Posts from the �s’ category

John F Kennedy Lectern, 1963

Kennedy's Lectern

The lectern from which President Kennedy adressed the Dail and the Seanad

On June 28, 1963, President John F Kennedy addressed both houses of the Oireachtas. It was a historic visit, not least because Kennedy, a young, dynamic Irish-American, had long made much of his Irish roots. Speaking at this lectern, Kennedy described his heritage, made an attack on literary censorship and noted – to the delight of the assembled politicians – that Leinster House “does not inspire the brightest ideas.”

The ‘lectern’ is actually a music stand that was owned by John Brennock, who bought it in an antique shop on Fishamble Street. During one of many meetings to prepare for President Kennedy’s visit, it was realised that the Dáil chamber did not have a lectern that could be used for a speech – TDs address the Dáil from where they are seated. Mr Brennock offered to lend his music stand to the Oireachtas. By the time the stand was returned – strapped to the top of a car – Kennedy had already been shot.

With thanks to Mark Brennock

ESB Fitzwilliam Street, 1967

Merrion square ESB

Dublin’s Georgian architecture is one of it’s most instantly recognisable features

In the 1960s the Financial Times noted, “the only reason why Dublin remained for so long the beautiful eighteenth-century city the English built is that the Irish were too poor to pull it down. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.”

Fitzwilliam Street was once the longest uninterrupted stretch of Georgian housing in the world. This painting shows old houses on the street after they were torn down to make way for the ESB headquarters. Michael Byrne’s painting of ‘Derelict Dublin’ shows the destruction of Fitzwilliam Street in 1967.

Permanent Collection

Wanderly Wagon, 1967

Wanderly Wagon

‘Wanderly Wagon’ was a beloved part of many an Irish childhood through the years

This model of the Wanderly Wagon was used for the flying scenes in the RTE children’s programme. Wanderly Wagon ran from 1967 until 1982.

The central role of O’Brien was played by the legendary puppeteer Eugene Lambert, who travelled the country in his flying wagon. O’Brien was joined by characters such as the grumpy Fortycoats, the lovable Godmother (played by Nora O’Mahoney) a flying dog called Judge, and old Mr Crow, a rather sardonic and unlikable bird. Strange but true: Neil Jordan once wrote an episode of Wanderly Wagon.

With thanks to RTE

Watch a video about the Wanderly Wagon model:

Findlater’s was a well-known and instantly recognisable Dublin grocers

Alex Findlater and Co. started life in 1823, trading whiskey, wine and beer. The company expanded rapidly, adding general groceries to its alcohol trade, and became a major institution, with branches all over the city. Ultimately, pressure from supermarkets became too much for Findlaters’ more traditional service – as William Findlater had predicted at a 1902 staff meeting:

“This brings up the question of packet goods, which is one of the curses of the trade, unless they bear our own brand. If this is encouraged much further it will mean the passing out of the grocer, and he will be replaced by a mere hander-out of packet goods, or, we will have nothing but girls behind our counters, which may be unpleasant to many of the young men present!”

With thanks to Alex Findlater