There’s a fight raging in Dublin over the few historic, urban battleground sites that still remain. These locations have dwindled drastically over the last hundred years as big industry takes hold in Ireland. There are plaques all over the city, noting the historical significance of what used to exist on that spot – but many of the buildings and businesses are gone and they’ve been replaced by something new, or worse – they’ve been removed altogether.
One of these sites that has been slated for demolition numerous times is one of the last, and one of the most important buildings left in Dublin’s revolutionary history. Moore Street is where some of the final minutes of the Easter Rising took place. It is part of the escape route that the leaders of the Rising used when they were forced from the burning headquarters of the General Post Office. They burrowed through the walls of the buildings that lined Moore Street to try to escape the English snipers, who were shooting civilians and escapees alike. It is where the O’Rahilly penned a final letter to his family as he bled out in the street. This area is a vital part of Dublin’s history and it has been called the “most extant Battlefield Site in Irish History,” by the National Museum. A spotlight should be on the historical value of the area – especially with the upcoming Centenary celebration of the Rising.
Instead, activists have had to fight battle after battle to keep Moore Street alive and free from developers who would prefer to raze the battleground, remove the outdoor farmers’ market, and turn the entire site into yet one more mall or hotel. Politicians, who are more concerned with current cash than historical treasure, are more than ready to let the deals go through and they promise a very special plaque or a 1916 museum on site, while they quietly give permission for the buildings to be destroyed and redeveloped, just like many other important, vanished sites.
The Moore Street activists have come up with an intriguing and wonderful way to counter the usurpation of the historical site. It’s quite brilliant really, and if it works it will be a potent reminder that people still have power. They are selling bonds in an effort to save the urban battlefield and to repair and preserve the buildings for generations to come. It is a perfect plan, IF they can raise enough money to be a viable alternative to the developers that already have their eyes on the lot. The bonds are not cheap coming in at €100 each, but if it saves the properties from becoming a mall and repairs them as well, it’s totally worth it. After all, if we’re celebrating the Centenary, shouldn’t we celebrate it all? Aren’t the last locations of the Rising as important as the first?
In my opinion, Moore Street deserves a face lift but not one that will remove its importance or evict its market. The price tag of the bond is a small price to pay to prove that people can change the game if they care enough to. If you want more information, or you want to purchase a Centenary Bond of your very own, please go here. And if you are in Dublin, and you think a mall on Moore Street is appalling, there are some great activist groups you can donate your time and energy to. Here’s one of many groups you can choose from.
I stood on Moore Street with my camera and my journal for hours, brushing my fingers along the bullet-scarred bricks and combing through the lanes and alleys, wishing I could wander through the bones of the buildings. There is still some important energy there that should not be lost and it represents a major moment in history that should never be forgotten. If saving Moore Street is a cause you can get behind please do so, and if you are giving gifts this holiday, might I suggest a Centenary bond? I know I’d love to find one under the tree.