Dublin Culture Night happens once a year, offering a glimpse into many cultural treasures this city has to offer. This year, I got to attend the event with my friends Amanda Wagstaff and Frank Daly.
Amanda recently moved to Dublin as a Fulbright student for the 2015-16 academic year. She and I actually graduated from the College of William and Mary on the very same day in 2010–she with a Bachelor of Arts and I with a PhD in Higher Ed. Amanda is a studio artist who is using the archives at the Chester Beatty Library to generate inspiration for her own contemporary artwork. You can see Amanda’s past work on her website, Traipse.
Frank’s art and photography is viable on his website and his many Google+ photo albums.
The there of us kicked off our Culture Night explorations at Christchurch Cathedral, not far from my Smithfield residence, and then proceeded eastward to see several more sights. We took in dinner at the Queen of Tarts, Dublin’s stately Customs House, and a guitar concert at the Unitarian Church on St. Stephen’s Green.
Culture Night is just one of many ways to learn history in Dublin. I’ve included photos in the gallery below of several cultural events that happened around the same time:
- a lecture on the Irish Civil War (hosted by the Smithfield-Stoneybatter People’s History club and held at in the backroom of the Cobblestone Pub)
- a man in Smithfield preparing his horses and carriage for the All Ireland football match
- the best places I know to sit and read about history (my friends seem to enjoy reading in these places, too!)
We all thought Jonathan fit the bill.
I’ve always likes the sign at Third Space that says, “Up here it’s okay to talk to strangers,” but I didn’t know exactly why they’d posted it.
The place was packed when Jonathan, Amanda (another Fulbright), and I ordered breakfast, and Amanda located seats at a large table up top.
It appears that they want to encourage customers to share tables on this raised level. They have two very long, family style tables.
The crowd soon thinned out and we had plenty of space to ourselves.
Thankfully we had Jonathan with us, so we met the criteria for sitting up there! (We had someone stranger to talk to!!!!)
I explained the philosophy of “third space” in an earlier blog and other adventures I’ve had at Third Space in Smithfield (Dublin 7) as well.
Cafeteria tables on the upper level of Third Space.
Thought I’d share some random images from a walk I took in Dublin (from Smithfield to Kildare Street) with Amanda Bernhard.
Wow! UGS for sale…
…hum, seems a bit dodgy…
…”perhaps” they’re not authentic!
This is the stately Sy. Paul’s Church of Smithfield.
Like many churches here, this one caters to a specific ethnic group as well as the Irish-born population.
Its sign had caught my eye once upon a time…
…I’d forgotten until Amanda remarked how strange it is to have at @ on the name plaque of a church.
I’ve been meaning for so long to show you the mail boxes here. You’ve got old and new styles beside one another here on Arran Quay (pronounced “key”).
This is the medieval St. Audeon’s Church. I’ve not been inside because it is closed in winter.
The medieval wall of St. Audeon’s Church is still intact. The area was once known as Hell, Esther and I learned when we took the Dublin Ghost Bus tour.
This is the West Gate of the city, attached to Christchurch Cathedral (protestant, Church of Ireland).
Like me, Amanda also spends too much time at the computer (brainy Fulbrights!?!). We decided to step into the Back Shop on Exchequer Street.
The black chair was beautiful and very comfortable.
Some others were a bit over the top!
Of course, you can choose your own fabrics. They build the chair to fit your own back!
An impressive canyon-like space within a mix-use complex that was built during the economic boom (known as the Celtic Tiger).
Smithfield is home to some dramatic public spaces. Most notably, there’s Europe’s largest cobblestone-paved plaza. Bordering this are circular spaces that make Swiss cheese of the Jameson Distillery (where the courtyards are even painted yellow) and the dramatic canyon opposite the plaza from it (see photo).
A lot of development happened in Smithfield during the economic boom known as the Celtic Tiger. Today the apartments of Smithfield appear t be filled with residents — but many of the cultural, retail, and office spaces of Smithfield are vacant or under used.
Nevertheless, there are enough restaurants, attractions, businesses, and services here to keep the place feeling alive enough.
I haven’t yet been to many of the highlights (such as the Lighthouse Cinema, the Smithfield Art Tunnel, the Generator Hostel, or the Maldron Hotel). But I have enjoyed my time at a number of the eateries as well as the Jameson Distillery, the Cobblestone, the Elbowroom (which is one of Smithfield’s many guys), and the Fresh Market.
Smithfield really doesn’t deserve the bad wrap it gets. But as long as people have the perception that there might be something scary here, the rents will stay reasonable. And that part is fine by me!
The old smokestack of the Jameson Distillery.