Indymedia Article by Michelle Blake


An article relating to the feature that was published in the Metro Herald newspaper on my photographs and urban exploration.

Title: Opportunities: OPW must have ability to upskill the unemployed

Well done Lainey Quinn, a 23 year old Dubliner who has written a gem about our City’s derelict landmarks in

Apathy creeps up slowly and suddenly a building fades into the landscape and becomes derelict. How do we stop the process, in particular, where the buildings represent the soul of our society and deserve saving? This can include the boarding up of houses in Moyross in Limerick to the neglect of the former landmark Baggot Street Community hospital once known as the (Royal City of Dublin) hospital. Too easy it is to blame the recession and allow this potential dereliction take over.

Lainey Quinn started off just taking photos, as so many tourists do when they visit Ireland, and she began to value the historical nuances and as often is the case, their historical architectural attributes of the City’s many historical but derelict landmarks.

Shame on us this year of the Gathering 2013. How many emigrants took the boats from Dun Laoghaire decades ago, who now will once more visit. Well done to Lainey’s photo in Monday’s Metro Herald (May 27th 2013) because we now know what they will see and shame on us, (especially at a time when endeavour should create markets), is a shameful grafitti dischevelled Dun Laoghaire baths …. these baths were built over 170 years ago. They offered then what people would want now if it was properly marketed to them, the sea, with fresh water, a choice of hot or cold water, sulphur and seaweed baths. They say Dun Laoghaire and Rathdown Co Council are trying to re-develop this remnant of historical times but excuses prevail and opportunities of retaining infra-structure with potential to create employment, tourism promotion, facilities for Dublin in its entirety, are snarled up in the red tape of pure bureaucracy and non decision. Where is the momentum? The opportunity exists because the labour is cheap and abundant so time to upskill in a positive way using state funds overpaid entities like the Office of Public works and the other relevant semi-state over pampered bodies.

2016 and the anniversary of the Rising is imminent. The photo of the wheels to Bolands Mill which was built in the 1830’s and which operated as a commercial mill for over 100 years, forms a significant part of the history that changed Ireland into a Republic. It is now that these near derelict locations written into our history can be preserved and used to promote peace instead of war, as they stand as monuments to the origins of our Republic. Lainey’s photo of the Been and Gun: the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park, was built in 1735 and it combines the history of colonial Ireland and potential Republic Ireland. Why, because it was used as a store of the Irish Army’s guns during the 1916 Rising. What an opportunity to upskill young people who are on the dole queues or in St. Patrick’s Insitution for young offenders.

Richmond Mental Asylum or Grangegorman which was opened in 1814 is the source of another kind of history that we need a reminder of. It is about the lunacy act, mental health and vulnerable people then and now. We need to be reminded because we need to remain learned about mental health and why the stigma applies. The photo taken by Lainey of the grate impinges sharply about hardship and abandonment of people who were different. The unkempt pile of blankets in the rooms is a record of what happened to people, all over Europe, as well as Ireland in these asylums. The teddy bear covered in moss from Grangegorman is poignant and should find its way to a museum. Baggot Street Hospital is in need of a make-over, maybe we could have a proper medical museum which would aim to de-stigmatise mental health. Soon Grangegorman will be subsumed into a new identity and creation with third level education being the major provider.

Lainey’s article is worth reading. The photos should be added to this posting but how is up to someone else!. Awareness will create motivation and the time is now to be creative.


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