Save Moore Street Awareness Week 370 – 30 October 2021

Bhíomar beagán gann ar na doirneoga inniu, Bróna, Máire agus Diarmuid ach ansin tháinig Deirdre. A fairly cold day in shade but the sun was shining and our table is on the sunny side of the street.
Packing up 20 minutes earlier than the end of our shift today, we headed out to join the Save the Cobblestone march. We’d an invitation to send a speaker to the event but we wanted also to support the campaign. The Cobblestone pub in Smithfield, the only pub in Dublin with traditional music every day and a function room used for events, meetings and classes in aspects of culture, stands to lose much more than half its space to a hotel if the planning permission were to be granted.
The assembly time was given as 2pm but at 1.50 there were few people in evidence. However, they began to gather until there was a fair-sized crowd (many of them musicians) and then some Mummers arrived to applause. Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, musician and campaigner called people together to listen to a few speakers before the march began. First up was our own Diarmuid who spoke about what the property speculators were doing to Dublin and the destruction they were planning to inflict on Moore Street, the oldest street market in Dublin and a 1916 Battleground. The property speculators are funded by banks, he said, those that were bailed out with public money, which we are still paying for.
Ó Ceannabháin pointed out that the false choice with which we are being presented is between property speculator or no development but that is not the only choice; however the development we need should be appropriate and respectful of heritage — “Culture, not Vultures!”
After a couple more speakers the march set off down along the quays. By this time Bróna had had to leave but Michael had joined us and he, Deirdre, Vincent Doherty and Diarmuid joined the march with our Moore Street campaign banner (which we had checked would be ok to display) and marched with it to O’Connell Bridge where a céilí was held.
It happens that there is a strong Moore Street campaign connection with the Cobblestone, even beyond the fact of the threat from property developers to both sites. The paviour who laid the stone for road and pathways around the area was the father of Harry Boland TD of the IRA, erstwhile comrade and personal friend of Collins. Harry Boland died on 1st August 1922 from shots fired by Free State soldiers at the unarmed man in is hotel room in Skerries and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. He was a great-uncle of Bróna, who works on our weekly stall.
Not surprisingly, considering the fate of many Irish Republicans, there is also a connection between Mountjoy Jail and the GPO Garrison. Yes of course, many who fought in the 1916 Rising ended up in Mountjoy some years later, as they continued their struggle to achieve an Irish Republic. But on the 30th of November 1921 four Republicans gave the authorities a pre-Hallowe’en shock by escaping from Mountjoy Jail: Vols. Mae Burke, Eithne Coyle, Aileen Keogh and Linda Kearns (who was serving a 10-year sentence for conveying weapons for the IRA). In 1916 Vol. Linda Kearns, who was largely responsible for planning the escape, was in the GPO Garrison and would have been in the evacuation to Moore Street were it not for the fact that all the women in the GPO had been sent on the dangerous journey to convey some wounded to Jervis Street Hospital (now a shopping centre), although three adamantly refused, ending up in the “1916 Terrace” in Moore Street: Elizabeth O’Farrell, Julia Grennan and Winifred Carney.
Vol. O’Farrell was the first sent out to negotiate a surrender and was kept a while as a prisoner by the British in the newsagent/ tobacconist shop belonging to Tom Clarke, the latter being one of the leaders in Moore Street. Our Máire discovered that a “Tom Clarke” pub has opened next to the building that housed that shop (now a Centra on the Parnell Street/ O’Connell Street corner)and noted a barrel marked “Tom Clarke Irish Whiskey”.
“Is there a ‘Tom Clarke whiskey’?” asked Máire dubiously inside.
“Not yet,” was the reply.

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