Growing Wings

"If you find yourself cocooned in isolation, and  you can't make your way outof the darkness, remember that this is similiar to the place where caterpillars goto grow their wings". UnknownThanks to  Mary McGarry at for  posting this lovely message of hope. 

NAMA sells Treasury Holdings Opera loan for “single digits in the euro”

NAMA Wine Lake

[30 second version – CoStar, the UK commercial property portal, has this afternoon reported that NAMA has sold the €85m face-value mezzanine loan which had been advanced to Treasury Holdings’ Opera fund which in turn controls Merchants Quay shopping centre in Cork, an office block on Mespil Road in Dublin, Stillorgan shopping centre, South Bank House and “The Warehouse” buildings, both on Barrow Street. The buyer is US investor, Northwood. The purchase price is not disclosed but said to be “in single digits in the euro” and the purchase may place Northwood in a commanding position with respect to the control of the property portfolio]

The outworking of Treasury Holdings property dealings continues apace, with exclusive news today from James Wallace at the UK’s commercial property portal, CoStar, that NAMA has sold €85m of face-value loans associated with the Opera fund, to US investor Northwood.

We learned yesterday

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Jemmy Hope and the Liberties

jemmy Hope was a leading light of the United Irish movement back in 1798

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Jemmy Hope is a name unfamiliar to many Irish people today, and yet he remains one of the most radical voices in Irish history. Described by veteran republican socialist George Gilmore in 1964 as being to 1798 what James Connolly was to 1916, Hope was a leading voice in the United Irishmen movement. He survived that first republican insurrection, and was active in Emmet’s Rebellion in 1803. Hope fought at the Battle of Antrim in June 1798 alongside Henry Joy McCracken, and in 1803 was influential in organising support for Emmet’s failed rebellion, primarily among the working class in Dublin.

Jemmy Hope was born in Templepatrick, Co.Antrim. Self-educated, he was of Presbyterian stock. As Sean Cronin wrote in his brief biography of Hope:

The Dissenters laboured under religious and political disabilities, though nothing on the scale of the penal laws against the Catholics. They had strong anti-authoritarian views. When their…

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Manchester via Crumlin

Ooh on Morrissey’s Crumlin links to Robbie Keane

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The recent revelation that Morrissey and Robbie Keane are related was news to many, and the story was first brought to our attention by the brilliantly named sports website An image of the two arm in arm, along with a brief post from Morrissey himself, has been flying around the internet.

Morrissey wrote that:

It was a joyous head-storm to attend LA Galaxy -v- Club Tijuana last night and to see captain Robbie Keane score in the fourth minute. Why, exactly?

Well, family tree aficionados will be aware that Robbie and I share the same Irish blood; his late grandfather (Thomas Nolan) being my own father’s cousin. In filial terms the Irish blood, English heart genetic between Robbie and I is evident – his chin is my chin, my chin is his. Robbie was raised on Captains Road (as was my mother) in Crumlin (Dublin), before he was…

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Smells Like Teen Spirit (Phantom FM)

Phantom charts the rise of youth culture in Ireland

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I encourage everyone to listen this four-part Phantom FM series on Irish youth subcultures.

Episode 1 looks at the birth of the youth cult in Ireland and focuses on teddy boys, rockers, mods and hippies.

Episode 2 focuses on the 1970s chronicling the rise of skinheads, punks and the rockabilly revival.

Episode 3 takes up the baton in the 1980s with the mod revival, psychobillies, goths, metallers, new romantics and b-boys.

Episode 4 brings the story up to present with ravers, grungers, emo kids and hipsters.

Contributors to the series include Eamon Carr (who can join the dots from Horslips to Hotwire), Garry O’Neill (author of the awesome Where Were You?), Alison O’Donnell (Mellow Candle), Dara Higgins (The Jimmy Cake), Stompin’ George, Mim Scala (author of Diary Of A Teddy Boy), Laura Lee-Conboy, Daragh O’Halloran (author of Green Beat), Irish Jack…

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Dublin’s newest plaque to be unveiled today.

delia larkin, Big Jim’s sister is remembered by a plaque unveiled recently

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Today sees the unveiling of a new plaque in Dublin in honour of the Irish Womens Workers’ Union, of which Delia Larkin (sister of Big Jim) was a founding member and leading activist. The plaque is the end product of a long campaign by the IWWU Commemorative Committee, who have worked greatly to have these women recognised in the context of this ‘decade of centenaries’. Not alone is 2013 the centenary of the greatest labour dispute in Irish history, but today marks the international day of women, making it a fitting occasion to unveil this plaque.

The committee themselves note that:

In 1911, the IWWU was set up and, within weeks, swiftly involved in a pay battle for their members against Jacobs factory. At the inaugural meeting Delia Larkin was appointed secretary with support from Countess Markieviez, and her brother Jim Larkin. Later the well-known actor Helena Moloney with Markieviez…

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A dramatic account of gang violence in eighteenth century Dublin.

1759 riot involving liberty Boys

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At the minute, I’m slowly but surely working on a brief article looking at a riot that broke out in Dublin in 1759. A rumour of an impending ‘Act of Union’ with Britain was enough to bring a mob of hundreds to the Irish Parliament, where scenes of madness broke out, with claims that the mob had first assembled in the Liberties and that the infamous ‘Liberty Boys’ were in their midst.

In the course of it all, I stumbled across a great account of the Liberty Boys and the Ormond Boys, which was in J.D Herbert’s exciting Irish Varieties, for the Last Fifty Years: Written from Recollections. Published in 1836, it’s an interesting if slightly over the top account of Irish characters in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Below is his account of the faction fighting that occurred between the Liberty Boys and the Ormond Boys…

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The ancient passage linking Christchurch and St Saviour’s Priory

How an Ancient passage under the liffey connected the Libnerties with St Mary’s Abbey

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My last article looked at the morbid tale of the soldier who got lost in the crypts of Christchurch and was eaten alive by rats. This story is often told in connection with the alleged tunnel that ran from Christchurch to the area where the Four Courts is today.

In 1224 the Dominicans (the Black Friars) established St Saviour’s Priory by the present location of Inns Quay on the Northside of the Liffey. They took over possession a small chapel which had been built four years previously. The priory’s extensive grounds reached to the corner of Cuckoo Lane and George’s Hill.

They built a bigger, more suitable church in 1238 but this fell victim in 1304 to one of Dublin’s periodic fires.

The priory buildings were taken over in 1539 under Henry VIII for use at first as courts of law, and then as a hostel for lawyers under the…

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Inchicore and the Spanish Civil War (Plaque unveiling, May 4th)

A Spanish civil War memorial was unveiled to remember local men and women who died there from Inchicore

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On 4 May, the Inchicore Friends of the International Brigades are erecting a plaque to the memory of six local men who went to Spain to defend the Spanish Republic against the military coup of July 1936. A Facebook event page is here.


From the organisers:

Seen by many as the first act of the Second World War, the Spanish conflict pitted the majority of Spaniards and their democratically-elected government against their own military, backed by troops, aviation and materiel from Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. A non-intervention pact arranged between the European democracies forced the Spanish government to rely on the assistance of the Soviet Union, however tensions between the disparate elements supporting the government and increasing military assistance from international fascism and global capital ensured the victory of Franco’s armies and the subjection of the Spanish people. The repression continued until the dictator’s death in 1975.

Inchicore is…

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