Gathering from the Tides

Gathering from the tides dockers1

A sense of nostalgic pride surrounded the opening of the Ringsend Gathering Festival. The Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre played host to the launch of The Dublin Dock Workers Preservation Society’s photographic exhibition.

A lively mixture of youth and experience casually-exchanged tales and anecdotes inspired by the collected imagery, the sunlit hall proving to be a relaxed location for the beginning of the three-day festival.

The collection covered different aspects of working and living around the Docklands set against decades of a changing Dublin landscape. Many of the families in Ringsend have links to working on the docks, and for many the evening was passed placing names to faces.

The collection’s content proved as startling in themes as in imagery, chronicling camaraderie, socialising and unity within an obvious close community. Images of striking Dockers marching over the decades were interlaced between social events and men at work.

Beyond the theme, most of the collection offered a fine example of the dying art of analogue film photography. Snapshots of an era before cameras self-focussed or electronic editing, the vibrancy of the colours and richness of detailed black and white can still hold the attention as much as anything digitally created, and proved a joyful legacy to all in Dublin 4 and its surrounding areas.

Declan Byrne opened the evening’s formalities, reiterating the pride Ringsend rightfully has at being a hub of Dublin maritime history, thanking the locals along with Alan Martin in particular for compiling such a wonderful and unique collection.

Don Bennett gave a wonderfully witty orated account of the mostly unknown origins of nicknames associated to many of the area’s Dockers and Hobblers, re-emphasising the closeness and respect through the mutual lampoonery.
Musical entertainment came by way of seafaring shanties and ballads courtesy of Eddie Byrne, whilst the happy audience enjoyed the complementary food and drinks laid on for the evening.

If you know any of the gentlemen in this photo please contact Alan Martin through

By Eric Murphy