Monday, December 10, 2018


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It's more a question of Irish archives in City Hall alongside the Gate.

Archives: the launch of the 2018 Journal of the Irish Society for Archives.

Gate: an exhibition from the archives of the Gate Theatre.

In fact these blend harmoniously as the current journal is dedicated to The Gate Theatre at 90.

Raymond Refaussé

Raymond is Chair of the Irish Sociey for Archives (ISA) and he welcomed us to this event which was the launch of the Society's journal for 2018.

This year's journal has a graphic upgrade and appears in full colour thanks to sponsorship by Dublin City Council's Centenary of Commemorations.

Nial Ring

Dublin's current Lord Mayor, Nial Ring, launched the publication, though, as he commented, there is no specific protocol for the actual act of launching. Not like with a ship.

Anyway when he got to that point at the end of his speech he just declared it launched. I've done this myself and it's a funny feeling. Nothing happens, no trumpets, no thunder and lightening. The launched publication looks no different from the unlaunched one. A bit like transubstantiation and thank God we all understand that even if we don't fully subscribe to it.

Anyway Nial stressed the importance of archives and of respecting the past. He got a round of applause and "hear hears" when he underlined the necessity of ensuring the teaching of history in the schools. It's part of what we are.

I'm sure he won't mind me saying this - you might as well be listening to Bertie, the voice that is. However, where Bertie tended to talk in rambling riddles, Nial was a model of clarity.

Elizabeth McEvoy

Elizabeth is one of the two co-editors of the journal and in a substantial speech she went into the history of the Gate Theatre includingg the tremendous contribution of Micheál Mac Liammóir and Hilton Edwards to Dublin theatre in general.

I'm not going to labour this one but who did I find myself sitting beside but Sabina Higgins, who, thankfully, is still Ireland's First Lady. This sort of completed a mystical circle as the last time the Gate and the Presidency came into my life together was when a quartet of us pupils from Coláiste Mhuire played the presidential salute to welcome Dev and Sinéad to the opening of Féile Drámaíochta na Scol in the Gate around 1960.

That's Pamela McDermott (on the right) who took my photo with Sabina (centre) at the Photo-Detectives exhibition in Temple Bar last year. What goes around comes around.

And that's the pair of them with what I'll bet is the youngest version of Micheál you've ever seen.

Elizabeth with my favourite archivist, Ellen Murphy. Ellen has just moved from Dublin City Archive to the Registry of Deeds. While it's a step up for her she'll be missed at the archive where she has been doing trojan work for yonks. Anyway, congratulations Ellen.

Susan Hood who is the other co-editor of the journal. Susan took over as Librarian and Archivist at the Representative Church Body (RCB) Library from Raymond Refaussé when he retired in 2016. Belated congratulations to Susan.

Mary Clarke, Dublin City Archivist, has just spotted me taking a sneaky photo.

Brian Donnelly, from the National Archives, is Vice-Chair of the ISA. I must remember to approach him sometime to see if I can get full access to my grand aunt's records from Grangegorman and Portrane.

Raymond shares a joke with Nial.

But Nial still can't find his name in the journal.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch copies of the journal, that big pile in the middle, are being snapped up.

City Hall, at the moment, is also entertaining passer by with its winter lights.

Snippets from the Exhibition

Clytemnestra from Agamemnon - Micheál's design

Micheál & Lady Friend

Our Lady of Connemara

Do drop in to City Hall and check out the exhibition and get yourself a copy of the journal which describes the many locations and content of the theatre's archive.

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