271,743300,0,10 , accessed 15/09/2013.

‘The battle of Warburg’ :

http://www.britishbattles.com/seven-years/warburg.htm , accessed 15/09/2013.

 Acknowledgements:

Special thanks to Julia Crimmins, Building conservationist, as well as the staff of Richview library, UCD.

 

 

Granby Park

Here’s a great blog post from a blogger called Jools who is out there in the wild and wonderful blogsphere. Granby Park is getting a lot of attention and we love to highlight what people are experiencing and writing.

You can read more about her adventures on Jools blog Dancing With Dirty Feet  here.

Here’s how Jools describes herself:

Mama to five little birds. Going slowly and secretly delightfully crazy. Montessori teacher taking a long holiday. Freestyling Parent. Cool kids clothes lover. Tutu maker. Wine drinker. Eternal optimist. Love my fabulous friends. Eats real food mmm. Mess maker. Takes a lot of photos. Stay at home mama that doesn’t want to stay home :) A whole world to explore and see through babys eyes. Four of my birds now in big school leaving just me and baby Birdie to discover many new adventures. 

p.s we have Jools permission to use pics of her children. Read and enjoy this delightful post. We loved it in Granby Park Central.

We could hear it before we could see it. A hum of busy chatter, excited squeals of children and the bump bump of a hip-hop beat. As we turned a street corner deep in Dublin’s city centre it rose before us like an oasis of green goodness. High rise buildings surrounding us we were encapsulated by this visual delight. Completely oblivious to where we actually were we entered Granby Park like Alice into Wonderland. The smell and sound of the city far behind us as our senses were transformed by the strong woodland smell and the graffiti that bounced off the walls towards us.

The brainchild of many dedicated and creative people, Granby park is like a delightful feast for your eyes. A fantastic dream that became a reality. A labyrinth of little delights to explore. We climbed in and out and on top of everything. Looked at everything thing sidewards and upside down. There is even a Trade school tucked in there teaching all sorts of crafts and creations with classes daily.

Monsters to make roar. Mirrored houses to make funny faces in. A dream farm to water all the plants in. A little library right in the middle of the park to take time out and snuggle for a story. Sitting on a chair made of grass amongst the daisies. Breathtaking. Tyres to climb on and jump off. Sand to dig in and engineer wonderful ideas with the opportunity of all the pipes, tubes and tunnels provided. Future great little minds busy at work. Teepees to camp under. Wooden benches with room for plenty to picnic on. Grassy hills to roll down and flora and fauna abound to enjoy. A beautiful patch of true nature to relish right in the middle of the city.

As the evening came upon us a canopy of lamps and twinkling fairy lights lit the way in the twilight. The crowds gathered as the amazing creation of the wooden pallet amphitheater filled with the sweet sound of soul. Time for sleepy little heads to retire and let the grown ups play. Deliciously exhausted by the enchantments of the day. The only whispering tinge of sadness is that Granby Park is merely visiting us. A wonderland passing through the rubble. A lingering magical memory. Go and taste this wonderful little place before it becomes lost once more.

 

A Sensory Tour of Granby Park

Damien Murphy writes on topics ranging from life in Dublin to mental health issues to international politics on his blog, All the Rusted Signs. He is from Dublin, and lived close to the Granby Park site for several years. This is his latest post on Granby Park.

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The first thing that struck me about Granby Park was the smell. The warm earthy aroma of woodchip and mulch is something more connected with garden centres and countryside than with the heart of a capital city. The day before Granby Park opened I went down to the site to get a take a look at how it was coming together. Behind the decorated railings, volunteers in hi-vis vests were swarming around the site making the final preparations. And the air all around the park, all up Dominick Street, was filled with that sweet, slightly musty smell. Even before Granby Park opened, it was already changing the way I sensed the city.

A while back, I wrote about a book called “Slow Dublin” by Anto Howard, a handy little guide for taking a deeper, richer approach to life in Dublin by slowing down and taking in more of the city. “Live more, fret less”, the book’s cover exhorts, and in the introduction, Howard explains his approach:

“Adopting a slow approach to life is about arousing the senses, connecting with community… and in these hard-hit times it’s about pulling together, sharing a burden, sharing a hope and learning to live with less.”

That’s an ethos that seems to fit Granby Park pretty well, and in my trips into the park, I’ve found it is certainly a space that engages all the senses in a slow, easy, relaxing way that city living doesn’t often encourage. Once inside the park, through the leafy pergola, there are subtler scents to be picked up than the obvious smell of the mulch and woodchip. The Shoe Wall installation, where flowers sprout from old shoes, adds a little floral fragrance to the air, while from the café I catch drifts of the rich smell of roast coffee.

I hear the chatter and laughter of children and adults, and the mingling of accents and languages, while my steps make a satisfying crunch along the meandering path. Somehow, the sound of the city traffic outside is already muffled, feeling far away and important.

In a space built not from the cold concrete of the city but soft, rough organic materials, everything longs to be touched. Volunteers are mucking in, getting their hands dirty tending to the plants that line the paths. The Trade School board is advertising hands-on workshops in drawing, knitting, photography and as well as other less tactile pursuits from philosophy to songwriting. In the playground, the laughing children clamber over rubber tyres and the rough-hewn log climbing frames.

Jane Groves' Shoe Wall - a collaboration with children from St Paul’s community centre.

Jane Groves’ Shoe Wall – a collaboration with children from St Paul’s community centre.

At The Granby Grazer, while I wait to taste that rich-smelling coffee I could smell earlier, I pick at a little bowl of garlic-and-pepper-marinated olives on the counter. I’ve missed out on the puy lentil stew, but I’ve never seen a beetroot salad look so simple and so tempting. I’ve been told that the menu uses herbs and plants grown in the Dream Farm, the little hydroponic greenhouse made from found materials near the entrance. I’m thinking I must make it in for at least one of the Food Exchange Sundays before the end of the month.

And of course visual art and creativity is everywhere – the burgeoning graffiti wall, the giant menacing robot head, the concrete couch, the illustrated plates – and at the very top park’s dominant feature, the Dubfast Theatre. Over a thousand rough, square, functional pallets arranged into smooth, gentle curves, enclosing a space to watch, hear and take part in creative performance. And it is that space more than any other that holds that wonderful earthy smell of the soft underfoot mulch that was my first sense of Granby Park.

In my visits in there, I’ve found Granby Park is not just a place to go, but a space to experience. And in using all my senses to experience it, it does what ”Slow Dublin” encourages. It makes me slow down. It makes me fret less. Emerging onto Parnell Street again, having forgotten for a little while that I am in the bustling heart of Dublin, I find I’ve taken Granby Park’s sense of creative calmness out into the city with me.

If you’re in Dublin between now and the 22nd , get down to Granby Park and see (touch, taste, smell, hear) for yourself.

Street Art meets Granby

Mary is one of our amazing Granby Park Roving Bloggers and today she showcases more creativity in the park. You can read more about what Mary loves in Dublin on her blog here

 

This cool note installation caught my eye. Had a closer peek, before I went to check the impressive street and grafitti art by a talented army of artists taking over the walls this month in Granby. Loved this simple concept, pick a note write a message and attach it to the rows of strings. Really reminds me of Chiaru Shiota’s work where one installation of her’s was a stunning shower of red thread running form the wall down to a mound of shoes they were each attached to. Check it out here! :)  I’ll let you guys go down and see for yourself what these lovely anonymous notes by visitors say.

Really admired the street and graffiti art here today when i popped in.Great showcase of talent, colours. It really brings the park to life! I wasn’t able to catch names of the artists so it’d be great if anyone knows them, do drop me a note so I can add them : ) Advise you all to go down to the park and check the walls out, you’ll regret not going! Some more posts on the way so come back to check them out! Mary

Traditional Food Exchange at Granby Park / Ireland 賭博日記

Dawoon is one of our wonderful Roving Bloggers and she wrote about the Food Exchange that happens every Sunday starting at 2pm. You bring a traditional dish and share your food with the other people that come along. Many thanks to Dawoon for translating her post into both Korean and English. You can read more of her posts on her blog here.

There is a ‘Traditional Food Exchange’ in Granby Park every sunday.

더블린에 온 이후로 다양한 국적의 사람들은 많이 만나봤지만,
다른 나라의 음식은 많이 먹어보지 못했다.
이런 기회야 말로 철호의 찬스!!

I’ve met a lot of people from different country here in dublin but unfortunately, there was not been any chance to taste their traditional food.So as a matter of course, it seems an excellent opportunity!!

학교에서 만난 한국 친구와 함께 궁중 떡볶이를 만들었다.
한국에서는 매우 보편적이고 인기가 많은 음식인데,
외국 친구들은 어떤 반응을 보일지 기대를 하면서…

At this morning, I cooked kong-jung-tteokbokki which is general and prevalent food in korea wondering how people would react.

 

2시에 도착해서 까페에 앉았는데
아무도 온 이가 없어서 사실 조금 당황했는데
얼마 지나지 않아 다들 음식보따리를 들고 속속이 나타났다.

I arrived in park at two sharp.At that moment, I was a little embarrassed with a empty table,and then some people started to arrived bringing dishes. (yeah)

(바람이 많이 부는 날씨라 적잖히 추워하고 있는데, 이웃 블로거 팽귄님이 마법처럼 나타나서 ‘JQ님이시죠?’ 하고 한국말로 인사해주셔서 놀랐다 ㅋㅋㅋ)
이렇게 모인 사람들의 국적은,
브라질, 폴란드, 한국, 더블린, 골웨이 !!

So, The nationality of people at the same table today was Brazil, Poland, Korea, Dublin, Galway!!

 

정말이지 다양한 음식들

So different food, So different culture!!

서로 자신들이 가져온 음식을 설명한 뒤
즐거운 마음으로 포크질을 하기 시작했다.
다른나라의 음식을 한 자리에 먹는 만큼 분위기도 묘했다.

After introducing the food what they brought, people started to picked up forks and knifes.As many as different kind of food on table, the atmosphere was full with joy.

특히 나는 한국 음식을 먹는 친구들의 표정을 좀 살폈다.
떡이 쫄깃한 식감이라 어떤 반응을 보일지 궁금했기 때문이었다.
다행히 여러번 수저를 가져대며 맛있게 먹어줬다.

I looked around some faces eating food that i brought.I worried the texture of food which is gooey a little bit,most of them gave me lots of positive reaction.

역시나 여러가지 주제가 식탁에 올랐다.
한국에서 나이를 세는 방법, 여행 이야기, 음식 이야기, 더블린 날씨 이야기 등.


음식도 좋고 사람도 좋고 분위기도 좋고 다 좋았는데
오늘따라 햇빛도 적고 바람도 너무 많이 불었다.
냅킨이 날라가서 내 뺨을 때리기도 했다능…ㅇㅇ

Everything (Food, People, Atmosphere…) was perfect except one – weather. It was too windy and I was slapped across the face with flying napkins. (omg!!)

추운 날씨 때문에 다들 몸을 움크리고 식사를 하는 중이었는데,
마침 Karla의 어머니가 만드셨다는 아이리시 전통 스튜가 등장했다.
양고기와 감자와 당근이 들어간 따뜻한 스튜였다.
감사한 마음으로 남김없이 냠냠 먹었다.

At the point, a big pot dramatically appeared!
It was irish traditional stew cooked by Karla’s mother.The ingredient of stew was potato, carrot, lamb.I ate a bowl of stew with a big gratitude!

매주 일요일마다 이런 자리가 있으니
정말 부담없이 음식을 가져가서 수다를 떨면 즐거운 경험이 될듯!
다음주 날씨는 오늘보다 화창했으면 좋겠다..:)

It’s going to be opened every sunday from 2pm. Bring a dish, share a bit.
I hope the weather would be more lovely than today!!

 

 

Volunteer Groups at Granby

Selina is one of our great Granby Park Roving Bloggers and she brings a story of volunteers from the private sector who helped in the park.

In Selina’s own words – an introduction to herself 

I’m a member of the Granby Park office team, working on the admin and finance side of things. I’m also a blogger and volunteer group coordinator. I love surfing, twister ice-pops, ridiculous sunglasses and giraffes. 

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Last week we had two awesome groups of Volunteers come and join us in planting and building the park. On Tuesday we had the staff from Marks and Spencer, and on Friday we had the Accenture group.

I was there on Friday to witness the work and the craic that Accenture got up to (despite the rain – Respect!).

They kindly donated plant and herbs to us, so when they arrived on site, Donal didn’t waste any time in getting them to get their hands dirty. They planted 3 pallets full of herbs (which you can see in the last picture). These herbs are now being used in our park cafe, the Granby Grazer.

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Then they spent the afternoon taking part in what I now firmly believe should be an olympic sport – Path Building.

Funnyman Richie from our building team had the group flinging rubble and sand from their shovels in all directions. But this was not a simple as it may sound. Reminiscent of a game of Hurling, he had the group perfecting their technique. “ Bend your knees!”, “put your back into it!” “That was more of a ‘lob’ then a ‘fling’ try again there”. I’m not sure who won but the path was built and the craic was definitely had!

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If you are interested in volunteering at the park , with your company or as an individual, you can register your details here

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The Great Granby

A lovely post from one of our Roving Bloggers  - Kate NicDhomhnaill

Anyone who made it down to the Granby Park launch last Thursday would have seen the formerly vacant Dominick Street site transformed into a marvelous pop-up park, complemented by an amphitheater, a dream farm, a café, a library, singing, dancing and lots more.

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I was down at the park stewarding for a while where I got chatting to a woman in her sixities.

She had grown up in the flats, where the park now stands, and had some personal stories to share. She had come with her younger sister and her husband. They began reminiscing about time past and as they moved towards the amphitheater, having pointed out where their home used to be, the woman explained how her sister and her husband had met as children on that very site, were childhood sweethearts despite her father chasing him off on numerous occasions, had their names penned all over the place and had ended up marrying. The couple were still together today and had come to re-visit their old quarters and to see the incredible work and imagination put in to building the park.

When places are left unused it means stories like this don’t often happen. When a building is boarded up or when a site is abandond, human experiences can be blacked out too.

Apart from having created a spectacular mix of curious outdoor installations, the folks behind the Park have breathed life into an idle space and have brought vibrancy back to the corner lot, which was otherwise left dispirited and desolate. They have re-populated this spot with living, talking, eating people, who, I think, will have plenty of wonderful stories to tell about the Park.

Over the next four weeks the place will be alive again and new Granby stories will be popping up everywhere, so let’s try and collect as many as possible!

 

Granby Park: A creative answer to dereliction in Dublin

Here’s a great post from blogger Damien Murphy. You can read more of his writing on his blog:  All the Rusted Signs – Reflections on new directions.

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Granby Park, with Ayelet Lalor’s sculpture In Ode to Ophelia

This is Granby Park, in the heart of Dublin’s north inner-city. A few weeks ago, it didn’t have a name. It didn’t have an open-air theatre or a café. There was no library or creative workshop space. There were no art installations, and no children playing here. A few weeks ago, it was just another vacant, derelict site in an area of the city with more than its fair share of vacant, derelict sites. But for the next month, this site has been given a new, creative and inspiring lease of life by the volunteer arts collective, Upstart.

I used to live around here, not too far from this corner of Parnell Street and Dominick Street Lower, in the last of the boom years. I passed the flats that used to stand on this vacant site just about every day, on my way to work, to buy groceries or just walking into town. I watched those flats be boarded up, one by one, saw the council notice about their impending demolition and the regeneration of the street. Then I moved away. First to the suburbs, then to the south side, and then to another country, and never saw what happened next. Or didn’t happen.

Six years on, the flats are gone, but so are the funds for the regeneration. The site was fenced off, like so many others in this area, behind billposted hoardings, left to gather rubble and rubbish, to sprout wild grass and buddleia. Yet another sector of the city rendered redundant, like so many of its people, waiting in vain for better days, for when or if the recession might turn around.

There are apparently around 200 such sites in Dublin, and a disproportionate concentration in the area around Parnell Street. I found this out when I took shelter from a rain shower while visiting the newly-opened, pop-up park at the weekend. I ducked into in a tiny, mirror-clad shed that turned out to be the exhibition space for a video study by Stephen Rigney and Eoin O’Mahony that asks why there are so many derelict sites after such a sustained property boom in the city.

From abandoned wasteland to active community space

It would appear this very question that inspired the development of Granby Park. At the opening of the park last Thursday, Upstart’s Sam Bishop said that people pass these sites all the time and question why they are empty. They themselves asked this of the abandoned Dominick Street site three years ago but, he said, “we saw more than what was there.” Such vacant sites might be the sorry scars of the self-deluding greedy naivety of the boom years, but the suggestion is that there is no reason why that is all they can be. There can be a different way of looking at them also, that looks beyond the failure and sees their potential. Such an alternative perspective, combined with the collaborative effort of ambitious and inventive groups of people, can turn an abandoned wasteland into an active community space.

That ambition and inventiveness was not just Upstart’s. It took consultation with the local community groups and the residents of the remaining flats on Dominick Street. It took youth groups from Dublin and Belfast coming together to build the Dubfast Theatre from old pallets - turning a symbol of community division in the North (where pallets are used for loyalist bonfires) and of street markets in Dublin (as any wander up nearby Moore Street can attest) into a creative venture that brings the communities together. It took the support of hundreds of people contributing to the FundIt campaign. All told, it took the participation of 1,107 people to bring Granby Park into being.

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Little Xs For Eyes performing at the Fading Light concert in the Dubfast Theatre, Granby Park on Saturday.

That is just the beginning. The Upstart folks are going to great pains to stress that where Granby Park goes depends on the people of Dublin. The idea is not just to make creative use of a derelict site in the deprived inner city, nor just to inspire creative approaches to other such sites – though it is both of these things. According to Sam Bishop in his speech on Thursday, the idea is “to create a platform for the people of Dublin to express themselves, to come together and to make something happen.” That could mean signing up for, or setting up, a creative workshop at the park’s Trade School. It could mean volunteering to help staff the café. It could mean attending, or even putting on, performances in the theatre. The idea is that the collaboration continues – that people get involved during the park’s month-long lifespan.

Creativity and community seem to prosper in times of crisis, and to me, Granby Park is an ideal embodiment of that tendency. It might only be here for a month, but by inspiring that kind of creative collaboration, its impact will surely endure beyond that. I for one intend to make the most of it while it’s here. If you’re in Dublin between now and 22 September, I’d recommend you do the same.

Granby Park is open every day until  22 Sept from 8am – 7pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday. It’s free in, not for profit and run solely by volunteers. With plenty of events in the park to come, I’ll have more to say here over the next four weeks.

Granby Park D-day – The Entry Is Wide Open

Dawoon is another of our Official Roving Bloggers. She also volunteers as a park steward and was there to greet people at the Launch of Granby Park last night. Dawoon wrote this post in Korean and English so that the Korean community can enjoy reading about Granby Park. You can read Dawoon’s blog here

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드디어 그랜비 파크가 오픈하는 날!

오픈 시간은 6시였는데 4시 반쯤 일찍 도착해야 했다.

스튜어드로도 일을 하기로 했기 때문에 ㅇㅇ..!!

나는 입구에 서서 반갑게 사람들을 맞이해주는 일에 배정되었다.

이때까지만해도 얼마나 사람들이 많이 올지 기대하지 못했다.

Today is the day!!  The launching day!!

The opening time was 6pm, but I arrived at 4:30pm to assist its opening.

I was charged to a welcoming task at the entrance.

At that moment, I had no idea about how many people would visit before the opening.

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오픈 전에 완성된 멋진 공원들을 구경했다.

아이들과 같이 만든 신발 화분들이 진열되어 있는걸 보니 왠지 뿌듯!!

아이들도 이 벽에 서서 엄마한테 자랑하겠지.

‘엄마, 엄마, 이게 내가 만든 화분이에염!!’

Before the opening, I met other assistants and looked around the park.

There was a wall displaying flowerpots that I had painted and planted with children.

I kind of felt excited when I saw them.

They probably proud to show to their parents.

“mommy, mommy, Look what I’ve done~!!’

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입구가 열리자마자 줄을 선 사람들이 쏟아져 들어왔다.

처음엔 낮선 얼굴을 보며 활짝 웃으면서

‘Hello’ ‘How are u’ ‘very welcoming’ ‘enjoy’와 같은 말을 던지는게 어색하기 그지없었다.

(한국에는 없는 문화이기 때문에..)

(한국에서는 고개를 숙이며 묵렴함으로 인사를 함..ㅇㅇ)

그러나 편하게  웃으면서 대답해주는 아이리쉬들 덕에

점점 인사하는 것이 즐거워졌다.

오늘만해도 인사를 100번 넘게 한듯!! 핡!!

As the entrance was opened, so many people started to enter into park. 

To be honest, I felt a little bit uncomfortable to say ‘hello’  with big smile at the first moment.

It is pretty awkward for me to greet each of hundreds of people. In my country, Korea, I would bend myself to represent welcome in this case according to its customs- but fortunately, soon I could be more comfortable and pleasant; all the natives responded with big smile as well.

 Yeah, I said hello almost 100 times today!!  Can you believe it? 

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파레트로 지은 극장에서

Upstart 관계자들이 Granby park에 대한 이야기를 하기 시작했다.

많은 사람들이 바글바글 서서 박수를 쳤다.

공원 바로 뒤를 보면 아파트가 서 있는데,

아파트 주민들도 모두 나와 박수를 치고 환호를 하는 모습이 인상적이었다.

지역 주민들의 커뮤니티를 활성화하려는

Granby park의 의도와 딱 맞아떨어지는듯..!

As the launching event was started at a new theater built of wooden pallets.

People focused on their speech and applauded with highly intrigued face.

Also, I could see some of people standing on the aisle of the apartment.

They might have been residents of the apartment.

It was very interesting as it seems perfectly matched with the goal of  Granby Park.

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8시 무렵 이런 진귀한 퍼포먼스도 펼쳐졌다.

공원의 모든 사람들이 박수를 치고 즐겼다.

매일 매일 이런 색다른 볼거리가 펼쳐지니,

한번쯤은 들려서 공원을 즐기는 게 좋을듯!! Yeah!!

There was a fabulous dancing performance around 8pm.

I would like to recommend you to stop by !

There will be new different things everyday.

공원 스케줄은 바로 아래 링크에서 확인 가능하다.

You can check the schedule of The Granby park by this link .

ps. 공원 와서 한국인 여자애가 목걸이 차고 있는거 보시면 한국말로 인사해주세요..한국인 나뿐임..ㅇㅇ …넘넘 반가울듯..자꾸 중국인이 중국말로 나한테 질문함..같은동족으로 보이나봄…아니야..아니야..