Save Moore Street Awareness Week 441 – 4 March 2023

Bhí sé fuar go leor (we swapped ‘fuar’ with a man from South Asia who gave us the word in Hindi: ‘handi’). “It’s not very handy when it’s handi”, quipped Diarmuid in reply (true, especially on our hands).

Bróna, Orla, Eileen and Diarmuid were the foireann today with Steve coming by to help towards the end with Roxy, his niece Michelle’s dog, wearing a Save Moore Street From Demolition bandana. He got made a fuss of and attracted attention too.

We collected a very high number of petition signatures today despite having only a handful of leaflets left. We were meant to collect the new edition from the printer on Friday but somehow overlooked that.

However, we had our campaign badges, a new consignment in from Shamrock Superstore in Ard Mhacha (Armagh) and sold nearly 10 that day. We make money for the campaign’s expenses out of their sale and people wearing them promote the campaign also. They are the pin-and-clip type, in attractive green and gold, bearing the logo of our campaign group, the Grotesque on top of No.55 Moore Street which lost a wing-tip to a British bullet in 1916.

Moore Street has quite a few ‘firsts’ in terms of businesses there, including the first body-building gym in Ireland (in the building where currently Pavel runs a martial arts gym), the first skin clinic in the UK and today we heard about the first sound studio in Ireland, the remarkable story of Bill Stapleton, about which Harry Bradshaw was telling us.

Upstairs in No.33 Moore Street in 1947, Stapleton set up the first recording studios in Ireland, one for music and one for speaking voice, above Mc Donagh’s butchers’ shop. Bill Stapleton was born in Kilkenny but brought up in Dublin, where he joined the Irish Volunteers.

A trained chemist, he worked manufacturing explosives for the IRA in 1921. Taking the Free State’s side, he was commissioned in their army. In WW2 he joined British forces and as an electronic expert was quickly commissioned as lieutenant and then captain.

Harry Bradshaw had a lot more to say about Stapleton and his work, along with the quality of his recording of Irish traditional and other musicians, including the first recording of Val Doonican. Harry is famous in his own right as we learned reading here:

Vinyl records were sold in Moore Street too and in fact some of them were actually pressed here, including on 14th December 1971 the chart-topping Men Behind the Wire, protesting against internment without trial by the British in Ireland that year.

Two young women from Brazil were interested in the Moore Street area history and one surprised us by asking where Tom Clarke’s shop was (most Irish people even wouldn’t know about that).

Its location was where the convenience chain shop is now at the north end of O’Connell Street but at the time the entrance was in Parnell Street and that is where two plaques commemorating that may be seen. Gisezele Magalhaes and Falea Oliveira were happy to pose for a solidarity photo.

A woman was telling us about the undoing of the history commemoration aspects of Richmond Barracks, where so many of the 1916 women were jailed: pictures and the joint-work quilt removed and it’s “all gone corporate now”. People should mobilise to take back the history there.

The Stewarts, bagpipers from Drogheda signed our petition too.

Historian Ray Bateson, who compiled The Battle of Moore Street booklet dropped in for a chat as we were packing up.

We received notification recently from An Bord Pleanála that their January deadline for adjudicating on appeals against DCC’s Planning Department approving Hammerson’s applications is being delayed (for the third time). We were not surprised as ABP is enmired in internal and external problems relating to inappropriate procedures and decisions on other appeals.

Meanwhile we hear that the rubble of The O’Rahilly’s house in Ballsbridge, illegally demolished overnight by contractors for a property speculator, is being cleared. DCC was supposedly going to order the rebuilding of the property but instead accepted a payment in lieu, shameful in itself but also far, far below the value the speculator will make out of the site. Gombeenland indeed!

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