Journey Through the Community

patrick mac gauley1

On 17th July, St Andrew’s Resource Centre on Pearse Street staged the 10 year anniversary screening of Journey through the Community 2004, under the auspices of the South Docks Festival.

The film was originally devised by Patrick McGauley (pictured right) who was a worker at St Andrew’s and editor of Newslink magazine, about 18 years ago as a measure to commemorate the transformation of the local area over the course of time. The idea fermented in McGauley’s mind at a time when many of the local buildings were disappearing, prompting him to help create a series of films through which he and his colleagues could, in his own words, “capture history as it was being knocked down.”

Journey through the Community 2004 was presented by Gerry Browne, a local who was interviewed initially by McGauley many years ago before finally embarking on the project. The film focuses mainly on Pearse Street, Ringsend, Irishtown and the surrounding areas, and features the multiple testimonies of people who have grown up in the community and how the changes have affected them. The film was put together by a volunteer group called Creative Minds Productions, with Patrick taking the reins as producer and director.

Set against a backdrop of emotive musical numbers such as Fields of Gold and The Long and Winding Road, the viewer is treated to various historical testaments pertaining to the area, including the scattering of the community in the aftermath of the demolition of the local tenement buildings.

The movie also features recollections from people like James Hamilton, who provides the viewer with a brief maritime history of the Liffey and Ringsend docklands area, recalling a time when the place was awash with cranes, boats and merchants.

The film has an authentic People before Property message throughout, with tales of community solidarity prevailing in the face of adversity, notably the protests against the Mount Street office blocks 30 years ago due to the dispossession of local residents.

The final say on the matter is uttered by Gerry Browne himself in the film when he says, “It’s not the buildings that make a community; it’s the people that make a community.”

McGauley told NewsFour that the main reason behind this year’s screening was to honour many of the contributors and cast of the film, as many of them have sadly passed away. Most of the film was filmed in St Andrew’s, and many of the original staff have since moved on to pastures new.

“It’s to remember people,” he said. “Half the cast have sadly died, and then there’s a lot of people who have moved on from St Andrew’s. People take whatever they want from it (the film).”

McGauley, originally a native of Pearse Street himself, also states that response to the film has been very positive, with many relatives and friends of the original cast being very appreciative of the crew’s efforts. He also describes the overall objective of the film as not being merely confined to the immediate area.

“What we tried to do with this film was try to bring everyone together,” he said. “Normally, most people don’t go over the bridge, so it was about breaking that down, bringing people from Dublin 2, 4 and 6 together, and I think that was a barrier that should be broken, and we’ve done it since with the other films.”

By Craig Kinsella