Living the 1913 Lockout on Dublin’s Henrietta Street

Henrietta Street (Dublin)Dublin’s new Lord Mayor, Councillor Oisín Quinn, opened the innovative Dublin Tenement Experience: Living the Lockout, a performance and interpretation-based exhibition, on Henrietta Street in Dublin’s North Inner City today (Thursday). This is the first in a series of activities to mark the centenary of the historic 1913 Lockout and is part of Ireland’s Decade of Commemorations.

The project, which is supported by IMPACT, is a joint initiative of Dublin City Council, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu), and the Irish Heritage Trust, will open to the public next week for two months only, from Thursday July 4th 2013, and will continue until the end of August at No.14 Henrietta Street.

For further information and ticket sales, visit the Dublin Tenement Experience website. The one hour programme includes a 35 minute site-specific drama, performed by the award-winning ANU Productions.

Opening the Tenement Experience this morning (Thursday) The Lord Mayor said “This project is groundbreaking. It brings history to life. This large early Georgian house, originally designed for one family, by the turn of the last century had become a typical Dublin tenement and was home to more than 100 people. Entering the ground floor now is like entering a time capsule which transports the 21st century visitor back to 1913. The use of drama, archival records, photographs and personal testimonies, in what is quite a compact space, brings the history of the experience to life. I would encourage as many people as possible to come and visit this experience and get a real taste of what life was really like for thousands of people in the city 100 years ago.”
ICTU’s Sally Anne Kinahan commented, “This experience features intense and passionate scenes that capture the heady optimism of the strikers at the beginning of their struggle in August 1913, the desperation of the families as they faced ruin and possible starvation in the run-up to Christmas 1913, and the hard choices that confronted the workers and their families as the Lockout neared its end in early 1914. The drama is driven from documentary material, and portrays the heroic determination of the workers and their communities to bring about lasting change in relation to their right to organise themselves in a union and to improve the grim living conditions of the tenements.

“One hundred years on from the Lockout, workers in Ireland still have no legal right to collective bargaining, namely to collectively negotiate their pay, terms and conditions of employment. In fact, we’re one of only five EU countries where this is the case. In addition, the campaign for decent work is particularly relevant during this time of austerity where many employers have used the global recession to drive down the pay and conditions of workers” she said.

Kevin Baird, CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust said “Every part of 14 Henrietta Street evokes the changing circumstances of all the people that lived here and visitors to the house will have the chance to glimpse the centuries of family life these walls have absorbed.”

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