Dublin is known for many things and has many strings to its bow, many feathers to its cap, but surely its history is right up there. For, it's a city with many contours, shades, layers, veneers, strands, tiers, deep strata, to its essence; and in this, it mirrors and reflects the history of Ireland, which is so complex, almost like a prism which radiates out in many waves and streams. Quite simply, Dublin is an historical city to the bone, and history seems to inhabit every wall, stone, nook and cranny of its streestscape.
There is Dublin Castle and its environs, which holds 800 years of history within its enclave, throwing a perspex light over many ages and periods from its inception in 1204 up to 1922 when the state obtained its independence - most of which were dark and sad, herein encapsualting the local description of it as "The Devil's Half Acre". But additionally, it has the interesting and quirky too: for it's from here that the Irish Crown Jewels were stolen - never to be retrieved (could be the makings of another "Da Vinci Code" there, me thinks!) and it also possesses the largest collection of Islamic manuscripts outside of Istanbul, in the Chester Beatty Library. The full gamut of my passionate narration can be heard on a tour around here.
There is its 1798/1803 aspect - which include some of my favourite haunts - some of which are hidden and scarcely known by all and sundry; one such being the children's Creche in the Department of Education's grounds in Marlborough Street, which in 1798 was Beresford's Riding School Establishment, where rebels from the United Irishmen rebellion of that year were flogged! Sometimes on my tours, I love to do a mini 1798 re-enactment, taking in also Green Street in the Markets Area. If ever one street could amount to nearly a basic tour in itself, this is it!
Then there is the 1916 aspect, such a major part, as the Easter Rebellion of 1916, was almost exclusive to Dublin! And herein obviously O'Connell Street and the Post Office are so central but also the environs and the hinterland, particularly Moore Street! For this is where the occupants of the Post Office retreated to, making a 300 strong garrison of the whole street before actually surrendering! The great challenge is to save this street and transform it into an historical quarter, with just five years to go to the centenary in 2016! Besides, the famous street traders here will give you a great Cead Mile Failte (welcome) in the best tradition of Molly Malone if you degin them with your presence!
Dublin has history to the bone; its essence, its substance, its loins, its structure are doused and inflamed with a potent cocktail - brimming with the core and soulfulness of many historical events and occurences throughout the centuries. Nothing gives me greater pleasure, than to narrate its story, through the poetry of its ebb and flow....