Three history buffs went searching for some historical gems about Dublin and now they’ve come up with a blog and book full of them
Come Here To Me! was set up as a blog by three friends back in winter 2009. “In many ways, things were pretty miserable. Countless places were closing down in the city and we had to say goodbye to so many close friends who were leaving the country”, says Sam McGrath.
“We decided that there was something to celebrate about Dublin and went searching for its little gems, the historical stories and the often missed little bits and pieces that make up the city today. From street art to social history, football stadiums to back lanes. It’s become so much more popular than we could have imagined”.
So we asked Ciaran, Sam and Donal for their quirkiest/favourite moment in Dublin’s history and they’ve come up with some crackers.
Donal Fallon’s tantalising Dublin tale:
“For me, the love/hate relationship of Dubliners with monuments and iconography in the city is an endless source of content and often humour. While Admiral Nelson gazed over Dubliners he was the source of much ridicule, and at various points in the history of Dublin campaigns were formed to remove him from the top of Nelson’s Pillar and replace him with someone the natives deemed more fitting.
The Virgin Mary, Patrick Pearse, Saint Patrick and even JFK were all proposed between the 1920s and 1966, and one group even proposed removing the whole thing and re-erecting it at the Hill of Howth! Bonkers. In the end, a bomb done away with Nelson’s Pillar and the locals rechristened him Admiral Blownapart. It’s only fitting that Dubliners today are divided by Nelson’s replacement, the 2003 Spire of Light!”
Sam McGrath’s favourite story about Dublin:
“I’ve always been fascinated about the stories of non-Irish joining the Easter Rising in 1916. You had Arthur Wicks (known to his friends as Neal) from Norwich who worked in the Shelbourne Hotel and was a trade union activist. Joining the Rising on Easter Monday he was based with the Irish Citizen Army in Fairview and then in the Hotel Metropole on O’Connell Street. Fatally wounded during the evacuation of the GPO (General Post Office) on Friday morning, he died in a house on Moore Street just after the rebels surrender.
As far as I can assert, he was the only insurgent to die in the Rising who was not born in Ireland nor could claim any Irish ancestry. You then had the two sailors (one Swedish, the other Finnish) who joined the Rebels (out of a sense of adventure and solidarity with a small nation taking arms against a Empire) who fought in the GPO. Finally, the mysterious wounded rebel who was found to speak only Spanish when taken to see a doctor. Those little stories give the Rising, which essentially quite a localised affair, a bit of a international flavour.”
Ciarán Murray’s two cents:
“What I love about Dublin, being the only one out of the three of us not actually from the city (although I’m not sure if that makes a huge difference or not!) is the fact that, for a relatively small city, it has made such a huge imprint on the world, in every aspect of life from theater to literature, music to film. Not counting the arts, the regular people of Dublin have arguably even greater stories to tell.
As we’ve covered on the blog, at various stages of history Dublin has played host to, amongst many more; a cinema manager who was the only Irish prisoner in Dachau, a fish and chip shop owner who was, until his death in 1987, the last survivor of the mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin and one of the first journalists to cover the allied landings from the front line in World War II, who landed with the troops at Arnhem. There are a million and one stories to tell about the city, and its rooting them out, and telling them to people who never heard them before that is the fun part.”
Over the last three years, the guys have published just under 2,000 articles and received over 5,000 comments from 1,000 different people. They were always interested in the possibility of making a book out of their best articles and were delighted when they were approached, with that exact idea, by New Island Books. The book, published in December, contains 70 of the best articles published on the blog along with a number of new ones.
And where did the blog’s title come from? From Dublin slang naturally, which “used to mean “Listen to this’ or ‘I’ve something to tell you’. These phrases tend to imply a secretiveness or revelatory importance to the upcoming piece of information,” according to the bloggers. Picture a Dubliner beckoning you over with a mischievous smile because they have a wonderful story to share. And it’s always worth hearing. For more bewildering Irish slang, read our blog on it here!