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Mr Dixon's Business Collection

G Mitchell Lower Sackville StView Mr Dixon's Business Collection Gallery.

Almost 2,000 pictures compose the collection known as the Dixon Slides. The varied contents include photographs taken by Frederick Dixon in the 1960s and 1970s, book illustrations, postcards, advertisements and older photos of events around Dublin. The main focuses of the collection are Dublin city and its buildings. An important aspect covered is Dublin’s commercial life. He looked at not just contemporary stores but also earlier developments, going back to the second half of the nineteenth century. His primary sources for business in the 1800s were Industries of Dublin, The Dublin Pictorial Guide and Directory, Strattens’ Dublin, Cork and South of Ireland and advertisements from magazines and newspapers.

David Oistrakh, Artist of the People?

David Oistrakh Artiste du PeubleDavid Oistrakh, Artiste du Peuple? is a film by Bruno Monsaingeon which traces the life of David Oistrakh,  who is recognised not only as a great violinist but also as one of music's most interesting personalities. Born in Odessa in 1908 into a Jewish family of merchants, David Oistrakh lived through the troubled years of the October Revolution. At the age of five he began studying the violin and viola and went on to perform at many concerts throughout the Soviet Union playing Khachaturian, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and others to packed audiences. He won several prizes along the way including the Stalin Prize in 1942.

nostalgia telly

Television in the 1970s didn’t just consist of Mart and Market, and Garda Patrol: there were some classic television series around at the time, which kept the nation entertained for months on end – this was possibly due to the lack of choice available, or maybe times were just simpler! These are all available on DVD from your local library, so hit the sofa with a tin of biccies and take a trip down memory lane....

I ClaudiusBased on the Robert Graves novels, I Claudius, was originally shown in 1976, with an all-star cast including Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, and Brian Blessed (without his beard – worth it to see that alone!). The story of the stammering Claudius, regarded as the family idiot, who eventually became emperor of Rome, is full of intrigue, plotting, counter-plotting, and some downright insanity, with Caligula and Nero being particularly memorable in the insanity stakes.

Michael Kirby became a writer at 78!

Skelligs SunsetDon’t miss an inspiring and enthralling talk about a Kerry gentleman who started writing books about his native Ballinskelligs, at the age of 78.

He wrote eight books in Irish and three in English until his death in 2005 at the age of ninety-nine.

As well as being a writer, he was a fisherman, farmer, poet, and painter.

His books are philosophical observations of life around him, of wildlife and human life. He tells of fish and birds as well as stories of local characters. He records place names and local birds names in Irish, his first language.

He reminisces about his youth in Kerry as well as his seven-day voyage across the Atlantic to the US, his work on the railroad, at the time of the Wall Street Crash.

The Boys of Summer

For many Irish men and women, the sound of summer means the stamp of studs on dry ground and the slap of leather on ash. For some counties there is always the sense that the expectation of May will lead to celebrations in September. For others a victory over nearest rivals will suffice. The past decade has seen an explosion in the number of books published on Gaelic Games. Here are a few worth packing with the sandwiches and flasks of tea. Up da Dubs!

The ClubThe Club, Christy O’Connor (2010)

Christy O’Connor is that rarest of things – a sports writer who has played at the highest level. The Club is his account of his club – St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield - during the 2009 season. It was a year of tragedy. O’Connor lost his new-born daughter and his comrade and friend Ger Hoey. Doora-Barefield raged against the dying of the light in the Clare League and Championship but there was no glory. Very few books on sport escape the narrow confines of their genre. The Club is one of those. It is no exaggeration to state that this is one of the best works of social commentary published in Ireland in the past decade. Time will only confirm its greatness.

Ballymun students 'shadow' the Bisto Book Award judges.

Bisto Book of the Year logo

Several students from Trinity Comprehensive School in the North Dublin suburb of Ballymun have been 'shadowing' the Bisto Book of the Year Award. This involves reading books from the 2011 shortlist, judging them on the writing and illustrations and then voting for their favourites.

The Bisto Children's Book of the Year Awards, in partnership with Children's Books Ireland, are the leading annual children's book awards in Ireland.

The members of the Book Club in Trinity Comprehensive in Ballymun have been reading their way through the shortlist of ten titles.

Feel the Chill with Icelandic Crime Novels!

Tainted Blood, aka Jar CityIn light of the showing of the Icelandic film 'Jar City' on BBC Four this coming Sunday night (8th May), I thought the occasion definitely warranted mention here of the wonderful crime novels emanating from Iceland. The two principal writers responsible for ensuring Iceland a prominent place on the literary crime scene are of course Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.

Indriðason is the author of 'Jar City' 4 star (probably better known under the title 'Tainted Blood'), one in the excellent series starring Inspector Erlendur and set in and around Reykjavik. Though I would say Reykjavik is portrayed in the book as a somewhat dark and austere place, a friend assures me it is in reality far from that, and well worth a visit. I wouldn't doubt him for a moment! Erlendur has his own personal and family difficulties of course (which crime detective has not?), which only adds to the well-crafted storylines. And they are so well-written (and translated) too of course.

[UPDATED] Five Picturebooks on Bisto Book of the Year Shortlist

Bisto Children's Book of the Year

[UPDATE] Since this post was written I have learned that Chris Haughton's wonderful picturebook 'A Bit Lost' has won the Dutch Picturebook of the Year Award. 

When the Bisto Children's Book of the Year Shortlist was announced recently I was delighted to see five quality picturebooks by Irish artists; two by multi award winning Oliver Jeffers ('Up and Down' and 'The Heart and the Bottle'), two by newcomer Kevin Waldron ('The Owl and the Pussycat' and 'Tiny Little Fly') and one by first-timer Chris Haughton ('A Bit Lost'). Between them they showcase the strong contribution Irish artists are making to the modern picturebook.

Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association (RDFA) was established in 1996 to commemorate all Irish men and women who volunteered, served and died in the First World War 1914-1918. The RDFA fulfils its remit by organising public exhibitions, lectures, seminars, visits and the publication of a journal, Blue Cap. In 2005, the RDFA decided to place its archive with Dublin City Library and Archive, where it is available for public consultation in the Reading Room. The RDFA Archive is managed by Dublin City Archives.

Talent on the Double

Julia Fischer Violin & PianoA DVD, Julia Fischer Violin & Piano, available to borrow at the Music Library, features Julia Fischer, playing solo on piano and violin in the same concert. The concert was recorded at Frankfurt, 1st January 2008.

Julia Fischer says she knew from an early age that she wanted to be a musician. She took up the violin because, when she was a child she always had to wait until her mother and her brother (who is four years older than her) had finished practising on the family's only piano. From the age of four she received piano lessons from her mother and applied herself at the Piano with nearly the same intensity she brought to playing the violin.