Dublin Dockers Preservation Piece

Photo from www.bluemelon.com/alanmartin

The Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society (DDWPS) was formed in 2011 when a small group of former dockworkers, prompted by Jimmy Carthy, met in the KCCP building and decided that more should be done to preserve the industrial history of Dublin Docks and the rich history of the dockland communities such as East Wall, North Wall, Sherriff Street, Ringsend and Pearse Street.

Alan Martin, one of the men, had already set up a Facebook page (Dublin Dockers) to publish his collection of photographs and it had generated a lot of interest in the history of the docks and the men and women who had worked in the Port of Dublin and in ancillary dockland industries.
Today the DDWPS has 300 members and countless supporters, including former dockworkers, local historians and archivists, and people with a passion for the local communities and the industrial heritage of Dublin. Over 3,000 photographs have been donated to the Facebook page, which now has more than 5,000 followers.

Since its formation, they have amassed a valuable collection of artefacts which includes over 3,500 photographs, as well as documents, recorded stories, and other dock related material such as dockers’ buttons and employment records. These are shared with the public at regular exhibitions, talks and musical nights.
That there is a real interest in what the DDWPS is trying to achieve was confirmed right at the beginning, when they held their first exhibition of photographs in the Dublin Port Centre in March 2012. The exhibition exceeded all their expectations. More than 200 guests, including the Lord Mayor, turned up on the night. A further 200 visited the exhibition during the following week.

This was followed by exhibitions in the CHQ Building, Liberty Hall, St Patrick’s Rowing Club, Ringsend, East Wall, Cabra, and the Five Lamps Arts Festival. All were well received and generated a renewed interest in this significant part of Ireland’s industrial past.
The DDWPS is supported by public figures such as Jack O’Connor, General President of SIPTU; Lucinda Creighton, who was Minister for European Affairs when she opened the society’s 4th exhibition; the current Lord Mayor, Mícheál MacDonncha, and by political representatives from all sides who serve the dockland communities.

“We’d love to do more, like have an ecumenical service for the dockworkers who’ve passed away and put on more exhibitions and cultural events, but we don’t have the money. The level of funding we were promised hasn’t materialised,” spokesperson for the group, Declan Byrne, told NewsFour.
The valuable archive collated by DDWPS is currently being stored in the homes of the members. They say: “We believe that our stories deserve to be told, our history preserved and it is for these reasons we have been campaigning for a Docklands Heritage Centre” – a dedicated space where the collection can be put on permanent display.

Keep up to date with the Dublin Dock Workers Preservation Society on their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Dublindockers/
You can view the photographs in the collection and download them for free at: www.bluemelon.com/alanmartin

by Jennifer Reddin