Dundrum History, cont. June 18, 2010
I seem to be on a local history sidetrack. Yesterday en route back from our visit with our friends we met a man crossing the Dundrum by-pass just near the library. He looked familiar, we exchanged pleasantries, and then scurried across the road – the pedestrian crossing green light doesn’t give us oldies much time – when we’re only half way across the green turns to yellow. When we were safe on the other side the man asked me if I had found any more books on Irish history. Ah – you were the man I met at the Taney Church fete last Saturday. You were at the book stall and helped me look for books on local history. Alas I answered his question, only the book by Geraldine Mitchell. He looked blank. Further I added, she wrote Deeds Not Words The Life and Work of Muriel Gahan.
Again that drew a blank and we moved on. We talked about the local history books about Dundrum written by J. (James) Nolan. I told him I had been looking at those books in the library and that my copies were in much better condition. (My copies are in Seattle.) He wondered how I was interested in this topic since I wasn’t native to these parts. People seem to know immediately that I am a foreigner so to speak – and it is the speaking that gives me away. So I explained that we were here in Dundrum over 40 years. Ah he said, a “blow-in”. Now if there’s one term that really irritates me it’s to be called a “blow-in” – it makes me feel very unwelcome. He proceeded to apologize profusely and go on to say that one could be a “blow-in” even if born just a few streets away. Anyway, I digress.
He proceeded to tell me about a relation who had served in the First World War as a member of an ambulance crew and over a period of 2 years had written home regularly, home being Dundrum I was lead to believe. The family has preserved these letters and a book has been written about them. The book is at the printer now and will only be available privately. Alas, an elusive and tantalizing source of local history.
Incidentally I also noticed the book that the man was carrying – Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, a book about Afghanistan. The conversation could have shifted far across the world if only Ian had not gone on ahead, I felt it was high time I caught up with him before he disappeared altogether and I missed my luncheon date.
Local History, A Little Bit More – Dundrum Library June 17, 2010
Having written about St. Nahi’s Church here in Dundrum and referred to the Dundrum Library just behind it, I’ll add some information today about the library. I discovered a book with lovely paintings and informative text about some of the features in our Dundrum/Stillorgan/Rathfarnham area. The paintings are by Olivia Hayes and the text by the late Christoper Ryan. On the cover is a painting of our Main Street here in Dundrum – the terrace of red brick houses is very distinctive.
The library in Dundrum is one of the many Carnegie libraries scattered around Ireland, and to be found in other countries as well.
According to the Christopher Ryan’s text, Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland in 1835. He emigrated to the U.S. where his first job was as a bobbin winder in a cotton factory. By the time he was age 50 he had his own steel works and was becoming increasingly wealthy. During the last 18 years of his life, Carnegie sponsored the building 2,811 libraries – 660 of these were in the British Isles. There are several in the greater Dublin area. The Dundrum Library was opened in August 1914 by the then Lord Chancellor.
In the early years the library was also used as an entertainment centre. The upper floor had a stage and a kitchen and was a popular venue for concerts , plays, dances, and sales-of-work.
When we came to Dundrum in the late 1960’s the library was closed and if I remember correctly it did not open until the late ’70’s. It is now an excellent community resource, no longer for plays and entertainment, but it houses an excellent collection of books and reference material. And it also has computers for community use. It also hosts activity groups for different interests in the community – e.g. a reading group, a Scrabble Club, Cupla Focla – an Irish conversation group. And I think I also read about a knitting group meeting there.
As to my knitting – here’s a photo labelled Still Life – Knitting, Watering Can, and Cat
In this spell of very nice weather I have to provide a chair for my cat to be beside me in the garden – and another chair for my cup of tea
The bird life in the garden these days is wonderful. I have watched a number of birds gathering material for nest building in nearby shrubs or trees.
This isn’t the best of photos but this is a very friendly robin who hovered around us as we had coffee this morning in the garden of friends. I wouldn’t have known it was a robin except that our hostess told us so – it was newly fledged so it did not have the characteristic red breast. It reminded me of what I would imagine a baby thrush to look like with a brownish speckled breast.
St. Nahi’s – Local History June 15, 2010
St. Nahi’s is a small church here in Dundrum/Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland. It is located on a very ancient site where it is thought there was a monastic settlement as early as the 7th century.
The source for the following is the Taney Parish website
St Nahi’s Church
St Nahi’s stands on the original site of Dundrum Parish Church where according to official records, a church was built about 800AD probably on the ruins of a still older building. It was dedicated to St Nathy or Nahi – a Saint of the very early Irish Church who is thought to have lived in a monastery at Churchtown about 600AD. St Nahi’s was rebuilt several times – in 950, 1650 and in 1750.The present restoration was completed in 1910
The present St Nahi’s Church was erected in the middle of the 18th Century. It was consecrated on 8th June 1760. It was designed as a simple rectangular box shape.
Following are some of my photos taken earlier this month.
Little did I know……. April 15, 2008
What a pleasant surprise last night to find that the Leargas programme on RTE 1 was about Tomás MacNiocláis. (Leargas is a weekly current affairs programme and the content is mostly in Irish, with English sub-titles.) Last night when the programme started, I remarked that the man looked like the Tomás I know from the Dublin City Book Fairs. Sure enough, it was one and the same. I knew that Tomás had passed his 90th birthday but I didn’t know by how much – it turns out his birth year was 1913, the same as my Aunt Alice, still living in Florida. It was a half hour programme showing snippets from Tomás’ life interwoven with archive film of significant events in Ireland from 1913 on. It was just so interesting. I love living history type programmes and this was extra special since I know the person featured in the film. When I say I knew the person featured in the programme – I really only know him to smile and say hello and ask do you have any interesting books for sale this month. At his table at the Book Fairs, Tomás features books in Irish – I knew that was his interest and he usually talked with his many customers in Irish. From my limited knowledge of Irish I could kind of eavesdrop but not really understand what they were talking about. Little did I know about Tomás’ very interesting life byond the Book Fairs.
In the course of his long life, his work was mainly in the field of education. But in his younger days he played Gaelic football for County Mayo and was part of a winning team in an all Ireland final against Kerry at Croke Park.
Tomás lives locally so there were a lot of familiar scenes – Castle Street in Dalkey, the sweeping view of the two Sugarloaf mountains and Killiney Bay, Vico Terrace, etc. Tomás is a member of a Book Group – an Irish language book group – they meet and discuss books in Irish – and there sitting around the table I’m quite certain I spotted my Irish teacher.
Tomás is a scholar with a deep love of literature and the Irish language. The programme closed with Tomás reading a poem by William Wordsworth. I was surprised that the final reading wasn’t in Irish but there you are – maybe they just wanted to show his broader interests beyond the Irish language.