Getting closer to the finish line..

Time has passed and i have one month to go. The residency will now culminate as a two day event on 11th & 12th May 2013 titled Festa. 

All the materials have arrived safely and i am indebted to so many people, i will create a post of Thanks and Praises.

There will definitely be a Dolphins Barn Brick sculpture which will be turned in to a gardenesque design, a shed will be soon clad in mirror. Like a large disco both works will dance their way down the Grand Canal on those May dates.

On both dates a series of talks and music will happen. Ill reveal all sooner …

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rialto  meaning exchange.

1879, “exchange, mart,” from the Rialto of Venice, the name of the quarter
 where the exchange was
situated, contracted from Rivoalto and named for the canal
 (L. rivus altus “deep stream”) which it crosses in Italy.
This is a a wonderful find considering the amount of people who have exchanged a word, advice, a gift in this Project.
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The Canal as a Common

The Canal as a Common

The commons is both a social relationship and a material thing; it is neither a commodity nor exclusively a “resource”.  This double meaning was expressed clearly in the two definitions provided in Dr. Samuel Johnson’s English Dictionary of 1755.  A commons might refer to “an open ground equally used by many persons,” or to “one of the common people, a man of low rank, of mean condition.” The commons belongs in an actual landscape, then the two meanings become clear. Peter Linebaugh.

The Meeting on Wednesday was a great success, over 75 people crammed into a room with many passionate questions about the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal Group were there to answer and listen to as many questions as possible. Issues raised were about the lack of bins and the build up of rubbish along the Canal, the dreaded dredging and the damage to allotments, the lack of fish. It will take time to solve the problems, it was great for all the individual Clean Up Groups to raise their profiles and meet each other. My plan for the Event on May 11th will seek to profile the great works by individuals that seek to change what is negative in their area. My intervention seeks to open a dialogue about a rather neglected section of the Canal, what can be done, and how can any citizen make a small step. To common as it were.

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Grand Canal Meeting

Information Evening and Networking Event

Posted on February 6, 2013 by

Calling all canal users and canal lovers!! Now is your chance to get involved and have your own say.

An Information Evening and Networking Event is being held on Wednesday 20th February 2013, beginning at 7.30pm in Griffith College, Dublin 8, Room AF301. There will be free car parking facilities.

There will be a presentation from the Chair of the Grand Canal Working Group, an opportunity to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have, find out about upcoming events and connect with other canal users, boaters, clean up groups, watersports enthusiasts and nature lovers.

There will be several information stands, such as Friends of the Grand Canal, Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Surfdock Watersports, at which you can find out about starting your own clean up group or connecting with existing groups, the new Canal Wardens scheme, The IWAI Dublin Rally and Festa 2013, a multimedia art project coming soon to the canal and more…..

We’d love to see you there.

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The Right to the City.



We live in an era when ideals of human rights have moved centre stage both politically and ethically. A great deal of energy is expended in promoting their significance for the construction of a better world. But for the most part the concepts circulating do not fundamentally challenge hegemonic liberal and neoliberal market logics, or the dominant modes of legality and state action. We live, after all, in a world in which the rights of private property and the profit rate trump all other notions of rights. I here want to explore another type of human right, that of the right to the city.

Has the astonishing pace and scale of urbanization over the last hundred years contributed to human well-being? The city, in the words of urban sociologist Robert Park, is:

man’s most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the city is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the city man has remade himself. [1]

The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire. The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.

From their inception, cities have arisen through geographical and social concentrations of a surplus product. Urbanization has always been, therefore, a class phenomenon, since surpluses are extracted from somewhere and from somebody, while the control over their disbursement typically lies in a few hands. This general situation persists under capitalism, of course; but since urbanization depends on the mobilization of a surplus product, an intimate connection emerges between the development of capitalism and urbanization. Capitalists have to produce a surplus product in order to produce surplus value; this in turn must be reinvested in order to generate more surplus value. The result of continued reinvestment is the expansion of surplus production at a compound rate—hence the logistic curves (money, output and population) attached to the history of capital accumulation, paralleled by the growth path of urbanization under capitalism.

The perpetual need to find profitable terrains for capital-surplus production and absorption shapes the politics of capitalism. It also presents the capitalist with a number of barriers to continuous and trouble-free expansion. If labour is scarce and wages are high, either existing labour has to be disciplined—technologically induced unemployment or an assault on organized working-class power are two prime methods—or fresh labour forces must be found by immigration, export of capital or proletarianization of hitherto independent elements of the population. Capitalists must also discover new means of production in general and natural resources in particular, which puts increasing pressure on the natural environment to yield up necessary raw materials and absorb the inevitable waste. They need to open up terrains for raw-material extraction—often the objective of imperialist and neo-colonial endeavours.

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Garden City

Jane Jacobs on the Garden City

“His aim was the creation of self sufficient small towns,really very nice towns if you were docile and had no plans of your own and did not mind spending your life with others with no plans of their own. As in all Utopias, the right to have plans of any significance belonged only to the planner in charge.

– discussing Ebenezer Howards’ Garden City”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

The Unwinian Design of McCaffreys Estate was modeled on elements from The Garden City.

(c) The Garden City Style

“The idea of the promoters of the Garden City was not to build an artistic town. We must first see that our citizens are decently housed.” This was the attitude of Raymond Unwin, architect at Letchworth, and whereas this may be so, there still remains a strong resemblance aesthetically between all the Garden Cities and Suburbs. A resemblance of planning and architectural style mainly initiated by Unwin and his partner Barry Parker and carried on by such people as Louis de Soissons and Kenyon at Welwyn. Indeed the style has also had a vast influence on the New Towns, and it is this more than anything that has affected living conditions within them. The “style” is medieval, with strong associations with the imminent “arts and crafts cottage style”. A large use is made of dormer windows, steep gabled roofs with low eves, sometimes mansard, and well categorised in Unwin’s book, “Town Planning in Practice”.

In the book, strong use is made of the “inward-looking” cul-de-sac and of cottages collected around “natural” greens . Narrow, informally winding gravel roads, between avenues of trees; the Garden City aesthetic at its best.Picture 6

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Dolphins Barn Brick used in Dublin’s first Social Housing Project.

ceanntfortDolphins Barn Brick was used in one of Dublin’s First Social Housing Projects in McCaffrey’s Estate, Dublin 8, built in 1917.Picture 5.Picture 9

W.T. Cosgrave made housing issues a priority in a city whose tenements were notorious at the time. (The tangible memorial to Cosgraves influence on the City Council was a decision he initiated to build Corporation housing estates in the city. One of these developments was the estate now known as Ceannt’s Fort in his home area. W.T. later told Ernest Blythe that in his actions on the Corporation he was “a little bit of a leftist.” Although he can hardly have anticipated it at the time. his role as a reforming politician on Dublin Corporation gave W.T. a very good training for life as a political header in independent Ireland. It also helped to save his life after the 1916 Rising when his political reputation played a part in having his death sentence commuted.

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James Basin

A song by Margaret Barry

Our barges neat by Watling Street
Rock gently to and fro,
And hoist and sling the barrels swing
Down to the hold below.
With holds and decks packed with Double X
They sail down with the tide-
All specially made for the English trade
Down by the Liffey side.

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Excerpt from a essay about the Canals of Ireland.

“A perusal of the journals and pamphlets of the period when the various projects for canal construction were under discussion, would lead one to the belief that the many ills and misfortunes from which this country suffered, would be speedily exorcised by an elaborate system of inland navigation. The dark and gloomy bogs would be drained into these new waterways and transformed into smiling expanses of cornfield and meadow, the turbulent rivers would no longer overflow their banks, but be kept within bounds by a similar disposal of their superfluous waters, commerce would be extended into the remotest districts, and the whole country, the whilom scene of poverty and strife, would be henceforth the abiding home of peace and plenty.

By  dint of such optimistic writings, frothy speech -making, and skillfully-manipulated statistics, the public were at length worked up to the necessary pitch of enthusiasm, and induced to subscribe their money in the confident belief that they were on the high road to fortune. The shares went up and down like other speculations, but mostly downward, people talked of “going down the canals,” just as their descendants now speak of investing in railways or trams; and the only question was whether it was to be, “Grands” or “Royals.”

~This article appeared in The Weekly Irish Times of the 13th January 1906 and i found it in my local Library. The Neighbourhood of Dublin by St John Joyce 1939.


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Grand Canal Clean Up’s

The following images are from the Clean Up at Leeson Bridge. Friends of The Grand Canal meet at Leeson St. Bridge (on the city side at a canal bench) on the First Saturday of every month from 10am to 12noon. They pick up litter and then Starbucks bring them up hot coffee and bickies. No need to bring anything but your enthusiasm and no need to phone anyone either. Just come!
If you’d like to be added to their e-mail list, contact



A well deserved coffee Break. IMG_0170

Clean up at Grand Canal.

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