Five Lamps Festival 2014 constituted an excellent opportunity to explore the history and culture of this North East inner city area of Dublin.

Coming to Dublin, whether to pay a short visit, or to stay for a prolonged period of time, one cannot help but be amazed by the richness of history and culture of various areas of the city – often at a very local level. Temple Bar and the Phoenix Park might be the most popular places, but the less known districts of the Irish capital are definitely of no less importance.

One of such areas in North city is the junction of Portland Row, North Strand Road, Seville Place, Amiens Street and Killarney Street and its surroundings, commonly known as ‘The Five Lamps‘. To encourage interest in local art and literature, an annual festival – Five Lamps Festival – was established in 2007.

Five Lamps Festival in Dublin 2014
This year’s edition of Five Lamps Festival was a great proof that ‘local’ is not equal to ‘small’ or ‘poor’. A quick look at the programme can make one feel astonished – how can an art festival, possibly of interest to only one part of the city, last for over a week, with so many events in multiple venues?

If one were to pick the most interesting part, they would be facing a hard choice. Art exhibitions, readings, dancing lessons, concerts and walks – Five Lamps Festival has it all (and even more!), offering a variety of activities for people of all ages and all levels of fitness. Art enthusiasts on a budget were delighted to find lots of free events, as well as paid, yet affordable, ones.

Ann Mathews and her play 1913 Lockout
One of the major festival venues was Irish Writers’ Centre which organised, among other things, the talk Growing up at the Five Lamps. The special guest – Ann Mathews (pictured above), whose play 1913 Lockout will soon be performed in Hollywood – shared with the audience her personal story, while providing insights into the lives of Dubliners in the 1950s and ’60s.

The most popular event was probably Let’s walk and talk, a walk along the Royal Canal led by Pat Liddy (pictured below), the famous Dublin historian and tour guide. This energetic man seemed tireless as he told the stories of Brendan Behan, Mountjoy Prison, Croke Park or the German bombings of Dublin, to the groups of eager listeners gathered around him.

Pat Liddy on the banks of the Royal Canal in Dublin
Those who missed out on the 2014 festival will have to wait for the next twelve months to join the celebration. Meanwhile, they will certainly not be bored, as the North inner city offers plenty of local events throughout the year.


All images courtesy Five Lamps Festival




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