The Dublin branch of Inland Waterways Association of Ireland’s Dublin Rally takes place throughout May each year. Members of the boating community travel to Dublin along both the Royal and Grand Canals, some come in one canal and leave by the other (Green & Silver Challenge), and then take part in a host of activities along the Dublin stretches of the canals, moor at Grand Canal Dock for the Dublin Docklands Festival and finally depart back along the canals. This year during the inbound journey along the Grand Canal, FESTA, an artistic intervention, took place which celebrated the past and present history of labour and leisure in the Rialto area and all along the canal.
Dublin Rally: Boaters began their journey along the Dublin end of the Grand Canal on Friday 10th May, participated in the FESTA parade on Saturday 11th (more details below), and travelled to Grand Canal Dock for Sunday 12th where they met up with their Royal Canal counterparts. The Rally and FESTA were officially launched by then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Naoise Ó’Muirí and a drinks reception and barbeque took place that evening.
Over the course of the next few days a plethora of events took place, including the annual Liffey Cruise, trips to the restored Martello tower in Killiney, the Lord Mayor’s coach and Dun Laoghaire’s Maritime Museum, a cheque presentation to the Irish Cancer Society by the Heritage Boats Association from the proceeds of their “River Rats” charity calendar, barbeques, nights out and of course the 2013 Dublin Docklands Festival. Boats then departed back along the canal from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th, taking in a barbeque at Mespil Road Bridge/Lock 4 on Thursday 23rd and a final meet up in the Lower Deck pub on Friday 24th May.
FESTA: Taking place on 11th and 12th May, FESTA, an “artistic nuisance” created by Kathryn Maguire, artist in residence at Common Ground’s Studio 468, celebrated the history of labour and leisure in Rialto and other areas through which the Grand Canal flows.
Artworks produced by Kathryn included “US Again”, a floating mirrored shed, and “The Exchange”, a floating garden created by St. Andrew’s Community Centre’s Gardening Group using Dolphin’s Barn brick. There were also a series of talks – the FESTA Dialogues – on a barge at Suir Bridge, a nature trail and boat rides on Dubhlinn courtesy of IWAI. FESTA culminated on Sunday 12th in Grand Canal Dock where hundreds of origami boats, made by young people from the local communities and members of the boating community, were launched around the floating artworks, all accompanied by jazz musician Nick Roth’s “Water Project”
Dublin Docklands Summer Festival: A weekend of celebration on Grand Canal Dock took place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May with entertainment and competitions of all kinds on water and on land, organised by Waterways Ireland and Docklands Business Forum, in association with Dublin City Council.
There were food markets, funfairs, live music from bands and djs, children’s creative workshops, canal barge tours, a race night at Shelbourne Stadium, ‘Come try it (kayaking and stand up paddle boarding) sessions’ with Surfdock, skateboard, urban sports and creative workshops with Kings of Concrete, art exhibitions, wakeboard, dragon boat and street performance displays, an IUSRU raft race, the Gibson Hotel’s charity (rubber) duck race, a flyover by the Coast Guard helicopter, Maldron Hotel’s golf water challenge and a screening of Disney’s the Lion King on a floating cinema.
Photographs courtesy and copyright of Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, Surfdock, Robert Harte, Dublin Docklands Festival, Kings of Concrete, Waterways Ireland and Dublin City Council.
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